IPhone se camera samples. How-To Geek

iPhone SE 2022 review: A whole lot of phone for 429

The iPhone SE is Apple’s budget-friendly iPhone and pairs an older design with newer hardware. The third-generation iPhone SE is now up for preorder and continues this working formula.

It’s now 429 — a slight price bump over previous models — in an identical build with a home button and just a single camera lens. But it’s upgraded on the inside with a newer processor and support for 5G. And I’ve spent six days with it to see who needs to upgrade and determine who the budget iPhone is for.

iPhone SE 2022

The iPhone SE gives you the performance of a much more expensive phone in a compact size, and has enough power and features to be future-proof for years to come.

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The who, what and how

Who this is for: If you’re looking for your first smartphone or holding onto an older iPhone (first-gen SE, 6, 6S, 7 or 8), the iPhone SE delivers plenty of performance, the ability to take great photos and a compact size for 429. Those who want a more modern device with a larger screen can look at the 599 iPhone 11 or a refurbished iPhone.

What you need to know: At 429 the iPhone SE gets you the power and performance of the iPhone 13 in a smaller build with a 4.7-inch display and just a single camera. It’s not for someone who wants the most versatile photography experience or a screen for bingeing a TV show season on the go. You do get modern performance, which bests nearly all other budget phones and stretches the potential life of this phone.

How this compares: The iPhone SE performs just as well as the iPhone 13, thanks to the same processor being used at a fraction of the price. It lets you complete nearly any thinkable task on the phone. When compared to another budget phone like the Pixel 5a with 5G, the SE is quicker to open apps and feels more fluid for intense tasks like gaming. The onboard cameras meet the level of iPhone quality with most shots, but there’s not a dedicated Night mode, which is disappointing. You’ll need to use the flash, which doesn’t deliver the greatest shots in low-lighting conditions and can lead to overexposure of a shot or extra noise in an image. The Pixel 5a with 5G wins out with a dedicated Night Sight mode, which uses software for clear, crisp shots in those conditions. It’s not a wash, though; the iPhone SE is a mostly compromise-free experience and delivers what you expect from an iPhone at a budget price.

Classic iPhone design with a 4.7-inch screen

The iPhone SE sticks with a classic iPhone design that’s identical to the second-generation and truthfully resembles an iPhone 8. It’s a glass front and back with aluminum sides. The 4.7-inch Retina HD display is surrounded by bezels with a home button below the screen for easy unlocking through Touch ID. Like on the second gen, the home button is an electronic one powered by a haptic motor — so when the phone is dead or off, the button won’t click in.

Fear not, there are a few options that won’t break the bank for replacing a broken iPhone with a used or refurbished model.

Used iPhones: A guide on where and how to buy one

The iPhone SE is comfortable to hold and can easily be used with just one finger. That’s refreshing and can’t be said about the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And holding it next to an iPhone 13 Pro Max makes it seem downright miniature.

The back glass is upgraded here for added durability. Apple says it’s the same glass found on the iPhone 13, and that should help prevent it from cracks and scratches. The SE is IP67 rated against water and dust resistance, and it survived a full dunk into a glass of water.

Apple didn’t opt to add MagSafe wireless charging support here. This proprietary charging tech debuted on the iPhone 12 but ensures proper alignment with compatible wireless chargers, thanks to magnets. While we get that Apple is using a similar design style — and likely the same parts — it would have been nice to see this added in for more wireless charging options.

The 4.7-inch Retina HD screen is unchanged, and that’s not really a bad thing. It’s still a classic LCD display, so it won’t offer the same vibrant colors and deep contrast points as an OLED in an iPhone 13 or even the Pixel 5a with 5G. Still, though, it’s been great for navigating iOS, watching TikToks, typing on the fly and watching shows.

The iPhone SE’s screen is a bit small for taking in a full-length film, however, and it’s hard to get fully immersed, especially if you’re coming from a larger device. It’s also only a 60Hz refresh rate screen, which means you won’t get the same smooth scrolling experience as you’ll enjoy on 120Hz phones like the iPhone 13 Pro and Google Pixel 6. The SE’s display also looks dated compared to more borderless screens that opt for a notch or pinhole.

