Apple iPhone SE (2022) review: Small in size, big in value

iPhone SE (2022)

MSRP $429.00

“The Apple iPhone SE (2022)’s compact design and high performance processor impresses, as does the software and its support, however the phone is let down by its battery life and storage capability.”


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Very powerful
  • Touch ID works rather well
  • Wireless charging
  • IP67 water resistance


  • Poor battery life
  • 60Hz screen
  • 64GB won’t be enough

The iPhone SE (2022) is the smallest and most cost-effective brand latest iPhone you may buy. Despite its low price and cutely anachronistic size, the SE has the identical processor inside because the far more expensive iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, making it a temptation for anyone wanting to get monetary savings but not compromise on performance.

We revisited the little iPhone after it’s been available for just a few months to see if it still meets that temporary, or if the compromises you’ll unavoidably should make put it out of contention.


When you’re someone who needs everyone around you to know that you might have the most recent and biggest phone, then the design of the iPhone SE (2022) shouldn’t be going to do you any favors. Apple’s technique for budget phones is to take an old phone — on this case, the iPhone 8 — and fill it with updated internals. The glass back and rounded aluminum sides are there, there’s only a single-camera system on the back, and it has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the front. In brief, the phone looks like an iPhone from five years ago.

The back of the Apple iPhone SE (2022).Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s not the worst thing. The iPhone SE (2022) has just a few benefits over more modern iPhone models, and essentially the most obvious is the scale. That is one in every of the smallest smartphones you may buy today, and as such, it might probably be used with one hand very easily. It slips into most pockets, and since it’s just 7.3mm thick and 144 grams, you barely notice it’s there. For portability and convenience, there’s no other phone just like the iPhone SE available today. I really like the curved chassis too; it’s just so comfortable to grip, unlike the iPhone 13’s square, flat chassis.

Many individuals lament Apple’s swap from Touch ID to Face ID technology, and using the iPhone SE (2022) reminds you why. The fingerprint sensor could be very fast and reliable, even with damp or greasy fingers, and is usable in all lighting conditions. It’s very easy to locate without looking and even adjusting your grip on the phone. It’s excellent and stays a joy to make use of. Nevertheless, its presence comes with a caveat — bezels. Great, big bezels.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) Touch ID button being used.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s the aspect of the iPhone SE (2022) I’ve found hardest to beat, because the unused space above and below the screen feels completely unnecessary in 2022. The screen’s small because it is, however the bezels make it feel constrictive when typing, and watching video is removed from the immersive, enjoyable experience it’s on a full-screen phone. You get used to it, but given there are dozens of other phones on the market which don’t have huge bezels, there’s all the time the thought that you just don’t really should put up with it in any respect.

The lineup this 12 months features three colours — the brilliant Product Red color, Midnight, and Starlight (the nice and cozy silver color you see on the phone in our review).


The iPhone SE (2022) has a 4.7-inch Retina HD screen, with a 1334 x 750 resolution and Apple’s True Tone color technology. The small size and modest resolution give it a pixel density of 326ppi, which matches the pixel density of Apple’s next most cost-effective latest iPhone, the iPhone 11. Nevertheless, it’s way down on any of essentially the most recent models, and even the iPhone 13 Mini has a much sharper 476ppi pixel density.

The Apple iPhone SE (2022) being held in a mans hand.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’ll come as no surprise that the screen feels small in the event you’re used to almost every other modern smartphone, but the standard and excellent color accuracy of the iPhone SE (2022)’s screen ensure it never looks outright bad. It’s considerably higher than screens you’ll find on many low-cost Android phones. I used to be also surprised to seek out it was great for enjoying games, when you learned to disregard the screen’s size.

The 60Hz refresh rate is maybe essentially the most disappointing aspect. Many Android phones around the identical price because the iPhone SE (2022) have a better refresh rate, leading to smoother scrolling and fewer eye fatigue. It makes a difference, and in the event you’ve been used to a better refresh rate, going back to a lower one is jarring. Nevertheless, in the event you’ve not had the pleasure of using a 90Hz or 120Hz screen, this won’t be an issue. Finally, the screen doesn’t get very vivid and struggles outside in sunlight. It’s tremendous indoors, though.

Performance and software

The iPhone SE (2022) is fast. It has Apple’s A15 Bionic chip with a six-core CPU and a four-core GPU inside, similar to the iPhone 13 Pro. It’s as snappy and responsive as you’d expect, and it makes iOS absolutely fly. You actually won’t be left wanting more speed from the small iPhone SE, and it might probably deal with all of the tasks its greater, dearer siblings can. When you’re wondering how the iPhone SE (2022)’s small screen is for enjoying games, I played Diablo Immortal extensively, and was impressed with its ability to deal with the sport’s requirements.

The Apple iPhone SE (2022)'s screen showing the browser.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple iPhone SE (2022) screen showing the keyboard.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple iPhone SE (2022)'s storage screen.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple iPhone SE (2022)'s screen.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The opposite good thing about the A15 chip is that this phone will last for years, a giant selling point for a budget phone, and it goes hand-in-hand with the superb software. The iPhone SE (2022) should receive major updates for the following 4 or five years, identical to the iPhone 13 series, which implies you’ll get many of the latest features (provided they don’t require latest hardware to work), security updates, and design changes for longer than most individuals would even consider keeping a phone.

Using iOS is a breeze. Arrange is straightforward and quick (even in the event you’re coming from an existing iPhone), the icons are all uniform and logical, there are widgets to make the multiple home screens more useful, and also you get great features like Apple Pay and iCloud. I find iOS reliable, notifications arrive as they need to, and even the pre-installed apps are perfectly adequate for most individuals — resembling the Weather app, Voice Recorder, and Apple’s Music and Podcasts apps. It’s less customizable than Android, though, must you like changing your entire look of the software regularly.

