Apple’s iPhone SE 2022 vs. iPhone SE 2020: Which should you buy?

Apple just announced a new iPhone SE, but is it worth purchasing over the 2020 model?

Screengrab via Apple

Apple is updating its iPhone SE line with a new “budget” model in 2022. The new iPhone SE was revealed during Apple’s “Peek Performance” event on Mar. 8.

The iPhone SE first launched in 2016 before getting an upgrade in 2020. Now, the 2022 model seeks to improve on a few aspects of its predecessor but is still very much the same. So, iPhone SE 2020 or iPhone SE 2022, which one should you buy? Let’s break down the differences in specs first.

Price

Let’s start in with the biggest factor considering how the iPhone SE 2022 is being marketed as a budget option. Being labeled a “budget” model, you can expect the iPhone SE to come in at the lower end of the range, but budget is always a relative term when it comes to Apple.

  • 2020: $399
  • 2022: $429

There’s a $30 price bump up for the 2022 64GB from the 2020 model. This is only the starting price, though. If you need more memory, you’ll need to run with a 128GB model for $479 or top out at 256GB for $579.

Network

For those looking to make sure they’re on the cutting edge, 5G connectivity may be of significant importance. If that’s you, then you’ll likely want to stick with the newer alternative.

  • 2020: Non-5G
  • 2022: 5G

Color choices

Style plays a large role in any choice, so there’s no real way to break down which phone offers superior colorways other than by the number of options provided. To each their own.

  • 2020: Black, white, and Product Red
  • 2022: Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red

Size

There’s nothing new to report here. If the iPhone 2020 was too small for you, then you won’t find any improvement with the iPhone SE 2022.

  • 2020: 4.7 inches
  • 2022: 4.7 inches

Display

Likewise, there’s no change to the display here either. Both the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone SE 2022 feature the same Retina display and resolution.

  • 2020: Retina IPS LCD, 625 nits, 750×1334 pixels
  • 2022: Retina IPS LCD, 625 nits, 750×1334 pixels

Camera

Cameras here are identical but the iPhone SE 2022 edges out the iPhone SE 2020 thanks to its A15 Bionic chip that enables advanced and not so advanced functionality like Portrait mode, which has since become an iPhone staple.

  • 2020: 12 MP, f/1.8 (wide), front facing 7 MP, f/2.2
  • 2022: 12 MP, f/1.8 (wide), front facing 7 MP, f/2.2

Chipset

Apple’s A13 Bionic chip turned heads when it came loaded in the 2020 iPhone SE with neural engine, but with A15, there are a lot more possibilities thanks to a 30 percent bump in performance across the board.

  • 2020: A13 Bionic chip
  • 2022: A15 Bionic chip

Memory

Memory and storage options remain the same across both iPhone SE models.

  • 2020: 64GB 3GB RAM, 128GB 3GB RAM, and 256GB 3GB RAM
  • 2022: 64GB 3GB RAM, 128GB 3GB RAM, and 256GB 3GB RAM

Battery life

Differences are slim when it comes to the battery. Both iPhone SE models offer wireless Qi charging and fast charging but the iPhone SE 2022 bumps battery life up by an advertised two hours.

  • 2020: Fast-charging 18W battery, 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, 13 hours of playback
  • 2022: Fast-charging 18W battery, 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, 15 hours of playback

Should you buy the iPhone SE 2020 or the iPhone SE 2022?

Like anything else, purchases come down to personal preference and budget. If you’ve got the extra $30 to spare, then the iPhone SE 2022 is worth the investment. That added cost nets you a slightly better battery, a camera that is in line with Apple’s current products, 5G connectivity, and—most importantly—the A15 Bionic chip that increases performance by 30 percent in some benchmarks. If you’re in the market for an iPhone SE, it would be more forward-thinking to go with an iPhone SE 2022.

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