Lastly, since this is the same build, second-generation iPhone SE cases and iPhone 8 cases fit this device just fine.

iPhone SE: Most Detailed Camera Review On The Planet!

Same camera lens, new smarts

The 2022 iPhone SE features a primary 12-megapixel lens on the back, and that’s unchanged from the second gen. With Apple’s A15 Bionic chip inside, this lens works with a new image signal processor that speeds up shooting photos or recording videos and adds in new processing modes (Smart HDR4 and Deep Fusion). Both aren’t necessarily evident but lead to clearer images and let the SE better identify what you’re trying to capture in a shot.

All of this works to make this 12-megapixel a sharpshooter. You’ll need to work to set up a shot right, though — given that it’s only a wide lens, if you want to capture more, you’ll need to move back physically. And while it has digital zoom, we’d recommend physically getting closer to an object to avoid blur. It’s quick to shoot, generally able to capture a photo in under a second for most conditions.

The iPhone SE can still shoot Portrait mode with a single lens, but it’s just for people. That means no photos of pooches, cats or inanimate objects. It still performs well on the SE, and it’s gotten better at figuring out when to start the effect on. There is a noticeable improvement over shots from the second-gen SE, and the latest iPhone SE is on par with the Pixel 5a with 5G for these shots.

Photographic Styles, which first premiered on the iPhone 13, have arrived on the iPhone SE These let you customize how the iPhone shoots, whether you want to up the vibrancy or lower the contrast. It’s a filter on steroids, and it doesn’t slow down the SE. It’s fast to capture an image in your desired style, and in some cases, it’s faster at capturing the shot with a Photographic Style than an iPhone 13.

The latest iPhone SE is quicker at identifying the FOCUS (or multiple focuses) to be ready to capture an image within an instant. Processing is faster than the second generation, but coming from an iPhone 8 or even an original iPhone SE will deliver some pretty big boosts.

It doesn’t have every feature, though — there’s no Night mode on the iPhone SE, and it shows with lower-light photos. Rather than extending the capture time and using AI to boost the scene’s lighting, the iPhone SE uses software and a standard LED flash to light the scene. This leads to longer capture times, and it’s not instant for capturing nighttime shots. You can still get a good result, but it’s not as good as other phones even in this price range. The Pixel 5a with 5G does a much better job at capturing these shots. It extends the capture time in its Night Sight mode and uses software to make them look dynamically lighter without reducing the image quality.

Above the screen on the front is a 7-megapixel FaceTime camera that leaves you with color-accurate selfies and crisp details. It can even take Portrait mode selfies and is excellent for video calls.

iOS here is just as smooth as any iPhone 13

The iPhone SE is powered by the Apple-made A15 Bionic chip, which is the same processor found in the iPhone 13 line. This 429 iPhone allows you to open apps fast, edit images and multitask without the device heating up or slowing down. It’s the uncompromised iPhone experience, and that’s a critical mark to meet at this price.

I had no issues FaceTiming while completing other tasks, whether it was playing a game or even editing a photo in Afterlight. I could also take advantage of Live Text within the camera. If you’re holding the iPhone SE at a sign in front of a store, you can quickly grab the name, address and phone number. You can tap on it, highlight it and interact with the text. It doesn’t slow down at all.

I also ran the premium flagship through Geekbench 5, which measures general performance. The latest iPhone SE clocks in with a 1,727 single-core and a 4,680 multi-core score, which surpasses the previous iPhone SE and is in line with the iPhone 13 family.

Apple iPhone SE (2022) Review: Annoyingly Great

You’ll love the iPhone SE (2022) if you prefer the old Touch ID design and smaller screen.

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Apple’s third-generation iPhone SE (released in March 2022) stands out from the company’s family of smartphones, not only because of its budget-friendly price, but also its outdated design. Although it’s hard to recommend a phone that’s lacking so much, it’s perfect for a very select audience.

