Late in the summer of 2022, Apple released three different types of smartwatches; the Apple Watch Ultra, the Watch 8, and the Watch SE 2. While Watch 8 succeeds Watch 7, Watch SE 2 succeeded the Watch SE that debuted last year. Meanwhile, the Watch Ultra is a whole new model and it is the most advance of all the three watches. It has the most features, the longest battery life, and as a result, has the highest price tag. If you’re trying to choose your next Apple Watch, this guide will help you make a more informed decision.
Watch Ultra vs Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 – Which Model is Right For You?
From every indication, the Watch Ultra is the best among the three watches. It has more features than Watch 8, while Watch SE 2 has the least features. However, the Watch Ultra is quite expensive and might not be for everyone especially if you have a very tight budget like me.
You should get the Watch Ultra if you have the budget and you’re okay with its quite bogus size. It’s the best choice for outdoor activities and it also has a longer battery life.
A step down from the Watch Ultra is the Watch 8. It’s quite cheaper, yet has a decent number of features and a durable build to back it up. The aluminum build is even cheaper. For me, the Watch 8 is a great bargain, it gives you the option of size and material.
If you have a very tight budget but still want to try out an Apple watch, then the Watch SE 2 is a good entry-level bargain.
In all, it all depends on your budget.
Apple Watch Ultra, Watch 8 and Watch SE 2 – Available Models
Unlike the other two, the Watch Ultra comes in only one size, a 49mm case size made of titanium. And it comes in only the Cellular model.
The Watch 8 like the Watch 7 is available in 41mm and 45mm sizes. Each of these is available in GPS and Cellular models. It also comes in stainless steel and aluminum builds. The stainless steel build is only available in the Cellular model while the aluminum build is available in both cellular and WiFi/GPS models.
On the other hand, the Watch SE 2 like its predecessor is available in 40mm and 44mm sizes. Each of these is available in GPS and Cellular models, and it’s only available in aluminum build.
Now that you know the available sizes, materials, and models, let’s proceed to the main differences between the respective models.
Apple Watch Ultra vs Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 Full Specifications Comparison
Apple Watch Ultra - Full Smartwatch Specifications
Apple Watch Series 8 (Aluminum) (Cellular) - Full Smartwatch Specifications
Apple Watch SE 2 (44mm) - Full Smartwatch Specifications
|ABOUT DEVICE||ABOUT DEVICE||ABOUT DEVICE||ABOUT DEVICE|
|Device name||Apple Watch Ultra||(Aluminum), (Cellular), Apple Watch Series 8||Apple Watch SE 2 (44mm)|
|Device type||Standalone/Fitness smartwatch||Standalone/Fitness smartwatch||Standalone/Fitness smartwatch|
|Release date||September, 2022||September, 2022||September, 2022|
|Predecessor||Samsung Gear S||Apple Watch Series 7||Apple Watch SE|
|Versions||Cellular + GPS||Cellular + GPS, GPS||Cellular + GPS, GPS|
|Dimension||49 x 44 x 14.4mm||41 x 35 x 10.7mm, 45mm x 38mm x 10.7mm||44 x 38 x 10.7 mm|
|Weight||61.3g||32.2g, 39.1g||32.9g (GPS), 33g (Cellular)|
|Bezel material||Titanium||Aluminum, Bezeless||Aluminum, Bezeless|
|Strap size||24mm||22mm (41mm), 24mm||24mm|
|Interchangeable strap||24mm, Yes||22 mm, 24mm, Yes||24mm, Yes|
|Screen protection||Sapphire glass||Ion-X glass||Ion-X glass|
|Water resistance||10 ATM, IPX7||IPX7, Yes, 5ATM||Yes, 5ATM|
|Color||Metallic-white||Midnight, Red, Silver, Starlight||Midnight, Silver, Starlight|
|Display size||1.92 inches||1.69 inches (41mm), 1.92 inches||1.78 inch|
|Display type||2000nits, LTPO OLED||1000nit, LTPO OLED||1000nit, LTPO OLED|
|Display resolution||410 x 502 pixels||396 x 484 pixels||448 x 368 pixels|
|Pixel density||338 PPI||326 ppi||326 ppi|
|Custom watch face||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Input type||1 Action button, 1 Physical button, Digital crown, Touchscreen||1 Physical button, Digital crown, Touchscreen||1 Physical button, Digital crown, Touchscreen|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth v5.3||Bluetooth v5.3||Bluetooth v5.3|
