Apple announced a new third-gen iPhone SE model at its Peek Performance spring event. The eagerly awaited budget smartphone comes almost two years after its predecessor, the popular second-gen iPhone SE which launched in April 2020.
In this article we reveal everything you need to know about the iPhone SE 3, from its release date, pricing and colour finishes to tech specs and design.
When will the new iPhone SE launch?
The new iPhone SE was announced on 8 March 2022, but you’ll have to wait a few more days to get your hands on the device.
SE pre-orders begin on Apple’s website today (Friday 11 March), and the device will hit shops on 18 March. Here’s where to pre-order the new iPhone SE.
iPhone SE (2022) pricing
Prices for the new SE start at £419 in the UK, and $429 in the US. As usual, prices vary according to your storage requirements, with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities to choose from:
- 64GB: £419/$429
- 128GB: £469/$479
- 256GB: £569/$579
These are solid mid-market prices that bring some of Apple’s premium features and components within reach of the average budget. But we can’t help feeling slightly disappointed. Ahead of the event rumours suggested that Apple might finally tackle the truly budget end of the market: there was talk of a sub-$300 iPhone SE to rival the cheapest Android phones.
In the event Apple didn’t manage to hit that price point, and didn’t even get under the $400 barrier that we’ve said would guarantee the company another huge hit. It will still sell well, but we can’t help thinking that Apple missed an opportunity here.
We recommend that if you are buying the iPhone SE you avoid the 64GB model, read why here: Why you shouldn’t buy the 64GB iPhone SE.
Note that there may be opportunities to buy the iPhone SE elsewhere for a lower price than Apple’s RRPs listed above. We’ll collect these in our guide to the best iPhone deals as and when they appear, but we wouldn’t expect any startling discounts for a month or two.
Design changes (or lack of change)
Design-wise, the new SE remains largely backward-looking, with the same form factor, based around a 4.7in display and Home button, as on the previous SE model.
Apple says the glass on front and back is now tougher, however – indeed “the toughest glass in a smartphone”. And it’s very slightly lighter than the previous model, intriguingly: down from 148g to 144g.
Here are some shots of the new phones to give an idea of their aesthetic vibe:
We discuss the design and why complaints that the design of the iPhone SE 3 is dated are missing the point here: iPhone SE 3: Why the ‘old’ design is modern.
As you can see above, there are three colour finishes: Midnight, Starlight and (Product)Red.
Tech specs and new features
The new iPhone SE features the same high-power A15 Bionic processor as you get in the iPhone 13-series handsets. With a six-core CPU, Apple claims this chip will make the new SE 8x faster than the iPhone 8 – a surprisingly elderly comparison point, to be fair. It also features a four-core GPU and the 16-core Neural Engine.
Battery life is improved from the previous generation: Apple claims “Up to 15 hours video playback”, compared to 13 for the second-gen SE. This doesn’t appear to reflect any changes to the battery’s size, since the chassis design appears to be unchanged; rather, it’s to do with the efficiency of the A15, improvements in the battery tech that Apple uses and the usual OS optimisations.
Finally, and as expected, the new SE gets 5G connectivity, making it by far the cheapest 5G-capable handset in Apple’s stable.
In many other respects the iPhone SE 3 is specced the same as the SE 2. It has the same screen specs (1334×750 at 326ppi) and the same camera setup (12MP on the rear with an f/1.8 wide aperture, and 7MP on the front with f/2.2).
But the inclusion of the A15 bleeds into other areas, with its capabilities enabling the camera, for instance, to offer new features despite itself being based on the same hardware. You get Smart HDR 4, Deep Fusion, Photographic Styles and slo-mo video at 1080p and 120fps, none of which were available on the SE 2.