Home Apple iPhone SE 3rd Generation review, Should I buy in 2024?

iPhone SE 3rd Generation review, Should I buy in 2024?

Latest Apple chipDated design
Wireless chargingAwful LCD display
IP67 water-resistanceOnly one rear camera
Poor value

Our decision

The iPhone SE 3rd Generation only makes sense for buyers who need an iPhone, but can’t afford to upgrade to the 12 Mini, or still don’t give up their Touch ID. As long as you can deal with an unusual display and retro aesthetics, equivalent Android is better.

iPhone SE is a funny, old phone. It’s a very old design and display, but with the latest Apple processor and 5G connection, it’s a very old device in a sense and a very modern device. It is available for sale on the Apple website.

iPhone SE 3rd Generation full review

iPhone SE 3rd Generation
iPhone SE 3rd Generation

So even though the previous SE was a phone I recommended – with some serious caveats – this iPhone SE 3rd Generation is hard to sell.

The same discrepancies (almost the same) were present in the 2020 iPhone SE, but Apple’s budget proposal remained stable as the rest of the market progressed.

Frankly, it only serves the audience who will never buy an Android device at all, but it is for those who can’t afford the iPhone 12 Mini or other more expensive Apple phones.

Design and build

  • 8-year-old design
  • Home Button – but huge black bezel
  • Small – but not the smallest iPhone
  • Aluminum build and IP67 rating

Let me be clear for a moment, the design of the iPhone SE dates back to 2014. That’s when Apple introduced the iPhone 6, which looks the same as this year’s SE. was essentially static in both the 2020 SE and 2022 models

This means that there is still a Home Button at the bottom of the screen and no notches on it, but it also means that you will have to live with a large black frame above and below the displayed screen.

There are still good aspects to the design. First, the small SE is only 5.45 inches high and weighs just 144 grams. Compact, comfortable and one-handed to hold and use. However, it should be noted that it is not the smallest phone from Apple iPhone The 12 Mini and 13 Mini are smaller and lighter, although they have larger screens, so if size is a major issue for you, they are worth a look.

One of the possible reasons to prefer the iPhone SE 3rd Generation is its old aesthetics, which come with rounded edges that Apple likes, as its other phones use square edges that look smooth but are a little less comfortable to hold. there is still no headphone jack

While Android phones at the same price look more modern than the iPhone SE, it’s fair to say that Apple excels in build quality. and rated IP67 for dust and water resistance

Screen and sound

  • Tiny 4.7in display
  • Low resolution, LCD, and 60Hz refresh rate
  • Stereo speakers

If the reusable design blocks the iPhone SE, that’s not true when it comes to the screen.

It is one of the worst screens of any modern smartphone, 4.7 inches small, uses old LCD technology instead of a premium OLED panel, has low resolution, is not even Full HD, is dim and therefore difficult to use in bright sunlight. and turn off the refresh rate at 60 Hz

You can spend half and still find an Android phone that is superior to the iPhone SE 3rd Generation in almost every one of these features.

Yes, that’s part of what keeps the phone so small, and it may appeal to some, but thanks to its modern design, Apple’s 12 Mini and 13 Mini offer more screen space with 5.4-inch panels. In general, stay smaller.

The effect is both practical and aesthetic. iPhone SE 3rd Generation can hardly fit modern applications on its screen. Some Instagram posts can’t show cookie pop-ups, they block more websites than intended, and hopefully, you don’t. There’s no need to type anything, the keyboard takes up half of the screen and often blocks text input areas you’re trying to use.

The small screen is also a blow to the general argument that SE is a great phone for older users who don’t want to learn the new sliding-based interface. prefers to increase the size of the text) makes it a questionable choice for anyone who needs visual accessibility

At least the sound prices are better. Apple has included stereo speakers here as a relative oddity to this price, and they are loud and clear, especially considering the size of the phone. You probably won’t buy SEs just for their speakers, but they’re still good.

