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While the new iPhone SE 3 gets the same A15 chip as the more expensive iPhone 13 and upgrades like 5G, improved battery life, camera enhancements, and more, there are naturally trade-offs with Apple’s most affordable iPhone. Let’s dive into the iPhone SE 3 vs. SE 2, iPhone 11, and more.
As expected, the iPhone SE 3 is the latest iteration of Apple prioritizing a low price while upgrading performance and offering favorite features. But with Apple still officially selling the iPhone 11 for just $70 more than the SE 3 and the iPhone 12/13 in the mix too, there’s a lot to consider.iPhone SE 3 vs. SE 2, iPhone 11, 12, and 13 Performance
In another move that sets iPhone apart from Android smartphones, Apple has put its current and most powerful smartphone chip in its most affordable iPhone.
With the iPhone SE 3 getting the A15 Bionic, it leapfrogs the iPhone 11 and 12 in performance and matches the iPhone 13 lineup. That’s impressive for a $429 iPhone to have the same processor as the $700–$1,100 models.
iPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 13ChipA15A13A13/14A15CPU cores6-core6-core6-core6-coreGPU cores4-core4-core4-core4-coreNeural engine16-core8-core8/16-core16-coreStorage64-256GB64 or 128GB64-128GB/64-256GB64-512GB
As far as what to expect with the A15-equipped iPhone SE 3, Apple says it offers 1.2x faster graphics performance than the iPhone SE 2 and has 1.8 times faster CPU performance over the iPhone 8 (A11 chip).
In real-world use, having the A15 inside the iPhone SE 3 means apps will load fast and run smoothly. And, as we’ll cover more below, the new chip enables features like Apple’s computational photography and improved battery life.Design and display
The iPhone SE 3 keeps the same 4.7-inch design of the SE 2 and iPhone 8, which Apple calls “pocket friendly” and “made to last.”
That includes glass on the front and back – not the extra-durable Ceramic Shield found on the face of the iPhone 12 and 13 – but what Apple says is still “the toughest glass in a smartphone.”
DesigniPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 13Aluminum chassis✅✅✅✅Glass front and back✅✅✅✅Ceramic Shield front❌❌❌/✅✅All-screen design❌❌✅✅Home button✅✅❌❌Water resistanceUp to 1 meterUp to 1 meterUp to 2/6 metersUp to 6 meters
As far as the overall dimensions, the iPhone SE 3 is the same as the SE 2:
5.45 inches tall (138.4 mm)
2.65 inches wide (67.3 mm)
0.29 inches thick (7.3 mm)
5.09 ounces (144 grams) – actually 4 grams lighter than SE 2
Of course, one of the big cost-saving measures with the iPhone SE 3 is that it uses the same LCD display design as the SE 2 and iPhone 8. That means large top and bottom bezels instead of the modern all-screen design + OLED display of the iPhone 11, 12, and 13.
DisplayiPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 13Display size4.7″4.7″6.1″6.1″Display typeLCDLCDLCD/OLEDOLEDResolution1334 x 7501334 x 7501792 x 828/2532 x 11702532 x 1170PPI326326326/460460True Tone✅✅✅✅P3 wide color✅✅✅✅Haptic touch✅✅✅✅Brightness (nits)625625625/625-1200800-1200
Other display differences include a bit lower pixels per inch (PPI) and brightness than the iPhone 12 and 13. However, the iPhone SE 3 matches the iPhone 11 with both of those specs.Battery life
With iPhone SE 3, you get two hours more for video playback and 10 hours more for audio than the SE 2. Apple says that’s thanks to the A15 chip, its latest battery chemistry, and internal design changes.
That puts SE 3 battery life on par with the iPhone 12 mini but still below the other modern iPhones.
Note: Battery estimates from Apple feature the “up to” qualifier on all of its specs pages.