The iPhone SE is a mesh of both current and past iPhones. Basically, you get the form factor (which includes a Touch ID fingerprint sensor) of the iPhone SE (2020) and the brains and processing power of the top-of-the-line iPhone 13. It’s the best of both worlds if you’re not looking for the cutting edge.

Unfortunately, Apple had to cut corners to keep the phone’s price below 500. This means you’ll miss out on camera performance, a high-definition display, and other features found on other mid-tier and budget smartphones.

Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone SE (2022) before buying one for yourself or a loved one.

I have spent the last seven days using the iPhone SE (2022) as my daily driver for this review. The handset was running iOS 15.4, included 128GB of storage, and was purchased by How-To Geek’s parent company, LifeSavvy Media.

Hardware and Design: Premium but Aging

The iPhone SE (2022) is instantly recognizable if you’ve ever used an iPhone 8, second-gen iPhone SE, or any 2017-era Apple smartphone. It has a solid, thin, and rounded frame design that feels premium in hand, even though it seems like a device of the past.

This metal-framed phone is sandwiched between two pieces of glass, providing the look and feel that we’ve all become familiar with. The large bezels, forehead, and chin surrounding the display are what ages the iPhone. No matter the price point, most devices have pushed the screen closer to the edges of the phone and minimized the black bezels.

Of course, Apple couldn’t change much regarding the screen-to-bezel ratio because the iPhone SE retains the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The physical sensor that sits on the phone’s surface, which also acts as a Home button, takes up a ton of real estate. Until Apple adopts under-display fingerprint sensors, there’s not much that the company can do to modernize the look of this budget handset.

There are two other features found in a growing number of phones missing from the iPhone SE (2022): mmWave 5G and Ultra Wideband support. The first is something you will most likely never miss as, at the time of writing, you can only enjoy mmWave while standing within eyeshot of a 5G tower that offers the frequency. These can be found mostly in large cities and some sports stadiums.

The second means you won’t be able to locate devices such as AirTags in a given space. Ultra Wideband, which uses Apple’s U1 chip, allows you to use radio waves to pinpoint the exact location of supported objects. Of course, you can still use your iPhone to activate an AirTag’s speaker to help you find it.

Lastly, the iPhone SE is missing the Ceramic Shield display found on modern iPhones. This exclusion isn’t the end of the world (and most won’t notice a difference), but if dropped, there’s a higher chance that the iPhone SE’s screen might crack. It’s probably best that you grab a case if you’re worried about any damage that might come

Display: The Weakest Link

There’s no getting around this: the screen is the worst part of the iPhone SE. It’s a cramped 4.7-inch LCD that barely offers better than 720p resolution. This combination leads to smaller on-screen text and buttons with tiny touch targets.

If you’re coming from the second-gen iPhone SE from 2020, you’ll find that nothing has changed. It’s the same 16:9 display with the exact resolution. Anyone coming from a flagship iPhone will instantly notice a downgrade in color accuracy and sharpness.

Additionally, open some of your favorite apps, whether those are social media apps such as or or a game like Call of Duty, and you’ll find that the companies have started designing interfaces for larger screens with more pixels. Text is cramped, harder to read, and it makes for a less than pleasing viewing experience.

In all, the screen isn’t horrible to use, but the display might be a dealbreaker if you plan on using this phone for the next three to four years. It’s already outdated at launch, and it’ll only look worse compared to other devices in the years to come.

Performance and Software: Flagship-Level

iOS, the operating system found on all iPhones, is nearly identical in appearance and performance on any modern Apple smartphone. You won’t find any surprises here unless you’ve never used an iPhone or iPod Touch.

The interface is still centered around home pages with app shortcuts and widgets, with additional widgets to the left and the App Library to the right. It’s a simplistic setup that doesn’t offer too much customization but is easy enough for anyone to understand and use.

If you’re coming from an iPhone that includes Face ID (iPhone X or newer), you’ll have to reacquaint yourself with some aspects of iOS. Some features, like Control Center, are found in different places.

For example, on newer iPhones, you can find the quick settings panel by swiping down from the right side of the front-facing camera notch. But on the iPhone SE, just like with older Touch ID phones, you open the panel by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

As far as performance is concerned, the iPhone SE (2022) handled everything I threw at it without issue. Want to play a game from the App Store? You can expect smooth playback, zero dropped frames, and an enjoyable experience. Need to edit a document or want to surf the internet? The iPhone can do that in its sleep.

We ran Geekbench 5 on the iPhone SE and compared it to the iPhone 13 Pro if you’re looking for benchmark scores. As you might expect, since the A15 Bionic CPU powers both handsets, the scores were nearly identical. The iPhone SE (2022) had 1734 single-core and 4549 multi-core scores. The iPhone 13 Pro received a 1723 single-core score and a 4650 multi-core score.

The inclusion of Apple’s top-of-the-line CPU is the iPhone SE’s saving grace. Most 500 budget smartphones run slower and/or older processors that age faster, resulting in you needing to upgrade sooner. Having the A15 Bionic means the iPhone SE is comparable to flagship smartphones in performance and longevity.

Cameras: Gets the Job Done

I can sum up the iPhone SE (2022)’s cameras in one statement: you get what you paid for. Under perfect conditions, the phone can take stunning pictures and record videos that look better than that from most Android devices. But push the handset a little, and quality starts to degrade.

Rear Camera

The single 12MP rear camera is the same sensor as that found on the iPhone SE (2020). There is no secondary lens for taking telephoto or ultra-wide photos. Instead, you’ll have to rely on optical zoom (up to 5x) if you want a different perspective.

Looking through the photo samples below, you’ll find that good light conditions lead to solid images. The shots of the sign and flowers were all taken on my porch, where the sun wasn’t beating down on the scene. Here, the iPhone SE (2022) captured the color of each subject accurately.

Move out to where the sun played a more significant influence, and you start to see some decline in quality. For example, the Smart HDR feature is pushed to its limits when trying to take a photo of an over or under-exposed scene (such as the neighborhood and shrub images).

Under-the-hood upgrades give Apple’s classic design yet another lease of life

TechRadar Verdict

The iPhone SE (2022) is faster and better-connected than its predecessor, and at the most attractive price currently possible for a new 5G iPhone. However if you’re looking for a better iPhone deal with bigger screens, better cameras, and a bigger list of modern specs, the new SE might not be for you.


  • Powerful for the cost
  • A 5G iPhone that’s still affordable
  • Thin and lightweight design


Why you can trust TechRadar

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Two-minute review

If you like your iPhone affordable and retro, Apple’s iPhone SE 2022 edition might be the best iPhone for you.

It keeps the SE series design language firmly rooted in 2017 – that was the year Apple launched the iPhone 8, the design of which Apple employed for 2020’s SE 2, and has stuck with for this new phone.

In 2020, Apple took that chassis and upgraded the CPU to an A13 Bionic, the rear camera to a 12MP wide, and introduced ‘monocular depth estimation,’ which improved Portrait Mode photography for the front and rear cameras. It was a nifty AI-infused trick that worked like a charm on faces, but nothing else.

All those things you loved from the iPhone SE (2020) remain in the iPhone SE (2022). There’s been no change to the thin and light body, no reintroduction of the 3.5mm headphone jack, no removal of the Touch ID. The Liquid Retina display is untouched. The cameras. a 12MP rear and 7MP front. are the same, too.

The difference, and it is bigger than you think, is the new A15 Bionic, the very same Apple Silicon you’ll find in Apple’s iPhone 13 line. It’s a powerful mobile CPU that. to date. beats even Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU (in Geekbench scores).

It’s a lot of power and headroom for a tiny, 4.7-inch screen smartphone that doesn’t even have a depth sensor on the front. Still, the A15 Bionic is up for anything, from shooting and editing 4K videos to playing intense action games like Call of Duty and PUBG.

The A15 is a system on a chip, which means the graphics processing is integrated, and that in turn means better image processing. Even though it still has the same camera as its predecessor, the iPhone SE (2022) is capable of timelapse night photography (though you’ll need a tripod).