Features and performance

  • Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip
  • Mostly smooth performance
  • 5G connectivity

Now for the good things, the main way the iPhone SE differs from the mid-level competition is that it offers the fastest chip you can find on any phone right now.

Apple has included the A15 Bionic chip in the same chipset you can find in the iPhone 13 series, and it is rumoured that it will be a reusable chip for the iPhone 14.

This suggests that the iPhone SE 3rd Generation is strong and indeed approaching the flagship level, only maintained by the low levels of RAM found here.

The phone flies by the criteria, but surprisingly, when used in real life, I sometimes found that the programs crashed faster than I expected and even struggled with some stuttering and lagging when talking about the software below.

I wonder if most of the people provided by the iPhone SE 3rd Generation will need so much power, and more importantly, whether this money can be better spent on modern design, but I can’t argue with the results.

The biggest improvement here in the 2020 SE is that the A15 will also bring 5G network support; While this doesn’t mean anything to your phone in the future, if you’re in the US, keep in mind that unlike many other 5G phones, this isn’t the case. t supports mm-Wave, so it will not reach the fastest 5G speeds

Again, 5G support gives the SE a big advantage over the iPhone 11, otherwise, it could be a more attractive upgrade for just $70/£70/€90.

In terms of other networks, you’ll find Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 (not the latest standards, but not close enough) along with NFC for Apple Pay.

Battery life and charging

  • Decent battery life
  • Average wired charging (charger not included)
  • Wireless charging support

According to Apple’s credit, a lot has changed in these two years. The company officially lists a two-hour improvement in battery life for the iPhone SE 3rd Generation, but in my experience, the update is more important. The latest model took almost a day, but this year’s iteration will last a day, if you are a light user, comes to the end of a second

This is important because charging is less effective. Apple supports charging speeds of up to 20W via a wired Lightning connection, but keep in mind that the company no longer sends a charger with its phones.

In a test I used on a third-party charger, the iPhone SE 3rd Generation was able to charge 32% in 15 minutes and 61% in half an hour, which is faster than Apple’s promise of 50% fair, but still faster than most competitors. . slow and probably allows you to charge your phone overnight

The secret weapon here is wireless charging support, which is almost unheard of at this price, and with the A15 this is the iPhone’s main advantage over Android rivals. There’s no support for MagSafe, so it’s still not available with Apple’s latest flagship. charging options

Cameras and videos

  • 12Mp rear camera
  • 7Mp selfie camera
  • No night mode

The iPhone SE has good and bad elements in its camera design, but if you’re happy with a single camera lens that can take good shots during the day, it all depends on it. will not deliver photos at night

Apple has included only one rear camera, 12Mp, f / 1.8 (in terms of hardware) Like the 2020 model, Apple has been a proponent of affordable phones by focusing its efforts on powerful main cameras.

The camera improvements here are courtesy of the A15 Bionic chip with smartphone photography, which is increasingly dependent on computing factors. The problem is that Apple has decided to artificially limit the functionality of the A15 on this phone, especially by leaving out the night mode option, although it is not so obvious. For technical reasons, it is not possible to support it here.

Remove the iPhone SE during the day and you are unlikely to be disappointed. The images are clear and detailed, and with the quieter and more vibrant colour palette the iPhones are currently the most recognizable, but of course, the limited dynamic range keeps it going.

Despite the decent camera and old equipment, it easily matches the results of other phones, which cost $400/£400 during the day.

Even at night, the iPhone SE 3rd Generation is not terrible. I took a few low-light shots, mostly to my satisfaction, and the inclusion of a rare optical image stabilization at this price helped.

Still, it’s hard to deny that most Android competitors have passed this level, especially when it comes to dynamic range and light source control, as the iPhone tries to turn off every light during nighttime shooting.

The 7Mp shooter with f/2.2 aperture on the front has a single selfie camera. Again, it’s not a camera to trust tonight, but it’s not much to complain about selfies, otherwise, it may not be night mode, but it’s a portrait option, and that’s fine, except for the portrait option. gives a few loose hairs that are prone to blurring in the background

Like most iPhone smartphones, this is a capable video device. With impressive stabilization and strong quality, it can record up to 4K @ 60 frames. Although Cinematic Mode, introduced on the iPhone 13, allows video with different field depth and blur, which is another drawback.

