iPhone SE (2022)

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Availability

UKRRP: £419
USARRP: $429
EuropeRRP: €529
CanadaRRP: CA$579
AustraliaRRP: AU$719

High-end camera featuresMany of the camera software features from the iPhone 13 are included, like Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion

Serious performance skillsThere’s the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 Pro, making this the fastest phone at its price

Dinky dimensionsThis is one of the smallest and lightest phones around

Introduction

The iPhone SE 2022 is Apple’s most affordable 5G device, and it comes packing some of the same tech you’ll find in the far more expensive iPhone 13.

This is a phone aimed at those who are still using a previous gen’ iPhone SE, or an iPhone 8 and it offers notable upgrades on both in many areas.

With an A15 Bionic chipset, many of the camera software features that make the iPhone 13 Pro Max one of the best camera phones and handy extras like wireless charging and water resistance, the iPhone SE 2022 could be seen as a bargain.

But does an old design and cramped display hamper the experience? Let’s have a deeper look and see.

Design and Screen

One of the smallest displays on a phoneThe design will be familiar to mostThree colours: Midnight, Starlight and Product RED

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. Comfortably the most disappointing aspect of this phone is the display. At 4.7-inches it’s small and I find it very cramped when using the on-screen keyboard. I know people like smaller phones, but for me this is just one step too far.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It’s also a fairy mundane panel. There’s no OLED, no fast refresh rate for smoother scrolling and chunky bezels surround it. Watching videos on it isn’t a great experience and while it gets bright enough to combat a sunny day, there’s nothing standout about it. Other phones in this price range have OLED screens for deeper and richer colours. Many also have 90 or 120Hz tech. The screen is the biggest area where the iPhone SE 2022 could have been so much more.

The design of the iPhone SE 2022 probably needs little explanation. I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with the look of this device as its been around, in one form or another, since 2014 and the iPhone 6. That’s not far off a decade ago.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I’ll run through the good stuff first. The iPhone SE 2022 is fantastically well built and finished to the same standard as Apple’s other higher-end phones. There’s tougher glass on the front and back (no Ceramic Shield though) and handy extras like the mute toggle and an IP67 rating. Water resistance is often ditched at the price so it’s great to see it remain.

The physical home button is a quick and effective way of unlocking and there’s something reassuring about it. It feels old fashioned as I have spent so long with Apple’s more modern devices, but if you’re coming from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 8 or an older SE and you like the button then you’ll be glad it remains.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I think the size of this phone will be a pro to some and a dealbreaker for others. Next to the iPhone 13 Pro Max it looks comically tiny; dwarfed by the 6.7-inch screen on the Max model. I know many people who love smaller devices that can be comfortably held in one hand and this device is catering to them. I would still say the iPhone 13 Mini is a better overall size though, as it avoids the cramped display issues of the SE 2022.

Camera

A single rear camera and flashDeep Fusion and Smart HDR 4 added from the iPhone 13Complete lack of night mode

The single 12-megapixel camera on the back of the iPhone SE 2022 takes really nice pictures in daylight situations. In a well-lit environment, the difference between snaps taken with this and with an iPhone 13 are, when viewed on the phone screen, minimal. Along with the Pixel 4a, these are easily the two best main cameras at this price.

In terms of hardware, the iPhone SE 2022 is using basically the same sensor as the older model. Where the updates come are in the software and image processing, and these are because of the A15 Bionic chipset.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The skills of the A15 Bionic and its neural engine allow for both Deep Fusion and Smart HDR 4, two software features that really help pictures. Deep Fusion works in weaker lightning, helping to bring out more detail. Smart HDR 4 focuses on dynamic range and really helps add more pop to photos. There’s also the Photography Styles feature from the iPhone 13, which alters an image’s profile allowing for it to be cooler or more vibrant.

The big missing feature here is any sort of dedicated Night Mode. The iPhone SE 2022 shoots the same in daylight as at night and it can’t automatically jump into a dedicated mode to boost brightness. While using the iPhone SE 2022 I was at a gig and it just couldn’t handle the tough lighting conditions very well, pulling out a rather dark and lacking image. The iPhone 13, on the other hand, impresses very much in this particular area.

The 7-megapixel selfie camera is also in need of a freshen up. Snaps here are a bit dim and lacking in detail.

The lack of any secondary sensors might also put some people off. Not having a zoom (aside from the digital option) is restrictive, while the lack of an ultrawide does limit creativity somewhat.

Performance

Powered by the same A15 Bionic as the priciest iPhonesLarger battery than the previous iPhone SEUp to 256GB storage

The iPhone SE 2022’s biggest upgrades are on the inside. While the design feels tired, the internals are bleeding edge and in some ways not far off what’s powering the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

But it’s not just the benefits of speed boosts and better gaming performance having a high-end chip brings. Arguably the biggest upgrade is longevity and how long this phone will be supported. Buy the iPhone SE 2022 now, and I wouldn’t surprised to see it pick up iOS updates for five, six or seven years at least. The original iPhone SE, for example, was released in 2016 and that is still supported.

Long software support, both for security patches and new feature updates, isn’t something you’ll really find on Android phones at this price. Pick up a Motorola, Realme or Xiaomi device and you’ll be lucky to get two years of updates. I see the iPhone SE 2022 as a phone that’ll last and that could be a real reason to choose this over some of the competition.

The actual chipset used here is the A15 Bionic – the current flagship mobile chip in Apple’s arsenal and the grunt of the iPhone 13 series (the Pro models have a slightly beefier GPU). It’s the fastest mobile silicon around, outshining the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in benchmarks and flying through anything thrown at it. To have that power in a phone that not only costs less than £500/$500, but one that’s also this small is incredibly rare.

