iPhone SE 2022 Evaluate: Low cost Is not At all times Cheerful

The iPhone SE is a humorous outdated cellphone. With a design and show that you can generously name “aged”, however the newest Apple processor and 5G connectivity, this can be a very old school cellphone in some respects however a supremely fashionable gadget in others.

The identical inconsistencies have been there to be discovered within the (nearly similar) 2020 iPhone SE, however whereas Apple’s price range providing has remained static, the remainder of the market has moved on.

So whereas the earlier SE was a cellphone I might suggest – with some critical caveats – this 2022 version is a harder promote.

To be blunt, it serves one viewers and one viewers solely: those that completely is not going to beneath any circumstances purchase an Android gadget, however can’t afford the iPhone 12 Mini or any of the opposite costlier Apple telephones.

Design and construct

8-year-old design
Residence Button – however large black bezel
Small – however not the smallest iPhone
Aluminium construct and IP67 score

Let me be blunt for a second: the design of the iPhone SE dates all the way in which again to 2014. That’s when Apple launched the iPhone 6, which appears basically the identical as this 12 months’s SE. That was design was tweaked barely for 2017’s iPhone 8, however since then has been primarily static via each the 2020 SE and the 2022 mannequin.

Which means you continue to get the Residence Button under the display screen, and no notch above it, nevertheless it equally means you’ll should dwell with an enormous black bezel above and under stated display screen. There aren’t any different telephones in the marketplace that seem like this, and I don’t imply that as a praise.

Nonetheless, there are upsides to the design. For one, it’s small – the SE is simply 5.45in tall, and weighs a mere 144g. It’s compact, snug, and straightforward to carry and use with one hand. Nonetheless, it’s value noting that it isn’t Apple’s smallest cellphone – each the iPhone 12 Mini and 13 Mini are smaller and lighter, regardless of packing bigger shows, so these are value taking a look at if measurement is your most important concern.

One attainable cause to choose the SE is that with its older aesthetic comes the rounded edges Apple used to choose, since changed on its different telephones by sq. edges that look slick, however are arguably rather less snug to carry. Like these different iPhones although, the SE continues to be missing a headphone jack.

Though equally priced Android telephones will are likely to look much more fashionable than the iPhone SE, it’s truthful to say that Apple does have the sting in construct high quality. Obtainable in black, white, or pink the brand new SE 2022 is constructed out of aluminium and glass – no plastic right here – and boasts an IP67 score for mud and water-resistance.

Show and audio

Tiny 4.7in show
Low decision, LCD, and 60Hz refresh price
Stereo audio system

If the re-used design holds again the iPhone SE, that’s nowhere extra true than relating to the show.

This is among the worst shows in any fashionable smartphone: it’s tiny, at 4.7in, it makes use of older LCD tech, reasonably than a superior OLED panel, it’s low decision – not even Full HD, it’s dim and thus onerous to make use of in vibrant daylight, and it caps at a 60Hz refresh price.

You would spend half as a lot and nonetheless discover an Android cellphone that beats the SE on nearly each a kind of specs.

Finally although, it’s the display screen measurement that actually holds the SE again. Sure, it’s a part of what retains the cellphone so small and that may enchantment to some, however because of a contemporary design Apple’s 12 Mini and 13 Mini provide rather more display screen house with 5.4in panels, whereas staying smaller total.

The impact is sensible, in addition to aesthetic – the SE can barely match fashionable apps on its display screen. Some Instagram posts can’t show of their entirety, cookie pop-ups block much more of internet sites than they’re designed to, and also you higher hope you don’t have to kind something – the keyboard takes up half the display screen, regularly blocking the textual content entry fields you’re making an attempt to make use of.

The small display screen can be a knock towards the frequent argument that the SE is a superb cellphone for older customers, who could also be reluctant to study a brand new swipe-based interface. In spite of everything, a small display screen means smaller textual content (and an much more cramped show for those who decide to extend textual content measurement) making this a questionable selection for anybody with visible accessibility wants.

At the least audio fares higher. Apple has included stereo audio system right here – a relative oddity at this value – and so they’re loud and crisp, particularly contemplating the cellphone’s measurement. You in all probability received’t purchase the SE only for its audio system, however nonetheless – they’re good.

Specs and efficiency

Apple’s newest A15 Bionic chip
Principally clean efficiency
5G connectivity

Now we’re attending to the great things. The primary method that the iPhone SE stands out from the mid-range competitors is that it presents absolutely the quickest chip you’ll discover in any cellphone proper now.

Apple has included its A15 Bionic chip right here – the identical chipset you’ll discover throughout the iPhone 13 vary, and in keeping with hearsay, a chip it would even use once more for the iPhone 14.

That predictably means the iPhone SE is highly effective, and genuinely approaching flagship stage – solely held again by decrease ranges of RAM included right here.

The cellphone flies on benchmarks, although surprisingly I discovered it struggled often in real-world use, with apps dropping out of reminiscence ahead of I’d count on and even some stutter and lag – extra on that once I discuss software program under.

