Until recently I’ve never really wanted or needed a smart watch. That all changed when I spent two weeks with the Tag Heuer Connected and it convinced me that I did need one in my life. As a long time Apple user it made sense to get one of their offerings and with the launch of the Watch SE I saw a price and spec list that suited my needs. After two weeks with the watch, am I happy with my purchase?
First let’s look at what the Apple Watch SE is. Launched at Apple’s special event in mid September, it offered buyers a reasonably priced alternative to the top of the range Series 5 and 6. It has roughly the same internals as the Series 5 in the body of the latest Series 6. It loses the always on screen, ECG function and blood oxygen monitoring. Three features I don’t need or want. There isn’t anything new about the SE apart from the price. It starts at £269 for the aluminium version but I went for the 44mm at a price of £299. I went for the gold watch with a Cyprus Green Sport Strap.
Aesthetically I’m quite happy but not totally in love with it. I’m not a fan of square watches but after two weeks of use I can understand why they didn’t go for a round watch. The shape is much more effective for a variety of apps and the lack of a raised bezel means using the touch screen is easily the best I’ve experienced. Most of the time I like the gold finish but in some lights it takes on a pinkish-gold hue. Despite this it looks more expensive that the base silver version. With hindsight I should have picked the Space Grey finish as I would have a wider choice of strap colours but as a fan of dark greens, I’m more than happy to keep it.
It was very simple to set up. I just brought it near to my phone during the set-up process and it connected right away. Using the Watch App it is easy to set up and save multiple watch faces. The fact that you can set multiple faces and simply swipe left and right on the watch to change between then is a simple yet great feature. I have several watch faces set up for different activities or occasions.
So far I’m only charging the watch every other day which is much better than I expected. I never find myself needing to manage battery life and I use the watch for a whole host of things. It’s very comfortable and even after a full day of wearing it, the watch never irritates my wrist. I do want to try the new Solo Loop as it looks like it could be really comfortable and I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t pick it at first. I have heard you need to go a size down from whatever the website says you need though other wise it can be a bit loose.
App wise I haven’t delved too deep into the wider ecosystem but I have been using a few of the standard baked in features. Especially the activity rings which encourage me to be just that little bit more active. Most of the time I struggle to close my rings but when I do, it’s a genuinely good feeling and has stopped me from sitting in the same position for hours at end. I have paid for an installed an app to track my water consumption. I never drink enough but since then I have almost doubled my daily fluid intake and it’s so easy to do. If this app was on my phone I would never use it but because it’s on my wrist, I somehow use it all the time.
The one thing I haven’t used much but will be using more in the future is the fitness feature. In lockdown I exercised a fair bit and lost a decent amount of weight. Since then I’ve put it all back on and I don’t feel great. With the weather getting worse I want to do as much as I can at home so the launch of Apple’s Fitness+ service can’t come soon enough. I get the feeling the watch is going to push me to do more than I did before and it’ll make it almost like a game. For someone like me who lacks motivation at the best of times, this might just be a game changer.
The Apple Watch SE has surprised me. Not just in how good it is for the price but in how much I like it. I like mechanical watches and the idea of a small screen and processor replacing the wonderful engineering of traditional watch didn’t sit well with me. Now, after just two weeks, I can’t imagine not having this on my wrist. That is what Apple seems to do better than anyone else. It just slots into your life and quickly becomes part of it. Other watches might have better features for a similar or lower price but so far I’ve yet to find another brand that makes it’s use so simple and so enjoyable. It’s taken me a while to take the plunge but I’m glad I did.