At its long-awaited Peek performance event, Apple unveiled the iPhone SE 3. Though the new iPhone SE has a striking similarity with the 2020 model, it has some pretty solid internal updates. From the enhanced battery life to the faster chip, the new iPhone SE has got enough power under the hood to warrant a close look. That’s why we’ve done a detailed 2020 iPhone SE vs. the 2022 iPhone SE 3 comparison to find out what’s the difference between them. So, whether you are planning to upgrade to iPhone SE 3 or are eager to discover how it compares to the previous model, this is the comparison you need to read.
Design and Display
- 2020 iPhone SE: 4.7-inch LCD with IPS technology, 1334×750 pixel resolution, 625 nits max brightness, 148 grams (5.22 ounces)
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 4.7-inch LCD with IPS technology, 1334×750 pixel resolution, 625 nits max brightness, 144 grams (5.09 ounces)
Looking at the display size, screen resolution, and maximum brightness, one can easily say that both devices have the same panels. We expected the display of the two models to look the same, but a slight improvement in the screen resolution or brightness would have been a welcome addition considering there is a two-year gap between the two models.
However, what caught our attention is that the iPhone SE 3 is slightly lighter than the 2020 iPhone SE. Apple claims that the new iPhone SE 3 comes with a more durable Ceramic Shield glass at the front and back, making it less prone to damage than its predecessor.
The iPhone SE 3 is available in three colors: Starlight, Midnight, and (PRODUCT)RED. The 2020 iPhone SE was also available in three slightly different colors: black, white, and (PRODUCT)RED.
Speaker and Microphone
- 2020 iPhone SE: Built-in stereo speaker, built-in microphone
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Built-in stereo speaker, built-in microphone
Both models stack against each other without any difference in the speaker and microphone departments.
- 2020 iPhone SE: 7.5W Qi wireless charging
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 7.5W Qi wireless charging
The lack of MagSafe support on the new iPhone SE is notable. Otherwise, its wireless charging capabilities are the same as the outgoing model.
Splash, Water, and Dust Resistance
- 2020 iPhone SE: Rated IP67 (maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Rated IP67 (maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
The new iPhone SE 3 has the same IP67 water and dust resistance rating as the 2020 model.
- 2020 iPhone SE: A13 Bionic chip
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: A15 Bionic chip
While the 2020 iPhone SE features an A13 Bionic chip, the iPhone SE 3 boasts of the lightning-fast A15 Bionic — the same chip that’s found inside the iPhone 13 series. Considering how efficient A15 is (up to 50 percent faster than rivals), you can expect the 2022 iPhone SE 3 to be more than capable of taking on resource-intensive tasks and high-octane games.
RAM and Storage
- 2020 iPhone SE: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB; 3GB RAM
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB; 4GB RAM
Apple stopped selling the 256GB model of the 2020 iPhone SE in September last year. Nonetheless, this time around, the new SE is available with up to 256GB storage and comes with the same 64GB base storage.
More importantly, it features 4GB RAM — up by 1GB from the 2020 model. That means you can trust the new budget iPhone to be more capable of handling intensive tasks, video streaming, and games.
- 2020 iPhone SE: 12MP ƒ/1.8 Wide camera, digital zoom up to 5x, OIS, six-element lens, True Tone | 7MP f/2.2 FaceTime camera
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 12MP ƒ/1.8 Wide camera, Digital zoom up to 5x, OIS, six-element lens, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, True Tone, 4K60fps video recording | 7MP f/2.2 FaceTime camera
On paper, the 2022 iPhone SE might seem to have the same rear camera setup as the 2020 model. However, it likely features a newer sensor since it supports Deep Fusion and Smart HDR 4, allowing it to capture more detailed photos.
- 2020 iPhone SE: Gigabit-class LTE with 2×2 MIMO and LAA7, Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 5G (sub-6 GHz) with 2×2 MIMO, 4G LTE Advanced with 2×2 MIMO and LAA, Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
On the connectivity front, iPhone SE 3 has the edge over the 2020 iPhone SE, mainly due to 5G support. Unlike flagship iPhone models, the iPhone SE 3 doesn’t support the fastest mmWave 5G networks. Instead, the budget iPhone is limited to the comparatively slower but more prevalent sub-6GHz 5G networks. There are other benefits as well, like capacity for larger connected devices, less interference, and more efficiency.
- 2020 iPhone SE: Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
There is no difference between the 2022 iPhone SE and the 2020 iPhone SE in terms of sensors.
Power and Battery
- 2020 iPhone SE: 1,821mAh battery, 13 hours of video playback, 40 hours of audio playback, Up to 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Bigger battery, 15 hours of video playback, 50 hours of audio playback, Up to 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher
Equipped with a comparatively bigger battery, iPhone SE 3 should make it through a day of moderate usage. The slight bump in battery capacity will be useful in daily use, but don’t expect the phone to last long when used heavily on 5G networks.
- 2020 iPhone SE: Starts from $399
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Starts from $429
Compared to the 2020 iPhone SE 2, the iPhone SE 3 is $30 more expensive. Though $429 is still a compelling price point for budget-minded customers, retaining the price tag would have been a wiser move.
Should You Buy the New iPhone SE?
Before jumping straight to the sure-fire conclusion, let’s first spot the four significant highlights of the iPhone SE 3.
- A15 Bionic
- Bigger battery
- 4GB RAM
If you already own a 2020 iPhone SE, upgrading to the 2022 iPhone SE 3 would just be an iterative upgrade. Unless you want the top-tier processor, improved battery, and 5G, the new iPhone SE doesn’t seem to be an exciting upgrade. Moreover, the $30 increase in pricing means the older yet capable models like iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 mini are not too far away.
Currently, you can get the iPhone 12 mini 64GB for less than $500. Knowing that it features an OLED screen, A14 Bionic chip, and 5G, the iPhone SE 3’s $430 price seems unjustified. Nonetheless, if you are still in love with the classic design of the iconic home button and the ultra-compact form factor, you can never go wrong with the iPhone SE 3.