|GPS||BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS||BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS||BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS|
|Wi-Fi||Yes, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n||Yes, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n||Yes, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
|Memory card slot||No||No||No|
|CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY||CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY||CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY||CELLULAR CONNECTIVITY|
|Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE||GSM / HSPA / LTE||(Cellular model), GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|SIM type||e-SIM||e-SIM||(Cellular model), e-SIM|
|Third-party apps alert||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pulse oximeter (SpO2)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Other sensors||Water temperature sensor||—||—|
|ACTIVITY TRACKING||ACTIVITY TRACKING||ACTIVITY TRACKING||ACTIVITY TRACKING|
|Heart rate monitoring||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Incidental fall detection||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Underwater heart rate tracking||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Battery type||Non-removable Li-ion battery||Non-removable Li-ion battery||Non-removable Li-ion battery|
|Battery capacity||542 mAh||282mAh (41mm), 308mAh||296mAh|
|Battery life||Regular: 36hrs||Regular: up to 18hrs||Regular: up to 18hrs|
|Charging type||(Fast charging), Charging dock||(Fast charging), Charging dock||Charging dock|
|Chipset||Apple S8 (64bit)||Apple S8 (64bit)||Apple S8 (64bit)|
|CPU||Dual core||Dual core||Dual core|
|Operating system||WatchOS 9||WatchOS 9||WatchOS 9|
|Companion app||Apple Watch App||Apple Watch App||Apple Watch App|
|Compatibility||iPhone 8+ with iOS 16+||iPhone 8+ with iOS 16+||iPhone 8+ with iOS 16+|
|Payment system||Apple Pay||Apple Pay||Apple Pay|
|Voice command||Yes, Siri||Yes, Siri||Yes, Siri|
|Find my phone||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Box content||Apple Watch Ultra, Charger, Manual, Straps||Apple Watch Series 8, Charger, Manual, Straps||Apple Watch SE 2, Charger, Manual, Straps|
Apple Watch Ultra vs Watch 8 – The Differences
The Watch Ultra, Watch 8, and Watch SE 2 all run on the WatchOS 9 out of the box. The WatchOS 9 welcomes lots of interesting features like sleep stage tracking, custom workouts, a new medication app, and lots more. Moreover, all three watches are equipped with the same 32GB storage capacity. However, the Watch Ultra has more features than the Watch 8.
- Size differs
- Available material differs
- Watch Ultra has a flat screen with a new action button
- Watch Ultra is rated 10ATM
- Watch Ultra is dive ready and has a water temperature sensor
- Watch Ultra has a brighter display
- Watch Ultra has dual speakers
- Watch Ultra has dual-band GPS
- Watch Ultra has a longer battery life
As I mentioned earlier, the Watch Ultra comes in a 49mm case size while the Watch 8 comes in two sizes, 41mm and 45mm. Going by these sizes, the Watch 8 is a more compact smartwatch and it gives you the option to choose your preferred size. Moreover, the Watch 8 is also slimmer than the Watch Ultra.
Similarly, as we already mentioned earlier, the Watch Ultra comes in only titanium build while the Watch 8 comes in aluminum and stainless steel builds. The titanium material is more durable and one of the reasons the Watch Ultra is more expensive.
Meanwhile, the screen on the Watch Ultra and the Stainless steel model of the Watch 8 is sapphire glass while the aluminum model has a screen made of ion-x glass.
Both the Watch Ultra and Watch 8 have a 2D screen, however, the Watch Ultra has a completely flat screen which I really fancy over that of the Watch 8 which is slightly curved at the edges. Moreover, the Watch Ultra has a slightly raised bezel that adds additional protection to the screen, and the digital crown and button are also protected.
