Putting a stop to endless rumors, Apple finally unveiled iPhone SE 3 at the Peek Performance spring event on March 8. Old design aside, the new iPhone SE has the much-improved upgrades to stand out in the budget segment, if not a downright flagship killer like iPhone 13 mini. That’s why after pitting the 2022 iPhone SE 3 against the 2020 iPhone SE 2, we thought setting iPhone SE 3 vs. iPhone 13 mini for a direct faceoff would be even more exciting.
So, if you are in a fix about whether to go for the budget iPhone SE or get the modern-looking iPhone 13 mini, this detailed showdown can answer all your questions. So, let’s jump right in to help you derive a sure-fire conclusion on which smartphone can suit your needs!
Design and Display
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Aerospace-grade aluminum and glass design; Available in PRODUCT(RED), Starlight, and Midnight; 4.7-inch IPS LCD, 1334×750 pixel resolution, 625 nits max brightness, 144 grams (5.09 ounces)
- iPhone 13 mini: Ceramic Shield front, Glass back, and aluminum design; Available in Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Green; 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, 2340×1080-pixel resolution, 800 nits max brightness, 140 grams (4.94 ounces),
Design-wise, iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 13 mini are like chalk and cheese. While the iPhone SE 3 sports a retro design with an aluminum and glass design complete with thick bezels at the top and bottom and the iconic Touch ID button, the iPhone 13 mini flaunts a modern-looking Ceramic Shield front, glass back, and aluminum design with an all-screen display with the notch at the top.
iPhone SE 3 features the same old-school 4.7-inch LCD that looks outdated by today’s standard. While the rest of the world, even in the budget segment, has already embraced OLED display, the iPhone SE with a 720p display in 2022 is way behind the trend. Even if you don’t love to be on the bleeding edge of technology, you will find the LCD panel odd compared with other devices, including iPhone 13 mini.
Conversely, the iPhone 13 mini features a beautiful 5.4-inch OLED display in a smaller footprint than the iPhone SE 3 — an obvious advantage of going full-screen. Couple the high-quality Super Retina XDR technology with the 2340×1080-pixel resolution at 476ppi and 800 nits max brightness, and you’ve got a screen that’s very beautiful to look at.
The battle between iPhone 13 mini and iPhone SE 3 on the design front does not stop here. The former is 6 grams lighter. So, if a lightweight and pocket-friendly design are what you are after, the mini should be your preferred choice.
Speaker and Microphone
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Built-in stereo speaker, built-in microphone
- iPhone 13 mini: Built-in stereo speaker, built-in microphone
On iPhone SE 3, just like the iPhone SE 2, the built-in stereo speakers and microphones are located at the top and the bottom. iPhone 13 mini also features built-in stereo speakers and microphones at the top and the bottom. As for the sound quality, both iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 13 mini are evenly stacked up.
Splash, Water, and Dust Resistance
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Rated IP67 (maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
- iPhone 13 mini: Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 6 meters up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
The 2022 iPhone SE 3 is IP67 rated, whereas iPhone 13 mini boasts an IP68 rating. That means the former can survive being immersed in up to 1 meter of freshwater for 30 minutes, while the iPhone 13 mini is resistant to submersion up to a maximum depth of 6 meters for 30 minutes.
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: A15 Bionic chip
- iPhone 13 mini: A15 Bionic chip
Both iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 13 mini are packed with the same A15 Bionic chip. Hence, there shouldn’t be any performance difference between the two models. The A15 Bionic chip is a powerhouse and both iPhones can handle anything you throw at them.
RAM and Storage
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB | 4GB RAM
- iPhone 13 mini: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | 4GB RAM
iPhone 13 mini is available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacities while the new iPhone SE comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB. They pack the same 4GB RAM.
