Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 6 vs Watch SE vs Series 3: What's the difference?

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(Pocket-lint) - The Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE smartwatches beryllium alongside the older Apple Watch Series 3. The Series 6, Series 5, Series 4Series 2, Series 1 and the original Apple Watch are each discontinued done Apple - oregon the Series 6 volition beryllium erstwhile the Series 7 arrives.

To marque matters simple, we've compared the Apple Watch Series 7 to the Watch SE and Watch Series 3 present truthful you tin spot precisely what the differences and similarities are, whether you're looking to upgrade oregon instrumentality the smartwatch plunge.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Series 7 is precise akin to the Series 6 with a flimsy redesign, but we've kept the Series 6 details successful this diagnostic for reference.



  • Series 3: 11.4mm thick, 5ATM waterproof
  • Watch SE: 10.7mm thick, 5ATM waterproof, Compass
  • Series 6: 10.7mm thick, 5ATM waterproof, Compass, Electrical bosom complaint sensor, Blood oxygen sensor
  • Series 7: 5ATM waterproof, IPX6 particulate resistant, Compass, Electrical bosom complaint sensor, Blood oxygen sensor 
  • Straps compatible crossed each models

All the Apple Watch models being compared present diagnostic a coagulated rectangular assemblage with the Digital Crown and abstracted fastener connected the right, on with a talker and microphone connected the left.

They are each swim-proof up to 50-metres and they each person a bosom complaint show positioned connected the underside of the ticker body, on with the merchandise buttons for switching retired the straps.

There are immoderate differences betwixt the Series 3, SE, Series 6 and Series 7 though. Firstly, the Series 3 is somewhat thicker than the Series 7, Series 6 and SE model.

Secondly, successful the lawsuit of the Series 7 (and Series 4, 5 and 6), the Digital Crown has an electrical bosom complaint sensor built into it, which is successful summation to the optical bosom complaint sensor connected the underside of the watch. The Watch Series 7 besides has a humor oxygen sensor, similar the Series 6 did, and it has reduced bezels surrounding the display, arsenic good arsenic an IPX6 particulate resistance.


  • Series 3: OLED Retina show with Force Touch
  • Watch SE: LTPO OLED Retina show with Force Touch
  • Series 6/7: LTPO OLED Always-On Retina show with Force Touch

All the Apple Watch models being compared present person OLED Retina displays with Force Touch built into them, allowing for antithetic functions depending connected the unit with which you press.

The Series 6 and the Watch SE person a 30 per cent larger show than the Series 3 with rounded edges however, making afloat usage of the abstraction disposable and resulting successful a bolder design. The Series 7 expands connected this further, reducing the bezels astir the show by 40 per cent, making for a 20 per cent larger show than the Series 6 and Watch SE, and 50 per cent larger than the Series 3, arsenic good arsenic a much seamless design.

In summation to the show increase, the Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 6 connection an Always-On Retina display, which the Watch SE and Series 3 don't.

The Always-On show means you don't person to rise your wrist to aftermath the show up, with the surface ever visible. A rise of the wrist oregon a pat connected the show volition brighten the Series 7 (and Series 5/6) show instead.


  • Series 3: Aluminium lone options, 2 colours
  • Watch SE: Aluminium lone options, 3 colours, Nike exemplary successful 2 colours
  • Series 6/7: Aluminium (five colours), Stainless alloy options (three colours), Titanium options (two colours), Nike+ models and Hermès models
  • GPS and GPS and Cellular options for Series 6/7 and Watch SE
  • Size options: 38mm/42mm (Series 3), 40mm/44mm (Series 6 and Watch SE), 41mm/45mm (Series 7)

The Apple Watch Series 3 is present lone disposable with an aluminium case, either metallic oregon abstraction grey. It comes successful comes successful 38mm and 42mm size options, but it is lone disposable successful a GPS lone model, with nary GPS and Cellular enactment available. There is besides nary Nike model.

The Watch SE besides lone comes successful aluminium but determination are 3 colour options, comprised of silver, golden and abstraction grey. Size options are 40mm and 44mm and determination are GPS lone and GPS and Cellular models available. The Watch SE besides comes successful Nike models, disposable successful metallic and abstraction grey.

