iPhone SE (2022) Review: Old Dog. New Trick.
So i propose a new name for this. One unofficially lets just call it the simple edition, because thats what it is, the iphone se formula is and has been simple new chip, old body, low price. So the ingredients this year are the a15 bionic same chip thats. In the iphone 13s in the body of an iphone 8 again with its old design and home button and everything and 429 price tag now last generation this formula, i said it was a hit right, but now its two years later and competitions sort of catching up, A little bit more its not as obvious of a huge winner as its been in the past, especially because the price did go up a little bit. But in a world of the budget phone with the high refresh rate display versus the budget phone with the big battery or the budget phone with a stylus or the one with quad cameras, this one has got something all the rest of them. Dont have which is its the budget phone thats, an iphone heres. My take, though this is and always has been, a very unbalanced phone like this has got parts that would humiliate other 400 phones, but then other parts that are starting to fall behind. Those phones like putting an a15 bionic in the iphone se means that this 400 phone has a more powerful chip than the 300 galaxy s22 ultra. Basically, it has the most powerful chip in any phone right now, alongside the flagship iphone 13 and 13 pro.
That is clearly more power than the typical iphone sc buyer is going to need and it flies through ios on a 720p display with no hiccups. Thats, no surprise, it feels like putting way too much engine in a tiny car. But the reason for doing this is the same as it always has been, which is its got headroom for days. This phone is gon na perform the same way it does today, as it does in two years, as it does in four five, maybe six years, and that is a priority for an iphone sc buyer, which is the longevity the software updates. This is probably the longest lasting 400 phone period and then, of course, theres a bunch of other benefits to adding this newest chip. This phone has 5g now not millimeter wave but sub 65g, which is the most common kind and probably will be for a couple years and then just better overall efficiency, although ill get to this phones battery life in a second, and it now also has the new Image signal processor in the a15, so it can get a little more out of the exact same camera hardware and by the way there is one more gig of ram in here than the last sc. So four gigs of ram its basically an iphone 13. As far as performance goes, but then lets talk about that camera on the back right because thats, the one other thing that is just its in a league of its own, its miles ahead of other 400 phones, so its just a single camera on the back 12 Megapixels, as far as i can tell its the exact same camera hardware again as the iphone 8 and the last se – and the fact is its just straight up.
The best single camera in this range, its the most consistent, its the best with color and noise management. It doesnt have as much natural background blur as the others with bigger sensors, but it also doesnt have as much fringing and then the a15 bionic is giving you deep fusion in medium dim lighting and smart hdr4 in high dynamic range situations. You have the new photographic styles feature that builds the different looks straight into the image processing pipeline. So, basically, if you thought the iphone 8 photos were good. This will also be good. Now you know when im shooting with it yeah. I do miss not having an ultrawide sometimes, and there are some instances where i really wish i could hit like a 2x button and just get a little bit of optical zoom going. But at the same time i have to remember almost nobody getting. This phone will have ever experienced that stuff in the past, so they wont really know what theyre missing. Oh also, this is the best video camera in any 400 phone hands down it bumps up to 4k 60. This time, great, auto focus all the same great color and stuff. I was talking about the one thing thats missing from this camera still night mode. You would think with an a15 bionic, they could finally get night mode into an iphone sc camera, but thats still not here. But the point is, you can see where im going with this right, world class chip with excellent performance and longevity and an amazing camera, probably the best in any budget phone alongside the pixel 5a, and then everything else about this phone is from the iphone 8 that That phone came out in 2017, so its uh looking a little long in the tooth, as they say like its just, not very balanced, now its not that theres things that are bad about this phone, its just that theyre so locked into this formula.
