iPhone SE evaluate (2022): A small throwback of a telephone

Since the iPhone 5c, Apple’s method to creating a extra reasonably priced iPhone has been to stuff premium processors into instances belonging to older fashions. With the third era of the iPhone SE, the corporate has caught to that technique. With its residence button, high and backside bezels and rounded corners, the brand new iPhone SE is almost an identical to the 2020 mannequin, at the least on the surface. Inside, this 12 months’s model packs an A15 Bionic chip and a 5G radio, promising a severe velocity increase. Apple can be touting longer battery life and improved sturdiness on this 12 months’s mannequin, which is able to set you again a modest $429. That’s $30 greater than the final iPhone SE, however nonetheless cheaper than the $450 Pixel 5a. If you’d like a easy iPhone that runs like new, and also you don’t thoughts the dated design and single rear digital camera, the iPhone SE may match the invoice.


At a time when principally all smartphones have performed away with residence buttons, this 12 months’s iPhone SE feels anachronistic. Its residence button sits in a bezel beneath the display, whereas the highest bezel hides the system’s entrance digital camera. When you’re accustomed to the final iPhone SE, you then’ll know what to anticipate: This 12 months’s mannequin is so related that I legit have bother telling them aside. The one means I do know which one I’m holding is that if I scrutinize the telephone’s rear casing underneath a fluorescent mild. The evaluate unit Apple despatched this 12 months is a darkish blue, whereas the 2020 iPhone SE in my possession is black. Oh, and, in response to the specs sheets, the brand new SE is a complete 4 grams lighter. Contemplating the sooner mannequin already seemed outdated, the newest iPhone feels very a lot caught previously.

iPhone SE (2022)


  • Acquainted residence button and TouchID
  • Speedy A15 Bionic chip for the value
  • Digicam takes surprisingly good pictures


  • Base mannequin’s 64GB of storage is measly
  • Only one rear digital camera
  • Small and lackluster display

Nonetheless, despite its stodgy design, I like the way in which the SE feels. It’s similar to the Pixel 3: slim, barely curved and solidly constructed. The iPhone 13 mini is a bit smaller and thicker, with flatter edges and a notch on the high of its 5.4-inch display that homes its entrance digital camera. When you hate notches however for some cause don’t thoughts bezels, the iPhone SE’s retro look is for you.

Gallery: iPhone SE (2022) evaluate | 11 Photographs

Extra importantly, Apple says the iPhone SE is roofed in the identical hardy glass used on the iPhone 13. Whereas I’ve but to drop my evaluate unit, understanding that this will probably be extra scratch resistant provides some peace of thoughts. I don’t use a case with the iPhone 13, and it’s nonetheless pristine, regardless of having been tossed into baggage with keys and different sharp objects. It does decide up fingerprints and smudges very simply, although. It’s additionally good that the iPhone SE is rated IP67 for mud and water resistance — one thing the Galaxy A52 5G and the Pixel 5a additionally supply.

Show and audio

Like many phones from 2017, this 12 months’s iPhone SE sports activities a 4.7-inch LCD display with 1,334 x 750 decision. Truthfully, these specs are downright tragic for 2022 requirements, by which OLEDs have turn out to be commonplace. Don’t even get me began on the refresh price. The Galaxy A52 has a 6.5-inch Tremendous AMOLED operating at 120Hz, whereas the Pixel 5a’s OLED panel at the least refreshes at 90Hz.

I used 4 telephones – the iPhone SE, its predecessor, the iPhone 13 mini and the Pixel 5a – to observe a recap of the Apple occasion on YouTube concurrently on every system at max brightness. The iPhone 13 mini was the brightest, adopted by the Pixel. The iPhone SEs had been indistinguishable from one another and had a reddish tint in comparison with the opposite two.

The iPhone SE (2022) held in a hand.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

It’s not going to wow you, however the iPhone SE’s show is serviceable. I watched the start of The Downside with Jon Stewart on the TV+ app, and although every part seemed considerably muted in comparison with the OLEDs I’m used to, the present nonetheless seemed wonderful. You’ll positively wish to push the display to max brightness to observe movies outdoor within the solar, although.

Regardless of its small measurement, the iPhone SE’s audio system are surprisingly loud. I loved listening to the tap-dancing sequence in a video of a efficiency of Something Goes, in addition to Sutton Foster’s ample vocals.


