iPhone SE 3, SE 2, iPhone 11 and more

While the new iPhone SE 3 gets the same A15 chip as the more expensive iPhone 13 and upgrades like 5G, improved battery life, camera improvements, and more, there are naturally trade-offs with Apple’s less expensive iPhone. Let’s dive into the iPhone SE 3 vs SE 2, iPhone 11 and more.

As expected, the iPhone SE 3 arrived as Apple’s latest version prioritizing low price with performance upgrade and preferred features. But with Apple still officially selling the iPhone 11 for just $70 compared to the SE 3 and the iPhone 12/13 in the mix as well, there’s a lot to consider.

iPhone SE 3 vs SE 2, iPhone 11, 12 and 13


In another step that sets the iPhone apart from Android smartphones, Apple has put its current and most powerful smartphone chip into the more expensive iPhone.

With the iPhone SE 3 getting the A15 Bionic, it beats the iPhone 11 and 12 in performance and matches the iPhone 13 lineup. It’s impressive for a $429 iPhone to have the same processor as the $700-$1100 models.

iPhone SE 3 iPhone SE2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
chip A 15 A 13 A13 / 14 A 15
CPU cores 6 core 6 core 6 core 6 core
GPU cores 4 core 4 core 4 core 4 core
nervous motor 16 core 8 core 8/16 core 16 core
storage 64-256 GB 64 or 128 GB 64-128 GB / 64-256 GB 64-512 GB

As far as can be expected with the A15-equipped iPhone SE 3, Apple says it offers 1.2 times faster graphics performance than the iPhone SE 2 and has 1.8 times faster CPU performance than the iPhone 8 (A11 chip).

In real-world use, the presence of the A15 inside the iPhone SE 3 means that apps will load quickly and run smoothly. And since we’ll cover more below, we’re enabling features like Apple’s computer photography and battery life optimization.

Design and display

design iPhone SE 3 iPhone SE2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
aluminum frame
Front and back windshield
Front ceramic shield ❌ / ✅
full screen design
Home button
water resistant up to 1 meter up to 1 meter up to 2/6m up to 6 meters

In terms of overall dimensions, the iPhone SE 3 is the same as the SE 2:

  • 5.45 inches (138.4 mm)
  • 2.65 inches wide (67.3 mm)
  • 0.29 in (7.3 mm)
  • 5.09 ounces (144 grams) – actually 4 grams lighter than the SE 2

Of course, one of the big cost-savings with the iPhone SE 3 is to use the same LCD screen design as the SE 2 and iPhone 8. That means the big top and bottom bezels instead of the modern full screen + OLED design of the iPhone 11, 12 and 13.

Show iPhone SE 3 Iphone SE 2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
display size 4.7″ 4.7″ 6.1″ 6.1″
Display type LCD screen LCD screen you all you all
Precision 1334 x 750 1334 x 750 1792 x 828/2532 x 1170 2532 x 1170
PPI 326 326 326/460 460
real tune
Wide color P3
tactile touch
brightness (lice) 625 625 625 / 625-1200 800-1200

Other display differences include slightly lower pixels per inch (PPI) and brightness than the iPhone 12 and 13. However, the iPhone SE 3 matches the iPhone 11 with these two specifications.

Battery life

iPhone SE 3 vs SE 2, iPhone 11 and more - Battery Life

With the iPhone SE 3, you get two more hours of video playback and 10 more hours of audio than the SE 2. Apple says that’s thanks to the A15 chip, the latest battery chemistry and interior design changes.

This puts the SE 3’s battery life on par with the iPhone 12 mini but still lower than other recent iPhones.

Note: Apple battery estimates are a feature “reach to” Qualified on all of its spec pages.

