At that place’s a new budget iPhone in boondocks. Styled like its predecessors, the third-gen Apple iPhone SE introduces a handful of useful upgrades – including 5G connectivity and the latest Cupertino silicon.
Starting at £419/$429 for the standard variant, it’s easily the cheapest smartphone in Apple’south current line-up. Only with an A15 processor inside, plus an improved photographic camera arrangement and meliorate battery life than before, the updated iPhone SE doesn’t skimp on specs. In fact, on some counts, information technology beats both the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 11 (the oldest full-fat iPhone that’s still officially available).
So if you’re looking for a cheap iPhone, should you opt for the iPhone SE? Or should you shell out more than for a sometime flagship? Read on to discover out which Apple handset offers better bang for buck.
- Which iPhone is all-time for you? Every bachelor Apple tree telephone compared
Budget iPhone tech specs
|iPhone SE (2022)||iPhone 12 Mini||
|Display||iv.7in LCD, 326ppi||5.4in OLED, 476ppi||vi.1in LCD, 326ppi|
|Processor||A15 Bionic||A14 Bionic||A13 Bionic|
|Cameras||12MP (rear), 7MP (front)||12+12MP (rear), 12MP (front end)||12+12MP (rear), 12MP (front)|
|Bombardment||15 hours (video)||15 hours (video)||17 hours (video)|
|Security||Bear upon ID||Confront ID||Face ID|
Toll: it’s all in tiers
As to a higher place, the Apple tree iPhone SE (2022) starts at £419/$429 for the 64GB variant. That increases to £469/$479 for 128GB of storage space, or £569/$579 if you need the largest 256GB capacity. Those numbers make the third-gen SE Apple’s virtually affordable smartphone past a articulate margin.
By comparing, the iPhone 12 Mini – a scaled-downward version of the iPhone 12 from 2020 – starts at £579/$599 for 64GB of storage space, rising to £629/$649 for 128GB, topping out at £729/$749 for 256GB.
The iPhone eleven – released in 2019 and yet bachelor to buy directly from Apple tree – slots neatly between the two handsets. The 64GB version will set you back £489/$499, while the 128GB variant comes in at £539/$549. There’s no 256GB selection.
Pattern: distinctive siblings
They might share a lineage, only in that location’s no mistaking these three devices. Each has a singled-out design philosophy.
The iPhone 12 Mini adopts the retro-futuristic look yet favoured by Apple for its current flagship devices. Aping the flat-panel chassis of the iPhone 4, it benefits from an aluminium frame and comes outfitted with a sturdy Ceramic Shield screen covering. As the Mini moniker suggests, its dimensions strike a rest between palm-filling and pocket-friendly, continuing 131.5mm tall and fronted by a notched 5.4in brandish.
Its forebear – the iPhone 11 – takes a dissimilar approach birthday. Its styling represents the ultimate evolution of Apple’due south sculpted glass concept. No flat sides here: it’s smooth, precision-milled curves all the way. Significantly taller than the Mini at 150.9mm, it features a 6.1in screen.
What well-nigh the SE? Despite the hardware updates, information technology sticks with the look of its predecessor – a expect borrowed from the iPhone 8, first seen in 2017. It’southward a shell that’s aged pretty well. There’s a certain timeless entreatment to the aluminium and glass chassis, giving the SE nostalgia value. Plus Apple has upgraded the back panel with the iPhone 13’south tougher glass.
That said, there’s no escaping that the hefty bezels to a higher place and below the SE’southward 4.7in display look distinctly dated in 2022. And considering of those bezels, the iPhone SE is actually taller than the iPhone 12 Mini past 6.9mm, despite the former’south smaller screen. A small, affordable iPhone is no bad thing, only those chunky borders look similar a articulate waste matter of precious infinite in this era of all-screen smartphones. If you want an iPhone without them, you’re looking at the 11 or 12 Mini.
The one that came before: Apple tree iPhone SE (2020) review
Display: small, medium & large
Apple’due south affordable trio offer very unlike display options. The third-gen iPhone SE serves upwards the smallest screen of the lot, with a 4.7in panel that’s unchanged since from the previous edition (or the iPhone eight). It’s ideal for those who prefer a compact display they can easily achieve a pollex across, but it’s also the clearest signal of compromise on the SE. Yes, information technology’s perfectly serviceable for everyday use. Information technology’s bright outdoors and sharp enough at 326 ppi. Merely there’s no OLED wow factor here: it’southward LCD all the way.
In contrast, the iPhone 12 Mini ships with a 5.4in OLED Super Retina XDR display, with up to 1200 nits HDR maximum effulgence. Translation? Deep blacks, vibrant colours and immersive contrast. Information technology’s as well significantly sharper at 476 ppi. That five.4in dimension makes the iPhone 12 Mini the Goldilocks option for most people, offering more screen real estate than the iPhone SE, in a packet that doesn’t dwarf your manus. It’s not actually miniature, just not really massive – only manageable.
Every bit for the iPhone 11, it occupies a slightly odd position in 2022. It ships with the biggest screen of the 3 devices, measuring in at frame-filling 6.1in. But don’t permit the Liquid Retina label fool you: the iPhone xi’southward panel is even so an LCD number. And its sharpness is identical to the SE at 326ppi. And so if size matters, this is the affordable iPhone to become for – but just the 12 Mini will requite you that crisp, succulent OLED feel.
