Apple iPhone SE Review

The Apple iPhone SE 2022 version might be the best iPhone for you if you like cheap and old-school phones.

It stays true to the SE series design language from 2017, which is when Apple released the iPhone 8. Apple used the same design for the 2020 SE 2 and has kept it for this new phone.

For the 2020 model year, Apple took that frame and improved the CPU to an A13 Bionic, the rear camera to a 12MP wide, and added “monocular depth estimation,” which made Portrait Mode better for both the front and back cameras. The clever AI-based trick only worked on faces and not on anything else.

The iPhone SE (2022) has all the same great features as the iPhone SE (2020). The body is still thin and light, the 3.5mm audio jack is still there, and the Touch ID has not been taken away. The Liquid Retina screen has not been changed. The cameras are also the same, with a 12MP back camera and a 7MP front camera.

You’re wrong about how big the change is. The new A15 Bionic is made of the same Apple Silicon that’s in the iPhone 13 line. It’s a powerful mobile CPU that, according to Geekbench scores, is faster than even Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU.

The phone has a 4.7-inch screen and doesn’t even have a depth camera on the front. That’s a lot of power and space. It can still do anything, like record and edit 4K movies or play intense action games like Call of Duty and PUBG.

A Few Words About Operating System

The A15 is a system on a chip, which means that the graphics processing is built in. This makes the picture processing better. The iPhone SE (2022) has the same camera as the iPhone SE (1921), but it can also take timelapse photos at night, but you’ll need a tripod.

Obviously, though, this phone doesn’t have as many features as Apple’s top-of-the-line phones. The new Cinematic mode video (bokeh effect) works on all iPhone 13 phones with the A15 Bionic chip, but the new iPhone SE doesn’t have any controls for video.

Also, this new phone is missing some things. Apple has changed the way it packs its products, so the iPhone SE (2022) doesn’t come with a power adapter or wired speakers.

This makes a lot of sense from an environmental point of view. It’s too bad that the price went up $30 to $429 at the same time that Apple took these devices off the market. If you take inflation into account, though, the price might be about the same as it was two years ago. I don’t think that point will go over well everywhere.

Even though it has a more powerful CPU and 5G connection, the battery life of 12 hours is pretty good, but it’s not as good as the iPhone 13 family of phones.

It’s hard to recommend the iPhone SE 2022 when the iPhone 13 mini has a bigger, brighter, and more shapely Super Retina XDR OLED screen, another camera, Face ID, and a newer design for a little more money. For the same amount of money, you can also get some of the cheaper iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models. 

A Few Words for Apple Lovers

However, there is still something charming about the way Apple’s old iPhones look and feel. And getting all that speed and 5G for less than $500 is also pretty great.

For Apple fans, this means that the company can set the prices and choices for its iPhones without having to compete with cheaper Android phones.

This is something that the iPhone SE (2022) mostly does well. It doesn’t look any different from the last model, but it does have Apple’s newest chip and mobile connectivity technology. Whether that’s enough for you is up to you.

If you want a new iPhone that does more and costs more, though, we recommend the iPhone 13 series. It includes the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 small (though the iPhone SE always sells more minis), the iPhone 13 Pro, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

iPhone SE Full Specification

AnnouncedApril 15, 2020
First ReleaseApril 24, 2020
Dimensions138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm
Weight148 g
BuildGlass front
Glass back
Aluminum frame
SIMNano-SIM and eSIM
TypeRetina IPS LCD
Size4.7 inches (~65.4% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution750 x 1334 pixels
ProtectionIon-strengthened glass
Operating SystemiOS 13, upgradable to iOS 17.1.1
ChipsetApple A13 Bionic
GPUApple GPU (4-core graphics)
Card SlotNo
Internal64GB/ 3GB RAM
128GB/ 3GB RAM
256GB/ 3GB RAM
Single12 MP, f/1.8 (wide)
FeaturesQuad-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama
Single7 MP, f/2.2
Video1080p@30fps; gyro-EIS
LoudspeakerYes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jackNo
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Bluetooth5.0, A2DP, LE
PositioningGPS, GLONASS
USBLightning, USB 2.0
SensorsFingerprint (front-mounted)
TypeLi-Ion 1821 mAh, non-removable (6.91 Wh)
Charging18W wired, 50% in 30 min (advertised)
ColorsBlack, White, Red
ModelsA2275, A2296, A2298, iPhone12,8
DisplayContrast ratio: 1544:1 (nominal)
CameraPhoto / Video
Loudspeaker-24.1 LUFS (Very good)
Battery lifeEndurance rating 59h
iPhone SE Full Specification

Read More: Oppo A78 Review: Fast as Lightning

Key Features of iPhone SE

High-end camera features: The camera software has many of the same features as the iPhone 13, such as Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion.

performance skills: This is the fastest phone for the money because it has the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 Pro.