Battery life iPhone SE 3 Iphone SE 2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
play video 15 hours 13 hours 17 hours 19 hours
Video streaming 10 hours 8 hours 10/11 hours 15 hours
Audio playback 50 hours 40 hours 65 hours 75 hours

Like other iPhones, the SE 3 offers fast charging, so the 20W+ power adapter gives you a 50% charge in 30 minutes.


iPhone SE 3 vs SE 2, iPhone 11 and more - Contact

This is where more of the trade-offs with the new iPhone SE become clear. You’re giving up the MagSafe that’s available on iPhone 12 and 13 as well as Face ID and the ultra-wideband support that comes on iPhone 11 and later.

Another limitation is that the 5G connectivity on the iPhone SE 3 doesn’t include mmWave support (the faster, but rarer flavor) and instead sticks to Sub-6GHz 5G. This is unlikely to be an issue in actual use since Sub-6GHz 5G is the most common, but it’s good to be aware of it.

Connection iPhone SE 3 Iphone SE 2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
Connection ID
Face ID
lightning port
MagSafe ❌ / ✅
Wireless charging
5G network ✅ (but without mmWave) ❌ / ✅
Ultra broadband
WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
With two slices


iPhone SE 3 vs SE 2, iPhone 11 and more - Cameras

The iPhone SE 3 gets some nice upgrades for the main rear camera including Deep Fusion (first arrived with the iPhone 11) and Smart HDR 4 for portraits and photography modes (launched with the iPhone 13).

However, you’re still missing out on features like 2x optical zoom and night mode with iPhone 11 and later.

Rear camera(s) iPhone SE 3 iPhone SE2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
12MP wide camera ✅ (f/1.8 aperture) ✅ (f/1.8 aperture) ✅ (f/1.8/f/1.6) ✅ (f/1.6)
12MP Ultra Wide Camera
night mode
Deep Fusion
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
OIS shift sensor
2x optical zoom Outside
True Tone flash
fashion image
Portrait Lighting
Smart HDR 4 for photos
photography styles

When it comes to video recording, here’s how the features compare:

Rear camera(s) Video iPhone SE 3 iPhone SE2 iPhone 11/12 iPhone 13
4K recording
1080p recording
Cinema Mode
HDR video recording ❌ / ✅
OIS for video
Video OIS shift sensor
volume amplification
Slovakia Mo
Time-Lapse night mode
Stereo recording

As for the front camera, the iPhone SE 3 is installed with a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera that provides:

  • Smart HDR 4
  • f / 2.2 . lens aperture
  • retina flash
  • photography styles
  • Portrait mode and portrait lighting
  • 1080p video recording with cinematic stabilization
  • Deep Fusion

There are some features you miss with the SE 3 front camera compared to the iPhone 11 and newer, including 4K video recording, Animoji and Memoji support, and a 12MP lens.

SE 3 Colors, Storage, Price

iPhone SE 3 vs SE 2 colors

With a slight tweak to the SE 2 colors, the SE 3 comes in Midnight, Starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED. The starting price is $30 higher than the SE 2 with the SE 3 up from $429 (orders start March 11).

64 GB $429
128 GB $479
256 GB $579

What’s in the box?

Keep in mind that the only thing you get in the box is an iPhone SE 3 and a USB-C to Lightning cable.

If you need one, Apple sells the 20W USB-C Power Adapter for $19, but you can pick up more compact options like the Anker PowerPort III for a lower price.

The conclusion of the iPhone SE 3, SE 2, and iPhone 11

If you’re looking to spend $500 or less on a new iPhone that will last for years to come, the SE 3 is a compelling choice with Apple’s latest processor, improved battery life, a compact design, and some great camera improvements.

That’s as long as you do well with the older design with larger top and bottom bezels, sticking with Touch ID instead of Face ID, skipping MagSafe, and ditching some of the advanced camera features of the iPhone 11 and later.

iPhone SE 3 price goes up for pre-order on March 11th with delivery starting on March 18th.

For comparisons on the iPhone 12, 13, and 13 Pro, check out our step-by-step guides:

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