The Series 6 has a batch much decorativeness options disposable than the Watch SE and the Series 3 - for now. When the Series 7 arrives aboriginal this year, it volition regenerate the Series 6 options. Like the Watch SE, the Series 6 comes successful 40mm and 44mm sizes, arsenic good arsenic GPS lone and GPS and Cellular models. There are 5 aluminium colours - silver, abstraction grey, gold, bluish and Product(Red). There are past 3 stainless alloy models - silver, graphite (DLC) and golden (PVD). Lastly, determination are 2 titanium models - earthy titanium and abstraction black.

Additionally, the Series 6 besides comes successful Nike models - each of which are aluminium and travel with Nike straps - and Hermès models - each of which are stainless alloy and travel with peculiar Hermès straps. The Hermès models are each GPS and Cellular arsenic standard.

While each the modular Series 6 models and the Nike models travel successful some lawsuit sizes though, immoderate of the Hermès models lone travel successful either 40mm oregon 44mm, not both.

The Series 7 meanwhile, volition travel successful 5 aluminium colours similar the Series 6, but they volition beryllium caller colours. It volition besides travel successful 3 stainless alloy options, 2 titanium options and determination volition beryllium Nike models and Hermès models. The Series 7 lawsuit options are somewhat larger than the Series 6 though astatine 41mm and 45mm. 


  • Series 3: S3 processor, W2 wireless chip, Bluetooth 4.2, altimeter
  • Watch SE: S5 processor, W2 wireless chip, Bluetooth 5.0, autumn detection, compass, always-on altimeter
  • Series 6/7: S6 processor, W3 wireless chip, Bluetooth 5.0, U1 chip, electrical bosom sensor, humor oxygen sensor, autumn detection, compass, always-on altimeter
  • Series 3/SE/6/7: Ambient airy sensor, built-in GPS, optical bosom sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, 18-hour artillery life 

The Apple Watch Series 3 has a dual-core processor called the S3 nether its hood, coupled with a wireless spot called the W2. The GPS lone exemplary has 8GB of memory.

The Watch SE has a dual-core processor called the S5 - said to beryllium 2 times faster than the S3 - and it is coupled with the aforesaid adjacent procreation wireless spot arsenic the Series 6 - the W3.

The Apple Watch Series 6 has an upgraded processor claimed to beryllium 20 per cent faster than the S5, called the S6. It besides has W3, arsenic mentioned above. The Watch Series 7 has the aforesaid processor arsenic the Series 6 from what we understand, though this hasn't been confirmed arsenic yet. The Series 7 does complaint 30 per cent faster than the Series 6 though acknowledgment to the inclusion of a USB Type-C cablegram successful the box.

Both the GPS lone and GPS and Cellular models of some the Watch SE and Series 6 (and presumably the Series 7 too) person 32GB of memory, though of people the GPS and Cellular exemplary has LTE connectivity. The LTE connectivity means you tin marque and person calls and substance messages, arsenic good arsenic execute each the tasks you'd privation to connected your Watch without your iPhone successful range. It besides works for Family Setup.

All the Watch models being compared present person built-in GPS, optical bosom complaint sensor, speaker, microphone, h2o absorption up to 50 metres, exigency SOS, gyroscope and an ambient airy sensor. They besides each connection Apple Pay.

The Watch SE, Series 6 and Series 7 adhd an always-on altimeter - the Series 3 has a modular altimeter - a built successful compass, 2nd procreation optical bosom complaint sensor, planetary exigency calling and autumn detection acknowledgment to the improved accelerometer that offers up to 32 g-forces alternatively of up to 16 g-forces arsenic recovered successful the Series 3. It's worthy noting that each of these features - but the always-on altimeter - tin beryllium recovered connected the Series 4 and 5 too.

On apical of those additions, the Series 6 and Series 7 besides adhd a humor oxygen sensor and an electrical bosom complaint sensor for ECG. The Series 4 and 5 person the ECG diagnostic but not the humor oxygen sensor.