Very small sizes: This phone is one of the smallest and lightest ones on the market.

iPhone SE Price and Availability

  • At $429, £419, or AU$719, it’s not the cheapest iPhone ever.
  • As of March 18, 2022, you can buy a new iPhone SE.
  • In the US, UK, and Australia you can get it.

The iPhone SE (2022) costs $429, £419, or AU$719, which is more than its predecessor, but it is still Apple’s least expensive 5G phone. The iPhone 12 mini costs $599, and the iPhone 13 mini costs $699, £679, or AU$1,199.

On the other hand, it’s pretty annoying that Apple won’t stop making phones with 64GB of storage. It can take up to 4K video at 60 frames per second. Where should all of those things go? The Apple iPhone 13 line now starts at 128GB. That’s what Apple should have done in this case.

It’s even worse that the iPhone SE (2022) only comes with 256 GB of storage ($579, £569, or AU$969), but you can get a 128GB model for $479, £469, or AU$799.

At that price, you should really think about getting one of the iPhone 13 models instead of the 256GB iPhone SE.  

The old iPhone SE cost $399, £389, or AU$679, so asking a little more for a 5G phone with the newest chip isn’t too much. However, customers will notice that the box is a little smaller and lighter. Apple did the right thing by the environment, but some customers may not like that the device doesn’t come with wired speakers or a power adapter.

That’s also true for the iPhone 13 series, but iPhone users who want to save money might still be annoyed that they have to buy the devices separately.

iPhone SE Design

The iPhone SE (2022) doesn’t look good if you want everyone to know you have the newest and best phone. As with all of Apple’s cheap phones, the iPhone 8 is an old phone that has been updated on the inside.

The sides are made of rounded aluminium and the back is made of glass. The back only has one camera, and the front has a Touch ID fingerprint reader. To put it simply, the phone looks like an old iPhone.

It’s not really bad. There are some things that make the iPhone SE (2022) better than newer iPhone models. The biggest benefit is its size. Today, this is one of the smallest smartphones you can buy. Because of this, it’s very easy to use with one hand.

You won’t even notice it’s there because it’s only 7.3 mm thick and weighs 144 grams. There is no other phone like the iPhone SE on the market right now in terms of flexibility and ease of use. I also really like the curved body; it’s so much easier to hold than the iPhone 14’s straight, flat body.

Face ID

A lot of people are upset that Apple switched from Touch ID to Face ID, and using the iPhone SE (2022) makes you understand why. The fingerprint reader works well in all kinds of light and is very quick, even if your fingers are wet or oily.

Finding it is very simple; you don’t even have to look or move your hand from holding the phone. It works great and is still fun to use. But there is a catch: it has borders around it. Big and great bezels.

It’s the hardest thing about the iPhone SE (2022) for me to get used to, because the empty space above and below the screen doesn’t seem to be needed at all in 2023. Even though the screen is small, the bezels make it feel squished when typing and watching videos on this phone isn’t nearly as fun or engaging as they are on bigger phones.

There are lots of phones that don’t have big bezels, so you get used to it. But you always have the thought that you don’t have to go through with it.

You can pick from three colors: the bright Product Red, Midnight, and Starlight. The phone we reviewed is this warm golden color.

iPhone SE Display

Let’s just say that the iPhone SE (2022) isn’t the best for watching films and TV shows. The quality of this 4.7-inch LCD screen is 1344 x 750 pixels, which isn’t full HD. When watching movies and videos on this phone, you can’t help but notice the big gaps between the pixels. 

