Review: The iPhone SE Is an Incredible Value
Review: The iPhone SE Is an Incredible Value
12:36

Review: The iPhone SE Is an Incredible Value

Phones
Speaker 1: This is the new iPhone se there's a little bit old and a little bit new, and that's perhaps the biggest appeal. Speaker 1: The original iPhone se came out in 2016. And back then the letters se stood for special edition. I think in 2022, you, those letters should be changed and they should mean same addition. I know that's not a dig, but it's just because the brand new iPhone se looks identical [00:00:30] to the previous one. And that's kind of the idea. The new iPhone se is meant to be a lowcost way for people with an iPhone eight or older to upgrade without changing what they're used to. And for a lot of people getting a new phone without having to learn a new way to use it, or just having it work with their existing accessories is an enormous appeal. Like the previous two versions, the new iPhone se hits three main let's call them iPhone se decrees. And the first se decree is that the [00:01:00] iPhone se should be heap. Speaker 1: And at $429 is Apple's most affordable iPhone. Meaning you can get an extremely capable phone that gives you a great camera and all the apple goodies like iMessage, FaceTime, apple music, and access to Apple's app store. The next decree is that the iPhone se should be small. And the new se is one of the you can currently buy. And the last se decree is that the iPhone se should have a classic look. Everything [00:01:30] about this new phone has that classic iPhone design language. There are large bezzles above and below the screen. It has a home button with touch ID instead of face ID. So if you're upgrade from an iPhone success, seven or eight, this phone will be nearly identical in terms of its design and bill, Speaker 1: But it's not identical. The iPhone se has the same body as an iPhone eight, but the glass on the front and back is more durable. [00:02:00] In fact, it's the same glass used on the back of the iPhone 13. The finish on the review unit that I've been testing is called midnight. In some lighting, it looks jet black and other lighting. It has an indigo blue hue, the glossy glass back and curve sides make this phone feel a little slippery. And while I didn't do any drop tests, there were a couple times where I was photographing the phone or shooting a video of it and it tipped over and fell off a standing desk. But [00:02:30] luckily there weren't any scratches or damage. And let's also keep in mind that in 2022, this design isn't cutting edge. There're gonna be people who are turned off by it, but for others, this familiar tried and true design and will be a huge appeal. Speaker 1: All of the other major changes to the iPhone se take place on the inside, their support for 5g, a bigger battery, and perhaps the biggest edition. The new iPhone se has the a 15 bio [00:03:00] chip. That's the same one in the iPhone 13, that's the same one out performs pretty much any other phone you can currently buy. Now, I've been trying to come up with an analogy for the se. And I think I have this iPhone se reminds me of this car company called Z electric, and they take vintage S what a and Beatles replace the old engine and put a brand new electrical motor in, in a sense, the VW becomes an entirely different car and a very fast one at that. But at the same time, it's the [00:03:30] same old vintage VW that people love. And that's exactly what's going on here with the se in terms of the apps, in terms of the features it's on par with iPhones that are nearly twice the price, but you get all that in a body that a bunch of people are already comfortable using. Speaker 1: And that only costs $429. No other phone maker takes this approach to make a low cost phone. It would be like Samson taken the body of the galaxy eight and [00:04:00] putting in the processing power of the galaxy S 22 inside. I mean, could you imagine that, I mean, actually kind of cool, but the real question is, does this approach work? Hell yes, it does. I'm playing apple arcade games on the se I'm filming 4k videos. I'm even able to use iOS 15 tools like live text capture and live text with translation. And look, I know, I know you're probably wondering what's the catch look. Any new phone sold [00:04:30] under $500 is going to have compromises, but it speaks volumes to how savvy apple was at omitting. Some things in order to keep others. For example, the iPhone 13 family has a rating for duster water assistance as IP 68. Speaker 1: The iPhone se is rated IP 67 for water and duster assistance, but that still means it can survive being submerged under a meter of water for 30 minutes, the se supports she wireless charging, but it doesn't have mag safe charging. The [00:05:00] se also support 20 wat wired, fast charging, but doesn't come with a required power brick to take advantage of it. It even has NFC for apple pay. And look, can I just say how after using mainly face ID iPhones, that it is such a joy to use apple pay by doing nothing more than laying my thumb on the home button? Oh, I forgot how much I like the home button and touch ID, touch ID. Speaker 1: [00:05:30] And then there's the display at 4.7 inches. It's the smallest display on any iPhone? It does have true tone, which adjusts the color temperature of the screen, depending on the lighting it's under and for all intensive purposes though, it's the same LCD that was on the 2020 iPhone se and the 2017 iPhone eight at this price. This display is good-ish for a little bit more money. There's the Google pixel five, a with 5g or the Sampson galaxy, a 52 [00:06:00] 5g, which both have higher