iPhone SE 2022 Review

iPhone SE 2022 Review: The Cheapest Apple iPhone

Two years after the launch of the second iPhone SE, here comes the 3rd generation of Apple’s cheapest smartphone iPhone SE 2022. Despite a reduced price, this iPhone is equipped with the same A15 Bionic chip as the latest iPhone 13. What makes this iPhone SE (for Special Edition) a really special model? A question we will try to answer through our test of the iPhone SE 2022.

Old School Design, Bonus Apple Build Quality

At first glance, it’s undeniable: the iPhone SE differs from other Apple smartphones (but also from other smartphones for that matter) by its design. In the question: a look with retro accents, which may however appeal to some nostalgia for the brand. For this new iPhone SE of 2022, Apple did not look far. The Californian firm has recycled the design of the old iPhone SE, which itself was modeled on that of the iPhone 8, which was the aesthetic variation of the iPhone 6… In short, nothing new visually, except its dimensions (138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm) which make this smartphone a very compact iPhone, like its predecessors and the “mini” versions of the other models.

 

iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone Mini 12

Its lightweight (144 grams) is 4 grams lighter than that of the iPhone SE 2020. With this 2022 model, Apple is therefore targeting users looking for a smartphone whose dimensions allow it to be used easily with one hand and slip it into his pocket.

The Cupertino giant is also aimed at those who expect impeccable manufacturing quality from their smartphone. Because the iPhone SE of 2022, like its predecessors, benefits from Apple’s know-how in terms of solidity. Back and front, the 3rd generation iPhone SE is made of hardened mineral glass plates. 2.5D plates curved on the edges, so as to join the convex edges in brushed aluminum.

At the back: the photosensor whose lens stands out in the upper left corner. To the right of this photosensor: the LED flash and the secondary microphone for active noise reduction. The rest of the technical elements are arranged in the same way as on the iPhone 7, 8, and SE of 2020.

The right edge includes the power button and the SIM drawer. The one on the left: the volume control and the silent mode switch. The bottom of the device houses the Lightning connector, microphone, and main speaker. Like the 2020 SE model, the 2022 iPhone SE is available in 3 colors: Midnight (an elegant midnight blue), Starlight (a luminous white), and Product RED (a red color to raise funds for the fight against AIDS).

The 3rd generation iPhone SE is IP67 certified, whereas the iPhone 13 has IP68 certification. What a difference? While both models are dustproof, the IP68 standard indicates resistance to immersion to a maximum depth of 2 meters, for up to 30 minutes. In comparison, the IP67-certified iPhone SE will only withstand immersion of a maximum of 1 meter, also for 30 minutes.

 

Is the screen too small?

At a time when the majority of competing smartphones have large borderless screens, the iPhone SE 2022 is puzzling. But remember, Apple wanted this model to create a compact iPhone, so it is not surprising that the diagonal of its screen is limited. If the screen is therefore small compared to current standards, it also suffers from thick borders. In addition to not allowing it to take advantage of a larger display area, these thick edges are not the most aesthetic.

The upper border notably includes the selfie sensor, located to the left of the telephone earpiece. The lower edge of the screen embeds the Touch ID, a “button” which is not really one, since it is around area equipped with a pressure sensor and a haptic engine. This one, which allows you to return to the home page, also acts as a fingerprint reader, because the iPhone SE is not equipped with Face ID, present on the more expensive iPhones.

This screen with rectangular edges (and not rounded like on many smartphones) is LCD. Faced with competitors with an OLED screen (sometimes even at the entry-level), does the iPhone SE 2022 manage to compete? Yes. Even if its screen is smaller, it obviously benefits from Apple’s know-how in this area.

This 4.7-inch IPS panel, which offers an HD definition (and not Full HD) of 750 x 1334 pixels, covers only one color profile (DCI-P3). The Retina screen (326 pixels per inch) is certainly below the current standard of 400 pixels present on Android smartphones, but it is sufficient to take advantage of the optimal user experience delivered by Apple.