Mini me: Apple iPhone 12 Mini review
Cameras: two confronting one
One expanse where Apple’s former flagships have the articulate upper edge is in the photographic camera department. Both the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone eleven share the same pair of 12MP rear cameras. One is a standard wide-angle snapper, the other an ultra-wide for capturing more of a given scene. They use the same front-facing sensor every bit well. The only major difference? The iPhone 12 Mini can capture Dolby Vision HDR video.
No such luck for the latest iPhone SE: it’s nevertheless equipped with the same unmarried sensor on the dorsum, which ways yous’re stuck with a unmarried focal length. That said, its 12MP f/i.8 broad-angle camera has been capturing solid snaps since it launched on the iPhone 8.
Apple has also promised improvements to “computational photography”, courtesy of the new A15 Bionic processor inside the third-gen iPhone SE. These include Smart HDR 4 for sensitive color and contrast adjustments, back up for Live Text content detection in the Camera app, plus improved noise-reduction when recording video in depression-light.
How the updated iPhone SE’south camera performs in real world conditions will have to wait for our full review. As we learnt from the previous generation of the iPhone SE, the processor has a big impact when it comes to image processing and quality. With merely a single sensor, the SE volition never exist equally versatile as the iPhone 11 or 12 Mini – nor volition information technology evangelize the same depth of field furnishings in Portrait Style. But at that place’s every take chances it will nevertheless be capable of capturing splendid images in nigh conditions.
Performance & bombardment life: close run thing
Merely every bit the concluding iPhone SE launched in 2020 with a processor borrowed from its gimmicky flagship stablemate, and then its successor comes equipped with Apple’south latest A15 Bionic processor – a chip it shares with the range-topping iPhone 13.
That gives the third-gen iPhone SE some serious performance potential. While it’s almost certain to have less RAM than the iPhone 13 (nosotros can’t be certain, because Apple tree is famously coy about retention figures), that A15 silicon inside means the cheapest iPhone in 2022 will be no slouch when it comes to multi-tasking, gaming and paradigm processing.
The A15 Bionic chip likewise puts the new SE a generation ahead of the iPhone 12 Mini, which relies on Apple tree’southward A14 processor, and two generations ahead of the iPhone 11. How big volition the ability deviation be in real terms? It’s catchy to say without a side-by-side exam, particularly when you cistron in the potential for unlike RAM values. The biggest gains from the upgraded chip will probable come in the efficiency stakes, with the A15 enervating less power from the SE’s bombardment.
Speaking of which, Apple claims that improved battery chemistry, the efficient A15 flake and “tight integration” with iOS 15 mean the upgraded cell inside the iPhone SE can now match the iPhone 12 Mini on longevity. Apple doesn’t publish mAh capacities for the cells in its smartphones, only both devices are quoted every bit good for up to 15 hours of video playback. Merely the iPhone 11 trumps that, promising 17 hours.
I for all: Apple iPhone xi review
Features & perks: saving face
One of the headline additions to the 3rd-gen iPhone SE is 5G connectivity, which allows the near affordable iPhone in 2022 to connect to the fastest mobile data networks (where bachelor). This brings information technology blindside upwardly to date with the iPhone 12 Mini, which besides features 5G connectivity. The iPhone 11 is the loser here, with no 5G.
Both the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone SE (2022) ship in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage capacities, while the iPhone 11 tops out at 128GB. All three models support both wireless and fast charging, with a compatible adapter, and all three devices run iOS 15, Apple’s latest software version.
Equally the presence of a Dwelling house button suggests, the updated iPhone SE still relies on Touch ID for security. In that location’south no support for Face ID – so you’ll need your fingerprint ready to unlock information technology. Cynical upselling or a clever toll-cut compromise? Probably a bit of both. Those who continue to relish the form factor of the iPhone 8 will probably still exist happy to use the familiar fingerprint sensor setup. And those who want a full-screen phone with Face up ID can stump upwards for the iPhone xi or iPhone 12 Mini instead.
Ranked: Every iPhone in order of greatness
Initial verdict: which cheap iPhone is better?
Spec sheets fully considered, picking between the three cheapest iPhone models in 2022 is no mean feat. The iPhone SE (2022), the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 11 are nonetheless bachelor straight from Apple tree – and the price difference betwixt their 64GB versions spans just £110. All the same each represents a distinctly different proposition for a upkeep iPhone.
The iPhone 12 Mini is very much a modern smartphone. It’due south got a full-frontal display, Confront ID, dual-camera setup, 5G connectivity and a speedy processor. And its dimensions strike a neat balance between portability and usability. It’south clearly the best pick for those happy to office with £579 (which pushes the definition of affordability by anyone’s standards).
The updated iPhone SE is a unlike breed altogether. Its throwback shell is bigger than the iPhone 12 Mini’southward, notwithstanding it features an LCD screen that’due south less vibrant and smaller by 0.7in. Only it also delivers only enough highlights to make it very tempting for the price tag: 5G, fifteen-hour battery life and Apple’due south latest A15 processor. If you’re upgrading from anything older than an iPhone X, the SE is at present an even more compelling choice for those who don’t desire to interruption the bank.
Then there’s the iPhone 11. Withal attractive, still powerful, equipped with the same cameras as the iPhone 12 Mini and benefitting from a bigger 6.1in screen (admitting an LCD one). If y’all want the total-size iPhone feel and don’t need the absolute latest in performance, this former flagship represents tempting value. The upkeep iPhone choice is yours.