At a Glance
We already loved the iPhone SE 2 (2020), so the addition of an A15 Bionic processor, upgraded camera capabilities, and the inclusion of 5G network support makes the iPhone SE 3 (2022) a solid upgrade. Not to mention that it remains the most affordable iPhone available. Go on, grab yourself a bargain.
Apple has announced its latest version of the iPhone SE, with the third generation device featuring plenty of familiar aspects that made its predecessor such a huge success. It might look the same, but there are some significant differences between the two models. Here’s our quick guide to what sets the iPhone SE 3 (2022) apart from the iPhone SE 2 (2020).
Design & Build Quality
As you can see from the images in this article, Apple has continued to use the same design on the new model as with the iPhone SE 2 (2020). In fact, aside from some minor tweaks, this is basically the identical aesthetic as the one introduced back in 2014 with the iPhone 6. Still, there’s a reason the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ exists. Yes, the top and bottom bezels on the front panel do look dated by modern standards, but if you want a Touch ID equipped phone and prefer the smaller frame afforded by the 4.7in display, then it remains a tried and tested design.
Apple has included upgraded glass on the front and back, which Apple states is the ‘toughest glass in a smartphone’, so it should survive the odd drop or two, with the IP67 waterproof rating ensuring either will be unharmed by a quick dip. Otherwise, on the outside both iPhone SE models are the same, even the colour choices haven’t really changed, although the Black, White, and (PRODUCT) Red liveries available on the old version have been replaced with Midnight (blackish), Starlight (whiteish) and (PRODUCT) Red.
Specs & Features
The two devices may share a very similar look, but under the hood you’ll find more variety, with the new model obviously being blessed with some updated features and components.
When the iPhone SE 2 (2020) arrived, it was powered by the same A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11 range. This made the device something of a proverbial pocket-rocket. Now, Apple has upgraded the brains of its latest iPhone SE to the top of the line A15 Bionic chip that’s found in the iPhone 13 range. With this new version of the silicon onboard, it should make the iPhone SE 3 (2022) even faster than the model it replaces, with Apple also stating that the more efficient silicon should also help increase battery life.
Those who enjoy gaming will be glad of the extra power offered by the A15 Bionic, that comes with a 6-core CPU for rapid number crunching. This additional grunt also unlocks features like on-device dictation. Due to the advanced features on offer with the A15 Bionic, this also means the new SE cameras get an upgrade too.
The iPhone SE 2 (2020) offers decent photographic capabilities, albeit restricted to a single 12Mp f/1.8 aperture camera. This features Optical Image Stabilisation, Smart HDR, and can use Apple’s Portrait mode technology with its range of six different studio effects. The shooter is able to capture some excellent images and record video up to 4K at 60fps with OIS.
With Apple adding the A15 Bionic silicon to the iPhone SE 3 (2022), this means that there are additional features on offer. While the hardware looks like it’s the same as on the older model (a 12Mp sensor and f/1.8 Wide camera lens), Apple refers to it as an ‘all-new camera system’. This seems to be borne out by the new capabilities, which include Smart HDR 4 that delivers better colour, contrast and skin tones. The Photographic styles feature we saw on the iPhone 13 is also now available on iPhone SE 3, giving user the chance to set preferences for live filters so you can tune photos to look the way you prefer.
Deep Fusion is another bonus, harnessing the computational powers of the A15 Bionic to improve textures, reduce noise and generally sprinkle optical fairy dust on images. Finally, there’s also the Live Text feature, which allows you to point the camera at signs, menus, and other things that include text, which your iPhone will then convert into usable data. Not a bad upgrade.
One of the most obvious new features on the iPhone SE 3 (2022) is the inclusion of 5G capabilities. While it remains questionable how much of a step forward this really is, as the rollout of the superfast networks still remains somewhat patchy, it’s definitely something that can help future proof the new device.
Otherwise, it’s the same as the older iPhone SE, with Wi-Fi 6, NFC, GPS and Bluetooth 5.
Here’s a breakdown of the specs for both devices:
| ||iPhone SE (2022)||iPhone SE (2020)|
|Display||4.7in LCD IPS Retina HD, 1334×750, 326ppi, True Tone, Wide colour (P3), 625nits||4.7in LCD IPS Retina HD, 1334×750, 326ppi, True Tone, Wide colour (P3), 625nits|
|Processor||A15 Bionic||A13 Bionic|
|Rear Camera||12Mp (f/1.8), Portrait Mode, 4K video, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Photographic modes||12Mp (f/1.8), Portrait Mode, 4K video|
|Front Camera||7Mp (f/2.2), Portrait Mode, 1080p video||7Mp (f/2.2), Portrait Mode, 1080p video|
|Video Recording||4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, OIS, Cinematic Video Stabilisation||4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, OIS, Cinematic Video Stabilisation|
|Biometric Security||Touch ID||Touch ID|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 6||Wi-Fi 6|
|LTE||5G||Gigabit LTE (4G)|
|SIM||Dual (nano and eSIM)||Dual (nano and eSim)|
|Dimensions||138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm||138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm|
|Price||£419 (64GB) £469 (128GB) £569 (256GB)||£399 (64GB) £449 (128GB)|
Price and Availability
The new iPhone SE 3 (2022) is available for pre-order from Apple from 11 March 2022, with the device going on sale on 18 March.
It comes in three storage variants, with the following prices:
- iPhone SE 3 (2022, 64GB): £419/$429/€529
- iPhone SE 3 (2022, 128GB): £469/$479/€579
- iPhone SE 3 (2022, 256GB): £569/$579/€699
The iPhone SE 2 2020 was available in the following configurations and price tiers:
- iPhone SE 2 (2020, 64GB): £399/$399
- iPhone SE 2 (2020, 128GB): £449/$449
While it’s now been replaced by the newer version, you should still find it available from retailers and network providers, with potential price drops now that it isn’t the latest model. It’s still a great phone, so well worth shopping around to see if you can pick up a bargain.
Check out our
best iPhone SE deals page to see what kind of offers are available.
The new iPhone SE 3 (2022) takes everything that people loved about its predecessor and adds some nice features on top. The upgrade to an A15 Bionic chip not only makes the new version a generally faster device, but brings with it additional capabilities for the cameras as well as the promise of improved battery life. Add to that 5G network support and a price tag that remains pretty much the same as the model it replaces, and there really is only one iPhone you need to buy. The affordable king is dead, long live the affordable king.