Although the display fails to match OLED panels, it still delivers vibrant colors, enough contrast, and a satisfying 625 nits brightness rating. Its refresh rate of 60 Hz is certainly not competitive, but it has the merit of being less energy-consuming than a rate of 90 Hz.

In short: the screen of the iPhone SE 3rd generation is honorable. This type of LCD panel still equips the iPhone 11, released in 2019 and which Apple still markets. The iPhone 13 benefits from an OLED screen.

 

A15 chip and 5G: the strengths of the iPhone SE

If the 2022 iPhone SE, therefore, does not stand out for its design and not quite for its screen, its performance is really its strong point. For starters, Apple chose to make its 3rd generation iPhone SE compatible with 5G . If this may seem secondary at the moment, it is above all a bet on the future. A bet also met with the integration of the A15 Bionic chip, the same that equips the iPhone 13.

This SoC is combined with a 4 GB RAM, i.e. 1 GB additional compared to the iPhone SE of 2020. The internal memory offers (to choose from), 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB of storage. A powerful configuration, which allows the iPhone SE 2022 not to blush in the face of its competitors, but which will above all allow it to take advantage of many future iOS updates.

 

Operating System

Speaking of the operating system, the iPhone SE 3rd generation is equipped with the version of iOS 15.4 from Apple, which delivers an interface that is still as fluid and intuitive as ever. If this iOS comes up against slight ergonomic inconsistencies on the iPhone SE 2022, the operating system is now designed to be used without a Home “button”, which allows access to the very rich catalog of Apple applications.

As you will have understood, thus equipped, the 3rd generation iPhone SE is one of the most powerful smartphones below the 500 euro mark. Performance that even allows you to launch games with satisfactory graphics and that goes hand in hand with a controlled temperature.

A performance gain due to the presence of the A15 Bionic, which is not necessarily felt on a daily basis. The chip nevertheless offers greater computing power, which is more appreciable in photo processing since the iPhone SE has only one sensor.

A limited photo module

One of the weak points of the iPhone SE, which this new generation has not improved: the smartphone has only one camera module. But a module that embeds an optical stabilizer for both photo and video, is rarely present at this price. With a definition of 12 megapixels, this lens which can open up to f/1.8 delivers photos of satisfactory quality…, especially during the day.

 

A15 Bionic Chip

If the A15 Bionic chip allows artificial intelligence (Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, etc.) to successfully use the iPhone’s processor and neural engine, at night it’s more complicated. No wonder, since the iPhone SE does not benefit from a “night mode”. Nevertheless, taking pictures in the dark remains possible and the result is not so disappointing. By day, users can enjoy effective portrait mode, balanced photos, and even new photography styles introduced on iPhone 13.

 

Camera

As for the 7-megapixel (f / 2.2.) “Facetime HD” selfie sensor present, it delivers conclusive photos, again thanks to Deep Fusion. As we suspected, the digital zoom (x5) comes up against the sensor with a definition of only 12 megapixels. Despite limitations, the photo module of the iPhone SE 2022 delivers photos with a suitable rendering; a result that is not due to its intrinsic qualities, but to the contribution of the A15 Bionic chip. Let’s also mention the audio delivered by the asymmetrical dual speaker of the iPhone SE 2022. As always with Apple, the sound is balanced, in order to suit the majority of users.

 

Battery

Often problematic on a small smartphone, which is moreover with a powerful processor, the autonomy delivered by the iPhone SE of 2022 is improved compared to that of the previous model. Apple announces on its site a battery to hold “up to 2 hours of video playback and more”.

In fact, the small size battery of the 3rd generation iPhone SE, even when “boosted” as announced by the manufacturer, still does not allow it to last a full day of continuous use. According to Apple, however, it offers nearly 15 hours of video playback. Autonomy drops sharply when launching greedy games (about 3 hours). Nevertheless, in comparison to the battery size, these results are quite good, although in practice they can be disappointing.

