The last time I used an Apple Watch to track my trips was the Series 3, and it was not good. Recently I picked up an Apple Watch SE, and today I took a short trip with my kids (5 km) and took both watches out to test the same route (one on each wrist). I used the Strava app on Watch and standard tracking on Fenix (uploaded to Garmin Connect).
Statistics ended up being pretty similar.
Drilling into the details seems to be that the Apple Watch (red line) tracks the path more accurately (out and back path, so ideally the lines should lay together quite closely). Garmin was on his way there and back.
Satellite view shows as we walked around the rocky beach. We spent some time here, and Garmin picked up more of the details in our exploration. Maybe it is updated more often? It seems like a better representation of what we actually did. The Apple Watch also seemed to miss a small section and jump back to the route on the way back.
This is just a test, maybe I’ll do one or drag more like this to see how the Apple device costs compared to Garmin. Just based on this, I would like to use only Apple Watch SE for moderate hiking. I still need Garmin for longer trips where the battery life of the Apple Watch will not cut it. Tracking the GPS route for many hours kills the battery. Garmin will also be helpful when I plan my trip and load the course so I can follow it. For everything else, it looks like the Apple Watch may be the winner.