Apple iPhone SE (2022) assessment: As quick as iPhone 13 Professional Max, however half the value

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

I’m responsible of spending means an excessive amount of time obsessing over the most recent smartphone tendencies, on the lookout for options which are going to form and alter the way in which many people reside within the close to future. 

The issue with this line of pondering is that there’s a whole section of customers neglected. Customers who don’t care about having the very best know-how, however merely need a telephone that’s going to offer them a solution to talk with jobs, family members and pals for the following few years, with out costing a fortune.

That’s the place

Apple’s iPhone SE

comes in. Apple just announced the third-generation budget-friendly iPhone. The 2022 edition of the iPhone SE starts at $429 — a $30 price increase from the previous generation. Preorders are currently open, with shipments and retail availability starting on Friday, March 18. 

I’ve spent the last five days using the iPhone SE as my main phone, and besides having to adjust going from an

iPhone 13 Pro Max

and its massive (by comparison) 6.7-inch display, I’ve enjoyed going back to a smaller, more manageable iPhone. If you want the tl;dr version that won’t spoil the review, then I’ll just say this: The iPhone SE is a treat to use. 


  • Timeless design
  • Nice digital camera
  • Spectacular efficiency
  • Worth
  • 5G

Don’t Like

  • Battery life might be a difficulty for some

In order for you all the nitty-gritty particulars, effectively, then, carry on studying. 



Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

There’s not rather a lot left to say in regards to the design of the iPhone SE. It’s the identical design because the 2020 iPhone SE, which makes use of the identical design because the iPhone 8. As a refresher, that interprets into an iPhone with a 4.7-inch Retina show with a decision of 1334×750. 

There are giant bezels above and beneath the show, each of which function a reminder of how spoiled we’ve grow to be by shows that span edge-to-edge in trendy iPhone designs. 

The “chin” beneath the show is Apple’s iconic dwelling button with Contact ID that’s used to unlock the telephone, approve Apple Pay purchases and signal into apps. 

The “brow” above the show is the place the 7-megapixel FaceTime digital camera is housed, together with the earpiece. Surrounding your complete gadget are rounded edges, yet one more distinction to the iPhone 13’s square-edge design. 

On the precise facet of the iPhone SE is the facet button that’s used to show it on/off and wake or lock the telephone. On the left edge is the place the amount up and quantity down buttons are positioned, together with the mute change. On the underside of the telephone is a Lighting port for charging or syncing the telephone. 

On the rear of the iPhone SE is a single 12-megapixel broad digital camera and a flash. The again panel and the show of the telephone use the identical glass that’s used on the again of the iPhone 13 — which Apple claims is the hardest glass used on a smartphone. To be clear, it’s not the identical Ceramic Protect glass that’s used on the iPhone 13’s display. 

The iPhone SE is accessible in three completely different colours. There’s Midnight (black), Starlight (white) and Product(RED). I’ve been utilizing the Starlight model, and actually prefer it. 

One side of the iPhone SE I want Apple would have modified is by including MagSafe to the again of the telephone. MagSafe has morphed right into a function that’s about greater than a method to cost an iPhone. There are a lot of equipment that work with MagSafe like Apple’s personal

MagSafe wallet

Moment’s MagSafe phone mounts for photography

or the countless cases that exist now for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. 



Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

While the design of the iPhone SE is something we’ve all seen before, what’s inside the latest iPhone SE is a big change. With the iPhone SE, Apple used the same processor — the A15 Bionic — that’s inside the iPhone 13 lineup. The A15 Bionic is a 6-core CPU, with 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. It also has a 4-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. Apple doesn’t publish or talk about the amount of memory in its mobile devices, but I can confirm the iPhone SE has 4GB of memory. 

I’m not a huge fan of using benchmarks to determine a device’s overall performance, be it a computer, tablet or smartphone. However, I was curious how the iPhone SE’s performance compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max — considering they have the same processor — as well as the

Pixel 6 Pro

with the first-generation Google Tensor processor. 