  • All tally WatchOS 8 
  • Extra features connected Series 6 and Series 7

The Series 3, Series 4, Series 5, Series 6 and Watch SE volition each tally watchOS 8.

All generations from the Series 3 and aboriginal truthful each connection a akin experience, adjacent if determination are a fewer other features connected the Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series 6 and Series 7 similar autumn detection and the ECG relation (US/UK/Europe lone for now), arsenic good arsenic the Always-On Display, built-in compass and humor oxygen monitoring connected the Series 6 and Series 7. Thanks to the larger show connected the Series 7, it besides offers a afloat keyboard with QucikType for replying to messages.

Remember the Series 5 besides has the Always-On Display and compass, portion the Watch SE has the compass and autumn detection.

You tin work each astir watchOS 8 successful our abstracted feature. All Apple Watches being compared present are susceptible of the diagnostic that enables Face ID iPhones to unlock adjacent if you're wearing a disguise erstwhile you're wearing an Apple Watch that is unlocked.  


  • Series 3: From $199/£199
  • Watch SE: From $299/£269
  • Series 6/7: From $399/£379


The Apple Watch Series 3 is the cheapest mode to get your hands connected Apple's smartwatch done Apple itself, with a starting terms of $199/£199 for the GPS lone model. There is nary longer a GPS and Cellular exemplary truthful the Series 3 isn't compatible with Family Setup.

The Watch SE starts astatine $299/£269, which is $100/£110 cheaper than the starting terms for the Series 6. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 with GPS lone starts astatine $399/£379 for some the modular exemplary and the Nike model. The Apple Watch Series 6 with GPS and Cellular starts astatine $499/£479 for the modular exemplary oregon Nike model, but this increases to $699/£649 if you privation a stainless alloy model.

The Apple Watch Edition models (titanium options) commencement astatine $799/£799. The Hermès models commencement astatine $1249/£1199.

The Apple Watch Series 7 volition outgo the aforesaid arsenic the Series 6 erstwhile it launches aboriginal this year.


If you didn't put successful the archetypal and you've decided the Apple Watch is present thing you want, buying the Series 3 implicit the Watch SE, Series 6 oregon Series 7 volition prevention you money, but you miss retired connected immoderate cardinal features and your decorativeness options are overmuch much limited.

Opting for the Watch SE implicit the Series 6 oregon Series 7 inactive saves you wealth - albeit not arsenic overmuch arsenic the Series 3 - but you get a bigger show plan and galore of the latest features, including a built-in compass, always-on altimeter, autumn detection and the 2nd procreation optical bosom complaint sensor. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 7 of people connection the astir precocious hardware of the 4 models being compared here, arsenic good arsenic the astir decorativeness options (if you hurry to bargain the Series 6), but your wallet volition instrumentality a deed too. Compared to the Series 3, if you person the currency they present plentifulness of worthy upgrades, not slightest the plan that makes acold amended usage of the show abstraction and this is adjacent much the lawsuit with the Series 7.

Compared to the Watch SE though, the Series 6 lone adds an always-on display, ECG, blood oxygen monitoring, a faster processor and the U1 chip. All the different features stay the same. For some, the improved processor, ECG and humor oxygen functionality, Always-On show and U1 spot could be the 5 features you needed to instrumentality the smartwatch plunge, but for others, the Watch SE volition much than suffice. In presumption of the Series 7, a bigger show is added, but different the features are astir identical to the Series 6.

In presumption of upgrades, those with the archetypal Apple Watch, Series 1 oregon Series 2 volition spot immoderate worthwhile differences by switching to the Watch SE, Series 6 oregon Series 7, particularly with the bigger display. Those with the Series 3 volition besides spot a decent quality successful the caller models.

If you already person the Series 4 oregon Series 5 and you're wondering whether to upgrade to the Series 6 oregon Series 7, you whitethorn not request to this clip astir unless you truly privation humor oxygen monitoring, existent clip elevation data, oregon the always-on show if you are a Series 4 user.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published connected 9 September 2016.

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