Before you buy the Apple Watch SE for Black Friday read our advice

Apple Watch SE Strip Watch Face
Apple Watch SE Strip Watch Face (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The Apple Watch SE is a great device for those looking to join the Apple Watch Ecosystem for the first time, but it isn't the perfect choice for everyone. If you're in the market for a new Apple Watch this Black Friday, here are a few things to consider before you take the plunge.

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals

Our Apple Watch SE review is clear, the SE delivers unprecedented value and lots of the Apple Watch's best features for a lower starting price than the current generation Series 6.

Right now, the Apple Watch SE is around $20 off each model on Amazon (opens in new tab). Whilst that might not sound like a barnstorming saving, remember that this product is just a few weeks old, and was only announced in September of this year. Now, that brings the price down below Apple's usual website listings, making Amazon seem like the preferable choice at first glance. However, over this weekend, Apple is offering customers the chance to snag a $25 gift card with purchases of Apple Watch, whilst not discounted, the value of this deal is actually slightly higher than Amazon. Apple is definitely the place to buy if you have an older watch to trade in, which could take even more money off the device.

Is the Apple Watch SE for me?

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Apple Watch SE | $259 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

You can order the Apple Watch SE at Amazon with some models seeing a $20 discount. Various case finishes and band styles are available with speedy shipping time frames. These deals are matched at Best Buy.

That depends on a few things. The Apple Watch SE is really targeted at two groups of people. First-time buyers, and owners of older models looking to upgrade. If you've never owned an Apple Watch before, the SE is a great option, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Apple Watch Series 6, but it does have most of the same features, and is cheaper. If you're in the second bracket, the Apple Watch SE, because of its processor, is a great option to upgrade from the Series 1, 2, 3, or 4. If you're a Series 5 user, the Apple Watch SE probably isn't for you because you're not getting the key features of Series 6 that make it an upgrade. The Apple Watch SE doesn't have an always-on display, so if you like that feature in the Series 5 then you definitely want to pass on this one.

What about Series 3?

The Apple Watch Series 3 remains an excellent option for a lot of people. Like the SE, this one has stuck around for those looking to buy an Apple Watch for the first time. The biggest trade-off is the price. You can get an Apple Watch Series 3 in the Black Friday sale for as little as $179, making it a perfect first-time purchase or gift. If you want the cheapest Apple Watch, Series 3 is the one for you. My own personal Apple Watch, the Series 3 is a great workout companion and works tremendously well with notifications and apps.

By comparison, the SE is more expensive (even in the sale), but you're getting some cool new features including Haptic feedback for a more interactive user experience and an always-on altimeter, which is a big deal if you want to use your watch for a lot of hiking, walking, or long bike rides. The biggest feature difference is the S5 processor. This will make the Apple Watch SE a lot snappier compared to the Series 3, which is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. If you want future-proofing and a faster experience, go with the SE.

Series 6, not much of a jump

To add a further element to the mix, the Apple Watch Series 6 is also included in the Black Friday sale from Apple, and on Amazon too, again at about $20 off for each model. That means the price difference is only around $120 between the Series 6 and the SE. For that extra price, you're getting the always-on display, a key feature of more recent watches that means you never have to raise your Watch to wake it, it's just always on... You'll also get Apple's new Blood Oxygen monitoring, a key new wellness feature that helps you keep better track of your health and fitness. It's not medical grade, but it's better than not having one. The Series 6 is also the only way to get hold of Apple's Stainless Steel and Titanium options, including the fancy new red and blue colors, but remember these are more expensive still. The Series 6 also features Apple's U1 ultra wideband chip, and Sapphire Crystal glass in the more premium versions.

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Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm) | $329.98 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Apple Watch Series 6 may only be weeks old at this point, but you can already drop the entry-level model down to $330 at Amazon. Close to $70 off is some solid savings for such a recent Apple device and it's a new all-time low.

To sum up

One thing is clear, Black Friday is definitely the best time to buy an Apple Watch. For a first time Watch that makes for a great workout companion, Series 3 is a perfect choice. If you want more features and a Watch that will likely last a bit longer thanks to a better processor, or you're upgrading from a model that's a few years old, pick the Apple Watch SE. And if you want the latest and greatest, or you're upgrading from a Series 5, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the only way to go. And for even more savings, don't forget to check out the other amazing Black Friday Apple deals!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9