Apple Watch Ultra vs Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 – Which Model is Right For You?

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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?

Apple Watch Ultra vs Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2

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

Apple Watch Ultra vs Watch SE models and prices

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

 
 
Product Info
Apple Watch Ultra - Full Smartwatch Specifications

Apple Watch Ultra - Full Smartwatch Specifications

Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm) (Aluminum) (Cellular) - Full Smartwatch Specifications

Apple Watch Series 8 (Aluminum) (Cellular) - Full Smartwatch Specifications

Apple Watch SE 2 (44mm) - Full Smartwatch Specifications

Apple Watch SE 2 (44mm) - Full Smartwatch Specifications

Price - $529.00 -
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
Gender Men Unisex Unisex
Release date September, 2022 September, 2022 September, 2022
Predecessor Samsung Gear S Apple Watch Series 7 Apple Watch SE
Successor
Versions Cellular + GPS Cellular + GPS, GPS Cellular + GPS, GPS
BODY BODY BODY BODY
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)
Shape Rectangular Rectangular Rectangular
Case material Titanium Aluminum Aluminum
Strap material Silicone Silicone Silicone
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
Durability test MIL-STD-810G
Swim-proof Yes Yes Yes
Color Metallic-white Midnight, Red, Silver, Starlight Midnight, Silver, Starlight
DISPLAY DISPLAY DISPLAY DISPLAY
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
Always on Yes Yes No
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
CONNECTIVITY CONNECTIVITY CONNECTIVITY CONNECTIVITY
Bluetooth Bluetooth v5.3 Bluetooth v5.3 Bluetooth v5.3
Bluetooth calling Yes Yes Yes
GPS BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS BEIDOU, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS
NFC Yes Yes Yes
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 MEMORY MEMORY MEMORY
RAM 1GB 1GB 1GB
ROM 32GB 32GB 32GB
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
Band
NOTIFICATIONS NOTIFICATIONS NOTIFICATIONS NOTIFICATIONS
SMS alert Yes Yes Yes
Calls alert Yes Yes Yes
Email alert Yes Yes Yes
Event reminder Yes Yes Yes
Third-party apps alert Yes Yes Yes
MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA
Audio mp3/mp4 mp3/mp4 mp3/mp4
Bluetooth music Yes Yes Yes
Loudspeaker Yes Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes Yes
Camera No No No
Radio No No No
SENSORS SENSORS SENSORS SENSORS
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes
Altimeter Yes Yes Yes
Ambient light Yes Yes Yes
Barometer Yes Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes Yes
ECG Yes Yes No
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes
HRM Yes Yes Yes
Pulse oximeter (SpO2) Yes Yes No
Thermometer Yes Yes No
Other sensors Water temperature sensor
ACTIVITY TRACKING ACTIVITY TRACKING ACTIVITY TRACKING ACTIVITY TRACKING
Blood oxygen Yes Yes No
Blood Pressure No No No
Calories Yes Yes Yes
Distance Yes Yes Yes
ECG tracking Yes Yes No
Heart rate monitoring Yes Yes Yes
Sleep tracking Yes Yes Yes
Steps Yes Yes Yes
Floors climbed Yes Yes Yes
Stress Yes Yes Yes
Incidental fall detection Yes Yes Yes
Menstrual cycle Yes Yes Yes
VO2 Max Yes Yes Yes
Swim-tracking Yes Yes Yes
Underwater heart rate tracking Yes Yes Yes
On-screen workout No No No
Sport modes Yes Yes Yes
BATTERY BATTERY BATTERY BATTERY
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
Charging time 30min-1hr 30min-1hr 2hrs
Solar charging No No No
PLATFORM PLATFORM PLATFORM PLATFORM
Chipset Apple S8 (64bit) Apple S8 (64bit) Apple S8 (64bit)
CPU Dual core Dual core Dual core
GPU
Operating system WatchOS 9 WatchOS 9 WatchOS 9
MISC MISC MISC MISC
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
Price$529.00

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.

  1. Size differs
  2. 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.

  3. Available material differs
  4. 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.

  5. Watch Ultra has a flat screen with a new action button
  6. 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.

  7. Watch Ultra is rated 10ATM
  8. 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.

  9. Watch Ultra is dive ready and has a water temperature sensor
  10. 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.

  11. Watch Ultra has a brighter display
  12. 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.

  13. Watch Ultra has dual speakers
  14. 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.

  15. Watch Ultra has dual-band GPS
  16. 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.

  17. Watch Ultra has a longer battery life
  18. 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;

  1. Watch SE 2 lacks an always-on display
  2. 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.

  3. The Size differs
  4. 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.

  5. Watch SE 2 is available in only aluminum build
  6. 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.

  7. Watch SE 2 uses a 2nd generation Heart rate tracker
  8. 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.

  9. Watch SE 2 Lacks Spo2, ECG, and temperature sensor
  10. 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.

  11. Watch SE 2 Lacks fast charging

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.

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