Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022) vs Apple iPhone SE 2 (2020): What’s the difference?

Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022) vs Apple iPhone SE 2 (2020): What’s the difference?

People feel the need to upgrade their smartphones for different reasons. It could be due to malfunctioning, losing software support, or just wanting the latest and greatest. One common question that crosses the minds of most people looking for an upgrade is What phone should I buy next? The options out there are endless — countless brands, models, and price tags. Which phone is the best to buy depends on you and your personal needs. This is the Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022) vs Apple iPhone SE 2 (2020) — the battle between two affordable phones coming from the same manufacturer. If you decide to buy the iPhone SE 3, don’t forget to also grab a case and a charger for it. These accessories would also work on the iPhone SE 2.

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iPhone SE 3

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Apple iPhone SE 3 vs Apple iPhone SE 2: Specifications

Apple iPhone SE 3 Apple iPhone SE 2
CPU
  • Apple A15 Bionic
  • Apple A13 Bionic
Body
  • 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
  • 144g
  • 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
  • 148g
Display
  • 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display
  • 1334 x 750p
  • True Tone technology
  • Haptic Touch support
  • 625 nits max brightness
  • 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display
  • 1334 x 750p
  • True Tone technology
  • Haptic Touch support
  • 625 nits max brightness
Cameras
  • Primary: 12MP, f/1.8
  • Front-facing: 7MP, f/2.2
  • Primary: 12MP, f/1.8
  • Front-facing: 7MP, f/2.2
Memory
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB Storage
  • 3GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB Storage
Battery
  • 2,018mAh
  • 20W wired fast charging
  • 7.5W Qi wireless charging
  • 1,821mAh
  • 18W wired fast charging
  • 7.5W Qi wireless charging
Connectivity
  • Sub6/mmWave 5G
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
Water Resistance IP67 IP67
Security Touch ID Touch ID
OS iOS 15 iOS 15
Colors
  • Red
  • Midnight
  • Starlight
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
Material
  • Glass back
  • Aluminum frame
  • Glass back
  • Aluminum frame
Price Starts at $429 Starts at $399

Build and Design

The Apple iPhone SE 3 and Apple iPhone SE 2 have identical exterior designs. They both feature a body that is from the ancient iPhone 8. It’s the classic iPhone design that includes thick bezels, a physical home button, and a 4.7-inch display. If you don’t care about the edge-to-edge screen and Face ID, this outdated chassis shouldn’t really be an issue.

 

Despite the two phones having the same design and colors (Midnight and Starlight are Black and White respectively), they actually have different build qualities. Apple has switched to an even tougher glass build on the front and back of the iPhone SE 3. So by buying this model, you get a more durable phone. Otherwise, the two phones are identical in terms of design and the materials used.

Display

Both the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone SE 2 feature the exact same display. It’s a 4.7-inch LCD with a 1334-by-750p resolution that supports the True Tone and Haptic Touch technologies. The screen is obviously unimpressive in 2022’s terms. However, it does the job — considering it’s a middle-range phone. Expectedly, this display retains the thick top and bottom bezels from past iPhone models. The bottom bezel includes the physical home button that houses the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Taking into consideration the fact that both phones have identical screens, there’s nothing to compare. As a result, we’ve laid out the shared specifications for you to decide whether they’re acceptable and meet your standards.

Performance

A15 Bionic

The iPhone SE 3 and iPhone SE 2 were released in 2022 and 2020 respectively. So they expectedly are powered by processors that are two generations apart. The iPhone SE 3 packs the A15 Bionic chip — Apple’s highest-end mobile chip to date — while the iPhone SE 2 includes the A13 Bionic chip. Both chips are powerful, but obviously, the A15 outperforms the A13 in every single aspect. That’s not to mention that the iPhone SE 3 has 4GB of RAM while the iPhone SE 2 only has 3GB. Both phones are available in the same storage configurations — starting at 64GB and going up to 256GB of SSD.

Cameras

iPhone SE 2022

In our increasingly digital world, smartphone cameras matter a lot. While both iPhones include one rear and one front camera, they’re actually not identical. Yes, they do have the same technical specifications, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the A15 Bionic chip. Thanks to software-based improvements, the rear camera on the iPhone SE 3 supports features that remain unavailable on the iPhone SE 2. These include Smart HDR 4, Deep Fusion, and Night mode Time-lapse.

Battery Life and Charging

Battery life and charging speed are important aspects to consider when buying a new phone. Nobody wants a smartphone that dies halfway through the day and takes hours to fully recharge. Despite the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone SE 2 looking the same, they actually have different battery lives. After all, the internals are different — including the battery size, processor and its efficiency, and RAM.

The iPhone SE 3 and iPhone SE 2 include 2,018mAh and 1,821mAh batteries respectively. Apple claims that the 2022 iPhone can play 50 hours of audio on a single charge. On the other hand, the 2020 iPhone only lasts for 40 hours doing the same task. Both phones should last a full day on a single charge with average use. Additionally, they both support Qi wireless charging and fast wired charging. So the iPhone SE 3 wins this round, obviously.


Apple iPhone SE 3 vs Apple iPhone SE 2: Which smartphone should you buy?

In many ways, the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone SE 2 are identical. Despite that, the newer model still packs notable improvements — including 5G support. Considering the iPhone SE 2 costs $399 and the iPhone SE 3 costs $429, it wouldn’t make sense to buy the former. For an additional $30 you can take advantage of all of the included upgrades. Ultimately, one phone was released this year, while the other is two years older.

    The all-new iPhone SE 3 (2022) packs Apple's A15 Bionic chip, 5G support, and a dated design. It is available in three colors to choose from.
    The iPhone SE 2 (2020) includes Apple's A13 Bionic chip, no 5G support, and a dated design. It is available in three colors to choose from.

Which of the two phones will you be buying, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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