In the Geekbench 5 test – a synthetic all-around performance benchmarking tool – the iPhone SE 2022 matches the scores of the iPhone 13 Pro and beats the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Two phones that cost more than double its price.

Benchmarks don’t mean everything, and in real-world use the iPhone SE 2022 shines. The dinky display means I can’t see this being a favourite of mobile gamers, but the punch is there to easily play top titles like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 – if you wish. I have liked having the power in a small form-factor for photo editing in Lightroom too.

Apple never mentions the amount of RAM inside its phones, but the iPhone SE 2022 has an extra 1GB when compared to the older model. The 4GB at play here should again help with that longevity aspect and, of course, ensure apps stay in memory longer.

This is the cheapest Apple phone to get support for 5G thanks to the Qualcomm modem inside. Unlike the iPhone 13 series there’s no mmWave 5G, so if you’re in the USA or other locations where that even faster 5G tech is live then that’s something to note. I wouldn’t update to this phone purely for 5G, even though I am starting to notice its benefits more, but it’ll be a nice feature to have a few years down the line. Again, it all feeds into this idea the iPhone SE 2022 will last a long time.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I’ve not spent enough time with the phone to offer any final judgements on its battery life out so my full thoughts on the endurance will come in our full review. First impressions are mixed though, even if it feels like a notable upgrade over the iPhone SE 2020. There’s a physically larger battery inside and the more efficient chipset is also there to help eke more juice out.

After a few days of use I have noticed a few things about the battery life. When you’re not using the phone it barely drops at all – leaving it unplugged overnight saw a mere 2% battery drop and tasks like music streaming, browsing Safari and WhatsApp messaging all sip juice slowly. An hour of Netflix streaming took the battery down 5%, which isn’t that surprising considering the small display and comparatively low resolution. 

But this is still a meaty processor and a fairly small cell and when pushed the battery drain is visible. Gaming is a noticeable culprit, as is anything that pushes the chipset to work hard,

There’s no charger inside the box, so if you don’t have one around I would suggest investing in a USB-C plug that can charge at least 20w. At this speed, you’ll get a full charge in just over an hour. Wireless charging is much slower and there’s no MagSafe support for that extra fast wire-free charging.

Early Verdict

The iPhone SE 2022 is a strange phone. In many ways, it’s very ambitious, especially when it comes to daylight camera performance and general speed. I also appreciate that this will be a phone that’s updated through software for years to come and I really believe that’s an important skill Android devices at this price mostly ignore.

But if you’re hoping for a fresh take on the SE’s design or a larger option then you’re going to be disappointed. The screen is small and cramped in a way the iPhone 13 Mini avoids and the design just feels a bit dated.

iPhone SE 2022 specs

These are the most important iPhone SE 2022 specs, and how they compare to the other iPhones that are currently available.

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Wirless charging

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

iPhone SE 2022

£419

$429

€529

CA$579

AU$719

Apple

4.7 inches

256GB, 512GB

12MP

7MP

Yes

IP67

Yes

Yes

67.3 x 7.3 x 138.4 INCHES

144 G

iOS 15

2021

17/03/2022

1334 x 750

60 Hz

Lightning

Apple A15 Bionic

4GB

Red, Midnight, Starlight

iPhone 13

£779

$799

€809

CA$949

AU$1199

Apple

6.1 inches

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

12MP + 12MP

12MP

Yes

IP68

Yes

Yes

71.5 x 7.65 x 146.7 MM

173 G

iOS 15

2021

30/09/2021

2532 x 1170

Yes

60 Hz

Lightning

A15 Bionic

Black, Red, Pink, Blu, Starlight

iPhone 13 Mini

£679

$699

€809

CA$949

AU$1199

Apple

5.4 inches

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

12MP + 12MP

12MP

Yes

IP68

Yes

Yes

64.2 x 7.65 x 131.5 MM

140 G

iOS 15

2021

2340 x 1080

Yes

60 Hz

Lightning

A15 Bionic

Red, Starlight, Blue, Back. Pink

iPhone 13 Pro

£949

$999

€1189

CA$1399

AU$1699

Apple

6.1 mm

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

12MP + 12MP + 12MP

12MP

Yes

IP68

Yes

Yes

71.5 x 7.65 x 146.7 MM

203 G

iOS 15

2021

2532 x 1170

Yes

120 Hz

Lightning

A15 Bionic

6GB

Blue, Black, Silver, Gold

iPhone 13 Pro Max

£1049

$1099

€1259

CA$1549

AU$1849

Apple

6.7 inches

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

12MP + 12MP + 12MP

12MP

Yes

IP68

Yes

Yes

78.1 x 7.65 x 160.8 MM

238 G

iOS 15

2021

2778 x 1284

Yes

120 Hz

Lightning

A15 Bionic

6GB

Black, Gold, Blue, Silver

iPhone SE 2022 Test Data

We run phones we review through a number of tests and you’ll find the data below.

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core

1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)

30 minute gaming (intensive)

30 minute gaming (light)

1 hour music straming (online)

1 hour music streaming (offline)

Time from 0-100% charge

iPhone SE 2022

1733

4633

5 %

8 %

7 %

1 %

1 %

63 min

A ‘hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only – it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

Jargon buster

mAh
An abbreviation for milliampere-hour and a way to express the capacity of batteries, especially smaller ones in phones. In most cases the higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last but this isn’t always the case.

5G
Offering faster download and upload speeds when compared to 4G. Great for game streaming and HDR video playback. Not supported everywhere yet and speeds vary wildly.

Lightning
Apple’s port of choice for charging and data transfer. You’ll find it on the cheaper iPads and all of Apple’s phones.

LCD
The type of display usually used on cheaper and mid-range devices. Lacks the punch on an OLED panel.

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