The best Apple Watch to buy in 2022: the Series 7, SE and Series 3, compared, based on function, design and price – but when will Apple release its next model?

The Apple Watch is one of the most revolutionary of its kind. Photo: Apple

The Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch in the world, and it is definitively the best choice for iPhone owners.

There are three Apple Watch models that the brand offers with different price tags and features, including the Series 7, SE and Series 3. The easiest route is to get the Apple Watch Series 7 for the latest design, but it’s also the most expensive Apple Watch, so it isn’t for everyone.

Apple Watch has revolutionised the smartwatch industry, especially for iPhone users who can benefit from its complementary features. Photo: Apple

The US$280 Apple Watch SE is a great alternative that comes with a larger screen and more recent processor compared to the Series 3, but lacks an always-on display and other newer features.

The US$200 Apple Watch Series 3 had a good run, but we wouldn’t recommend buying it any longer, as it’s already starting to get a bit slow and difficult to update with its small amount of storage. We were surprised that Apple kept in its roster after the Series 7 announcement, and you’re better off saving up the extra US$80 for the Apple Watch SE.

So which Apple Watch should you get?

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The best Apple Watch of all time: Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch’s Series 7 isn’t too different from its predecessor Series 6. Photo: Handout

The Apple Watch Series 7 replaces the Series 6 in Apple’s roster, but it isn’t a massive upgrade in terms of its abilities. The Series 7 is mostly a slight design refresh with a larger screen and thinner bezels. Otherwise, the Series 7 has the same health and fitness sensors as the Series 6 – it’s essentially the Series 6 with a slightly better design. Fortunately, Apple prices the Series 7 equally to the Series 6’s US$400 launch price, and the company isn’t charging a premium for a mere design refresh.

This is all to say that the Series 7 is the most advanced Apple Watch with features like blood oxygen saturation measuring, which refers to the percentage of oxygen your red blood cells distribute throughout the body. It also comes with an electrocardiogram (ECG) scanner to detect abnormalities in your heart’s rhythm.

Other notable features are a bright always-on screen and faster charging that can charge the Series 7 up to 80 per cent in 45 minutes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiling the Apple Watch Series 7 during a special Apple event in September 2021. Photo: AFP

Otherwise, it has the usual array of sensors you’d expect, like heart rate, steps, GPS and fall detection. There’s not much improvement in battery life or performance overall compared to the Apple Watch SE, or even the Series 6.

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Compared to the Apple Watch SE, the Series 7 is a minor upgrade in design, but a major upgrade in key features. For instance, the SE doesn’t have ECG or blood-oxygen measuring functionality. More importantly, it doesn’t have an always-on display, which lets you quickly glance at the watch to tell time without having to do a silly checking-the-time gesture with your arm.

With that said, the SE was released at the same time as the Series 6, so if you bought the Apple Watch SE, you were likely aware of its differences. If that’s the case, an always-on display and ECG functionality likely weren’t major factors for you.

Apple Watch Series 6 displayed at an Apple retail store in Shenzhen. Photo: Getty Images

It’s worth noting that you can still get the Series 6 at third-party retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Target and mobile wireless carriers while stocks last. Just make sure it costs under the Series 7’s US$400 starting price tag – otherwise, you might as well get the Series 7. Ideally, you’re looking for around US$350 and under for the 40mm Series 6, and around US$380 or less for the 44mm model.

The best Apple Watch on a budget: Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE still features many of the same capabilities as the Series 7, but with a friendlier price tag. Photo: Apple

You don’t have to spend US$400 to get an Apple Watch that feels new and fast thouygh. The US$279 Apple Watch SE offers a somewhat pared down experience as the Series 7 for US$120 less.

The Apple Watch SE has many of the same capabilities as the Series 7: it can track the same exercise types, monitor sleep, measure heart rate, detect hard falls, comes with a built-in compass for location tracking and features an always-on altimeter for logging elevation.

The Apple Watch Series 6 detecting the wearer’s heart rhythm. Photo: Handout

Fitness buffs won’t be missing out on much with the SE, but those who want to get a more detailed picture of their overall health and wellness might. That’s because the SE lacks the abilities to measure blood oxygen levels and take an ECG from the wrist.

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With this in mind, the SE is better suited for potential buyers looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can track their workouts and don’t need to keep as close of an eye on their cardiac health.

The Apple Watch SE is a great option for those looking to track workouts and general health, but without the additional cardiac features that the Apple Watch Series 7 has. Photo: Apple

There’s another major feature missing from the SE: an always-on display. This is probably the most critical omission, considering it makes the SE less capable as a wrist watch. But it still has a screen that’s 30 per cent larger than the Series 3’s display.

Still, for the price, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent choice, but we would have liked that Apple reduced the price a little considering it’s a year old. Although it’s missing features like an always-on display, fast charging, ECG and blood oxygen measurements, the overall experience is very similar to the Series 7. We’ve even called it the best Apple Watch for most people given its more accessible price.

When will Apple release a new Apple Watch?

Apple could be releasing its next Apple Watch models by September this year. Photo: Simon Song

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Apple released the Apple Watch Series 7 in October 2021. The company has been announcing new Apple Watches in September for the last few years, so we will probably expect a new model in September this year.

Apple may also be working on a new rugged version of the Apple Watch, called the Explorer Edition, which is predicted to launch sometime this year, per Tech Advisor.

This article originally appeared on Insider
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  • Compatible with the iPhone, the Apple Watch currently comes in three models – the Series 7, SE and Series 3, but which is the best in performance for 2022?
  • The Series 7 is the priciest but has an always-on display, ECG scanner and blood oxygen measurer, while the SE is considerably cheaper – just without the extras