Battery lifeiPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 13Video playback15 hours13 hours17 hours19 hoursStreaming video10 hours8 hours10/11 hours15 hoursAudio playback50 hours40 hours65 hours75 hours
Like other iPhones, the SE 3 offers fast charging, so a 20W+ power adapter will give you a 50% charge in 30 minutes.Connectivity
This is where more of the trade-offs become clear with the new iPhone SE. You’re giving up MagSafe that’s available on iPhone 12 and 13 as well as Face ID and ultra wideband support that comes on iPhone 11 and later.
One more limitation is that the 5G connectivity on the iPhone SE 3 doesn’t include support for mmWave (the fastest, but most rare flavor) and instead sticks with Sub-6GHz 5G. That’s not likely an issue in real-world use since Sub-6GHz 5G is the most common, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.
ConnectivityiPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 13Touch ID✅✅❌❌Face ID❌❌✅✅Lightning port✅✅✅✅MagSafe❌❌❌/✅✅Wireless charging✅✅✅✅5G✅ (but no mmWave)❌❌/✅✅Ultra wideband❌❌✅✅WiFi 6 (802.11ax)✅✅✅✅Dual SIM✅✅✅✅Cameras
iPhone SE 3 gets some nice upgrades for the main rear camera including Deep Fusion (first arrived with iPhone 11), Smart HDR 4 for photos, and Photographic Styles (launched with iPhone 13).
However, you’re still missing out on features like 2x optical zoom out and Night mode available with the iPhone 11 and later.
Rear camera(s)iPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 13Wide 12MP camera✅ (f/1.8 aperture)✅ (f/1.8 aperture)✅ (f/1.8/f/1.6)✅ (f/1.6)Ultra wide 12MP camera❌❌✅✅Night mode❌❌✅✅Deep Fusion✅❌✅✅Optical image stabilization (OIS)✅✅✅–Sensor-shift OIS❌❌❌✅2x optical zoom out❌❌✅✅True Tone flash✅✅✅✅Portrait mode✅✅✅✅Portrait Lighting✅✅✅✅Smart HDR 4 for photos✅❌❌✅Photographic Styles✅❌❌✅
When it comes to video recording, here’s how features compare:
Rear camera(s) videoiPhone SE 3iPhone SE 2iPhone 11/12iPhone 134K recording✅✅✅✅1080p recording✅✅✅✅Cinematic mode❌❌❌✅HDR video recording❌❌❌/✅✅OIS for video✅✅✅–Sensor-shift OIS for video❌❌❌✅Audio zoom❌❌✅✅Slo-mo✅✅✅✅Time-lapse✅✅✅✅Night mode Time-lapse❌❌❌✅Stereo recording✅✅✅✅
For the front camera, the iPhone SE 3 sticks with a 7MP FaceTime HD camera that offers:
Smart HDR 4
Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting
1080p video recording with cinematic stabilization
A few features you miss out on with the SE 3 front camera compared to iPhone 11 and newer are 4K video recording, Animoji and Memoji support, and a 12MP lens.SE 3 colors, storage, and price
With a minor tweak to the SE 2 colors, the SE 3 comes in midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED. And the starting price increased by $30 over the SE 2 with the SE 3 starting from $429 (orders start March 11).
64GB$429128GB$479256GB$579What’s in the box?
Keep in mind the only thing you get in the box is the iPhone SE 3 and a USB-C to Lightning cable.
If you need one, Apple sells its 20W USB-C power adapter for $19 but you can pick up more compact options like Anker’s PowerPort III for less.iPhone SE 3 vs. SE 2, iPhone 11 wrap-up
If you’re looking to spend $500 or less on a new iPhone that will last for years to come, the SE 3 is a compelling option with the latest processor from Apple, improved battery life, a compact design, and some nice camera improvements.
iPhone SE 3 goes up for pre-order on March 11 with deliveries starting from March 18.
For comparisons on iPhone 12, 13, and 13 Pro, check out our detailed guides:
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Apple always produces killer products. Though this practice has damaged its business (people have now lengthened the upgrade time of iPhone), Apple continues to manufacture high-quality software and hardware. One of its first successes came with the iPhone 5s; it is hard to believe that many loyal consumers still use the iPhone 5s. For such users, accessory makers keep launching protective cases and other essential accessories. If you own an iPhone 5s, 5, or iPhone SE, you can use one of the cases listed below.