Inevitably though, there are limits to what’s on offer here compared with Apple’s flagship phones. All the A15 Bionic-sporting iPhone 13 phones support the new Cinematic mode video (bokeh-effect), but there’s no such video control on the new iPhone SE.

Speaking of things missing from this new phone. The iPhone SE (2022) follows Apple’s new packing strategy: No more power adapter or wired earbuds in the box.

From an environmental perspective, this makes a lot of sense. It is unfortunate, though, that the price rose 30 to 429 at the same time Apple pulled these accessories. Accounting for inflation, however, the price might be considered roughly the same as it was two years ago. I don’t expect that argument to fly everywhere.

iphone, camera, samples, how-to

Battery life is 12 hours, which is notable considering the more powerful CPU and eye-brow singeing 5G connectivity, but it’s not in the same league as the handsets in the iPhone 13 family.

It’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone SE 2022, when you can spend a little more for the iPhone 13 mini, which has a bigger, brighter, and shaper Super Retina XDR OLED screen, another camera, Face ID, and a fresher design (and you can pick up some of the lower-end iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 options for a similar premium).

Even so, there is still something charming about the look and feel of Apple’s aging iPhone design. And getting all that performance and 5G for under 500 is nothing to sneeze at either.

For Apple devotees, the brand can set the pricing and options agenda for its iPhones, safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t have to engage in a race to the bottom against lower-end Androids.

The iPhone SE (2022) carries on that tradition in mostly fine form. However, it changes nothing aesthetically about the last model but builds on it with Apple’s latest chip and mobile connectivity technology. whether that’s enough for you is a personal decision.

However if you’re looking for a new iPhone that offers and costs more, allow us to point you to the iPhone 13 series, which comprises the iPhone 13 itself, the iPhone 13 mini (the iPhone SE consistently outsells the mini line), the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iPhone SE price and availability

The iPhone SE (2022) has gotten a price hike over its predecessor to 429 / £419 / AU719, but it still qualifies as Apple’s cheapest 5G phone. The iPhone 13 mini starts at 699 / £679 / AU1,199 and the iPhone 12 mini starts at 599.

However, it is more than a little frustrating that Apple insists on offering a phone with just 64GB of storage to start. The phone shoots up to 4K, 60fps video. Where are all those files supposed to go? Apple’s iPhone 13 line now starts at 128GB across the board. That’s the standard Apple should’ve followed here. The issue is compounded because the iPhone SE (2022) tops out at 256 GB of storage (579 / £569 / AU969), though there’s also a 128GB option for 479 / £469 / AU799.

If you’re considering a 256GB iPhone SE at that price, then you really should start thinking about one of the iPhone 13 models.

The previous iPhone SE started at 399 / £389 / AU679, and while asking for a little more for a 5G phone with the newest processor is not a big ask, consumers will notice the packaging is a bit smaller and lighter. The environment will thank Apple, but some consumers might be miffed that there are no longer wired earbuds and power adapters included with the device. That’s the same for the iPhone 13 series, but the omission still might sting for budget-conscious iPhone consumers who now have to buy the accessories separately.

It’s worth noting that you have just three color choices for the retro-looking device: Midnight, Starlight, and Product RED. Our test unit is a lovely and very deep blue Midnight.

Pre-orders for the phone started on March 11 and the device is now on sale (as of on March 18).


There is familiar and then there is familiar. Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) is such a well-worn look that I instinctually took to it, even though I know it’s not a look that’s ‘in’ right now.

The aluminum enclosure is smooth, clean, and, in our test model, gleaming Midnight. It looks black indoors, but the blue shines through in the sunlight.

The glass back and front are perfectly smooth, and it’s almost quaint to see a single relatively tiny, 12MP wide-angle camera on the back in this age of ever-expanding camera blocks. The sapphire glass lens cover’s distance from the backplane can be measured in a millimeter (maybe two).

There are almost no edges on the whole 5.44-in. by 2.65-in. by 0.29-in. 144g frame; know some people still complain about the sharp edges on the iPhone 13 and the new Samsung Galaxy S22 line; you’ll have no such issues here. Along the left edge are the volume buttons and a sleep/silent switch, while on the right are the power button and the SIM slot (which also supports eSIM). The bottom edge features the speaker grilles, microphone, and Lightning port.