The iPhone SE (2022) connects to 5G networks, even though it doesn’t support mmWave signals. I’ve had no issues with connectivity (whether it’s Wi-Fi, 4G, or 5G), and call quality is great. The phone’s Bluetooth is robust and reliable, and it connects immediately to Apple headphones using a fast and easy system where the phone knows when a tool is nearby. It makes living with the phone very convenient, as does the software and overall performance.

Battery and storage

There’s no way around one easy fact: The iPhone SE (2022)’s battery is just too small to maintain up with the A15 Bionic chip. It’s by far the most important consideration for potential buyers. When you need the phone to last a complete day with higher than average use (meaning apps, video, games, photos, and calls, totally on 4G or 5G), then the iPhone SE (2022) isn’t going to last. Games can rob the battery of 20% in lower than an hour, and even with moderate use on Wi-Fi, don’t expect any greater than a day from the iPhone SE’s battery.

Apple iPhone SE (2020) being plugged in to charge.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You don’t get a charger within the box, and the phone supports as much as 20W wired charging. Apple says its own compatible chargers top the battery as much as 50% in half-hour, but you’re going to want as much as 75 minutes for a full charge. There may be wireless charging using the Qi standard, but no MagSafe, and wireless charging runs more slowly than the wired charging.

Space for storing can be one other major consideration. The most cost effective iPhone SE (2022) comes with 64GB of internal cupboard space, and that’s very small by modern standards. iOS takes up no less than 10GB by itself, and games like Diablo Immortal can do the identical, so it’s easy to see how quickly 64G would disappear. It’s higher to purchase one with more cupboard space, or be prepared to pay for iCloud storage in the long run and delete apps, photos, and other content usually.

I’ve also noticed when the iPhone SE (2022) is near its storage limit, the battery life suffers much more. There are really no downsides to choosing the 128GB or 256GB version, outside of the upper initial price.


The iPhone SE (2022) has a single 12-megapixel, f/1.8 wide-angle camera, complete with Apple’s Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion technology — plus optical image stabilization. You’ll be able to record at 4K resolution at as much as 60 frames per second, and there’s an option to increase the dynamic range at lower frame rates. There’s no night mode, though, and the portrait mode is restricted to adding a blurred background to photos of individuals. The selfie camera has 7MP and a portrait mode, plus 1080p video recording.

The Apple iPhone SE (2022)'s camera module.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s a superb example of what a basic smartphone camera must be, because it takes good photos in regular conditions and decent photos in low light. It doesn’t have special features like a wide-angle camera or an optical zoom, so there’s a limit to the creative fun you may have with it. Nevertheless, we’ve put the camera up against similarly priced Android phones with multiple cameras, and the iPhone SE (2022) greater than holds its own.

Smartphone camera technology and talent have moved on so much because the single-camera setup found on the iPhone 8, and while the iPhone SE (2022) is suitable for sharing photos online and taking photos on days out and on vacation, it’s not designed to compete with the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro. Provided a flexible, feature-packed camera shouldn’t be your primary requirement from a phone, it must be enough. Just don’t expect it to satisfy in case your requirements change.

Price and availability

The Apple iPhone SE (2022) is out there now through Apple’s online and retail stores and most carriers. The 64GB version costs $429, the 128GB version is $479, and the highest 256GB model is $579. There aren’t any differences between them other than the quantity of internal cupboard space.

Our take

For some, the iPhone SE (2022) is the best smartphone because it’s compact, powerful, and reasonably priced. Those are some seriously desirable qualities. Plus, once you add in Apple’s excellent construct quality, long-term software support, and what remains to be a sleek design, the little phone makes an important deal of sense.

It’s just not a phone for power users. The battery doesn’t have the stamina to match the processing power, and the camera (although acceptable) is basic. Moreover, the small screen size and 60Hz refresh rate don’t make it a multimedia superstar either. When you’re not apprehensive about these elements and select correctly with the storage capability, the iPhone SE (2022) is sweet value — and ideal for many who long for a robust phone that will be comfortably held and used with one hand.

Is there a greater alternative?

When you want an iPhone for lower than $500, the iPhone 11 remains to be sold latest by Apple for $499. It will provide you with a bigger, full-screen experience with Face ID somewhat than Touch ID. The iPhone 12 is the next move up at $599. When you are inquisitive about an iPhone with a more capable camera and a bigger screen, we recommend taking a look at the iPhone 13, however it starts at $799.

Select an Android phone, and the selection at lower than $500 is larger. We recommend the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, the Google Pixel 6a, or the Nothing Phone 1 (in the event you live in a region where it’s sold). Each gives you a bigger screen, however the processor won’t be as fast because the iPhone SE’s. Despite having more cameras, the performance of those phones may not all the time be superior.

How long will it last?

The iPhone SE (2022) is product of glass, so you could wish to use a case to guard it against drop damage. The excellent news is it has an IP67 water resistance rating, so it should survive a dunk in water for a short while, and don’t have any problem with rain or sweat.

Apple supports its phones with software updates for a few years, and the processing power contained in the iPhone SE (2022) means it’ll don’t have any problems with apps or general performance for a major length of time. It’s highly advisable to purchase a model with as much storage as you may afford, though. Do that, and the iPhone SE (2022) will happily last for 2 or three years. Just remember the design looks dated now and can look even older by that point.

Must you buy it?

Yes. The iPhone SE (2022) has the performance and lastability of dearer iPhone models, a good camera, and is the smallest, most portable iPhone you may buy.

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