Apple Watch SE 2 (2022) vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Apple Watch SE 2 (2022) vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Design

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review lifestyle hero

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The Apple Watch SE 2 (2022) has a design that's immediately familiar if you've seen an Apple Watch. That's one way Apple is able to sell the smartwatch for just $249 — it uses the same design as the Apple Watch Series 4, in a move that's similar to the iPhone SE 2022. That said, this is a mature design that looks great, and you'll only notice the fact that it has large bezels around the screen when seen next to an Apple Watch Series 7.

For its part, Samsung hasn't changed a whole lot here, with the Galaxy Watch 5 looking largely identical to its predecessor. That said, there's no rotating bezel this time around, and that's bound to be a deal-breaker for some users; the bezel was pretty unique and felt great to use. That said, the lack of a bezel makes the Galaxy Watch 5 lighter, and that's always a good thing.

The one area where the Galaxy Watch 5 stands out is the screen;  it has a smaller 1.4-inch panel versus 1.78-inch on the Watch SE 2 (2022), but it is vibrant and has thin bezels, making it look just that little bit more striking. My biggest issue with the Watch SE 2 (2022) is that it misses out on always-on screen; this is an essential feature on a smartwatch, and not having it feels like a glaring omission. Of course, adding it here would have cannibalized sales of the Series 7 and Series 8, so Apple chose to omit the feature.

You can pick up the smartwatches in various finishes and colors, and while the Watch SE 2 (2022) doesn't look as modern as the Galaxy Watch 5, the design still holds up just fine.

Apple Watch SE 2 (2022) vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Hardware

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Galaxy Watch 4 overlapping and sitting on top of Galaxy S21 FE

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

As for the hardware, the Watch SE 2 (2022) is powered by the Apple S8 — which is also used in the Apple Watch Series 8 — and that gives the budget smartwatch a huge leg up over just about every other smartwatch in this category. Again, this is similar to the iPhone SE 2022, and the Watch SE 2 (2022) absolutely delivers in this area, handily beating the Galaxy Watch 5.

Samsung is using the same Exynos W920 platform it went with last year on the Galaxy Watch 4, and while you won't see any lag or slowdowns on the Galaxy Watch 5, it isn't quite as smooth as the Watch SE 2 (2022) in daily use. But where the Galaxy Watch 5 redeems itself is with the sheer number of hardware features on offer: you'll find an ECG monitor, blood pressure sensor, and blood oxygen monitoring. There isn't quite as much on the Watch SE 2 (2022), with the smartwatch limited to a standard heart rate monitor — you don't even get blood oxygen monitoring.

As for battery life, the Watch SE 2 (2022) manages to last a day on average, but you may need to charge it before hitting the bed. There's no such anxiety with the Galaxy Watch 5, with Samsung's smartwatch lasting well over a day with ease.

Apple Watch SE 2 (2022) vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Software

Apple Watch Series 6

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Apple is in a dominant position in the smartwatch segment thanks to its focus on software, and watchOS 9 is still the standard for smartwatches. Wear OS 3 has a lot to offer and is a much more polished take on the interface than previous iterations, but it doesn't quite have the same set of integrations, and it doesn't feel as intuitive to use.

Both smartwatches do a fantastic job with activity monitoring, and you'll find plenty of workout modes. If you're looking for guided workouts, Apple's Fitness Plus is the obvious frontrunner, offering an extensive catalog of fitness courses as well as yoga and meditation for $9.99 a month.

Apple Watch SE 2 (2022) vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 next to Apple Watch Series 7

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The Watch SE 2 (2022) is a good value at just $249; you get a lot of hardware for your money, and while it doesn't include all the features that you get with the Series 7 or Series 8, it does a brilliant job at the basics.

In a similar vein, Samsung got a lot right with the Galaxy Watch 5. It is very similar to its predecessor, but you get a gorgeous design, boatload of features, and Wear OS 3 feels good in daily use. You also get a better battery life here, and more health monitoring features, but you're also paying more at $349. 

Ultimately, the decision is down to what phone you use. The Galaxy Watch 5 is the best smartwatch if you use an Android phone, and the Watch SE 2 (2022) is a great starting point for iPhone owners looking for a smartwatch.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.