iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone SE 2020: What’s The Difference?



Apple’s new iPhone SE is here. It’s called the iPhone SE 3 – or the iPhone SE 2022 – and here’s how it compares to Apple’s iPhone SE 2020


Apple doesn’t release SE iPhones as often as its normal models. But when it does plenty of people get excited. Why? Because the iPhone SE – in this context, the iPhone SE 3 – is always markedly cheaper than its standard iPhone models (like the iPhone 13).

The iPhone SE 2020 launched in 2020, as the name suggests, and was the first time Apple released a truly inexpensive iPhone (compared to its usual prices). This model was a successor to its original iPhone SE which launched as more of a concession to all of Apple’s users that weren’t happy about the size of the iPhone 6.

Fast-forward almost half a decade and we’re now looking at the third iteration of Apple’s iPhone SE, the iPhone SE 3. But how does the iPhone SE 3 compare to the iPhone SE 2020? What’s new? Why does it cost more? Is it worth buying? All will be answered in detail below…

iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone SE 2020 Comparison

Rather than looking at EVERY aspect of the two phones, let’s take a detailed look at what makes these two phones different. And the easiest way to do this is to compare the iPhone SE 2020’s and the iPhone SE 3’s specs and features inside a table, so here’s a table…

SpecificationsiPhone SE 2022iPhone SE 2020
Display size, resolution4.7-inch4.7-inch
MaterialGlass and aluminum, same durable glass used on the back of the iPhone 13 and 13 ProGlass and aluminum
ColorsMidnight (black), starlight (white), redBlack, white, red
Mobile softwareiOS 15iOS 13
CamerasBack: 12-megapixel with feature upgrades (Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, and Deep Fusion)Back: 12-megapixel; front: 7-megapixel; video capture: 4K
ProcessorApple A15 BionicApple A13 Bionic
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Special featuresHome button with Touch ID, water-resistant and dust-resistant (IP67), wireless charging, fast charging, 5G support, longer battery lifeHome button with Touch ID, Water-resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM, e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD)Starting at $429$399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Price (GBP)Starting at £419£419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Price (AUD)Starting at AU$719AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)
How The iPhone SE 3 Compares To The iPhone SE 2020

Design

As you can see, the iPhone SE 3 uses more or less the exact same design as the iPhone SE 2020. It is the same size, with respect to dimensions and weight, and it has the same size display (again, a 4.7in LCD panel). The ONLY difference between the two phones in this context is that the iPhone SE 3 uses the same durable glass on its rear as the iPhone 13, whereas the iPhone SE 2020 used the same materials as the iPhone 8.

Does The iPhone SE 3 Come With A Charger
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Both the iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone SE 2020 come with a physical home button and TouchID. You do not get a notch nor do you have FACE ID. With respect to colors, the iPhone SE 3 is available in the following color schemes:

iPhone SE 3 Colors:

  • Black
  • White
  • Red

This is, again, identical to what the iPhone SE 2020 was available when it first launched.

Both phones are IP67 rated for water and dust resistance and both run dual-SIM. The iPhone SE 3, however, will do wireless charging too, with Quick Charging, but this is a feature that the iPhone SE 2020 had as well, so not too much difference here.

Specs & Features

When it comes to overall specs and features, the iPhone SE 3 is the clear victor. It is a more modern phone and is outfitted with plenty of new specs and features. You have Apple’s new A15 CPU, for instance, which is the same CPU used inside the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The iPhone SE 3 now supports 5G too, just like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, while the iPhone SE 2020 is limited to 4G. If you want to access 5G speeds and you want a new iPhone and you don’t want to pay a lot of money, the iPhone SE 3 could be just what you’ve been looking for.

With storage capabilities, both the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone SE 2020 come in the following storage options: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB. And, as always, the higher the storage you go for, the higher the price of the phone.

Battery Life

The iPhone SE 2020’s battery life was OK, but only just. Like the iPhone 8, it used a fairly small battery by its peers’ standards. Apple recognized this, however, and has ensured the iPhone SE 3 does not befall a similar fate.

Watch The Entire Apple March 8 Event

Apple says the iPhone SE 3’s battery life will last up to two hours longer than the iPhone SE 2020’s – impressive stuff, considering the iPhone SE 3 runs 5G and the 2020 model does not. Obviously, we’ll need to test out these claims. But if they’re true, it means most users will be able to get through a full day on a single charge.

Cameras

Another area where Apple has made some improvements is the iPhone SE 3’s camera module. With the iPhone SE 2020, you had a fairly basic and rather antiquated 12MP sensor on the rear. The iPhone SE 3 uses a similar setup, again, a single 12MP sensor, but it adds in support for newer features like Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, and Deep Fusion which will make a massive difference to how it performs.

Is the camera on the iPhone SE 3 comparable to what you get on the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13? Not even close. If you want a decent camera on your iPhone, your best bet is to pick up either the iPhone 12 mini (refurbished) or the iPhone 11 Pro Max – both can be now had for around the same price as the iPhone SE 3.

Personally, I’d rather run an iPhone 12 mini than the iPhone SE 3. You get a more modern design, improved specs, a larger battery, 5G, a significantly more capable camera, and an OLED display, something the iPhone SE 3 does not have – it uses a 720p LCD panel.

Add in the fact that the iPhone 12 mini, at least on the refurbished market, can be had for around the same price as the iPhone SE 3 and it is pretty safe to say that it represents significantly better value for money.

Is The iPhone SE 3 Worth It?

If you want a brand new iPhone and you don’t mind running an older-looking, small iPhone that is essentially an iPhone 8 with updated specs and hardware then, yes, the iPhone SE 3 is well worth it – it has 5G, plenty of performance, and Apple has updated its camera’s capabilities, bringing it more in line with what you’d expect from a phone in 2022.

But there are some caveats; the main one being that the phone is based on the iPhone 8’s design which is now starting to look pretty dated. The phone itself is also really small too, it has a 4.7in LCD display, which, again, isn’t great – and it is only a 720p one too. That’s a lot lower resolution than most people are used to. If you like your screens to look nice and really pop, the iPhone SE 3 is not the phone for you.

Again, I think the iPhone 12 mini is a far better option. It has 5G, a better camera, and it looks and feels like a modern iPhone, it has FACE ID, for instance, and it also runs an OLED display that, like the iPhone SE 3’s, is also on the small side at just 5.4in. But because the iPhone 12 mini doesn’t use TouchID or have a physical home button, the phone itself is actually smaller than the iPhone SE 2020 while having a significantly larger and better screen.

Plus, the iPhone 12 mini can now be had for around the same price as the iPhone SE 3, so long as you get a refurbished model. Apple discontinued the iPhone 12 mini when the iPhone 13 launched. But a refurb phone, as I’ve noted millions of times on this site, is just as good as a new phone, only it’ll cost you 40% less – and who doesn’t like a great deal like that?

And check out Does The Apple Studio Display Come With A Stand?

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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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