resolution screens in use. The iPhone se screen was good, but I did have two gripes with it. First. I wish the screen was brighter. And second there's a large space above and below the screen that makes the a display feels small. Now, if you're coming from an older iPhone, like an iPhone seven or an iPhone eight, I don't think this is gonna be much of an issue, but switching between my iPhone 12 mini to the se, I missed having that new OED. Now keep [00:06:30] in mind the iPhone se costs $429 and the iPhone 12 mini I have costs $300 more when it was new. And yeah, that was before any discounts. Speaker 1: Let's talk about the cameras. Apple avoids one of my biggest pet peeves. You see many Android budget phones. Think they're adding a bunch of value by having two or three rear cameras on the back of the phone. Even if those cameras aren't very good. Hey, more is better. Right? Well, as I've said in previous reviews, I'd much rather have one good [00:07:00] rear camera or in the case of the iPhone se one great camera rather than a bunch of mediocre ones. The camera on the back of the iPhone se has a 12 mega pixel sensor and a wide angle lens with an aperture of F 1.8. These are the same specs as the camera on the iPhone eight and the 2020 iPhone se, but that a 15 bionic chip changes how this phone captures photos and videos. It adds features like smart HDR, four processing, deep fusion processing for medium to low like photos and get this. [00:07:30] You can record 4k 60 frames per second video on an iPhone se there are also photographic styles, which let you adjust the way your phone captures a scene. So it's more to your liking. Now, these aren't filters, but if you want your photos to have a warmer look or more vibrant colors, you simply change the style. And that eight, 15 ship does the rest to make it look the best. Anytime you take a photo, here are some of my favorite photos and videos that I took with the iPhone se Speaker 1: [00:08:30] The S's camera is not without fault. Zoomed in images look rough. Here's a photo I took at sunset. That was all the way zoomed in. It's very soft. It almost looks like a painting, but how does the iPhone se compare to other phones in terms of photos and videos? Well, I took some photos with the iPhone se as well as with my iPhone 12 mini and with a Google pixel five, a with 5g. Now, obviously [00:09:00] the mini and the five, a both have an additional rear camera that lets you take ultra wide photos. Also both of those phones have night mode for capturing photos in dimly lit places, which the se lacks Speaker 1: Overall aside from color temperature photos from the three phones are on par. Here are photos of mission high school that I took with each phone. The photo from the se has darker shadows, especially look at the Palm trees there. But in terms of [00:09:30] contrast, the se is similar to the pixel in these photos that I took of a band, the sun was going down. The SES photo again has the darker shadows and photos from the se and pixel have the most noise reduction. I also took photos of bread at Tarin bakery. The first difference I see between the three phones is how warm the iPhones photos are and how cool the pixels photo is. Also notice a contrast. See the pixels photo is on the front of the se is a [00:10:00] seven megapixel selfie camera. It gets a boost from that eight 15 chip too, but I can definitely see the limits, the dynamic rain. Isn't great. I mean, for example, take a look at this selfie and how the se blew out the sky behind me to white compare that to selfie. I took with the iPhone 12 mini and the Google pixel by a, with 5g Speaker 1: In terms of 5g. My carrier is Google five, which doesn't have 5g coverage where I tested the phone, [00:10:30] but keep an eye out for my written review on CNET. And I'll make sure to update it with my experience using the se on 5g. Once I can, that said calls on the iPhone se over 4g, LTE were good and sounded clear. Then there's the battery life. Now apple claims the new iPhone se will get two more hours of battery life than the 2020 version. And the four days have had the phone. The SES made it through a day on a single charge. No problem to give you idea. Most of the time, the batteries around 20%. When [00:11:00] I go to bed, now, look, I'm gonna run a bunch of battery tests on the se and I'll update my written review with those results. But the takeaway here is the battery life on the new se does feel longer. It is still pretty average, but that's fine. Speaker 1: So I have some final thought. First, the iPhone se is your cheapest edition ticket to Apple's ecosystem. And at four twenty nine, I think the iPhone se is worth the price and is an incredible value for what you get. But in 2022, [00:11:30] I need acknowledge that many people have been experiencing financial hardships over the past two years, and that inflation keeps going up. I wish apple had an iPhone offering that was under $400 or even under $300. If you're considering an iPhone se the $429 model comes with 64 gigabytes of storage. If you can stretch your budget and spend $50 more, it's worth upgrading to the 128 gigabyte version, especially if you [00:12:00] plan to keep your iPhone se for more than a couple of years. And that's all I've got. If you're interested in getting an iPhone se or learning more about it, check out the links in the description. Also, we're going to have more stories and videos coming out about the se. So make sure to check out CNET and our YouTube channel last I want to hear from you. What do you think about the se were you hoping for Bo are you happy with the classic design, throw your thoughts in the comments.