Software and updates

  • Ships with iOS 15
  • Likely to receive years of software support
  • Some performance problems stutter

The software is another feature of the iPhone SE 3rd Generation, equipped with iOS 15, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system

Even the original iPhone SE, released in 2016, is likely to be supported for years. If this model sees similar support, it can be updated not only to iOS 16 but in all ways this year. Six years later iOS 21

No Android phone can compete with this longevity, but to be fair, they are growing, Google has tended to support mid-range Pixel series phones for several years now, and Samsung has promised to update at least four Android versions for the iPhone SE 3rd Generation rival Galaxy A53.

In any case, software can be crucial for other reasons, and we all know that most phone users stay true to the system they know. When other iPhones are about to slide

The Home button also brings Touch ID, a security method used here, from unlocking your phone to using Apple Pay. None

Otherwise, iOS 15 is what you expect, but nothing much has changed here from the older versions. The notifications still feel great compared to Android, and the lack of a constantly open screen option is disappointing, but Apple’s strengths are its simplicity and strong aesthetics.

Oddly enough, even though I had software problems in SE, several apps often froze or crashed while I was working on the phone, and the constant error was to see that the phone screen turned upside down when the phone was unlocked and stayed that way for about a minute. ten seconds ago. corrects itself

These aren’t the problems I found on the iPhone 12 updated to iOS 15, so I can’t help but think that these are optimization issues specifically related to iPhone SE 3rd Generation.

None of these glitches break the deal, but they do disprove the notion that the iPhone software experience is essentially smoother or free from frustration and disappointment.

price and availability

The iPhone SE 3rd Generation or iPhone SE is now available worldwide, and you can get it from Apple itself or major electronics retailers, including Amazon.

Vodafone O2 is available on all major UK networks, including Three and EE.

A similar story is available at T-Mobile Verizon and AT&T in the United States

Available in three storage levels:

  • 64GB: $429/£419/€529
  • 128GB: $479/£469/€579
  • 256GB: $579/£569/€699

At this price, the phone’s direct competitor, the Samsung Galaxy A53, which is priced at £399/$449/449, includes long-lasting software waterproofing and 5G support but has the advantage of a more modern design and display. CPU is not that powerful

If you’re in the US, the $ 449 Pixel 5a is also an attractive competitor, although this model has never been sold worldwide. As long as you’re not against Android, it will surpass the iPhone SE in terms of value.

The $ 499/489/619 € iPhone 11 from Apple is the next step, but anyone tempted by the SE will be a bigger fan of the $ 599/579 / € 719 iPhone 12 Mini, which also has a smaller but much larger screen than the SE. and even if you have better cameras, you’ll have to give up the Home button along the way. If your budget goes that far, the 12 Mini is a better buy


The iPhone SE 3rd Generation offers a lot of power, but I’m not sure why this is the main area where the latest SE doesn’t need upgrades.

Few people would want to use all that performance to control top-of-the-line mobile games or for many tasks on such a drunken screen. Demand for more expensive options

But other than wireless charging, the A15 chip is the iPhone SE’s only target in the wider mid-range market, at which price Android rivals now offer similar software support, keeping up with it in waterproofing and surpassing SE in screen quality design and camera performance.

If you’re happy with Android, countless options will save you significantly good money without relying on outdated parts.

