Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

GSMArena Team, 06 April 2022.

Display

The Apple iPhone SE (2022)'s 4.7-inch LCD dates back to the iPhone 7. It has 750 x 1,334 pixels or 326ppi - what Apple marketing likes to call Retina resolution, but that's a term long deprived of meaning.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

The panel is advertised to reach 625nits of maximum brightness, 1400:1 contrast and offers True Tone enhancement. The panels of the same sized used on the iPhone 6 and 6s had lower brightness, did not offer P3 color support, and True Tone wasn't a thing back then.

The iPhone SE (2022) screen has a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz and 60Hz of touch sampling rate.

The screen features a Corning-made protective glass with oleophobic coating for smudge resistance.

So, we start with our traditional display measurements. The LCD panel on the third iPhone SE scored an excellent contrast ratio of 1424:1 - in line with what Apple promises. The display offers deep enough black level and a high maximum brightness of 605 nits.

The minimum brightness we captured at point white was 2.6 nits - an impressive one for an LCD screen.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone SE (2022) 0.425 605 1424:1
Apple iPhone SE (2020) 0.434 670 1544:1
Apple iPhone 8 (Standard) 0.399 566 1419:1
Apple iPhone 8 (Max Auto) 0.468 640 1368:1
Apple iPhone 7 0.35 561 1603:1
Apple iPhone 7 (max auto) 0.40 656 1640:1
Apple iPhone 12 mini 0 627
Apple iPhone 13 mini 0 831
Xiaomi 12X 0 504
Xiaomi 12X (Max Auto) 0 925
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G 0 427
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (Max Auto) 0 830
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 0 438
OnePlus Nord 2 5G (Max Auto) 0 633
Realme GT2 0 517
Realme GT2 (Max Auto) 0 846

Color accuracy

The iPhone SE (2022) display has an outstanding calibration and color accuracy - we measured an average deltaE of 1.2 against sRGB targets. The screen fully supports DCI-P3, and it automatically switches to this gamma when DCI-P3 content is displayed.

Streaming

According to Apple the iPhone SE (2022) supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision video streaming, and indeed, all popular apps recognized the screen as such. Our experience with the streaming on the go was great - the colors, the brightness, and the contrast are very good. Of course, that ancient LCD is not actually an HDR panel, so it tone-maps HDR content to its SDR capabilities. Soo while HDR content will play don't expect to see any difference over SDR.

Battery life

The Apple iPhone SE (2022) is powered by a 2,018mAh battery, which is a 10% increase over the previous 2020 model. Combined with the new more power-efficient chipset, the third iPhone SE promises 2 more hours of video playback (both local and streamed), as well as 10 more hours of audio playback.

The phone also supports up to 20W wired fast charging, you just need a compatible USB Power Delivery charger.

So, the new iPhone SE (2022) scored an overall endurance rating of 62 hours, which is rather poor. It clocked 2 more hours on 3G calls and 1 additional hour on video playback compared to the SE (2020). The standby endurance and the web times remain virtually unchanged.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

While the endurance rating is low, it is mostly hurt by the standby performance, which is 165 hours - far less than the usual 350-450 hours we get from a smartphone this days, it is in line with other current and previous iPhone models. The standalone tests calls, web and video are actually pretty good for such a tiny device with a small battery.

To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.

Charging speed

The iPhone SE (2022) supports wired charging up to 20W and basic wireless charging up to 7.5W. There is no MagSafe support for this iPhone, and just like the rest of the iPhone lineup, it ships without a charger.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

Any USB-C PD charger will do fine for the iPhone SE (2022). We used Apple's 20W Power Adapter as we think most iPhone users will get one and keep it for their next phones.

So, using Apple's 20W charger, the iPhone SE (2022) battery went from 0% to 61% in 30 minutes.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    63%
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    61%
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    61%
  • Apple iPhone 12 mini
    60%
  • Asus Zenfone 8
    60%
  • Apple iPhone 12
    58%
  • Apple iPhone SE (2020)
    57%
  • Apple iPhone 13
    54%

A full charge requires 1 hour and 1 minutes, though we should note the last 10% took over 20 minutes.

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    1:03h
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    1:18h
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    1:24h
  • Asus Zenfone 8
    1:28h
  • Apple iPhone 12 mini
    1:29h
  • Apple iPhone 12
    1:30h
  • Apple iPhone SE (2020)
    1:40h
  • Apple iPhone 13
    1:46h

Speakers - loudness and quality

The Apple iPhone SE (2022), just like the iPhone SE (2020) and many of the recent iPhone models, offers a hybrid stereo speaker setup. This means there is one speaker at the bottom of the phone, while the earpiece doubles as a second one.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

The speakers are not too mismatched and we are happy with the listening experience, whether it was in portrait or landscape orientation. Of course the bottom speaker is a bit louder and offers more bass, but it's not too bothersome.

The iPhone SE (2022) scored a Very Good mark on our loudness test, just like most of the recent iPhones we've tested.

Even better, its audio quality also deserves a Very Good mark for the balanced and rich sound. It is not as great as the deep sound coming from the iPhone 13, but close.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • Sanie
  • 29 Dec 2022
  • IhN

I just bought an iPhone SE ( product) red but it's cameras are on top of one another. Not side by side as I see in the pics here. Did I get ripped off. I'm having other troubles too. I payed 325.00 for it. Please tell me something good. Ty ...

  • Chris
  • 11 Dec 2022
  • 2xw

The Se2022 is a good size to fit in your pocket with 5 years of updates and every other iPhone waa more expensive than what I wanted yet it has the a15 chip and if I was to get a reasonable up to date android that is small without being the size of a...

Got my iPhone SE (2022) in like new condition the other night. No flaws and for only $150 on OfferUp. I'm getting the same A15 chip as the 13 series and non-Pro 14s. 

 If you can deal with the outdated design, getting an SE3 for under $200...