I do wonder if most individuals the SE appeals to will want this a lot energy – and extra importantly, whether or not that cash might be higher spent on a contemporary design – however I can’t actually argue with the outcomes.

The largest improve right here relative to the 2020 SE is that the A15 additionally brings with it help for 5G networking, which if nothing else is essential for future-proofing the cellphone – although for those who’re within the US word that in contrast to many different 5G telephones, this doesn’t help mmWave, so received’t hit the quickest 5G speeds.

Nonetheless, 5G help offers the SE a vital edge over the iPhone 11, which in any other case is likely to be a tempting improve at solely $70/£70/€90 extra.

When it comes to different networking, you’ll discover Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 (neither are absolutely the newest requirements, however are shut sufficient) together with NFC for Apple Pay.

Battery life and charging

Respectable battery life
Common wired charging (charger not included)
Wi-fi charging help

Small telephones imply small batteries, and simply two years in the past I listed poor battery life as considered one of my chief criticisms of the 2020 iPhone SE.

To Apple’s credit score, rather a lot appears to have modified in these two years. The corporate formally lists a two-hour enchancment in battery life for the SE, however in my expertise the improve is extra substantial. The final mannequin barely lasted a day, however this 12 months’s iteration will final via sooner or later and even make it to the top of a second for those who’re a light-weight person.

That’s essential as a result of charging is much less spectacular. Apple lists help for as much as 20W charging speeds over a wired Lightning connection, however keep in mind that the corporate now not ships a charger with its telephones.

In my testing utilizing a third-party charger the iPhone SE was capable of cost as much as 32% in 15 minutes, and 61% in half an hour. That’s sooner than Apple’s 50% promise to be truthful, however nonetheless slower than many of the competitors, and can in all probability lend itself to charging the cellphone in a single day.

The key weapon right here is help for wi-fi charging. That is still nearly completely unparalleled at this value, and together with the A15, that is the iPhone’s most important benefit over its Android rivals. There’s no MagSafe help although, so this nonetheless isn’t up there with Apple’s newest flagship charging choices.

Cameras and video

12Mp rear digicam
7Mp selfie digicam
No evening mode

There are good and unhealthy parts to the iPhone SE’s digicam setup, nevertheless it all boils all the way down to this: for those who’re proud of a single digicam lens that may take good photographs in daytime, it would suffice. However if you need a number of lenses to select from, or dependable evening time pictures, it received’t ship.

Apple has included solely a single rear digicam right here, a 12Mp, f/1.Eight that’s (when it comes to {hardware}) similar to the 2020 mannequin. There’s no ultrawide or telephoto choice, however in equity, most mid-range telephones provide underwhelming secondary lenses, and I’ve lengthy been an advocate for inexpensive telephones focussing their efforts on sturdy major cameras as Apple has finished right here.

The digicam upgrades right here come courtesy of the A15 Bionic chip, with smartphone pictures now more and more reliant on computational elements. The issue is that Apple has determined to artificially restrict the A15’s performance on this cellphone, most notably in completely omitting an evening mode choice, though there’s no apparent technical cause it couldn’t be supported right here.

Nonetheless, take the iPhone SE out within the daytime and also you’re unlikely to be dissatisfied. Pictures are vibrant, crisp, and detailed, with the extra muted and true-to-life color palette that iPhones are presently greatest recognized for – although admittedly the restricted dynamic vary holds it again considerably.

It’s a great digicam, and regardless of the ageing {hardware}, it’s comfortably in keeping with outcomes from most different $400/£400 telephones in daylight.

Even at evening time, the SE isn’t terrible. I’ve taken a few lowlight photographs that I’m largely proud of, and it’s clearly helped by the inclusion of optical picture stabilisation, which is uncommon at this value.

Nonetheless, it’s onerous to disclaim that the majority Android rivals have surpassed this stage, particularly relating to dynamic vary and managing mild sources, with the iPhone tending to blow out each mild in an evening time shot.

On the entrance, there’s a single selfie digicam – a 7Mp shooter at an aperture of f/2.2. Once more, this isn’t a digicam to depend on at evening, however there’s not a lot to complain about in selfies in any other case. There could also be no evening mode, however there’s a portrait choice, and this delivers effectively aside from just a few stray hairs tending to be blurred together with the background.

Like most iPhones that is additionally a succesful video gadget. It will possibly document at as much as [email protected], with spectacular stabilisation and powerful high quality. There may be one other omission right here although, with the Cinematic Mode that debuted on the iPhone 13 – permitting video with various depth of area and blur results – not discovered in any respect right here.

Software program and updates

Ships with iOS 15
Prone to obtain years of software program help
Some efficiency issues stutters

Software program is one other energy. The iPhone SE ships with iOS 15, the newest model of Apple’s cellular working system.

It’s more likely to be supported for years to come back too – even the unique iPhone SE, which launched again in 2016, can nonetheless replace to iOS 15. If this mannequin sees related help, it might be up to date not solely to iOS 16 later this 12 months, however all over to iOS 21 six years from now.