SHIELDON’ iPhone cases are known for their signature simplicity. Without adding any glitter to its products, SHIELDON crafts amazing accessories for your iPhone. This leather wallet case is a quintessence of SHIELDON’s craftsmanship, which is evident from stitches and SHIELDON’ logo embossed on the front.
Magnetic closure does not lose its strength for a long time and protects your iPhone months after months. The soft TPU is undetachable; this makes your phone’s installation easy. Though you might feel discomfort when you have to take photos and shoot videos with your iPhone.
There are large cut-outs on the case for quick access to your phone’s features and ports. A 0.8mm raised lip protects your phone’s screen.
OtterBox cases are synonymous with strength. Even as the case flaunts some style, OtterBox never fails to add sturdiness to its case. This case is taken from OtterBox’s famous Symmetry series, which includes elegant and pocket-friendly cases that can endure drops and dents. OtterBox has used dual-material construction, which can absorb shocks.
One of the glaring features of Symmetry series OtterBox case is an easy installation, which allows you to use your device immediately after you unpack the case. For your peace of mind, OtterBox has performed more than 24 tests on this case for over 238 hours.
While making a case for an iPhone, it is quite difficult to strike a perfect balance between style and protection. For engineers, it is a challenge to pay equal attention to both the features. CellEver, however, has done it without any effort. This iPhone 5s/SE case is the best example of a successful blend of style and strength.
Polycarbonate and TPU form two layers of protection for your iPhone. Lip of this case is raised to guard the touch screen. CellEver offers you a single case in seven vibrant colors: black, pink, purple, red, navy blue, slate, and mint.
FOGEEK has used environmentally friendly durable material; its PC and TPU form a solid inner shell and soft outer cover. This case can sustain multiple injuries like accidental drops and shocks. Moreover, it protects your device against dust.
God is in the details! Trianium believes in this adage and therefore, it has created a meticulous design of an iPhone case. Trianium pays utmost attention to your iPhone’s touchscreen. It adds a slightly raised rim around the screen to protect your phone screen from scratches and debris.
Trianium’s two-toned color design elevates style element of this case, which is available in gold, grey, and silver colors. When you drop your phone, back and corners are more likely to get damaged. For this reason, Trianium adds metal back plates to protect your device.
Before buying a transparent case for their iPhones, customers are wary of yellowing of the case. JETech knows this and hence, it has used high-quality PC and TPU materials. This ultra-transparent case can resist UV and prevents the case from turning yellow.
Look at the thickened corners, which effectively absorb shocks and protects your iPhone from scratches. Raised bezels safeguard your phone’s screen and camera. You can quickly access all the features and controls on your iPhone.
Flowers, fragrance, and festoon! This is LUOLNH’s case for your iPhone. This slim case boasts a floral pattern on a flexible TPU back cover. This ultra-clear bumper case not only protects your device but also showcases the original color and beauty of your iPhone.
LUOLNH’s TPU frame is sturdy enough to protect your phone against shocks, scratches, bumps, and dings. Enjoy quick access to speakers, camera, and other ports as this case is precisely cut out.
ESR has created a case that excels in bling effect, beauty element, and body physics. While TPU and PC layers are part of body physics, ESR’s color make-up layer adds beauty and bling to the case. When you are busy in showing off your style with sparkles, the case will protect your precious iPhone.
Glamorous style of this case is elevated by its slim and lightweight profile, which doesn’t add any bulk to your iPhone. For camera and screen protection, ESR offers raised camera and screen lips.
FYY’s iPhone cases are packed with an element of surprise. This case is made for your small-sized iPhone. The material, style, and design of FYY case highlight feminine grace. Needless to say that FYY cases are exclusively for women and girls. This rose gold folio case is equipped with dedicated card slots to store your credit/debit cards.
Under the card slots, FYY provides a pocket to put currency notes. This case can smartly replace your stylish clutch, which may not carry your iPhone. Adjust the upper fold of this case and you can convert this wallet case into a kickstand. Next, watch your favorite videos, movies, and photos.