Up Next

Humane's AI Pin: Unboxed and Tested
240409-site-humane-ai-pin-review-v2

Up Next

Humane's AI Pin: Unboxed and Tested

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Review: The Best Camera Phone I've Ever Used
240404-yt-xiaomi-14-ultra-camera-for-pro-v08

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Review: The Best Camera Phone I've Ever Used

You Thought Your Phone Was Cool. Check Out These Design Concepts
240319-site-wildest-phone-concepts-of-2024

You Thought Your Phone Was Cool. Check Out These Design Concepts

The PlayStation Portal Built-In Volume Is too Loud: Here's How to Keep It Low
playstation-portal-audio-options-thumb2

The PlayStation Portal Built-In Volume Is too Loud: Here's How to Keep It Low

M3 MacBook Air Review: A Better Reason to Upgrade?
macbookair13-15-m3-clean

M3 MacBook Air Review: A Better Reason to Upgrade?

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Audio Earrings
bose-ultra-open-earbuds-thumb6

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds Review: Audio Earrings

We Deep Dive Into Apple Vision Pro
vlcsnap-2024-01-29-14h38m03s627.png

We Deep Dive Into Apple Vision Pro

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost
240123-site-samsung-galaxy-s24-ultra-review-4

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost

Tips and Tricks for the Apple Watch Series 9
lexy-apple-watch-tips-seq-cnet-00-11-07-01-still002.png

Tips and Tricks for the Apple Watch Series 9

Roku vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV 4K: What's the Best Streaming Device?
best-streaming-cnet-thumb

Roku vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV 4K: What's the Best Streaming Device?

