Apple’s new iPhone SE vs. Android phones: Specs comparison

The new iPhone SE may sound eerily familiar to anyone who’s seen an iPhone in the past eight years, but as Apple showed us with its budget line, what matters is what’s inside. The latest iPhone is due out on March 18, with pre-orders starting on Friday, March 11, and when it does, it will be equipped with a chubby A15 Bionic processor and a starting price just over $429 with 64GB of storage. This is the same processor found in the iPhone 13 line, which makes the SE nearly as capable as other current iPhones. But what if you’re not just shopping in the Apple world? How does a “budget” iPhone compare to Android phones within a similar range of value?

First, let’s move away from the most obvious limiting factor. If you’ve been using an Apple Watch, AirPods, AirPlay, or a blue bubble in iMessage, you’ll likely want to go back now. Yes, there are alternatives to all of these things in the Android world, but each one will introduce a level of friction that may be too much for many. Although if you’re thinking of making a switch, there’s plenty to like outside of Apple’s walled garden.

The strengths of the iPhone SE (2022)

The iPhone SE 2022 may use an older design with large bezels, but the best thing this line from Apple does is offer plenty of room for performance at a relatively reasonable price. You can’t get another phone for less than $500 with a fast processor or several years of anticipated updates like the iPhone SE. Apple doesn’t come out and say how many years of operating system updates its phones will receive, but the first generation iPhone SE from 2016 is capable of running the latest iOS 15. Most phones that get three or four years of software updates are. A victory in the Android world, but it still pales in comparison.

This year, Apple is promising performance gains for the A15 processor as well as a larger battery to accommodate the now compact, power-hungry 5G modem. It all comes with a starting price of $429 — a $30 increase over the 2020 model — but you’re still stuck with the same old design with the 4.7-inch Retina display. However, if you love a good home button, fingerprint scanner, and non-MagSafe Qi wireless charging, there are reasons to rejoice.

iPhone SE 2022 continues to prove that what’s inside is what matters. She is a fat healer.
Photo: Apple

Comparison between iPhone SE 2022, Samsung, Google and Motorola

This design may seem warm and cozy to old iPhone owners who haven’t upgraded their phones in years, but compared to Android phones, it seems torn from a long-forgotten past. For about the same price as the iPhone SE, there are all kinds of excellent Android phones with bigger screens, bigger batteries, more RAM, and extra cameras. The iPhone SE may offer higher performance thanks to its CPU, but phones like the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, Galaxy A42 5G, Google Pixel 5A and Motorola Moto Edge 5G UW (2021) have more modern features and only things in general.

Samsung is known to hit nearly every price point, and both the Galaxy A52 and A42 offer long battery life. We don’t yet know the mAh specifications of the new iPhone SE, but it’s safe to assume that even if it had a larger battery than the SE for 2020, it would still be smaller than its Android rival. The Galaxy A52 and Moto Edge also offer displays with a higher refresh rate, up to 120Hz and 144Hz, respectively. It might cost a bit more than an iPhone, but those speeds make scrolling and animations feel smoother at the 60Hz that the SE beats.

Ssmsung Galaxy A52 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, along with most phones in the Android world, makes the iPhone SE look completely outdated by comparison.
Photo by Alison Johnson/The Verge

The Pixel 5A may be one of the most competitive options to compare with the iPhone SE, as it is the closest in price. For an extra $20, you get more storage, a larger OLED screen, excellent camera quality, and an ultra-wide lens option. Although it lacks wireless charging, the Pixel 5A is a good option for cross-shopping with the SE.

Finally, there’s the Motorola Moto Edge 5G UW, which touts some of the biggest specs and features of all these phones, including a 6.8-inch screen with 144Hz refresh, a 5,000mAh battery, and 8GB of RAM, And a storage memory of 256 GB. Although it also comes with an asking price of $699.99, it often discounts to the more competitive $499.99. That’s the thing with Android phones, there are often discounts that are not uncommon or outright rare on iPhones.