Hope you have got enough reasons here to protect and stylize your iPhone 5s or iPhone SE. This list is a potpourri of iPhone cases to select the best one for your device.
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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.
Almost all the features of the iPhone SE are similar to the iPhone 6s, apart from display size and 3D Touch. That means the screen on iPhone SE is strong enough to take the impacts of normal falls and bumps. But why would you take chances? Why not buy from one of the best glass screen protectors for it? To help you with the new purchase, we have listed some of the best glass screen protectors available in the market for iPhone SE. Just have a look and make your choice.
Maxboost claims to be the thinnest glass protector in the world, which is impressive. The thickness of the glass protector is merely 0.2mm, which is almost invisible.
The glass protector protects your screen from oil, dust, dirt, scratch, and also if the device is fallen from a standard height. Last but not the least; the protector is 99% touchscreen accurate.
iATO has precisely crafted this iPhone SE glass screen protector with laser-cut dimensions, which provide maximum protection for the entire touchscreen of your phone. You will appreciate its scratch protection and HD retina clarity.
Since iATO’s screen guard boasts 9H hardness, it can easily protect your phone from scratches. This completely transparent glass has an oleophobic coating to prevent smudges.
Ordinary screen protectors lose the capacity to respond. This is not the case with JETech glass screen protectors for your iPhone SE. This screen guard retains its responsiveness for a long time and gives you crystal clear view no matter where you are.
Even after continuous touches, JETech’s film doesn’t attract oil or sweat residue. The oleophobic coating removes fingerprints, smudges, and smears.
UPPERCASE glass screen protector has a hardness of 9H, which is little less than the hardness of the diamond at 10H. With that said, you can rest assured that your iPhone SE screen will remain untouched in case it falls from your hand.
In addition, the glass protector uses adhesive, which is bubble proof so that it will be an easy installation. The price is also quite budget friendly.
5. Tech Armor
Tech Armor is a popular name in screen protection of smartphones. For your iPhone SE, Tech Armor has crafted a robust screen guard from ballistic glass, which looks amazing and protects your phone’s screen from scratches and high impact drops.
The brand approves only the premium material, and expert design before the screen guard goes into manufacturing. And therefore, you get the best guard even if you randomly pick up any protector from an online or offline store.
The glass screen protector is three times stronger than ordinary film; it has 9H hardness and 99.99% HD clarity, which give you first touch experience. Hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings ensure that there is no oil and sweat residue on the screen.
That’s all folks!
A high-quality screen protector should be the first thing you should buy once you have your iPhone in your hands. If you love your iPhone as your body, you should treat your phone’s touchscreen as the most sensitive organ, which requires constant protection.
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Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.
A travel kit without a car charger seems incomplete, especially when you are dealing with a long drive and badly need your iPhone to not only entertain you with music but also show you the way using navigation apps like Google Maps. Whether you are a frequent traveler or go for a long-drive only once in a while, you need to have a car charger. Just in case you aren’t familiar with modern car chargers, you have both wired and wireless options. Some of them even double up as a super handy car mount. That means, you can use them to not only power up your smartphone wirelessly but also hold your device steadily for a much-improved hands-free usage on the drive. If these features appeal to your needs, head over the jump to explore the best iPhone SE 2023 car chargers.Best iPhone SE 2 Car Chargers
Wondering which car charger can be right for your needs? Well, if you prefer to have an ultra-portable charger with fast charging speed (24W / 4.8A output), go for the traditional car chargers. But if you have already embraced a life beyond a wired connection, pick out a Qi wireless car charger for your new iPhone SE. Thanks to the smart clamping design and 360° rotation, a wireless car charger can also work pretty well as a car mount for your smartphone. It’s worth noting that these chargers also support all Lightning-equipped/Qi wireless charging compatible iPhones including iPhone 11 Series. So, you can get them for other devices as well. Now that you know what’s coming, let’s get started!1. Anker PowerDrive 2
When it comes to producing top-notch charging accessories for smartphones, Anker is among the best in the business. So, its PowerDrive deserves a shot right at the top of this lineup. The combination of PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology enables this car charger to deliver an optimized charging solution. And the ability to charge devices with up to 4.8 amps or 2.4 amps per port makes it a trusted bet for on-the-drive charging. That’s not all, this 24W dual USB iPhone SE 2023 car charger also comes with a MultiProtect safety system to prevent hazards like overcharging and shortcircuit from damaging your iPhone.