So the iPhone SE really makes sense for buyers who only need to own an iPhone, but can’t afford to switch to the 12 Mini, or who still haven’t given up their Touch ID. You’re good as long as you can handle the bad screen’s retro aesthetics and camera limitations, but I promise you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

Apple iPhone SE 3rd Generation Specifications

Key Specs

ProcessorApple A15 Bionic
Rear Camera12 MP
Front Camera7 MP
Battery2018 mAh
Display4.7 inches


Launch Date2022
Operating SystemiOS v15


ChipsetApple A15 Bionic
CPUHexa Core (3.23 GHz, Dual-core, Avalanche + 1.82 GHz, Quad core, Blizzard)
Architecture64 bit
Fabrication5 nm
GraphicsApple GPU (four-core graphics)


Display TypeIPS LCD
Screen Size4.7 inches (11.94 cm)
Resolution750 x 1334 pixels
Aspect Ratio16:9
Pixel Density326 ppi
Screen to Body Ratio (calculated)65.23 %
Screen ProtectionYes
Touch ScreenYes, Capacitive Touchscreen, Multi-touch
Brightness625 nits


Height138.4 mm Compare Size
Width67.3 mm
Thickness7.3 mm
Weight144 grams
Build MaterialBack: Mineral Glass
ColoursMidnight, Starlight, Product Red
WaterproofYes, Water resistant (up to 30 minutes in a depth of 1 meter), IP67


Main Camera
Camera SetupSingle
Resolution12 MP f/1.8, Wide Angle, Primary Camera
FlashYes, Quad LED Flash
Image Resolution4000 x 3000 Pixels
SettingsExposure compensation, ISO control
Shooting ModesContinuous Shooting
High Dynamic Range Mode (HDR)
Burst mode
Camera Features5 x Digital Zoom
Auto Flash
Face detection
Touch to focus
Video Recording3840×2160 @ 24 fps
1920×1080 @ 30 fps
1280×720 @ 30 fps
Front Camera
Camera SetupSingle
Resolution7 MP f/2.2, Primary Camera
FlashYes, Retina Flash
Video Recording1920×1080 @ 30 fps


Capacity2018 mAh
Wireless ChargingYes
Quick ChargingYes, Fast, 20W: 50 % in 30 minutes
USB Type-CNo


Internal Memory64 GB
Expandable MemoryNo
Storage TypeNVMe

Network & Connectivity

SIM Slot(s)Dual SIM, GSM+GSM
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano, SIM2: eSIM
Network Support5G, 4G, 3G, 2G
SIM 14G Bands:TD-LTE 2600(band 38) / 2300(band 40) / 2500(band 41) / 2100(band 34) / 1900(band 39) / 3500(band 42)
FD-LTE 2100(band 1) / 1800(band 3) / 2600(band 7) / 900(band 8) / 700(band 28) / 1900(band 2) / 1700(band 4) / 850(band 5) / 700(band 13) / 700(band 17) / 850(band 18) / 850(band 19) / 800(band 20) / 1500(band 21) / 1900(band 25) / 850(band 26) / 700(band 29) / 2300(band 30)3G Bands: UMTS 1900 / 2100 / 850 / 900 MHz2G Bands: GSM 1800 / 1900 / 850 / 900 MHz
GPRS:AvailableEDGE: Available
SIM 24G Bands:TD-LTE 2600(band 38) / 2300(band 40) / 2500(band 41) / 2100(band 34) / 1900(band 39) / 3500(band 42)
FD-LTE 2100(band 1) / 1800(band 3) / 2600(band 7) / 900(band 8) / 700(band 28) / 1900(band 2) / 1700(band 4) / 850(band 5) / 700(band 13) / 700(band 17) / 850(band 18) / 850(band 19) / 800(band 20) / 1500(band 21) / 1900(band 25) / 850(band 26) / 700(band 29) / 2300(band 30)3G Bands: UMTS 1900 / 2100 / 850 / 900 MHz2G Bands: GSM 1800 / 1900 / 850 / 900 MHz
GPRS:Available EDGE: Available
Wi-FiYes, Wi-Fi 802.11, a/ac/ax/b/g/n, MIMO
Wi-Fi FeaturesMobile Hotspot
Wi-Fi CallingYes
BluetoothYes, v5.0
GPSYes with A-GPS, Glonass
USB ConnectivityMass storage device, USB charging


FM RadioNo
Stereo SpeakersYes
Audio JackLightning
Audio FeaturesDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus


Fingerprint SensorYes
Fingerprint Sensor PositionFront
Other SensorsLight sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope