iPhone SE 3 Review: Possibly the most outrageous new phone of 2022

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Like the shape of the iPhone SE 3, the price and storage capacity of the iPhone SE 3 are also outrageous. In this era when you can buy a 12GB+256GB version of an Android phone for $300, the iPhone SE 3 64GB is priced at $430. But after a few days of experience, I seem to understand what Apple’s “confidence” is.


Appearance: Hidden changes under the classic look

The iPhone basically inherits the design of the iPhone SE 2 from the iPhone 6 era. Comparing this classic design with the current full-screen mobile phone can be said to have a feeling of returning to the previous era. The overall holding experience of the iPhone SE 3 is light and comfortable, and the low body weight makes this model not feel heavy in the hand.

The back cover glass of the iPhone SE 3 is made of the same material as the iPhone 13, which has certain reflective properties and has a remarkable anti-fingerprint effect. In terms of protection performance, the iPhone SE 3 continues the fine tradition of the iPhone, and the waterproof and dustproof performance has reached the IP67 level under the IEC 60529 standard. Of course, the iPhone SE 3 does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

iPhone SE 3

Although the appearance of the iPhone SE 3 looks almost the same as the iPhone 8 except for the color, there are actually some changes. For example, the body weight of the iPhone SE 3 is 144g, while the iPhone 8 is 148g. Compared with the earlier iPhone, the brand LOGO of the iPhone SE 3 has also been moved to the center of the fuselage.

iPhone SE 3


Performance: “Residual blood version” A15 processor

The iPhone SE 3 is the most concerned, and the most “outrageous” is its performance. The iPhone SE 3 is equipped with the same “residual blood version” A15 processor as the iPhone 13. The CPU part of the processor has 2 performance cores and 4 energy efficiency cores, and the GPU part has a 4-core graphics processor. In addition, a new 16-core neural network engine is integrated.

When it comes to RAM, Apple is as “stingy” as ever. The iPhone SE 3 is only equipped with 4GB of RAM, which is much lower than that of Android phones of the same level. However, thanks to the excellent optimization of Apple’s iOS system, 4GB RAM has no negative impact in daily use.

The first thing to do is benchmark performance. In the benchmark test of AnTuTu V9, the iPhone SE 3 scored 73W, which is close to the performance of the iPhone 12. In the GeekBench 5 test, which can accurately reflect the performance of the mobile phone SoC CPU, the GeekBench CPU of the iPhone SE 3 scored 1719 points in the single-core test and 4569 points in the multi-core test. The overall score is basically on par with the iPhone 13.

Since the iPhone SE 3 is equipped with an A15 processor and has a single-layer motherboard design, the measured data of its game frame rate is very good. In the test of the mobile game “Genshin Impact”, we set the picture quality option to very high picture quality + 60 frames, the measured average frame rate of the iPhone SE 3 30-minute game was 59.7 frames, the frame rate curve fluctuated less, and the overall performance excellent.

We also tested the back cover temperature of the iPhone SE 3 during our gaming test. According to the measurement, after 30 minutes of high-intensity game testing, the average temperature of the back cover of the iPhone SE 3 is 39.5℃. It can be seen that the iPhone SE 3 based on the single-layer motherboard design has better continuous performance and heat dissipation than the iPhone 13.

Through the measured data, it can be found that the performance of the iPhone SE 3 is quite “outrageous”. As a small-screen phone with a body size of 4.7 inches, its peak performance completely surpasses that of most large-screen flagship phones, and its continuous performance release is better than the iPhone 13 series. In other words, Apple is equipped with the most powerful mobile phone performance for a model designed in a backward era.


Image: Probably the best single-camera phone for taking pictures

When it comes to taking pictures, the iPhone SE 3 can also be described as outrageous. As a new phone to be released in 2022, the iPhone SE 3 is only equipped with a 12MP rear camera, while the Redmi Note 11 4G, currently priced at less than $185, also uses the mainstream 50MP triple camera configuration.

iPhone SE 3

Of course, the performance of the imaging system of a mobile phone is not determined by the number of cameras and pixels, but also depends on factors such as its sensor performance and imaging algorithm. The iPhone SE 3 equipped with the A15 processor has naturally achieved a significant increase in computing power in terms of imaging, enabling it to support computational photography functions such as smart HDR 4, photography style, deep fusion, and portrait mode.

iPhone SE 3

In the real shooting experience, the imaging level of the iPhone SE 3 can be described as simple and excellent. The focusing speed of the iPhone SE 3 is quite fast, the capture effect is quite accurate, and the HDR algorithm in the backlight scene is also very good. There is no obvious light overexposure problem in the night scene. However, it is worth noting that in complex lighting scenes, the iPhone SE 3 will still have ghosting problems.

iPhone SE 3 iPhone SE 3 iPhone SE 3


Screen: 4.7-inch LCD screen, looks good but really small

The screen size of the iPhone SE 3 is 4.7 inches like the iPhone 8, and the screen material is LCD, the screen resolution is 1334×750, and the peak screen brightness is 625 nits. Like its predecessors, the iPhone SE 3’s screen looks great and is clearly visible in the sun for everyday use.

iPhone SE 3

The obvious usability flaw for the iPhone SE 3 is its smaller screen size. Although 4.7 inches was the mainstream screen size of the year, in the era of full screen, this screen size still brought many problems. For example, in FPS mobile games, virtual screen buttons will occupy most of the screen display area, affecting the normal screen look and feel.

iPhone SE 3

Although the iPhone SE 3 is pre-installed with the iOS 15.4 system, due to its non-full-screen design, the system UI and interaction design of the iPhone SE 3 are basically the same as those of the iPhone 8, and full-screen gestures are not supported. The gesture of swiping up from the bottom of the screen is to call out the control center, and the gesture of sliding from the top of the screen is to call out the notification center.

iPhone SE 3

At the same time, the most classic Home button design of the iPhone series has also been continued on the iPhone SE 3. Like the iPhone 8, the iPhone SE 3’s Home button uses a touch-sensitive design, with a vibration motor to provide vibration feedback when pressed.

iPhone SE 3


Battery Life: The battery becomes larger, the experience remains the same

In terms of battery life, thanks to the high energy efficiency advantages of Apple A15 and the increase in battery life brought about by the increase in battery capacity, the battery life of the iPhone SE 3 has been significantly improved compared to the previous generation model. After the 100% battery life of the iPhone SE 3 went through a 3-hour battery life test including shooting, watching videos, and streaming browsing, its remaining battery was 80%. Compared with the current mainstream flagship models, the battery life performance is weak, but it performs well in small-sized mobile phones.

3 hours battery life test

In the case of using a 20W PD charger, through actual tests, the iPhone SE 3 can charge the battery from about to run out to 62% in 30 minutes, and the charging speed is in line with expectations.

30 minutes fast charge test


Conclusion:

The release and mass production of a mobile phone with the latest processor, a 4.7-inch non-full screen, and a single rear camera in 2022 can be said to be the most “outrageous” behavior in the mobile phone industry in 2022. But after a comprehensive review, it’s not hard to see that, even with its many basic flaws, the iPhone SE 3 is still a phone with some purchase value in 2022.

First of all, the sustained performance of the iPhone SE 3 is quite good. If you can live with short gaming battery life and a small 4.7-inch screen, the iPhone SE 3 is a very capable gaming phone. Secondly, the weight of the iPhone SE 3 is only 144g, which is comparable to that of the iPhone 13 mini, and the thickness of the body is thinner than that of the iPhone 13 mini. That means the iPhone SE 3 is a pretty good option for phone lovers on a budget. In addition, for users who have a limited budget but want to use the iOS system, the iPhone SE 3 is also a more friendly choice than the iPhone 13.

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