The iPhone SE 3 is “Cheap” In The Worst Possible Way…



A half-decade old design and some 5G… and that warrants a higher price tag does it, Apple!?


The OG iPhone SE served a purpose; it was a small iPhone for people that wanted small iPhones. And back when it came out, post-iPhone 6, plenty of people did want small iPhones. The iPhone SE 2020 kind of served a purpose, in that it was kind of cheap. It filled a void in Apple’s phone range. But only just.

The iPhone SE 3 is another matter entirely, however – and not in a good way.

Not only is it more expensive than the iPhone SE 2020, it costs $30 more or thereabouts, but it is based on the exact same design as the SE 2020 which technically means it is based on the iPhone 8’s design (now the best part of half a decade old). It does have a new A15 chip, some more RAM, and 5G but Apple’s pricing is pretty off here.

Why is The iPhone SE 3 More Expensive?

Ask yourself: how is this phone more expensive than its predecessor? It looks the same. It has no new features. It runs a single-lens 12MP camera, and the display is a tiny 720p resolution panel. All very 2013.

I don’t see any extra cost associated with this phone. And given the year that Apple has had profits-wise, you’d think it would have been gracious enough NOT to increase the price of its “cheaper” iPhone, especially when everybody else is feeling the pinch.

You get 5G, of course, but then you can get 5G on plenty of cheaper phones these days too.

iPhone SE 3
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To me, the entire phone just comes off as kind of cynical on Apple’s part. I honestly don’t really understand why it released the iPhone SE 3 in the first place. Or, for that matter, why, during the space of two years, it couldn’t come up with a new design for it, something a little more modern? The mini is dying this year, we know know that, so a new-look SE would have made the perfect successor to fill that void.

But then IF Apple had redesigned it, what, exactly, would it look like? The iPhone 13 Mini most likely which means the iPhone SE 3, I guess, again, rather cynically on Apple’s part, is to fill the ailing demand in its user base for small iPhones. Begrudgingly, of course.

Small iPhones Just Got Rubbish Again

This means, should you want a small iPhone in, say, 2022 or 2023, you’re only option – if you want a new one – will be the iPhone SE 3, unless Apple keeps the iPhone 13 Mini around which I’m guessing it won’t – sales haven’t been great for either it or the iPhone 12 mini.

Could the iPhone SE 3 do any better? Probably, but only because it is being marketed as a cheap iPhone that is as powerful as the iPhone 13. And that’s fine; the A15 chip is very, very powerful.

But for a company of Apple’s size and profitability, releasing a phone as dull and as expensive as this and THEN having the audacity to call it “new” is perhaps, on reflection, the only thing that could be considered “cheap” about this new iPhone.

My advice? Buy the iPhone 12 mini – it costs less than the iPhone SE 3 and it is a far superior phone. Or wait 12 months, and pick up the iPhone 13 mini on the refurbished market. It is available refurbished at the moment, but the price is still a little on the high side.

By late-2022, however, the prices will have come down considerably and this will make it the only small iPhone worth bothering with. Right now, though, the iPhone 12 mini is a great value option if you want a cheap iPhone that isn’t based on the iPhone 8.

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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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