If there is a car charger that can safely take away the crown of being the best of both worlds: top-quality and cheapest price ($6.99), it has to be none other than RAVPower. The ultra-compact design coupled with a dual USB port (2.4a output each port) makes it a fairly good companion for on-the-go charging. Apart from charging the iPhone at a good speed, RAVPower is also up to the mark in putting dangers like overheating at bay. And when you take the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy body with a scratch-resistant finish into account, it seems to be really hard to beat.
Buy from Amazon: $6.993. AmazonBasics
Buy from Amazon: $15.494. iOttie Easy One Touch
Just in case you are looking for a life beyond wired charging, iOttie’s wireless charger-cum-mount could be a better pick for you. It comes with a super easy one-touch lock and release mechanism that lets you install and remove the iPhone with ease. With the Qi wireless charging support, it can securely power up your iPhone. As for the car mount functionality, it features a strong suction cup and the telescopic arm that extends from 4.9″ to 8.3″. Since it also pivots on 225° arc, you will get multiple viewing angles. Considering these specs, iOttie is one of the best wireless car chargers for iPhone SE 2023.5. Maxboost
Sporting an incredibly small form-factor, Maxboost can easily appeal to those who prefer to have a minimalist design. But just in case you think that this car charger may not be competent enough in terms of charging, let me tell you that it delivers 24W / 4.8A output which is sufficient for charging your iPhone SE efficiently. Moreover, the double-injected frame fortified by the use of a rugged PC inner layer and shock-resistant TPU exterior strengthens the casing. Even better, it also comes with an intelligent circuit design to fight out overheating and overcurrent.
Buy from Amazon: $7.996. CTYBB
Another wireless car charger that has caught my attention is from CTYBB. It has rugged construction and features one-button auto clamping technology which allows pretty comfortable one-hand operation. Thanks to the secure locking mechanism, it keeps the smartphone perfectly in place. As for wireless charging, it works as expected. But unlike most wireless car chargers, it works even with rugged cases (up to 0.27-inch) to ensure there is no need to remove the case before charging the device. Better still, the 360° ball joint offers multiple viewing angles so that you have much-improved viewing angles.
Buy from Amazon: $29.997. Czznn
For a fast and secure charging solution on the drive, you can’t go wrong with Czznn. The car charger features a compact yet durable construction so that you can comfortably carry it anywhere. The strong Lightning cable coupled with two USB ports ensure you can power up (24W/5V 4.8A) multiple devices at one go. Furthermore, Czznn also features the essential built-in safeguards to keep threats like overcharging and overheating away. Priced at $11, it’s also among the cheap car chargers for iPhone SE 2.
Buy from Amazon: $10.998. Syncwire
Buy from Amazon: $17.499. POWLAKEN
Should you wish to get a reasonably good yet cheap wireless car charger (10W) for your new iPhone SE, give serious consideration to this offering from Powlaken. One of the highlights of this car charger-cum-phone holder is the smart automatic sensor design. That means, installing and removing your iPhone will be a breeze. Being case-friendly, it also allows your iPhone SE 2023 to charge even with a case on (except rugged covers). Add to that the robust suction cup and the 360° rotation and it becomes a fully-featured on-the-go charger for your smartphone.
Buy from Amazon: $26.9910. TIKALONG
Buy from Amazon: $12.97Choose the Top Car Chargers for New iPhone SE 2023
Having explored the highly-rated car chargers including the ones that support Qi wireless charging and also double up as car mounts, I hope your needs have found the right charger. But before you go, don’t forget to check out our articles on best iPhone SE 2 cases and screen protectors. And yes, also let me know the names of the car chargers that deserve to get a mention in this roundup.
myself included) singled out the outdated design and clunky display as cause for concern.