The front features the aging 1344 x 750 pixel Liquid Retina Display, which looks great on its own, but literally pales in comparison to, for instance, the iPhone 13 mini’s 5.4-inch edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR display OLED screen.

iphone, camera, samples, how-to

Above the screen is the 7MP FaceTime and selfie camera, which sits next to a wide, shallow speaker grille.

Below all that is our old friend, the Touch ID home button. We’ve been living with Face ID, home-button-free iPhones for so long, that our reintroduction was a bit bumpy. I literally forgot how to use an iPhone with a home button to start with, although, it was a little like riding a bike, and I soon got back in the Touch ID groove. I remembered how much I liked the way the button felt as it read my fingerprint or faked a physical button press with expert haptics. It’s time for the Touch ID button die, but it serves its purpose well here on the iPhone SE.

How To Use The iPhone SE 3 Camera Tutorial. Tips, Tricks & Features

For what it’s worth, Apple’s Touch ID remains one of the most effective biometric authorization technologies I’ve ever used. Register a finger once and the reader will see it every time, in virtually any position.

iphone, camera, samples, how-to

The iPhone SE (2022) is also water and dust resistant, with IP67 certification. I (accidentally) dropped the entire handset in water and it survived.

There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone, but it does have a Lightning charging port, which could accommodate a pair of Lightning of earbuds. Those aren’t included, sadly, but the phone does work perfectly with wireless Airpods if you have them. There’s also a USB-C to Lightning port charging cable in the box.


If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 5S the iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen might feel like an upgrade, but in a world of monster-sized displays, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratios, and adaptive refresh rates, its 60Hz LCD luster might feel out of step.

Comparing the SE’s display to the best screens out there seemed pointless, though. if you want more, you will pay more (on any platform and from any handset manufacturer). In isolation though, the display looks good. across a wide variety of tasks from photography and videography, to web browsing, gameplay, and video, it looked good.

The screen can struggle in direct sunlight, but indoors, it’s still a winner.

I’ve seen iPhone 8 handsets drop to the floor and crack faster than you can say screen protector, and while you might assume that the iPhone SE, which shares much of the 8’s DNA, would be similarly inclined, but might be wrong.

Both the front and back of the iPhone SE (2022) are built from the same glass that’s on the back of all iPhone 13 phones. Sadly though, the SE doesn’t get Apple’s Ceramic Shield technology, so if you buy this phone, it still makes sense to spring for that silicone case.


Our phones are increasingly also our cameras these days, and any handset that skimps in this area is asking for trouble. Even though the iPhone SE (2022) is graced with just two lenses that are the same as those on the SE 2020, it manages to take photos that are pleasing to the eye, color-accurate, and often beautiful.

The rear 12MP, f/1/8 wide lens is now backed by the A15 Bionic’s image processing and supported by Smart HDR 4 and Deep Fusion (introduced with the A13 Bionic and present in the last iPhone SE).

I took the phone out to test the cameras, and was pleased not only by the image quality they delivered but with the speed. There’s optical image stabilization which meant I didn’t always have to plant my feet and stand perfectly still to grab a good-looking shot (video is supported by optical image stabilization, as well).

In Portrait mode you can adjust a faux-aperture setting to control the depth of field effect, throwing more of less of the background behind your subject out of FOCUS. I was a bit frustrated, however, that the iPhone SE Portrait Mode photography is still limited to people. you can’t shoot bokeh shots of dogs, plants, or anything else without a face.

iPhone SE 2020 Camera Review

iPhone SE 2020 which was launched in India for Rs 42,500. This is the cheapest iPhone launched in India till date and comes with powerful hardware. It has a single camera set up, but a very capable one. It also packs the Apple’s A13 Bionic chipset with Retina HD display. So lets dive deep into the camera to see how it performs. Here is the detailed iPhone SE 2020 Camera Review.


In terms of camera hardware, it sports a single rear camera with 12MP resolution with F/1.8 aperture, six element lens and optical image stabilization. There is also LED True Tone flash included. The front camera is an 7MP camera with a f/2.2 aperture with retina flash. So lets find out how the camera performs.

