iPhone SE 3 Evaluation: déjà vu

Apple refreshes its flagship iPhones yearly like clockwork, however the finances iPhone SE mannequin has remained unchanged in the marketplace for about 2 years. Now, lastly, the look forward to its successor is over, and the up to date model is right here: welcome the brand new iPhone SE 2022 version, aka iPhone SE 3, standing for third era!

However whereas we’re completely satisfied to see this new mannequin, there’s probably not a “ta-da” impact this time round. Actually, the SE 3 appears to be like and feels just about precisely like its predecessor. Which in flip appeared similar to the iPhones earlier than it, the iPhone 8, 7, 6s, all the way in which to the iPhone 6 from 2014. Similar huge bezels, similar smallish 4.7-inch display screen, similar single digicam, similar just about the whole lot! That is as nostalgic as telephones get: it is an iPhone with a button, the traditional (and dependable) Contact ID, and a slim and compact type issue that could be very uncommon to see lately.
However… what is definitely new? And may this up to date iPhone SE repair a number of the flaws of the unique, specifically the sub-par battery life and the few different kinks that wanted work? Let’s have a look!

Desk of Contents:

Design and Show High quality

SE stands for… Similar Version?

This new iPhone SE appears to be like and feels so much like the earlier iPhone SE that a number of instances that we tried from the predecessor match the brand new one completely.

The display screen can be acquainted: a 4.7-inch show, with huge bezels on the highest and backside. The design is slim and light-weight, and even after utilizing the iPhone 13 mini you discover how a lot thinner the SE is.

Apple hasn’t compromised on the supplies too as you continue to have an aluminum body and glass on each the entrance and the again, and even the fairly sensible IP67 water and dirt safety ranking. In different information, I discovered this telephone extraordinarily slippery, possibly additionally as a result of it was so skinny.

And the colour choices are additionally acquainted: Black, Starlight (a barely muddier model of white), and Product RED. 

What’s within the field

Apple now not features a charger within the field with flagship iPhones, and now the iPhone SE additionally joins that pattern.

What’s cool is that you just get a USB-C to Lightning charging cable, whereas the earlier era had the older USB-A to Lightning cable that would not work with trendy chargers. There are some person manuals and a SIM instrument within the field too, however no headphones or the rest. And sure, meaning you’d want to purchase a charger individually.

Display high quality

On the entrance, one other factor that has remained the identical is the display screen: the 4.7-inch display screen dimension undoubtedly feels too small and in our opinion that is the largest compromise you need to make with the SE. Enjoying again movies you get black bars and a good smaller image, taking part in video games just isn’t as rewarding on the smaller display screen, and it is simply tough doing stuff in your telephone.

The display screen additionally options the identical 750p “Retina” decision. Look nearer and it isn’t fairly as sharp as trendy 1080p screens. Nonetheless, the larger gripe right here just isn’t the decision, it is the outdated LCD tech that’s nonetheless used right here. Newer OLED screens function brilliant and vibrant colours, whereas this LCD show, nearly as good as it’s, suffers from the constraints of the LCD expertise because it does not have the identical distinction, deep blacks and instantaneous response time as OLED.

Lay the telephone flat on a desk and watch movies from a slight angle, and colours lose their glow and brightness, as viewing angles are simply not similar to OLED screens.

One other “function” of LCD screens is the ghosting impact whenever you scroll round that you just simply do not have on OLED. Apple may need the quickest processors within the trade, but it surely’s approach behind most finances telephones within the display screen recreation as even the $300 Galaxy A33 contains a far superior OLED panel. These finances telephones additionally generally assist quick refresh charges, whereas this right here SE runs on the similar 60Hz price as telephones of the previous.

On a extra constructive observe, the older design additionally brings again Contact ID. Truthfully, we appear to have forgotten how good we had it with Contact ID, it is dependable and works quick. Nonetheless, there’s one Face ID trick that I miss: glancing on the lockscreen reveals your notifications content material, and you can’t do that with Contact ID.