Fortunately, Samsung is here to show Apple how it’s done. Today the company unveiled new models in its affordable Galaxy A-series range, including the A53 5G which, at £399/$449, is a close competitor to Apple’s £419/$429 iPhone SE.
In a sense, this is nothing new. Set the Galaxy A53 5G against last year’s A52 5G and you won’t notice too many differences. The design has been tweaked to make the phone a little thinner and incorporate a curved camera module that’s reminiscent of the much more expensive Oppo Find X5 Pro.
That camera itself not only offers an ultrawide lens, but also includes optical image stabilisation (OIS) for the main lens, which means that the A53 could be a pretty capable night-time camera. With the iPhone SE lacking any form of night mode, the camera comparison doesn’t even feel like a fair fight.
The A53 has a 6.5in, 120Hz AMOLED display with an FHD+ resolution. That beats the SE’s screen on every possible metric, but thanks to a slim bezel the phone itself is only a little larger than Apple’s offering.
There’s an upgraded chipset here, in the form of Samsung‘s own Exynos 1280. Since it’s making its debut in these new A-series phones, and the fact that I’ve only used the phone for 15 minutes, we don’t know too much its capabilities. But it’s unlikely to be a match for the iPhone SE’s A15 Bionic, the same chip used in the iPhone 13 series, and certainly the big attraction there.
Samsung has fitted a bigger battery than the A52 had. A 5000mAh cell promises two days of usage out of the A53 – far beyond the paltry 15 hours of video playback that Apple promises in its new SE. The 25W charging is a hair faster than Apple’s 20W speeds, though Samsung hasn’t squeezed in the wireless charging that Apple made space for.
At this point Apple’s defenders are likely to point to the ace up the company’s sleeve: software support. Apple can’t be matched here – while it doesn’t promise specific support periods for its devices, it’s telling that the latest iOS 15.4 can be installed on the original iPhone SE, which launched back in March 2023 – not to mention the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus from a few months before that.
But Samsung is encroaching on Cupertino territory even here. Earlier this year it announced that its flagship devices, including the recent S22 series, would receive up to four years of Android version updates, with a fifth year of security patches – a promise that even Google can’t beat right now.
The company is doing one better though, extending that same promise to the A53 and even the £329 Galaxy A33. That means these phones will receive updates to Android 13, 14, 15, and – in theory – 16. They’ll still be receiving security patches in 2027.
So, yeah, if you want to keep using the same phone for six years or more then Apple is still the way to go. But if you think four or five years is long enough to stick with the same hardware, then Samsung’s offering is now just as good.
The curious thing about setting the Galaxy A53 and iPhone SE side by side is that the SE’s only real wins are its more powerful processor and wireless charging support. But when you ask who the SE is for, perhaps the most common reply is that it’s for older users, those reluctant to give up the Home Button and learn new ways to use their phone.
But does your grandma really need the fastest silicon in any smartphone right now? Does your grandad have Qi chargers dotted around the house to top up wirelessly? Wouldn’t they benefit more from a larger, higher resolution display that’s easier to read? You know, like the one in the A53 – or basically any affordable Android phone on the market.
By playing to Apple’s strengths – waterproofing, software support, camera features – Samsung has proven that it’s possible to offer all these features in an affordable phone without compromising on the design and display.
Just nine days after its launch, Samsung has delivered the final nail in the coffin for the iPhone SE 2023, hammering home the fact that it’s a phone that only an Apple obsessive could love.
The iPhone SE (hands-on), which is quickly approaching its third anniversary, was an amazing phone when it was released. It gave us a device with the timeless design of the iPhone 5s, with modern specs borrowed from the iPhone 6s.
With the news that Apple recently sold out of a clearance allotment of the iPhone SE, it got me really thinking about the device again. Are people crazy for buying a nearly three-year-old budget-minded iPhone in 2023? Watch our hands-on video as I revisit the iPhone SE, breaking down its current strengths and weaknesses.iPhone SE features that still stand out today Timeless design
In my opinion, the iPhone 5-era design, with squared-off, instead of rounded sides, and refined chamfered edges, represents the pinnacle of Apple design for its phones.