- 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 flash, 4K60fps video recording | 7MP f/2.2 FaceTime camera
- iPhone 13 mini: 12MP ƒ/1.6 Wide camera with sensor-shift OIS | 12MP ƒ/2.4 Ultra-Wide camera with 120° field of view, 2x optical zoom, Digital zoom up to 5x, True tone flash, Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (in 1080p at 30 fps), HDR video recording with Dolby Vision at up to 4K60fps | 12MP ƒ/2.2 FaceTime camera, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
Just a quick look at the camera specs, and you know that iPhone SE doesn’t stand a chance against iPhone 13 mini. With a 12MP standard camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera, and 12MP selfie camera, the iPhone 13 mini wins this battle quite comfortably. Of course, it’s an altogether different matter whether you need these powerful cameras and would rather be content with a single camera and a sub-par 7MP front camera.
- 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, NFC with reader mode
- iPhone 13 mini: 5G (sub-6 GHz and mmWave), Gigabit LTE with 4×4 MIMO and LAA, Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, Ultra-Wideband chip for spatial awareness, NFC with reader mode
iPhone SE 3 is quite close to iPhone 13 mini on the connectivity front, though the former does miss out on mmWave 5G connectivity. However, if you use AirTag, iPhone 13 mini should easily be your preferred choice, thanks to the Ultra-Wideband chip for spatial awareness.
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
- iPhone 13 mini: Face ID, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
In terms of sensors, what separates the two models is biometric authentication. It boils down to your preference between Touch ID and Face ID. When I started to dislike Face ID due to its inability to unlock iPhone when wearing a mask, Apple fixed this issue with a well-timed update. With iOS 15.4 or later, you can unlock your iPhone even when wearing a mask. So, I no longer secretly wish to return to my Touch ID days. I guess your story might not be too different.
Power and Battery
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: 15 hours of video playback, 50 hours of audio playback, 7.5W Qi wireless charging, 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher
- iPhone 13 mini: 17 hours of video playback, MagSafe wireless charging up to 15W, 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher
Even though Apple has slightly improved the battery life of the iPhone SE 3, it’s not enough. If you fail to control the power-hungry features like location services and 5G, you may often end your day with a dying battery. This is where the fast-charging capability (up to 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with a 20W adapter) will come in handy. With a much-improved battery life than its predecessor and support for MagSafe wireless charging up to 15W, iPhone 13 mini has the upper hand. Even though it’s not a battery monster, it can survive a full day of normal usage.
- 2022 iPhone SE 3: Starts from $429
- iPhone 13 mini: Starts from $699
You can get iPhone SE 3 for just $429, while the base variant of the iPhone 13 mini will set you back by $699—exactly $270 more than what you may pay for the iPhone SE 3.
Which One Should You Buy – iPhone 13 Mini or iPhone SE 3?
There are four key things you should consider in the burning question as to which one you should choose between iPhone 13 mini and iPhone SE 3.
Modern-looking design: If you are someone who loves to use the latest gadgets with appealing designs, iPhone 13 Mini should be your default choice. However, if you don’t give much importance to the design and can live with a classic yet iconic look, iPhone SE 3 can live up to your expectation.
OLED Display: Without undermining iPhone SE 3’s 4.7″ Liquid Retina Display, iPhone 13 mini with a gorgeous looking OLED display should be your go-to pick if you crave an enhanced viewing experience. However, if you are someone who needs a decent display that suffices for reading articles and media streaming without much complaint, iPhone SE 3 won’t disappoint.
Top-notch cameras: Should you need a smartphone with highly-rated cameras in the mid flagship segment, look no further than iPhone 13 mini. Nevertheless, if you are not a big camera fan and want competent cameras to capture good photos and record videos, iPhone SE 3 can get the job done. Not to mention, iPhone SE 3’s 12MP rear camera is top-notch and can comfortably crush the camera of any smartphone in the budget segment.
Your budget: Are you ready to spend a whopping $270 more? There is no doubt that the iPhone 13 mini triumphs iPhone SE 3 in all the notable categories. The central question is, which one is a better value-for-money device?
Even though it’s pretty subjective and entirely depends on your priorities, iPhone SE 3 makes a better value proposition. If you seek a reliable smartphone that can perform for 6-7 years, iPhone SE 3 will never let you down. After all, at $700, you can get a brand new iPhone SE, a pair of AirPods, a HomePod mini, and still have some cash left for a hot coffee. What do you think? Which one would you choose as your daily driver? Please share your feedback with us in the comments.