Is the Apple Watch SE (1st gen) Worth it in 2024?

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Photo by Cezar Sampaio on Unsplash

2-Month Review

Towards the end of December, I purchased a second-hand Apple Watch SE (1st gen). The idea was that the watch would get me back into the Apple ecosystem and that if I liked it, I stay on it for a while before upgrading to something newer.

The version I went with was the 44 mm Apple Watch SE (1st gen) in Space Grey. I purchased it at CeX for £120 in condition B, which was a great price considering the condition and the battery’s health.

I’ve now been using it as my main watch for over 2 months, and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it.

The Apple Watch SE (1st gen) was released on the 18th of September 2020, which makes this model 3 years and 5 months old at the time of writing this article.

But is it worth buying this model in 2024? We’ll discuss that in this article.

Design and Build Quality

If you search Google for the Apple Watch SE (1st gen), your search results will likely show refurbished and second-hand watches. That’s because, like with many older models, a newer version has taken its place.

I purchased the watch when I visited a CeX store. CeX stands for Complete Entertainment Exchange, and they sell all sorts of second-hand tech products, DVDs, and games.

I purchased the watch in condition B, which they consider to be in good condition with all the essential accessories. They also offer products in condition A, which is where the product is in immaculate condition with all accessories and the box included. They also offer condition C which they class as working, but in a poor condition.

On the day I visited, they had many watches in condition C, but I decided to spend a little more on a watch that was in a better condition.

The watch I went with barely has any scratches, which is good to see.

My only complaint was that it didn’t come with the strap, but I purchased one on Amazon for a pretty decent price.

Features and Performance

The Apple Watch SE series isn’t known for being the most advanced of the line-up, but for the majority of people, it’s a very capable watch, especially when it comes to features and performance.

While the watch lacks features such as an always-on-display, ECG and blood oxygen tracking, I don’t think too many people will be disappointed by that.

I mean, the watch does come with other cool features, such as Fall Detection which, I feel, is a must-have, especially if you do outdoor sports.

As a whole, the watch comes with many of the essential features you would expect it to come with, such as Apple Pay support, an accelerometer, GPS and more. For a full list of features, have a look at the product specifications.

Moving on to the overall performance, the watch performs incredibly well, and I have yet to experience any lag, slowness, or performance issues.

Battery Life

The main thing to look out for when buying a second-hand smartwatch or smartphone is the battery life. You don’t want to buy a device that will last you less than a day.

I was pretty lucky with my purchase as at the time of writing this article, the battery capacity is at a maximum of 90%. Considering the fact that it’s a second-hand watch and the amount I paid for it, I think it’s a good deal.

On an average day of my life, I tend to charge the watch in the morning and that will comfortably last the entire day and night, even when I use it to track activities.

The watch came with a charger, but I primarily charge it using the Benks 3-In-1 Magnetic Charging Stand, which I reviewed on my YouTube channel last month.

Health Features

The Apple Watch SE (1st gen) comes with most of the health-monitoring features you can find on other watches, such as heart rate monitoring, fall detection, noise monitoring, steps and general activity tracking.

You also get access to a wide range of workouts including cycling, running, swimming and so on. So if you’re an active person, it shouldn’t disappoint. But, as mentioned, the watch doesn’t come with ECG or Blood Oxygen sensors.

I tend to be a pretty active person, and I’ve tracked many activities with the watch, including long walks, cycling trips as well as indoor workouts, and the results I see are similar to what I see on other watches.

For those who use Strava, the watch syncs pretty well with that too!

Software Updates

Although the Apple Watch SE (1st gen) is discontinued, it is still receiving support and updates.

It’s not known when Apple will end support for the watch, but it is something you should bear in mind when buying a second-hand Apple Watch or any tech for that matter.

If you buy a model that isn’t supported, you won’t get any more updates or new features.

The Verdict

I think that I got the Apple Watch SE at an incredible price considering the condition it’s in. Initially, this was meant to be a temporary purchase, but I’m considering keeping it for at least a year.

On a side note, I am tempted to get an Apple Watch Ultra at some point next year.

Going back to the Apple Watch SE, I think it’s perfect for anyone who is on a budget or new to the Apple Watch and doesn’t want to spend a great deal of money in case they don’t like it.

My main advice when buying a second-hand device is to go and see it yourself and see if it comes with a warranty. One of the main things I was sold on when I purchased this watch was that CeX offers a 2-year warranty on the watch, which, I think, is very useful.

As a whole, I think that the watch was worth every penny!