The iPhone SE also lacks a camera bump, which became an iPhone design staple beginning with the iPhone 6. The lack of a camera bump allows for a completely smooth and cohesive back cover, lending to the device’s overall beauty.
It’s such a timeless design that the iPad Pro adopted a similar look, albeit with a camera bump, for its latest refresh. Needless to say, I’d love to see a modern take on this design for the iPhone.Video walkthrough
Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube now for future videosForm-factor
In an era of unwieldy phones, Apple bucked trends with the iPhone SE, jamming modern (at the time) features into a small, easy-to-handle form-factor. Apple realized in 2023, what it seems to have forgotten in the years that followed: not everyone needs or even likes huge phones like the iPhone XS Max.
Featuring a mere 4-inch display, the iPhone SE easily fits in the hand or inside of a pocket or purse. In other words, this phone is super low key, which is something I can definitely appreciate as a current iPhone XS Max user.Speed
With the release of iOS 12, performance on Apple hardware improved across the board, making older phones like the iPhone SE feel faster than before. The iPhone SE, with its Apple A9 system on a chip and 2GB of RAM, still works well today. Remember, this is basically an iPhone 6s crammed into the body of an iPhone 5s.Touch ID
The iPhone SE comes bundled with Touch ID, which quite a few people still have an affinity for. In 2023, all of Apple’s new iPhone releases featured Face ID instead of Touch ID. Even though the iPhone SE comes with a first-generation Touch ID sensor, I find that it’s still good enough to provide a seamless experience.Headphone jack
The iPhone SE was released in the spring of 2023, a few months before the iPhone 7 was released without a headphone jack. The iPhone SE was the last iPhone that Apple released with a headphone jack in tow, which by itself puts it on hallowed ground for some.12-megapixel rear-facing camera
Using the same 12-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture from the iPhone 6s, the rear-facing camera inside the iPhone SE is surprisingly good, and still holds up relatively well to this day. Not only does it take great photos, but it can also take Live Photos like the iPhone 6s and newer devices.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the camera found in the iPhone SE can take 4K video at 30 frames per second. Entry-level SE models only came with 16GB of storage, and because 4K video takes up so much space, this feature is often overlooked.Battery life
Looking at the specs, battery life for the iPhone SE is surprisingly decent when compared to modern iPhones. The iPhone SE boasts 13 hours of internet usage on LTE, and 13 hours of video playback. To put that into perspective, the iPhone XS, feature 12 hours of internet use and 14 hours of video playback. Granted, when considering other factors, like talk time (14 hours vs 20 hours), the iPhone XS begins fares better.Price
Should you have paid $249 in order to purchase an iPhone SE during Apple clearance sale? Nostalgia may have tempted you, but you’d be wise to consider some of the more inferior aspects about the iPhone SE prior to taking the plunge.
As an iPhone XS Max user, going back to the iPhone SE for the last week has been very interesting. It’s been a great experience as far as portability and hand comfort is concerned, two huge factors to be sure, but this phone leaves a lot to be desired in 2023.Watch our original iPhone SE hands-on from 2023
Subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube nowThe iPhone SE was great, but let’s be honest, modern iPhones have… Better, larger displays
It’s not just that the displays on recent iPhone are so much bigger when compared to the 4-inch display on the iPhone SE, it’s that modern iPhone displays are so much better. The massive 6.5-inch display on the iPhone XS Max definitely stands out, but it’s the quality of said display — the resolution, contrast ratio, viewing angles, and wide color support — that makes it really special.
Screen real estate is obviously a huge differentiating factor as well – the iPhone XR and XS Max for instance, provide massive upgrades in space on screen. As a result, users have access to more rows of icons on the Home screen, larger videos, and more text on screen when reading the web, books, and messages.Better cameras
Apple’s latest iPhones also feature 12MP wide angle rear cameras, but with significantly faster f/1.8 apertures, and faster sensors.
