Apple Watch Series 3 vs SE vs Series 6: Which model is right for your wrist?

For the first time since its launch in 2016, there are three Apple Watch models to choose from that all look very similar at first glance. But upon closer inspection, you’ll find that there are very distinct differences between them that go much deeper than their price differences. Here’s how they stack up.

Update 9/18: The Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are now available for purchase at and wherever Apple Watches are sold.

Apple Watch Series 3 vs SE vs Series 6: Design and display

Apple hasn’t strayed very far from its original square design over the seven generations of Apple Watch, so there’s not a huge difference between the three watches. Apple hasn’t shared exact dimensions for the Series 6 and SE just yet, but they will presumably be a bit larger and thinner than the Series 3, just like the Series 5:

  • Series 3: 38.6 x 33.3mm x 11.4mm
  • Series 5: 40 x 34 x 10.74mm

But your wrist won’t notice the difference. Apple has the best and most recognizable watch design in the smartwatch industry, so any of the three will look and feel great on your wrist.

Where they differ, however, is with the display. The Series 3 has Apple’s older display, so it’s smaller (38mm model: 563 sq mm; 42mm model: 740 sq mm) and has square corners. The SE and Series 6 have larger displays (40mm model: 759 sq mm; 44mm model: 977 sq mm) with rounded corners to match the display body.

apple watch se faces Apple

The Apple Watch SE has the same display as the Apple Watch Series 6.

While the SE and Series 6 have identical display specs, only the Series 6 has an always-on option, which lets you see the time even when your wrist is lowered. Apple also says the always-on display is 2.5-times brighter than last year’s model, which will certainly help in bright light.

Our pick: While the sizes and designs are very similar, the displays make all the difference with the Series 6 and SE. And we really liked the Series 5’s always-on display.

Apple Watch Series 3 vs SE vs Series 6: Colors and material

While all three watches are available in silver and space gray aluminum like always, you have considerably more options as you go up the line. The Apple Watch SE adds a gold color, while the Series 6 has new blue and Product(Red) hues.