Attention, no charger is provided in the box, only a USB Type-C to Lightning cable is present. While the price of the 2022 iPhone SE is up 40 euros compared to that of 2020, those who wish to take advantage of a USB type-C charger with appropriate power (20 watts), will have to buy it (about 25 euros on the Apple Store). Apple fans can also use the charger of another device, such as the MacBook for example.

Also, note that the iPhone SE 2022 is incompatible with MagSafe (magnetic) charging. However, it benefits from 18 W Qi wireless fast charging, which charges the smartphone from 0% to 100% in 90 minutes, 58% in 30 minutes, 77% in 45 minutes, and 88% in one hour. Without fast charging, the 3rd generation iPhone SE fully charges in about two hours.

Our opinion on the iPhone SE 3: a gateway to the Apple ecosystem

With this 3rd iPhone SE, Apple offers a compact iPhone, certainly the least expensive of its smartphones. Lightweight and ergonomic, this third-generation benefits from improved performance thanks to the new A15 Bionic chip. The retro design of this iPhone SE 5G pleases or displeases, but the quality of Apple manufacturing is always there.

Of course, the cheapest iPhone isn’t without drawbacks. A single photo module limiting the creative possibilities, an autonomy that is still fair, and an LCD screen that is probably too small in the era of XXL smartphones.

But the 2022 iPhone SE, like its predecessors, has the merit of allowing fans of the Apple universe to enjoy a smartphone that fits perfectly into the brand’s ecosystem. If that’s what you want from your mobile phone above all else, the iPhone SE 3rd generation is a suitable choice. It is also a sustainable choice, with the guarantee of benefiting from the next iOS updates for several years. An undeniable asset in favor of Apple.

 

Price

However, with a price increase of 40 euros, the price of this model crosses the symbolic threshold of 500 euros and must therefore face numerous competition. Another legitimate question given its price (529 euros for the 64 GB version), wouldn’t Apple fans have more to gain by turning to the iPhone 11 still marketed by Apple at a price of 589 euros?

 

iPhone SE 2022 vs iPhone 11: What are the Differences?

What do buyers gain by spending 60 euros more on the purchase of the iPhone 11? For starters, a 6.1-inch screen, larger than the iPhone SE 2022 (4.7 inches). The screen of the iPhone 11 is still HD but offers greater definition (1,792 x 828 pixels). Users turning to the iPhone 11 will also benefit from a richer photo module, including wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and better optical zoom range.

The announced autonomy seems better (up to 17 hours of video playback for the iPhone 11). Another specificity that the iPhone SE of 2022 equipped with Touch ID does not have: Is face ID for facial identification. Regarding the quality of manufacture, the two iPhone models benefit from front and rear glass faces and brushed aluminum edges. iPhone 11 water resistance is slightly better than iPhone SE, but little difference in practice.

Regarding storage capacity, the iPhone SE of 2022 can be purchased with 256 GB, whereas the iPhone 11 has a maximum of 128 GB. Another distinction: the iPhone SE is 5G compatible, whereas the iPhone 11 is 4G. If the difference is not significant at the moment, perhaps it will be in the future.

 

iPhone 11 vs iPhone SE 2022

As for the dimensions of the two smartphones, no doubt: the iPhone SE 2022 is indeed the most compact. Ditto for its weight (144g against 194g). Finally, the difference in SoC between the two iPhones (A13 Bionic chip for the iPhone 11 and A15 Bionic for the iPhone SE 2022) will mainly be felt only in games.

If you are looking for an iPhone among the cheapest, offering more photographic creativity, then the iPhone 11 and its richer camera module will be preferable. Ditto if your preference goes to the size of the screen, which benefits from a slightly higher definition.

If, however, you want to enjoy the Apple universe with a compact iPhone, then the iPhone SE 2022 is the best gateway to the Apple ecosystem. The recent configuration of this model will also support many more iOS updates than the iPhone 11 will probably still be able to.

 


 

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