I can see the question from friends and family coming from a mile away, even though the iPhone SE 2022 isn’t on sale yet. “What is the best cheap iPhone? »
The easy answer would be the new iPhone SE 2022. After all, it gets you a speedy A15 Bionic chip, 5G connectivity, and plenty of camera upgrades for a reasonable price of $429. Yes, it’s $30 more than the previous iPhone SE 2020, but I think that’s a reasonable price increase considering the upgrades.
But personally, I don’t believe the new iPhone SE is necessarily the best iPhone for under $500. And that’s because the iPhone 11 is still on sale.
The iPhone 11, which is now $499, is by no means a new phone. It was released in the fall of 2019, so it’s almost three years old. But it has distinct advantages over the third-generation iPhone SE.
For starters, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch screen, which is much bigger than the puny 4.7-inch panel of the iPhone SE. I’m partially biased because I now wear reading glasses, but there’s no way I could comfortably use such a small screen on a day-to-day basis. Whether I’m browsing the web, playing Wordle, or streaming the best shows on Netflix, a 6.1-inch LCD screen gives you a more immersive experience.
If you want a more compact phone, the iPhone SE is a better bet, as it measures 5.5 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches and weighs 5.09 ounces. The iPhone 11 will take up more space in your pocket at 5.9 x 3 x 0.22 inches and it weighs 6.84 ounces. But I’d rather carry a bit more weight in exchange for more screen real estate.
Cameras are another selling point of the iPhone 11. Note that I said “cameras” not “camera”. The iPhone 11 has both a 12MP wide and ultra-wide camera, giving you more shooting flexibility, while the new iPhone SE sticks to a single 12MP wide lens. 12MP.
But an even bigger plus for the iPhone 11 is that it offers Night mode, so you can get really good shots even in low light. For some reason, Apple decided not to include Night mode on the iPhone SE 2022. And with the A15 Bionic chip on board, I’m pretty sure supporting this feature could have been technically feasible.
The new iPhone SE’s A15 chip gives it some advantages in computational photography over the iPhone 11. This includes Smart HDR 4 for photos and photography styles. But I prefer to have Night mode on board.
For selfies, the iPhone 11’s front camera is 12 MP compared to the iPhone SE’s 7 MP, so iPhone 11 shots could be sharper.
To be fair, the age of the iPhone 11 means it lacks some modern features, especially 5G. (Apple didn’t start releasing 5G phones until the iPhone 12 arrived in 2020.) But I don’t think that’s much of a game-changer in everyday use. Also, the iPhone SE 3 does not support Verizon’s Ultra Widbeand 5G network.
Most important to me is the battery life. Apple claims that the new iPhone SE offers up to 2 hours more battery life than the previous model. iPhone 11 offers up to 17 hours of video playback, 10 hours of streaming video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback. The new iPhone SE is rated for the same length of streaming video but less video playback (15 hours) and audio playback (50 hours).
So what about Touch ID? A lot of people really like the Touch ID button, and it’s unique to the iPhone SE 2022; it’s especially handy when wearing a mask and can be faster than Face ID. However, with mask mandates lifted in more parts of the country and Apple developing a mask-enabled version of Face ID for iOS 15.4, I think this debate is pretty much a washout for me.
Overall, the iPhone SE 2022 looks like a solid value for those looking for a capable, compact 5G iPhone at the lowest possible price. But due to its larger screen, night mode, and longer rated life, I would recommend the iPhone 11 over Apple’s latest SE model.