Although the iPhone XR lacks the dual rear camera array, all of Apple’s recent smartphone releases have excellent cameras with features simply not available on the iPhone SE. Even the budget-minded iPhone XR, with its single rear camera lens, has larger pixels, and features like Portrait mode for depth control on the fly or in post. There are also niceties like 4K60 video, and 1080p 240 fps slow motion.
The front-facing camera, which was downright laughable on the iPhone SE, is also a huge improvement on modern iPhones. Not only is the TrueDepth front-facing camera on recent iPhones capable of Face ID biometric authentication, but it’s also a 7-megapixel shooter capable of capturing 1080p video up to 60fps. That’s a noteworthy upgrade over the paltry 1.2 megapixel camera migrated from 2013’s iPhone 5s to the iPhone SE.Better speakers
iPhone SE speaker output pales in comparison to newer iPhonesGesture controls 3D Touch
3D Touch debuted on the iPhone 6s, which is sort of ironic when you consider that the iPhone SE is essentially an iPhone 6s in an iPhone 5s body. At any rate, 3D Touch, which relies on special pressure-sensitive components, wasn’t included with the iPhone SE.
Unfortunately, 3D Touch wasn’t included on Apple’s so-called budget flagship, the iPhone XR, which has no-doubt lead to rumors suggesting that Apple may be looking to abandon the feature in the future.Face ID
I was skeptical at first about Face ID, but after having it for a year with the iPhone X, and after enjoying the upgraded version on the iPhone XS Max, I’m firmly convinced that it’s a better biometric solution than Touch ID. Touch ID had its time and place, but it feels a bit old when compared to Face ID, which doesn’t require the user to do anything other than look at their phone for it to unlock and authenticate within apps.More charging options
After going without wireless charging for numerous iPhone generations, Apple finally jumped on board with the Qi wireless charging standard with the release of the iPhone X. The iPhone also gained access to faster USB-PD charging at the same time. During my revisit with the iPhone SE, this was one of the most glaring differences, as I’m used to sitting my iPhone on various wireless chargers around the house and in the car.
No wireless charging on iPhone SETap to wake
One of the features that I ended up missing most during my time with the iPhone SE was tap to wake. The feature, which debuted with Apple’s first OLED phone, the iPhone X, is a convenient way to wake up your iPhone by simply tapping the screen. The iPhone SE, on the other hand, requires that the user press the physical Home button or Sleep button to wake up the phone.
No tap-to-wake on iPhone SE, only raise-to-wakePowerful hardware
The iPhone XS, with its 6-core Apple A12 Bionic chip is in a whole different league as far as performance is concerned. But for someone who is okay with using an iPhone SE in 2023, it’s likely that performance isn’t as big of a priority as other factors on this list.
As you might expect, graphics are much improved as well, with a 4-core Apple-designed GPU with Metal 2 support. There’s also the 8-core Neural Engine for on-device machine learning, and an an enhanced image signal processor that allows for things like Portrait mode and Smart HDR for increased dynamic range in photos.Should Apple make a modern iPhone SE?
With everything that we’ve discussed in this post, it brings about one obvious question: Should Apple release a modern take on the iPhone SE? Personally, I think all of its future phones should adopt design language similar to the SE, but I also think it’s a good idea to release a smaller budget iPhone inspired by the highly-adored iPhone SE.
Imagine an all-screen nearly bezel-free design with iPhone 5s-era design cues. That alone would allow a new iPhone SE to have far greater on screen real estate, while retaining a similar physical footprint.
Now imagine for a second, a camera similar to the iPhone XR, a faster A12 Bionic chip, an OLED display, and features like Face ID and tap to wake. That sounds like an iPhone that would be insanely popular to those who dislike large phones.
The original iPhone SE was a great phone, no doubt, but it’s a phone that’s lacking a lot in 2023. If form-factor trumps everything else, then its an obvious choice, but if other factors weigh in on your opinion, I think it would be hard to justify purchase an iPhone SE in 2023, even at $249.
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