The iPhone SE’s largest drawback within the mid-range house is its cameras. It has only one rear 12-megapixel sensor with an f/1.eight aperture, whereas a lot of the competitors include at the least two, making them extra versatile taking pictures rigs.

The iPhone SE (2022) held in mid-air horizontally, with part of a man's behind it.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

However when you’re content material with a solo digital camera, the iPhone SE 2022 will suffice. It takes surprisingly sharp and colourful pictures which might be on par with the iPhone 13 mini’s. Ornaments on the pink brick facade of an area constructing seemed equally crisp when shot on both telephone, even once I zoomed all the way in which in. It’s clear that with the A15 Bionic and processing upgrades like Good HDR 4, Apple’s been in a position to make the iPhone SE’s digital camera carry out in addition to the primary sensor on its flagship.

The Pixel 5a typically produced darker photographs with cooler, extra impartial tones in its photographs, and although I’m not a fan of Apple’s default remedy, which has a barely yellowish tinge, you do have the power to alter that. The corporate launched Photographic Kinds with the iPhone 13 sequence, which helps you to modify preset profiles for distinction and tone. Each image you seize will use these settings (till you decide a special type). Fortunately, the brand new iPhone SE additionally provides Photographic Kinds, so you possibly can train a bit extra management over how your photographs end up.

I used to be stunned by how related the iPhone SE’s photos had been to the iPhone 13 mini’s. From landscapes to portraits of my coworkers, there have been barely any variations within the photographs taken by the 2 telephones. The Pixel 5a was higher at isolating our video producer’s spiky hair from the background than both iPhone, however all three gadgets carried out admirably.

Gallery: iPhone SE (2022) digital camera samples | 13 Photographs

Our fundamental criticism in regards to the final iPhone SE’s digital camera was that there was no Evening mode. This 12 months’s mannequin nonetheless doesn’t supply one, and although a number of the photos I took of buildings surrounded by mist one night time got here out muddy, others got here out brilliant and sharp. It’s seemingly that my shivering arms contributed to the blur, however typically, Google retains a bonus in low mild.

Up entrance, the iPhone SE’s 7-MP digital camera additionally falls wanting the competitors on paper, however in actuality it carried out simply in addition to the Pixel 5a and iPhone 13 mini. It struggled to maintain up in dim environments, although; I noticed a extra noticeable distinction within the selfies I shot inside a stationary automobile one night time. The iPhone SE’s pictures weren’t as clear because the others, however they had been nonetheless ok to share.


Artificial benchmarks don’t paint probably the most full image of a telephone’s efficiency, however in a pinch they’re a very good level of reference. The iPhone SE’s Geekbench 5 scores blew away the Galaxy S22 series, and even got here near matching the iPhone 13 Professional. That is smart, given Apple geared up its price range telephone with the identical highly effective A15 Bionic chip present in its flagship sequence.

In on a regular basis use, the A15 Bionic was highly effective sufficient for many of my duties, together with enhancing and exporting a minute-long video in iMovie and utilizing the digital camera’s Reside Textual content function to scan product labels round me. I did discover some delays whereas organising the telephone, with a noticeable pause from once I tapped “Proceed” to when the subsequent web page got here up. I additionally couldn’t display report whereas utilizing SharePlay on a FaceTime video name to point out my residence web page to my colleague which, in response to an alert, was a buffering subject. Apple additionally does not assist you to report your display whereas SharePlaying, which I want was what the notification defined as a substitute. However every part else ran easily.

Close up shot of the iPhone SE's bottom half, showing its home button.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

The iPhone SE did get a bit heat whereas I ran exams and used the digital camera’s Reside Textual content function to scan addresses on a bottle and look them up in Maps. Fortunately, it cooled again down shortly.

As somebody who’s grown accustomed to gesture-based navigation, I wanted to reacquaint myself with utilizing a house key. It doesn’t bodily depress; like on the earlier iPhone SE this can be a contact sensor that vibrates in response while you push it. That stated, as unusual because it felt to navigate iOS with a house button, I did welcome the comfort of Contact ID.

Unlocking the telephone was a breeze, too, and when you’re accustomed to the final iPhone SE’s sensor you’ll be used to this, particularly for the reason that {hardware} is precisely the identical. Actually, when you’ve by no means recognized life with out the button beneath the display and don’t wish to give it up, that is the one fashionable telephone round with it.

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