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iPhone SE 3 v iPhone SE 2: Should you look at upgrading?

Apple has unveiled its latest affordable iPhone SE and whether you’re calling it the iPhone SE 3 or the new iPhone SE, you’re probably wanting to know how it differs from the outgoing model.

While we haven’t had the chance to properly put the new iPhone SE through its paces for one of our in-depth reviews, we do know what the big changes are and which areas of the phone they revolve around.

From the processor to the camera, here are all the big updates for the new iPhone SE 3.

Performance

The biggest upgrade for the new iPhone SE model for 2022 is the bump in performance. While the A13 Bionic chipset inside of the older iPhone SE was far from a slouch, it’ll be left in the dust by the A15 Bionic that Apple has included in the new model.

This is the same chipset you’ll find inside all the iPhone 13 models and it remains the fastest mobile chip on the market in our testing. If you’re coming from the iPhone SE 2 (or an older model for that matter) then you should notice smoother performance everywhere, from the time it takes games take to load to how long apps take to open.

The three iPhone SE models next to each other

5G and Battery Life

The benefits of the A15 Bionic are felt through more than just performance though. Apple claims the more efficient chipset (along with a few other factors, like battery design) aids battery life and considering we’re weren’t impressed with the stamina of the iPhone SE 2, that could be a huge improvement. Of course, as it looks like battery size is going to be the same we’ll need to properly test the new SE to see how obvious those improvements are.

Finally, the iPhone SE 3 packs 5G support. If you have a 5G plan and are in a supported area then you might see improved speeds for your data connection. The outgoing SE was a 4G device.

Camera

Both the new and old versions of the iPhone SE have a single 12-megapixel rear-facing camera – however, the snaps from the 2022 model should be much improved.

Apple has bolstered the sensor and added software features like Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion, both of which are improved by the A15 Bionic chipset.

We will, of course, need to properly test the camera when we get a review sample to see what the most obvious differences are.

A lot at some of the big iPhone SE specs

Design and Screen

If you were hoping the new iPhone SE would signal a huge shift in design then prepare to be disappointed. While it’s a little lighter, the overall look is virtually the same. The home button remains, as does the hefty display bezel and it comes in three fairly standard colours: red, black and white.

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Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Wirless charging
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Chipset
RAM
Colours

The display remains the same across both phones too. There’s no OLED here, just a Retina HD (1334 x 750) panel measuring a fairly minuscule 4.7-inches. Both phones feature screen benefits like True Tone for adaptive colours and coverage of the P3 colour gamut.

While both phones have an IP67 rating for some form of water resistance, only the new iPhone SE has tougher glass for extra protection against drops.

Early Verdict

While the lack of a design refresh is disappointing, there are some notable jumps here. The performance will be great – and we know this because we’ve already reviewed multiple devices with the same chipset. That improved A15 Bionic silicon should help with battery life and camera improvements too.

Trusted Take

The iPhone SE doesn’t make the same impact as a big iPhone numbered launch, however, for the audience it is aimed at this feels like a good upgrade. An updated design would have been nice though,

Max Parker

By

Deputy and mobile editor

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