It’s Apple’s most affordable iPhone and it’s had an upgrade – making it one of the most powerful budget phones on the market.
Apple’s most affordable iPhone is back with 5G and refreshed internals making it one of the fastest and most powerful budget phones on the market.
With the iPhone SE 2022 (3rd generation) starting at $719, it’s the cheapest new iPhone that you can get your hands on.
First, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. The iPhone SE 2022 looks practically identical to an iPhone 8 (which is a five year old design) and because of this I’ve seen some mixed reactions to the new SE by consumers.
Some are unimpressed when Apple doesn’t offer a completely redesigned phone, whereas others (likely the iPhone SE’s target market) are excited to be able to hang onto their favourite iPhone form-factor, with the addition of Apple’s latest hardware.
The iPhone SE 2022 keeps its previously seen slender, rounded form factor with a 4.7” HD Retina display that’s great for one-handed use and also makes the phone seriously pocketable.
Additionally, the iPhone SE has kept the home button that many iPhone users love. This offers Touch ID, which allows you to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone or to make purchases, which let’s be real, is incredibly convenient in a world where we now wear masks. The replacement for Touch ID in newer iPhones is Face ID. This is fast and convenient and will soon have support for mask-wearing, however, I personally think there’s nothing quite like a quick press of a button.
Features and battery life
Inside the iPhone SE is generously Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip, which is the same chip inside of the iPhone 13 range. This seriously increases the processing power and speed of the SE, along with improving its battery life.
To see how this all fared I tested the SE’s gaming performance by playing Genshin Impact and was surprised to find it ran smoothly, even with its immersive graphics and console-quality gameplay.
The battery life of the phone did take a bit of a hit after an hour of gaming but for the most part the SE can last into the evening even with plenty of social media use, a couple of casual games, selfies and emails.
You might be surprised to find out that the phone also supports wireless charging. It can be charged on either a 3rd party Qi wireless charger or Apple’s own MagSafe chargers (it just won’t have the magnetic click because it doesn’t have MagSafe built in).
Additionally, the phone now has tougher glass on the back and front and is IP67 water-resistant meaning it can easily survive a splash or rain drops.
The iPhone SE only has two cameras – a single 12 megapixel wide camera on the back and a 7 megapixel front camera. I noticed it was not as quick as my iPhone 13 when balancing exposure or finding focus, however, its photo and video quality was still surprisingly comparable even though the 13 is much dearer in price.
The selfie camera could be better and both cameras suffer a little in low light, though the back camera is awesome all round. Photos are vibrant and colours are well-balanced and you can even record up to 4K video.
If you’ve previously had a phone with multiple back cameras it’s fair to say you will probably miss the versatility of switching between lenses, for example – there’s no wide angle lens. However, if you’re not a mobile photographer or content creator and you just want to be able to take nice photos and videos the SE will absolutely do the trick.
Who is the iPhone SE for?
The iPhone SE is an iPhone for under $800. It’s the cheapest iPhone you can get while still getting a quality iPhone experience with the fastest A15 Bionic chip. And if Apple’s saving money using older parts from a previous iPhone design, while the customer saves money too, is there really an issue here?
I think it’s the perfect iPhone for anyone who doesn’t need the extra bells and whistles, such as additional cameras, the biggest screen or the most battery life. It’s the absolute best iPhone for teenagers, who repeatedly drop their phones. And it’s even better for those who love the older design or maybe find themselves floundering when adjusting to change or an upgrade – newer iPhones use more touch gestures to navigate the device since the replacement of the home button.
My only additional note is that this phone has a fairly small screen, which might make the keyboard feel a little small for some.
Is the iPhone SE worth the price?
The base model iPhone SE starts at $719 and though this is an extremely appealing price tag this model only comes with 64GB of internal storage. It’s a bit disappointing as, in my opinion, this isn’t much storage at all – especially if you take a ton of photos and videos.
I would personally recommend purchasing the $799 iPhone SE which has 128GB of built in storage. There’s also an iPhone SE with 256GB of internal storage, however, it costs $969 and at this price I’d be tempted to recommend an iPhone 13, although it’s an extra few hundred dollars.
At the end of the day though, if you’re not fussy and like a durable and easily pocketable phone, the iPhone SE is a worthwhile purchase on a budget and not something to be written off.