It’s hard to buy a bad phone these days, although mid-range phones continue to offer more value while flagships from companies like Apple and Samsung tend to command a higher price tag. If you’re curious to see how the upcoming iPhone SE compares directly to some of the budget-based competition, check out the side-by-side comparison below. We’ll be putting the new iPhone SE through its paces pretty soon in our full review, where specs and software experience clash to see how good this phone really is.

iPhone SE (2022) vs. mid-range Android phones

Customize iPhone SE (2022) Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Samsung Galaxy A42 5G Google Pixel 5A Motorola Moto Edge 5G UW (2021)
Customize iPhone SE (2022) Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Samsung Galaxy A42 5G Google Pixel 5A Motorola Moto Edge 5G UW (2021)
You iOS 15 Updated to Android 12 Updated to Android 12 Updated to Android 12 Android 11, planned update to Android 12 in early 2022
Show 4.7 inch LCD 6.5 inch OLED 6.6 inch OLED 6.34 inch OLED 6.8 inch LCD
Precision 1334 x 750 2400 x 1080 1600 x 720 2400 x 1080 2460 x 1080
the above. refresh rate 60 Hz up to 120 Hz 60 Hz 60 Hz up to 144 Hz
Dimensions (mm) 67.3 x 138.4 x 7.3 75.1 x 159.9 x 8.4 75.9 x 164.4 x 8.6 73.2 x 156.2 x 8.8 75.6 x 169 x 8.99
Weight 144 g 189 grams 193 grams 183 grams 200 grams
battery capacity to be announced later on 4500 mAh 5000 mAh 4680 mAh 5000 mAh
Healer A15 Bionic Snapdragon 750G Snapdragon 750G Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 778G
RAM 4GB 6 GB 4GB 6 GB 8 GB
storage 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB 128 GB 128 GB 128 GB 256 GB
ports lightning port USB-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD USB-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD USB-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack USB-C charging port
back camera 12 MP (f/1.8, OIS) wide 64 MP (f/1.8, OIS) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide, 5 MP (f/2.4) macro, 5 MP (f/2.4) deep camera 48 MP (f/1.8) wide, 8 MP (f/2.2), 2 MP (f/2.4) depth camera 12.2 MP (f/1.7, Dual Pixel AF) wide-angle, 16 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide 108MP (f/1.9) wide angle, 8MP (f/2.2) 2MP (f/2.4) depth sensor
front camera 7 MP (f/2.2) 32 MP (f/2.2) 13 MP (f/2.2) 8 MP (f/2.0) 32 MP (f/2.25)
Picture Modes Smart HDR 4, Portrait mode, Portrait lighting, Photography modes Macro, Night mode, Portrait mode, Fun mode (front camera) Night mode, portrait mode Night scene, portrait mode Macro, Ultra-Res Pro (with long exposure), night vision
Video modes Unavailable Ultra Steady Video Mode Ultra Steady Video Mode slow motion Macro, super slow motion, dual capture, video shot
video recording 4K at 24, 25, 30 or 60 frames per second. 1080p HD at 25, 30 or 60 fps with 120 and 240 fps Slow-Mo. 4K at 30fps, 1080P HD at 30fps Ultra Steady Video Mode 4K at 30fps, 1080P HD at 30fps Ultra Steady Video Mode 4K at 30 and 60 fps, 1080p HD at 30, 60, 120 and 240 fps 4K at 30 fps, 1080p HD at 60 and 30 fps or 120 fps with Slow-Mo
Biometrics Connection ID fingerprint fingerprint fingerprint Fingerprint, face unlock
Water and dust protection IP67 IP67 Unavailable IP67 IP52
Wireless charging? Yes, compatible with Qi number number number number
5G support sub-6 GHz Sub 6 GHz sub-6 GHz, mmWave Sub 6 GHz sub-6GHz, mmWave on Verizon
Initial price $429 $499.99 $399.99 $449 $499.99 ($699.99 MSRP)