Efficiency and Software program

That is the world’s strongest chip, but it surely feels trapped within the iPhone SE 3

Apple shook the finances smartphone market with the unique SE that featured a flagship-grade processor, and the brand new iPhone SE solely places Apple additional forward with the latest Apple A15 chip inside it. Sure, the identical one as within the iPhone 13 collection.

This chip just isn’t solely quick. It is the quickest one round in 2022. It will likely be related for years to come back. And it simply smokes the mid-range Snapragon 6xx and MediaTek processors which might be generally discovered at Android telephones on this worth vary.

As you possibly can see in benchmarks, the SE 3 delivers each little bit of efficiency you’d anticipate to see from the A15 and it even scored a bit larger than the iPhone 13 mini.

On the graphics entrance, the SE is surprisingly succesful contemplating how slim and tiny this telephone is.

Avid gamers can be delighted with this type of efficiency.

On the storage aspect, the bottom model nonetheless has 64GB storage, now at the next base worth of $430. An improve to 128GB prices $50 further, after which an extra improve to 256GB would value $100 but on high.

When it comes to software program, the brand new SE launches with the present iOS 15 model. iOS has been evolving slowly and steadily, preserving a well-recognized look all through the years and solely regularly including new options. What’s most notable right here is the software program assist: Apple sometimes supplies about 5 years of main software program updates, far longer than the 2-3 years of updates you get with finances Android telephones.

On the connectivity entrance, the iPhone SE now has 5G connectivity with sub6 band assist, however no mmWave choice. Not an enormous loss, and what issues extra is that within the checklist of supported frequencies you have got the brand new C-bands. AT&T and Verizon have already activated big chunks of C-band 5G spectrum which might be obtainable all throughout the USA and offer you the quicker speeds you anticipate from 5G.

One factor lacking on the SE is the ultra-wideband (UWB) chip. The UWB chip is used to seek out misplaced units but additionally helps with AirDrop, finding units quicker. 


The ability of 1

Lonely on the again of the SE 3 sits a single 12MP huge digicam. No ultra-wide, and no telephoto zoom lenses right here, it is only one digicam, like within the good outdated instances.

It’s imporved, although, and due to the A15 chip with the brand new ISP inside, you will get gorgeous footage out of it. That is nonetheless a digicam that outperforms the Android rivals on this worth vary.

It makes use of many of the newest tips you see on the iPhone 13 too: the chip allows computational pictures, optimizes footage for colour and element; and the Good HDR 4 engine enhances colour, distinction and noise. You even have assist for Photographic Kinds to tweak the colour of your images.

iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 11 digicam samples

As you possibly can see, images throughout the day look very related, practically equivalent to the iPhone 11.

iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 11 evening images

The large lacking function, nonetheless, is evening mode. The SE 3 merely doesn’t assist evening mode and this ends in usually blurry images in low gentle, with extra noise than you’d anticipate and bleaker colours.

Not solely that, however the ISP within the A15 Bionic brings a major improves in video high quality, decreasing noise and particularly so in decrease gentle. Remember that the SE nonetheless makes use of optical picture stabilization (OIS) quite than the newer sensor-shift tech on the iPhone 13 collection, so it isn’t fairly as secure.

Additionally discover the newer iPhone 13 mini has a wider fundamental digicam and captures a bit extra within the body. It undoubtedly has the higher hand, particularly in low gentle video recording, however throughout the day the variations are hardly noticeable.

Audio High quality and Haptics

What does not appear to have modified is the audio high quality. You continue to get a twin speaker system with a bottom-firing fundamental one and a helper speaker within the earpiece, however the high quality is same-ish, which is to say about common for a finances telephone. It falls aside at louder volumes and drums sound significantly muffled. In comparison with the newer iPhone 13 collection, it is a noticeable distinction: you get much more depth and oomph on the 13 household.

One factor lacking is a headphone jack, however after all, it is Apple and the corporate has been tremendous per eradicating it, in order that’s one thing most likely not even value mentioning.

