Apple’s 2022 iPhone SE Packs an Affordable Punch

Apple’s 2022 iPhone SE packs an affordable punch

Earlier this year Apple has unveiled a new model of its budget-friendly iPhone SE. It’s only been five years since Apple ditched the home button on the iPhone, but somehow the iPhone SE 3rd Gen still feels like it’s from another era.

Thankfully, it makes up for this in processing power and packs a punch, despite coming in an older design.

Here’s how we find the new iPhone SE 3, a few months after its release.

iPhone SE 2022 Specifications

  • Colors: Product Red, Starlight, Midnight
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Screen: 4.7-inch, Retina HD LCD
  • Processor: A15 Bionic chip
  • IP67 Water Resistance
  • Camera: 12 MP wide camera, 7 MP front camera
  • Touch ID
  • 5G Compatible
  • Battery: up to 15 hours of video playback
  • Operating System: iOS 15

What is good

iPhone SE 2022 Review (Image: Lifehacker Australia)

Using the iPhone SE is what I imagine my life would be like if I still had my iPhone 8. The main difference is that this iPhone actually has the processing power to keep up with it in 2022.

I was initially very hesitant to switch from the iPhone 8, mainly because I was quite attached to the old home button. However, after enough time with the slow speeds and glitches of a year-old model, I was forced to upgrade.

The iPhone SE brings back a lot of what was great about those early iPhone models without sacrificing quality.

The processing speed for opening apps, sending messages and loading web pages was comparable, if not faster, than my current one iPhone 13

The two phones share the same A15 Bionic chip, so this makes sense. However, the inclusion of the latest chip is huge for an Apple iPhone that is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the main flagship.

Along with the A15 chip, Apple has equipped the 2022 iPhone SE with many of the same features as the latest models.

The handset has the same hard glass as the iPhone 13, protecting both the front and back.

It is only water and dust resistant to IP67, which means it can be submerged up to 1 meter. Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 is one step further with IP68, but IP67 will still protect your SE from spills or leaks.

As for software features, the iPhone SE runs iOS 15, which gives it access to many of Apple’s latest features, such as Live Text and Spatial Audio, as well as all the other familiar qualities.

new iphone se iphone 13 size
The iPhone SE (left) and iPhone 13 (right). Image: Lifehacker Australia. iPhone SE 2022 review

As mentioned, the design of the iPhone SE 3 feels familiar and natural. It takes a minute to adjust your muscle memory to use the home button if you don’t have one, but it’s quite a legacy.

The iPhone SE is a lot smaller than the flagship iPhones of recent times. That makes it great for those with smaller pockets, purses, or hands.

iphone SE screen display
iPhone SE 2022 review. Image: Lifehacker Australia

The screen, despite being a lot smaller at just 4.7-inches, still presented images and videos with vivid detail thanks to Retina HD technology. It’s not quite the OLED tech of Apple’s more recent phones, but it still looks pretty sharp.

As for the camera, I found that the new SE held up pretty well against my iPhone 13, despite only having one 12MP front camera. However, it lacked capturing the smallest details, zooming in from great distances or adapting to certain lighting situations.

But if you’re not too into photography on your iPhone, the SE does the job just fine.

iphone se camera
Photo taken by the iPhone SE (left), photo taken by the iPhone 13 (right) (Images: Lifehacker Australia). iPhone SE 2022 review

Now, with a smaller phone, you’re probably thinking about a smaller battery? Well, Apple promises with the third edition 2 hours extra battery life compared to the previous iPhone SE model.

During my testing, I found that I could play at least 12 hours of video while streaming on Netflix, which is more than enough for one day. The iPhone SE also supports fast charging, so you can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes with compatible fast chargers.

Battery life all depends on how you use your iPhone, but in my time with the SE I’ve always managed to get at least a full day out of it.

We can’t discuss the benefits without talking about the price and that really has to be the best thing about the iPhone SE.

At $719, the 2022 iPhone SE costs nearly half the price of a regular iPhone 13 (which retails for $1,349).

This immediately makes the iPhone SE much more affordable and accessible to a larger market. It can be hard to spend an extra $600 on the latest iPhone when the iPhone SE has basically the same features, just on a more basic level.

It’s definitely something you can do seducing Android users to the dark side.

In the time I’ve been working on it, I’ve found that the iPhone SE really delivered on what Apple promised to deliver a performance phone in an affordable package.

What’s not so good?

new iphone SE 3rd generation
iPhone SE 2022 review. Image: Lifehacker Australia

The iPhone SE certainly blew me away with its many advantages, but it is not without a few drawbacks.

While the Home button is a fun blast from the past, the iPhone SE lacks a crucial feature that I’ve come to rely on: Face ID.

I’m not quite sure why this is, as the iPhone SE has a front-facing camera. But every time you want to unlock your phone or make a purchase, you have to authenticate with your fingerprint instead of your face. It’s a small effort, but I definitely missed Face ID.

While I said the iPhone SE’s single 12MP camera packs a punch, it can’t quite live up to the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro’s built-in camera technology.

    camera
Photo taken with iPhone SE without flash (left), Photo taken with iPhone 13 without flash (right) [Lifehacker Australia]† iPhone SE 2022 review

These more advanced models simply offer image quality that the SE cannot.

ProRes and ProRaw capabilities aren’t in the iPhone SE’s vocabulary, so if you’re looking for the really razor-sharp detailed iPhone graphics you see on billboards around the world, you won’t find them here.

The screen size was another minor issue I had with the new iPhone SE. Coming from an iPhone 13, I definitely noticed a difference in the size and quality of the screen.

This is something you can adapt to over time, but if a larger screen area is a must for you, the iPhone SE doesn’t have much of that.

The verdict

Apple's 2022 iPhone SE packs an affordable punch
iPhone SE 2022 Review (Image: Lifehacker Australia)

For what it is, the iPhone SE is a truly incredible phone at an even more incredible price.

It’s a real heavyweight in the mid-range smartphone market that will likely be very enticing to entry-level iPhone users or those considering moving from Android.

The iPhone SE can’t really compete with the top features of the later iPhone 12 and 13 models. It lacks the amazing camera quality, the larger screen size and it lacks the same level of water resistance. But it matches those devices in processing power, which is a pretty incredible feat for a phone that’s $600 cheaper.

The Home button is either a pro or a con, depending on your stance on it. Although I am a longtime Home Button observer, I found myself missing Face ID. But after a while, I could easily slip back into my iPhone 8 days, so you probably can too.

Apple’s new iPhone SE isn’t designed to compete with its flagship lineup, but it does offer a very attractive option for those who like to sacrifice premium features and settle for only the best.


The iPhone SE is available from: $719 at the Apple StoreJB Hifi and Harvey Norman.

You can get the best iPhone SE 3 . see phone plans here.

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