This exact formula, like the newer iphone 13 mini, is smaller than this phone, but it has a 5.4 inch display right. This iphone 8 body is pretty small and trim by todays standards, but when you turn it around, you got those bezels and the chin, and you just crunch down to a much smaller 4.7 inch display, and that display is, like, i said, barely above 720p resolution. Its 60 hertz it maxes out at a not very bright 600 nits, so the whole front of this phone just feels so incredibly outdated. You know you look at the other 400 phones now and theyre all trying to give you much larger displays, thinner, bezels lots of them are doing 90 or 120 hertz refresh rates now no problem, but hey thats, not apples formula. They stick with the iphone 8 body. Exactly and what can fit in this body exactly you know, almost all of the competitive phones in this price have multiple cameras, at least an ultra wide right, thats, not the iphone se formula. The iphone 8 had one camera, the last iphone se had one camera so yeah. This one also is going to have one camera, and on top of that you know, lots of competitive budget phones are jamming impressively massive batteries in there five 4000, literally five thousand milliamp hours plus sometimes, and the single biggest concern with the last iphone se was battery Life right, so apple did hear that a little bit they did take improved battery chemistry and fit a slightly higher capacity battery in this same body, but generally it still behaves pretty much the same way.
So we know a15 bionic is a very efficient chip. It did great in this phone with standby time and those efficiency cores really go to work when youre doing that lightweight stuff. The web browsing messaging reading the stuff most iphone sc users do plenty of. But if you do fire up a high brightness navigation, app or if you jump into a game or just use the phone a lot, then this is its still a flagship chip. You can still burn through battery really quickly with all that power, so i could get to the end of the day like knowing what i was doing, but i still did notice like when i fired this up and navigated to work 30 minute drive with waze on 10 battery gone like if i just used, if i was in a game like asphalt for a little while, i could notice it turning down battery and i killed this phone more than once by 9 pm and then because of this formula. This phone still maxes out at 20 watts of fast charging, so itll fill up zero to 100 in like an hour, and it still only has seven and a half watts max of wireless charging. I would actually recommend leaving on smart data mode on this phone, which will automatically turn off 5g when you dont need it, because that can help save a little bit of juice, but overall yeah this phones battery life is still not great, its barely average, so yeah World class is the chip, the camera and the haptics, and then below average is everything else, so thats its very similar to the last year or the 2020 iphone se which, by the way, held up next to this phone, you can barely tell the difference other than A slightly different color, we got a bit of a deeper red this year and then also instead of black and white, its starlight and midnight this time, but basically the number one thing i found myself wondering when using this phone is what, if they werent so locked Into this formula, like this phone starts at 429 bucks im guessing the price is a little higher because of 5g, but lets call it 400 right.
50 extra gives you 128 gigs of storage, because this only starts at 64. and we know that they can make a phone this cheap, because theyre using this exact same body that they have been able to mass produce for so long that the price has gone down. But if they wanted to change something about it like adding a camera hole or changing something about it, that would mean new research, new, tooling new manufacturing processes, spinning up and that would bump up the price. But by how much. Because i kind of still want to see it like, i would argue that a crappy 120 inch display, which you see in all kinds of other budget phones, would make this iphone feel faster for the life of the phone. But theyre not going to do that, because theyve still got this panel that theyve gotten since the beginning of time, and we also know that those obnoxiously thick 4 5 000 milliamp hour batteries – would obviously make this phone last much longer. But youd have to make the phone thicker and that would increase the price, but by how much like clearly, they could use more battery or even tossing in an ultra wide just because every other phone seems to have that ultra wide camera. I missed it. I think other people who are shopping with other phones will notice this doesnt have one, but that would mean cutting another camera hole and thats a whole new design that costs more money.
But how much more, maybe you could still do it, but really im just going to have to wonder that forever, because this seems to be the only way. Apple knows how to make a cheaper phone, its boring its predictable, but its simple, and you know exactly what youre getting and not getting, because basically its happened before now. All that being said, this is still actually a very easy iphone to recommend because its the cheapest new iphone and its going to get the software updates for the longest time the natural considerations that kept coming up. We talked about this at the studios. What about iphone 11 right and iphone 11? It wont have 5g, but it will have a bigger display, thinner, bezels, face id better battery life and itll be about a hundred bucks more and theres also iphone 13 mini, which is going to be a bigger display, thinner, bezels, face id better battery life and has 5G and the newest chip, but its like 300 more, but neither of those have something this phone has which is the home button, and that sounds crazy and it might be a surprise. But a lot of people still really just want a home button. Never underestimate the power of the home button so, at the end of the day, im glad the iphone se just got any update at all because thats better for people getting this phone now into the future old dog new trick.