When I watched the Obi-Wan Kenobi preview on YouTube, the iPhone SE (2022) did a great job showing the warm colors of Tatooine and Ewan McGregor’s worried, grizzled face. However, the black bars above and below the action were annoying. It would make the picture bigger if I pinch-to-zoom. 

With a 6.34-inch screen, the Pixel 5a might be aimed at a different group of people, but you can’t ignore the fact that for $20 more, you can get a much bigger full HD OLED screen. 

Still, the screen on the iPhone SE (2022) did well in our tests. The screen showed 114.7% of the sRGB color space and 81.2% of the more difficult DCI-P3 color space.

That’s good, but not as good as the Pixel 5a’s 119.3% and 84.5%. On the other hand, the new iPhone SE still has a better Delta-E score for color accuracy than the Pixel 5a, with a score of 0.21 out of 0.32. 

iPhone SE Software

iOS and Apple’s environment make even the cheap iPhone SE (2022) better in a number of ways. For starters, software changes are likely to last for a few years. If you care about privacy and security, Apple says it has stricter rules on how apps can work and better data protection policies than Google and Android phone makers.

However, this comes at the cost of some features and flexibility. The newest iPhones do sometimes have annoying ad messages from Apple’s own apps. You may not need a lot of the apps that come with the phone, but you can remove almost all of them. There is no obvious advertising, bloatware, or promotional material from a third party.

iMessage, FaceTime, iCloud backups, AirPlay, and the Find My network are some of the things that matter to iPhone users who need to upgrade but still want to keep using the tools they already know how to use.

It’s great that your MacBook, iPad, Apple Watch, and/or AirPods can all work with each other. This is especially true if you use Apple Music or iTunes. For some, this will change the way they think about the value argument.

For example, Android users might be used to being able to run multiple instances of messaging apps, have a hidden space or different user profile for private data, make the user interface (UI) more personal, access the file system, and split-screen multitasking.

These are all features that iOS doesn’t have. If you’re going from an Android phone, the iPhone SE (2022) might not feel like a big step up.

iPhone SE Performance

Even though the iPhone SE looks like other iPhones, what’s inside the newest iPhone SE is very different. Apple used the same chip in the iPhone SE as it does in the iPhone 13 line: the A15 Bionic. The A16 Bionic chip is in the newer iPhone 14 models, but that doesn’t mean the A15 is slow or out of date.

It has 6 cores: 2 speed cores and 4 efficiency cores. The A15 Bionic is one of them. With 16 cores and 4 cores for the GPU, it’s also very powerful. Apple doesn’t say or print how much memory its phones have, but I know for sure that the iPhone SE has 4GB of memory. 

I don’t really like using benchmarks to figure out how well a computer, tablet, or smartphone works generally. But I was interested in how the iPhone SE’s speed stacked up against the Pixel 6 Pro with the first-generation Google Tensor processor and the iPhone 13 Pro Max since they all have the same processor.

Strong CPU

On all three, I used Geekbench 5 to test the CPU. The iPhone SE was just as good as the Pixel 6 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max when it first came out. This phone got a 932 on the single-core test and a 2,139 on the multi-core test. There were 1,741 and 4,316 scores for the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

For the same single-core and multi-core tests, the iPhone SE got scores of 1,731 and 4,466. In other words, the iPhone SE is almost twice as fast as Google’s top-of-the-line Pixel 6 Pro, which costs $899. If that doesn’t impress you, let me say it another way. The iPhone SE, which costs $429, is just as fast as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

The iPhone 14 Pro Max, on the other hand, got 1,856 on the single-core test and 5,375 on the multi-core test. However, the iPhone SE probably won’t have as fast of an engine as the latest iPhones.

The Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, got a score of 1,043 for single-core and 3,059 for multi-core. This means that the iPhone SE is still way behind Google’s second-generation Tensor chip. 

From my own experience, I can say that the iPhone SE was just as fast as my main phone at the time, the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’s clear not only when apps open quickly or when you switch between tasks, but also when you switch between camera modes, for example. 

5G Access

Having 5G access is another good thing about the A15 Bionic in the iPhone SE. To be exact, you’ll get Sub-6 5G instead of mmWave. Because AT&T hasn’t launched 5G where I live yet, I don’t know how it affects the iPhone SE’s battery life. 

