Apple has upgraded iPhone SE from 2020 with the new, fast A15 Bionic processor, which is also found in the latest iPhone 13 models, making the new iPhone SE the fastest smartphone in the mid-range. No other phone gives users this much performance for the money.
Plus, the little iPhone finally gets 5G. But not much else is new, as Apple is keeping everything else the same – including the screen, camera and design – so the new iPhone SE (2022), like its predecessor, looks a lot like the 2017 iPhone 8.
The old-fashioned design was our main criticism when we tested the 2020 iPhone SE, because even then the screen in particular, at just 4.7 inches and with big black bars both top and bottom, was a hindrance to usability.
In fact, we must admit that we find it downright shocking that Apple is launching a new smartphone in 2022 with a design and specifications for screen and camera that are now a full five years old.
I guess you could say it’s a bit like if a car manufacturer like Audi or BMW put a brand new, modern engine in a body from the 1980s or 90s. The new engine is efficient and the car can go lightning fast, but you’ll have to make do with an old-fashioned car radio with cassette player (or maybe CD player, if you’re lucky), and a roadmap for navigation instead of GPS.
This will not do, Apple!
Time travel in the wrong direction
Try to close your eyes and think back to 2017. Donald J. Trump is president of the United States, while Emmanuel Macron is inaugurated as president of France. The tech world is stunned by the Nintendo Switch, and Apple launches both the iPhone 8 in September and the all-new iPhone X a month later.
The Apple iPhone 8 was the third version of a mobile design that first saw the light of day in 2014 with the iPhone 6, and it’s exactly this design that Apple is sticking with here in 2022 with the new iPhone SE.
The phone thus comes with a curved aluminium frame, physical home button with built-in Touch ID on the front and a glass back. It is also dust and water resistant (IP67 certified), while the camera consists of a single lens located in the top left corner of the back.
Old-fashioned, but not nostalgic!
As mentioned, the screen measures just 4.7 inches and has a screen resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels, which of course makes the actual working area significantly smaller than we’re used to in 2022. Even Apple’s smallest iPhone 13 mini has a screen area of 2340 x 1080 pixels, which is at least twice as much.
As far as the camera is concerned, prepare for a trip to the time machine, too. There’s no optical zoom and no ultra-wide angle, and when the camera is challenged – with close-ups, backlit subjects or poorly lit subjects, for example – the results aren’t as good as we’re used to from the latest iPhone models.
Using the iPhone SE (2022) on a daily basis is simply like going on a journey through time in the wrong direction.
Performance and features
There are only a few points where the iPhone SE (2022) is up to date, and that’s first of all when it comes to Apple’s wild A15 Bionic processor, which is also in all iPhone 13 models. Moreover, the latest iPhone SE comes with iOS 15, but previous models can also be upgraded to the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, so it doesn’t weigh quite so heavily on the scales.
But the performance is, as expected, top notch. No other smartphone on the market currently comes close to the Apple phones based on A15 Bionic, and our benchmark tests of the iPhone SE (2022) demonstrate this with all the clarity you need. Everything runs lightning fast, even big, heavy games like Asphalt 9 and Into the Dead 2, so if you want a retro-looking phone that can still run circles around more expensive Android top phones like the brand-new Motorola Edge 30 Pro, the iPhone SE (2022) might be a good choice for you.
But everyone else should stay away. After all, the new iPhone SE (2022) isn’t even particularly cheap. If you’re willing to spend just a little more, you can buy the new iPhone 13 mini, which has all the same advantages as the iPhone SE, plus a contemporary design with a better camera and a bigger screen with much higher resolution.
In the past few years there have been many cool products from the tech giant in Cupertino – not least the blazingly fast products based on Apple’s own processor technology – but the iPhone SE is a giant step backwards in terms of lack of innovation. A decidedly lazy product that Apple should never have put their name on.