Battery Life and Charging

Small enchancment, however enchancment nonetheless

One of many fundamental limitations of the iPhone SE design is that it’s simply so skinny and compact that you just can not match a big battery inside that physique, however one way or the other Apple has executed it and the brand new SE 3 really comes with an almost 10% larger cell than the earlier era.

iPhone SE battery sizes:
iPhone SE (2022): 2,018 mAh
iPhone SE (2020): 1,821 mAh
iPhone SE (2016): 1,624 mAh

Apple quotes 2 hours of further video playback on it in comparison with the earlier mannequin.

In our expertise, the battery of the SE 2022 stays one in all its huge downsides. With largely social media use, the telephone lasted from 8am to about 8pm-9pm when it dropped to single digits. After all, utilizing the digicam, taking part in again extra video or gaming would drain the battery a lot quicker. And with much less use, it might final even an extended day on a single cost, however by no means greater than that.

Now we have run our impartial battery checks the place we set all telephones on the similar brightness degree and test their endurance over a Wi-Fi community utilizing three totally different checks, and listed here are the outcomes:

PhoneArena Battery Take a look at Outcomes

The utmost charging speeds this new iPhone SE helps are as much as 20 watts, mainly the identical as on final yr’s mannequin (decide a charger accordingly).

As per our measurements, with an official Apple charger, a 15-minute top-up provides you 30% battery life again, a 30-minute top-up provides you about 55% battery, and a full 0 to 100% cost takes about 1 hour and half-hour. Undoubtedly not the quickest round, that is for positive.

It additionally helps wi-fi charging however since it is so skinny, you aren’t getting the magnets for MagSafe that you’ve on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 collection. With a typical Qi charger, you possibly can anticipate a full 0 to 100% top-up to take practically 3 hours.


So, let’s discuss worth. Apple has elevated the iPhone SE 3 beginning worth to $430 for the 64GB mannequin, $30 greater than the predecessor.

Whereas there are a few Android rivals on this worth vary, our guess is that most individuals searching for an iPhone would possibly desire only a totally different one. The iPhone 11 is the plain selection. In the event you do not thoughts a bigger telephone, it appears superior in each approach, from the extra usable display screen dimension to the battery life, ultra-wide digicam and extra trendy contact interface. Our private go-to can be the iPhone 13 mini, which supplies the OLED display screen with lovely colours, which we expect is a big improve, and all of that in a compact physique, however at a significantly larger worth.
On the Android aspect, the Galaxy A52 5G and the upcoming Galaxy A53 5G each have bigger screens of the newer OLED sort, they usually do supply an ultra-wide digicam along with the principle one, plus a far longer lasting battery. All of this, nonetheless, does come at a barely larger worth than the SE.
The Pixel 5a 5G version is one other nice choice that solely loses when it comes to efficiency velocity, but additionally has a better-quality OLED display screen, an ultra-wide digicam that turns out to be useful, and an unbelievable battery that may even go so long as 2 days between expenses.

Abstract and Ultimate Verdict

So, it is time for a wrap-up. The iPhone SE has lastly been up to date after two years, however there’s not a lot pleasure round. The replace does not repair the large points with this outdated design, however as an alternative form of renovates and accelerates a type issue that already appeared outdated two years in the past. Sure, you get 5G connectivity, a brilliant quick processor and really barely improved digicam, but it surely’s the basics that matter they usually have not modified.

The iPhone SE 3 seems like a “deja vu”, and in a sure approach, plainly Apple wasted the world’s strongest chip and form of trapped it in an outdated design.

From the older display screen expertise and design, to the nonetheless unimpressive battery life, that is undoubtedly not a telephone that we will advocate to most lovers on the market.

So who’s it for? Clearly, it is for individuals who are nostalgic and people who do not wish to change from the acquainted “iPhone with button” design (we all know one former president who preferred that). In the event you simply desire a easy and compact iPhone and the most affordable one at that, properly… that is the one! However when you hoped for one thing a bit extra trendy, properly… get able to spend a bit extra on a special iPhone or check out the competitors.

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