Some people might be let down by the iPhone SE’s loss of mmWave, but I agree with June Wan, Staff Editor at ZDNet, that it’s not a big deal. Sure, if the iPhone SE cost twice as much. At $429, though, the lack of mmWave isn’t a big deal.

For those who don’t know, mmWave is the fastest type of 5G that’s currently available. However, it has been slowly and randomly rolled out, and you need to be very close to a tower to get it to work. Windows and even trees can get in the way.

iPhone SE Camera

There is still only one 12-megapixel wide camera on the back and a 7-megapixel camera on the front. Apple didn’t change the camera tech this year. Today’s best phones have up to four cameras with different lenses that work together, so any phone with only one camera on the back will have a hard time keeping up with shooting standards.

Since the SE doesn’t have an optical zoom lens, it relies on the processor and software to help you identify the edges and textures of your subject, which isn’t always possible. It’s not a surprise that I found weak places in the SE, especially when there wasn’t much light.

But in the end, our testers said that the quality of both still images (from the front and back cameras) and videos is “Very Good.” Since the phone is in this price range, a lot of people will be happy with the pictures it takes.

This picture shows my dog in my living room. That’s his curly hair and the different shades of peach in his coat that you can see on the phone. I took the picture pretty quickly and think it’s good enough to share on Facebook and with fans of CR.

I used the updated iPhone SE’s new Photographic Styles tool to take these two pictures of a plant on my desk. You don’t add this tint after you take the picture; you choose it before you press the shutter button.

The improved Portrait Mode on the model works the same way as the old one, but there are new style and setting choices for things like fine-tuning the blur of the background and the color tone of the subject.

iPhone SE Audio

You could get an Android phone for half the price that is better in almost every way than the SE.

At least the sound is better. At this price, Apple has included audio speakers, which isn’t often seen. They’re loud and clear, especially for the size of the phone. For the most part, you won’t buy the SE for its speakers alone, but they are good.

iPhone SE Battery life and charging

  • Good battery life
  • Normal charging with a cord (charger not included)
  • Support for wireless charging

Because phones are small, their batteries are also small. In fact, I named the 2020 iPhone SE’s short battery life as one of my main complaints about it just two years ago.

It’s good to see that Apple has changed a lot in those two years. According to the company, the SE’s battery life is two hours longer than the regular SE, but I think the difference is bigger. The last model barely lasted a day. This year’s model, on the other hand, will last a day and even a second if you don’t use it much.

That’s important because charging doesn’t look as cool. Apple says that a wired Lightning link can support up to 20W charging speeds, but keep in mind that the company no longer includes a charger with its phones.

The iPhone SE could charge up to 32% in 15 minutes and 61% in 30 minutes when I used a third-party charger. To be fair, that’s faster than Apple’s 50% promise, but it’s still slower than most of the competition. The phone will probably be able to charge overnight.

Support for wireless charging is the main thing that makes this great. At this price, that’s still almost unheard of, and this, along with the A15, is the main thing that sets the iPhone apart from its Android competitors. This is still not as good as Apple’s newest flagship charging choices because it doesn’t work with MagSafe.


  • Small and light, but very powerful
  • Touch ID really works
  • Charging without wires
  • IP67 protection from water


  • Battery life is bad
  • Screen with 60Hz
  • It’s not enough to have 64GB

Should you buy it?

For power users, yes, but don’t count on it to meet all their needs. The iPhone SE (2022) works as well and lasts as long as more expensive iPhone models. It’s also the smallest and lightest iPhone you can buy, but the screen is as small as the battery.

iPhone SE Verdict

The outside of the new iPhone SE (2022) is old, but the inside is very new. It’s more than powerful, but the small screen is a letdown. It only has one camera, but it can take great photos and movies. You might feel like you’re missing out on some of the best things about current smartphones, but you do get a glass-and-metal body, WiFi charging, and an IP rating.

It’s way too expensive to be an entry-level phone, but it works with almost all Apple services, apps, and devices. Most likely to buy it are people who want to upgrade from an iPhone 8 or earlier and want something familiar and easy to use.

In the US and many other countries, it makes sense to give this price range of 5G phones to these types of people. They can switch to a new phone without having to make many changes, and the iPhone SE (2022) should last them a long time. That’s also the reason why the old form is no longer available.