While the Watch 8 and Watch SE 2 are rated 5ATM, the Watch Ultra is the first Apple Watch to have a 10ATM rating which represents 100-meter water resistance. Moreover, the Watch Ultra is also rated MIL-STD-810H which certifies that it can withstand some harsh weather conditions.
Thanks to its 10ATM rating, the Watch Ultra is dive ready and can serve as a dive computer when you install the recently released Oceanic+ app (contains paid features).
And while the Watch 8 and Watch Ultra have a skin temperature sensor, the Ultra has an additional water temperature sensor. Thus, making it decently equipped for explorational activities underwater.
While the Watch 8 is very bright at 1000nits, the Watch Ultra is even brighter at 2000nits. This should make the screen a lot easier to read especially on a very sunny day.
Furthermore, while the Watch 8 has a speaker, the Watch Ultra has dual speakers that support its alarm/siren feature. Apple claims the Watch Ultra can generate an alarm with noise levels up to 89db. I think it’s quite loud going by this test.
Although the Watch 8 has an inbuilt GPS with support for various satellite systems, the Watch Ultra has dual-band GPS just like the Garmin Fenix 7. With dual-band GPS, the Watch Ultra will be able to track your routes and locations more accurately. Nonetheless, the Watch 8 still does a great job of accurately mapping your routes.
In contrast to the regular 18hrs battery life, the Watch Ultra has a longer 36hrs battery life. And with battery saver mode activated, you get up to 36hrs with Watch 8 and 60hrs with Watch Ultra.
In summary, while the Watch 8 is an outstanding fitness-focused smartwatch, the Watch Ultra is more durable and better equipped for outdoor workout activities.
Apple Watch Series 8 vs Watch SE 2 – The Difference
The Watch SE debuted last year, and this year it has a successor in the Watch SE 2. This series is the least equipped Apple Watch and also the cheapest. The Watch SE 2 lacks all the features present in Watch Ultra but not in Watch 8 as well as the following;
- Watch SE 2 lacks an always-on display
- The Size differs
- Watch SE 2 is available in only aluminum build
- Watch SE 2 uses a 2nd generation Heart rate tracker
- Watch SE 2 Lacks Spo2, ECG, and temperature sensor
- Watch SE 2 Lacks fast charging
Like its predecessor, the Watch SE 2 lacks an always-on display. This is present on both Watch 8 and Watch Ultra. Although when the always-on display mode is enabled it will have a significant impact on the battery life, it’s still awesome to know that this feature is present on your Apple Watch.
The Watch SE 2 is available in 40mm and 44mm. Apart from the Watch 3 which is available in 38mm and 42mm, these used to be the normal sizes for Apple Watches until the Watch 7 arrived in 41mm and 45mm. The 44mm unit has a 1.78 inches display size while the 40mm unit has a 1.57 inches display size. This should be big enough to see complications clearly at a glance, but the Watch 8 and Ultra which both have 1.92 inches (45mm/49mm) display size will allow you to see a little more.
Furthermore, while the Watch Ultra is available in titanium, the Watch 8 is available in stainless steel and aluminum. Meanwhile, the Watch SE 2 is only available in aluminum build. Even though the aluminum build is very durable, the stainless steel and titanium builds are more durable. Personally, I chose the Watch 8 aluminum model because it’s far cheaper and available in the GPS model. Stainless steel and titanium are only reserved for the cellular model and these are quite expensive.
While the Watch 8 and Watch Ultra use a third-generation heart rate sensor to monitor your heart rate, the SE 2 is equipped with a second-gen heart rate sensor. On paper, this looks like a big difference, however in reality there’s almost no difference in the heart rate tracking accuracy.
Going further, the Watch SE 2 like its predecessor lacks the ability to monitor blood oxygen and ECG. It also lacks the newly added temperature sensor that’s present in both Watch Ultra and Watch 8. As a result, it can’t track your skin temperature changes nor can it track ovulation cycle.
Although the Watch SE 2 and Watch 8 have the same battery life of 18hrs, only the Watch Ultra and Watch 8 support fast charging just like the Watch 7. My Watch 7 takes about 50mins to fully charge. In other words, you will need to spend more time charging the Watch SE 2.