No Android cellphone can rival that longevity, although in equity they’re catching up – Google tends to help its mid-range Pixel a-series telephones for a number of years, and Samsung has promised not less than 4 Android model updates for its iPhone SE competitor, the Galaxy A53.

In any case, the software program could also be decisive for different causes – everyone knows that the majority cellphone customers follow the system they know. That’s very true right here, the place a part of the enchantment for some would be the inclusion of the Residence Button, with button-based navigation controls at a time when different iPhones are all about swiping.

The Residence Button additionally brings with it Contact ID, the safety methodology used right here for the whole lot from opening your cellphone to utilizing Apple Pay. That is actually welcome and sorely missed on the costlier iPhones – although, after all, the trade-off is that there’s no Face ID choice right here in any respect.

In any other case, iOS 15 is about what you’d count on, although nothing right here has modified too considerably from older variations. Notifications nonetheless really feel clunky in comparison with Android, and the shortage of an always-on show choice disappoints, however Apple’s strengths – simplicity and a robust aesthetic – nonetheless shine via.

Unusually although, I’ve had software program issues with my SE. A number of apps have regularly stuttered, frozen, or crashed in my time with the cellphone, and one persistent bug sees the cellphone show orient itself the wrong way up when the cellphone unlocks – and keep that method for a great ten seconds earlier than correcting itself.

These aren’t points I’ve discovered on my iPhone 12, additionally up to date to iOS 15, so I can’t assist however assume they’re optimisation issues tied to the SE particularly.

Sadly, if that’s the case the issue is liable to worsen, not higher, as app builders will solely be extra inclined going ahead to optimise apps for the full-screen, notched iPhones, reasonably than the smaller proportion of customers sticking with the SE.

None of those errors are dealbreakers, however they do put the misinform the concept the iPhone software program expertise is inherently smoother, or free from gripes and frustrations.

Value and availability

The iPhone SE is out now worldwide, and you’ll seize it from Apple itself, or main electronics retailers together with Amazon.

Within the UK it’s obtainable on all the key networks, together with Vodafone, O2, Three, and EE.

Within the US it’s an analogous story, obtainable on T-Cell, Verizon, and AT&T.

It’s obtainable in three storage tiers:

64GB: $429/£419/€529
128GB: $479/£469/€579
256GB: $579/£569/€699

At that value the cellphone’s quick competitors is the Samsung Galaxy A53, which is equally priced at £399/$449/€449. Just like the SE this consists of long-term software program help, water-resistance, and 5G, however has the benefit of a way more fashionable design and show – although its processor isn’t fairly as highly effective.

If you happen to’re within the US then the $449 Pixel 5a can be a compelling rival, although this mannequin by no means went on sale worldwide. Nonetheless, anybody within the UK, Europe, Asia, or elsewhere is more likely to have an enormous number of spectacular mid-range Android telephones to select from, most of which can greatest the iPhone SE on worth – as long as you don’t thoughts Android.

Inside Apple’s providing, the $499/£489/€619 iPhone 11 is the following tier up, however anybody tempted by the SE is extra more likely to be a fan of the $599/£579/€719 iPhone 12 Mini. That is even smaller than the SE, however boasts a a lot bigger show and higher cameras, although you’ll have to surrender the Residence Button alongside the way in which. In case your price range will stretch that far, the 12 Mini is a a lot better purchase.


The iPhone SE presents loads of energy, however I am unsure why – it is the principle space the final SE did not want an improve.

Few will need to use all that efficiency to drive bleeding-edge cellular video games on such a dinky display screen, or use it for demanding multi-tasking. Even the digicam can’t take full benefit, with Apple arbitrarily proscribing entry to options like evening mode and cinematic mode to drive demand for its costlier choices.

However, together with wi-fi charging, the A15 chip is de facto all of the iPhone SE has going for it within the bigger mid-range market – Android rivals at this value now provide related software program help, sustain with it on water-proofing, and surpass the SE on show high quality, design, and digicam efficiency.

If you happen to’re proud of an Android, there are numerous choices obtainable that provides you with considerably higher worth for cash, with out counting on ageing elements to shave just a few {dollars} off the underside line.

So then the iPhone SE actually solely is sensible for patrons who merely should have an iPhone, however can’t afford the step as much as the 12 Mini – or received’t hand over on Contact ID simply but. If that’s you, then the iPhone SE will serve you effectively as long as you’ll be able to abdomen the dinky show, retro aesthetic and digicam limitations – however I promise you, you don’t know what you’re lacking.

Apple iPhone SE (2022): Specs

4.7in, 60Hz LCD IPS show (1334×750)

A15 Bionic

64/128/256GB storage

12Mp, f/1.Eight rear digicam with OIS

7Mp, f/2.2 selfie digicam

4K video recording at as much as 60 fps

Contact ID

Wi-Fi 6


Wi-fi charging

Bluetooth 5.0



Twin SIM (nano and eSIM)

138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm


About the author: SubSellKaro

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