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Apple iPhone SE (2022) review


The Special Edition iPhone, also known as the cheapest, or retro, iPhone has been refreshed and is now available for purchase. It’s a very minor refresh to the phone of the same name from 2020, with most of the upgrades coming from the new chipset and its accompanying 5G modem.

Apple really likes recycling. It prides itself on its eco-friendly assembly line, recycled materials, PVC-free packaging, slim retail boxes, ever-shrinking e-waste footprint. But it’s also very keen to recycle the design, as the third-gen iPhone SE has the same exterior as the second-gen iPhone SE from 2020 and the iPhone 8 from as far back as 2017.

The iPhone SE (2022) also retains the 4.7-inch Retina LCD display with 60Hz refresh rate from its predecessors. That means big, chunky bezels at the top and bottom, but also a Home key and an in-display Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

What’s new in the iPhone SE (2022) is the chipset – it uses the same Apple A15 Bionic as the flagship iPhone 13 lineup. This probably makes the iPhone SE (2022) the most powerful smartphone in the world if considering its small screen with fewer pixels than any other high-end or mid-range smartphone. There’s also more RAM, now it’s 4GB, up from 3GB on the previous SE model.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

The new chipset enabled 5G connectivity, more computing power for iOS, and Deep Fusion for the front and rear cameras. However, he didn’t add night mode, possibly for reasons beyond his control.

The iPhone SE (2022) also comes with a slightly bigger battery – it’s now 2,018mAh instead of 1,821mAh. Wireless charging is available, as before and because the battery capacity is so small, it charges quite quickly even though the charging speeds supported by the phone are far from the fastest on the market.

The rest of the specs of the iPhone SE (2022) are identical to the 2020 model – there’s a 12MP OIS camera on the back and a 7MP camera on the front. You also get stereo speakers, support for Apple Pay, and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.

Here is the iPhone SE (2022) cheat sheet.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) specifications at a glance:

Body: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm, 144g; Glass front, glass back, aluminum frame; IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 minutes), Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified).
To display: 4.70-inch Retina IPS LCD, 625 nits (typ), 750 x 1334 px resolution, 16.01:9 aspect ratio, 326 ppi; wide color gamut, True-tone.
Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic (5nm): Hexa-core (2xX.XX GHz Avalanche + 4xX.XX GHz Blizzard); Apple GPU (4-core graphics).
Memory: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM; NVMe.
Operating System/Software: iOS 15.4, upgradable to iOS 15.4.1.
Rear camera: 12 MP, f/1.8 (wide), PDAF, OIS.
Front camera: 7MP, f/2.2.
Video capture: Rear camera: [email protected]/30/60fps, [email protected]/60/120/240fps, OIS, stereo sound recording; Front camera: [email protected]/120fps; gyro-EIS.
Battery: 2018mAh; 18W fast charge, 50% in 30 min (advertised), Qi wireless charging.
Various : Fingerprint reader (front mounted); NFC.

The Apple A15 Bionic is one of the most powerful chips in the world, and there’s no point associating it with such a small, low-resolution display that can’t exceed 60Hz. It’s like putting a Ferrari engine in a VW Polo. But we guess Apple needed to refresh the SE with 5G connectivity and it was just easier to use the chip it already manufactures in greater quantities.

Still, we would have preferred a larger OLED display, even at 60Hz. And MagSafe should have been present, too, in fact we were surprised not to see it on this new SE.

Apple promises 5 years of updates for the SE, just like on its premium iPhones, so that’s another possible reason why it had to use the current best chipset.

Enough teasing, let’s unbox this iPhone and get this review started.

Unboxing the iPhone SE (2022)

The Apple iPhone SE (2022) has the same casing as the flagship iPhones – meaning it’s thin, small and light and contains the iPhone and a USB-C-to-Lightning cable.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

The iPhone SE (2022) supports 20W charging, so if you already have the Apple 20W Power Adapter, or a similar USB-C PD, you should be fine.

And although Apple ditched most of the contents of the box, you still get an Apple sticker that most people immediately throw away. Not so eco-friendly, is it?