Tech Shows

The Apple Core
apple-core-w

The Apple Core

Alphabet City
alphabet-city-w

Alphabet City

CNET Top 5
cnet-top-5-w

CNET Top 5

The Daily Charge
dc-site-1color-logo.png

The Daily Charge

What the Future
what-the-future-w

What the Future

Tech Today
tech-today-w

Tech Today

Latest News All latest news

2025 Audi Q6, SQ6 E-Tron: Audi's Newest EV Is Its Most Compelling
cnet-audiq6

2025 Audi Q6, SQ6 E-Tron: Audi's Newest EV Is Its Most Compelling

Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse
240411-site-can-disney-save-the-apple-vision-pro-v1

Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse

Sony ULT Wear Headphones Review: Evolution of Extra Bass
site-sonyultheadphone-v3

Sony ULT Wear Headphones Review: Evolution of Extra Bass

Humane's AI Pin: Unboxed and Tested
240409-site-humane-ai-pin-review-v2

Humane's AI Pin: Unboxed and Tested

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Review: The Best Camera Phone I've Ever Used
240404-yt-xiaomi-14-ultra-camera-for-pro-v08

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Review: The Best Camera Phone I've Ever Used

The Ocean Cleanup's System 03 Collects Plastic Pollution at Record Levels
The Ocean Cleanup System 03

The Ocean Cleanup's System 03 Collects Plastic Pollution at Record Levels

Most Popular All most popular

First Look at TSA's Self-Screening Tech (in VR!)
innovation

First Look at TSA's Self-Screening Tech (in VR!)

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost
240123-site-samsung-galaxy-s24-ultra-review-4

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost

'Circle to Search' Lets Users Google From Any Screen
circlesearchpic

'Circle to Search' Lets Users Google From Any Screen

Asus Put Two 14-inch OLEDs in a Laptop, Unleashes First OLED ROG Gaming Laptop
asus-preces-00-00-25-11-still003

Asus Put Two 14-inch OLEDs in a Laptop, Unleashes First OLED ROG Gaming Laptop

Samsung Galaxy Ring: First Impressions
samsung-galaxy-ring-clean

Samsung Galaxy Ring: First Impressions

Best of Show: The Coolest Gadgets of CES 2024
240111-site-best-of-ces-2024-1

Best of Show: The Coolest Gadgets of CES 2024

Latest Products All latest products

2025 Audi Q6, SQ6 E-Tron: Audi's Newest EV Is Its Most Compelling
cnet-audiq6

2025 Audi Q6, SQ6 E-Tron: Audi's Newest EV Is Its Most Compelling

Hands-On with Ford's Free Tesla Charging Adapter
pic3

Hands-On with Ford's Free Tesla Charging Adapter

Nuro R3 is an Adorable Self-Driving Snack Bar
240320-site-nuro-r3-first-look-v1

Nuro R3 is an Adorable Self-Driving Snack Bar

First Look: The $349 Nothing Phone 2A Aims to Brighten Your Day
240304-site-nothing-phone-2-first-look-v3

First Look: The $349 Nothing Phone 2A Aims to Brighten Your Day

Best of MWC 2024: Bendable Screens, AI Wearables and More
240229-site-best-of-show-at-mwc

Best of MWC 2024: Bendable Screens, AI Wearables and More

This Concept Laptop from Lenovo Has a Transparent Display
240225-site-lenovo-translucent-laptop-concept-v3

This Concept Laptop from Lenovo Has a Transparent Display

Latest How To All how to videos

How to Watch the Solar Eclipse Safely From Your Phone
screenshot-2024-04-03-at-15-47-11.png

How to Watch the Solar Eclipse Safely From Your Phone

Windows 11 Tips and Hidden Features
240311-site-windows-11-hidden-tips-and-tricks-v2

Windows 11 Tips and Hidden Features

Vision Pro App Walkthrough -- VisionOS 1.0.3
VisionOS 1.0.3

Vision Pro App Walkthrough -- VisionOS 1.0.3

Tips and Tricks for the Galaxy S24 Ultra
240216-site-galaxy-s24-ultra-tips-and-hidden-features-2

Tips and Tricks for the Galaxy S24 Ultra

TikTok Is Now on the Apple Vision Pro
tiktok-on-vision-pro-clean

TikTok Is Now on the Apple Vision Pro

Get Your TV Ready for the Big Game: Super Bowl Setup Tips
superbowl-tv-settings-thumb1

Get Your TV Ready for the Big Game: Super Bowl Setup Tips