I ran the CPU test in Geekbench 5 on all three devices. The Pixel 6 Pro scored a 932 for the single-core test, and 2,139 for the multi-core test. The iPhone 13 Pro Max scored 1,741 and 4,316, respectively. The iPhone SE had a score of 1,731 and 4,466 for the same single and multi-core tests. Put that another way — the iPhone SE is almost twice as fast as the $899 Pixel 6 Pro, Google’s flagship phone. If that’s not enough to impress you, then let me put it yet another way. The $429 iPhone SE is just as fast as Apple’s most expensive phone, the $1,099 iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

My personal experience confirms that the iPhone SE is just as fast as the iPhone 13 Pro Max (which is my main phone). It’s not only noticeable in how fast apps open or when multitasking, but also while changing between camera modes, for example. 

Another benefit of using the A15 Bionic in the iPhone SE is the addition of 5G connectivity. More specifically, you’ll get Sub-6 5G, and not mmWave. I don’t know what kind of impact 5G has on battery life for the iPhone SE because AT&T still hasn’t launched 5G where I live. While the lack of mmWave may be a disappointment to some, I agree with ZDNet Staff Editor June Wan who wrote about the lack of mmWave on the iPhone SE not being a giant deal. If the iPhone SE was double the price, certain. However at $429, the dearth of mmWave is a non-issue. For individuals who are unfamiliar, mmWave is the quickest taste of 5G at the moment out there, however the rollout has been sluggish and sporadic and requires you to be very near a tower, and is usually hampered by home windows and even bushes.

The lone 12-megapixel digital camera is not any slouch. Whereas Apple didn’t improve the {hardware} itself, the digital camera advantages from the A15 Bionic processor and its picture sign processor. The top result’s a digital camera that takes clear and crisp photographs with none tinkering with settings. Open the digital camera, take the image and share. 

I took numerous footage over the previous couple of days and I can actually say that I didn’t take any the place I felt just like the digital camera expertise wasn’t on par with the iPhone 13 Professional Max, with the caveat that the Professional Max has three cameras to the iPhone SE’s single lens. As an alternative of displaying you footage of random on a regular basis objects or boring meals photographs, I’ll share this considered one of my canine. 


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The 7-megapixel FaceTime digital camera can be clear and sharp. I used to be impressed with how away from an image got here throughout in FaceTime assessments with my spouse. 

So far as battery life goes, Apple states that it added about two hours of use to the iPhone SE’s battery when in comparison with the second-generation iPhone SE. That equates to fifteen hours of video playback, in comparison with 13 hours of the earlier mannequin. 

In my use, battery life hasn’t been wherever near what the iPhone 13 Professional Max presents, however that’s to be anticipated. We’ll have to attend till iFixit tears down the iPhone SE to see what measurement the battery is, however I’d think about it’s a lot smaller than the iPhone 13 Professional Max’s 4,352 mAh battery. For reference, the 2020 iPhone SE’s battery is 1,821 mAh. 

That mentioned, I’ve been capable of recover from 3 hours of screen-on time throughout testing all through a typical day earlier than I needed to attain for my charger. It’s adequate for somebody who doesn’t reside on their telephone, continually checking social media, messages or electronic mail. Should you contemplate your self an influence consumer, you’ll doubtless discover the iPhone SE’s battery life missing. 

I do want Apple would have bumped up the bottom storage from 64GB to 128GB, particularly with the value improve. As an alternative, you will get the 64GB for $429, 128GB for $479 and 256GB for $579. 

Backside line


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The iPhone SE is, arguably, simply as necessary because the iPhone 13 to Apple’s smartphone portfolio. And the updates Apple made to the iPhone SE carry it present with trendy tech by way of efficiency and 5G connectivity thanks, partly, to the A15 Bionic. It’s a telephone that runs iOS 15 proper now and can proceed to obtain iOS updates for the following a number of years. 

Apple has fine-tuned the recipe that’s the iPhone SE, bettering upon a telephone that was already a steal. Whether or not you’re managing a fleet of staff who it’s essential equip with an iPhone, otherwise you’re merely somebody who likes smaller iPhones, the iPhone SE is a straightforward alternative. You merely can’t discover a higher telephone at this worth.

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