The two Apple smartwatch models, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 3, share many similar features, which got users wondering which one to buy.

Apple held its "Time Flies" event in September 2020 where the company unveiled several products including the lower-cost Apple Watch SE. Apple fans immediately saw that the new model has many of the features that made the device popular, though at a more affordable price of around $279. Apple also continues to sell the Apple Watch Series 3, which was unveiled in 2017 at a cheaper price of $199.

Since the two models share many similar features, which included an optical heart Retina Display, and water resistance, users are in a quandary which model to buy. Is it better to purchase the older and cheaper Apple Watch Series 3 or is it wise to buy the new Apple Watch SE?

The identical features of Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE include having a dual-core processor, an optical heart sensor, water resistance up to 50 meters, an 18-hour "all-day" battery life, Emergency SOS, and a high and low heart rate, as well as irregular heart rhythm notifications. Both Apple Watch models also have Retina OLED display capable of 1,000 nits or brightness.

Some of the notable differences between the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch SE are Fall Detection, display size, and the always-on altimeter. The distinct dissimilarities of the new Apple Watch SE is that it has 32GB capacity while the Series 3 has 8GB, a 44mm or 4mm case size as compared to the Apple Watch Series 3's 42mm or 38mm case size, and the later model also has 30% larger Retina LTPO OLED display while the older watch has a second-generation Retina OLED display, though both are capable of 1,000 nits.

Other differences of the Apple Watch SE is that it has both GPS and GPS+ Cellular models, an international Emergency Calling, Emergency SOS, Fall Detection and noise monitoring, 4G LTE and UMTS while the Apple Watch Series 3 has none of these. The new model also features a Digital Crown with haptic feedback while the older model has only the Digital Crown.

Apple Watch SE also runs on S5 SiP with 64‑bit dual-core processor and W3 wireless chip while Apple Watch Series 3 has S3 SiP with dual-core processor with W2 wireless chip. The new Apple Watch has a GPS/GNSS, compass and always-on altimeter while its older version has only the GPS model and Altimeter which you need to activate. Both have built-in mics and speakers, though the speakers on the new model are 50% louder and optimized for superior sound quality for Siri, phone calls, and Walkie-Talkie.

The main difference is the price with the Apple Watch SE selling at around $279 while you can get the Apple Watch Series 3 for $199. Ultimately, the decision as to what model to buy is yours to make and with the similarities and features described, you will know which one is the best for you.