Video Quality:

First lets have a look at the video quality. iPhones have always been the best when it comes to video quality and this is no different in iPhone SE 2020. It can shoot 1080p videos in 30 and 60fps. The video quality is crisp and sharp. The Smart HDR does an amazing job and probably we can easily say this is the best video sample we have seen in this price segment. The color reproduction is spot on and looks amazing and true to life. The dynamic range is also brilliant. The OIS works very well too. The phone also support 4K videos at 60fps and here again it looks great.

The phone also can record slo motion videos in 240fps and 120fps.


Moving to the photos,the daylught shots taken with the 12MP camera came out brillaint. The sharpness levels are details are amazing and colors are true to life. This is definitely one of the best cameras in this price segment. It offers great overall quality and retains good sharpness. There is good amount of details even when you zoom into the pictures. The Smart HDR gets you great dynamic range and it resolves shadows very well. Overall in terms of daylight condition, this is almost near perfection and we dont have anything to complain here.

Unlike other phones, there is no ultra wide or macro lens since it comes with a single lens.

The close up shots taken with the camera was again good and it had good details, great sharpness and excellent color reproduction. The focusing speed was also quite good and we did not have any issues here.

Moving to portrait shots, the edge detection is great on the iPhone SE 2020 and does an impressive job here. The colors are also very good. Overall portrait look great on iPhone SE 2020. You can adjust the bokeh levels from the settings.

Next moving to low light captures. All good things said about the camera of iPhone SE ends here. The 12MPcamera takes very much average shots in low light. Since this is more of a budget phone by Apple standards, the low light quality is disappointing by the pricing standards. In extreme low light conditions, there is too much of noise and details are lost. Also lack of night mode is another drawback. But with adequate indoor lighting it can take some decent photos.

Moving to selfie camera, the 7MP shooter can shoot some really good selfies with excellent details, sharpness and colors. The dynamic range is also very good. The skin tones are good and so is the sharpness. The colors are also very good. The phone also comes with portrait mode and here again the edge detection is very good. Overall, the selfie experience is good on the iPhone SE 2020.


So summing up, how good is the iPhone SE 2020 fare in terms of camera? The iPhone SE 2020 does an impressive job in daylight, close up and also portrait and selfies. The video recording is superb with OIS. The only area where it fails is the low light condition. If you are a person who takes most of the images only in daylight, this is probably the best you can get in this price segment.

iPhone SE 2020 Review: Not For Gadget Geeks, But The Mainstream User

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

This article is more than 3 years old.

Here’s a confession: I was initially not too excited by the announcement of the iPhone SE last week. As a gadget geek who’s been testing cutting-edge phones that fold in half or have no bezels, the iPhone SE’s 2016-era looks was an immediate turn off.

But then I began testing the phone out in public, and on three separate occasions, strangers approached me and asked if that was the new “budget iPhone,” and that they were very excited about it and plan on purchasing one.

Their reasons range from “I don’t want to pay 1,000 for a new phone,” “I don’t want to give up the home button,” or “phones are getting too big.”

Yes, they were older—all three were at least in their fifties. And I’d bet that they were not gadget geeks who kept up to date with all the latest smartphone news. (I’m not making that assumption based on their age, by the way—it’s from the questions they asked.)

They are the average/mainstream smartphone user. And truth be told, they are probably more important to a tech brand’s bottom line than actual gadget geeks.

And so I realized that, just because I care about things like high refresh rate and screen-to-body ratio and having the most bleeding edge technology, most people do not. There are plenty of people in the real world who just want a phone that works. And to many of them, the iPhone is still it, and the new iPhone SE is Apple’s best value in years.

Design: old school

This part is going to be short: if you’ve seen an iPhone from 2014 to 2017, the iPhone SE’s shape, size and design will feel familiar. Technically speaking, the iPhone SE reuses the iPhone 8’s design, but really, that design language stretches all the way back to the iPhone 6.

This means large (by today’s standards) but symmetrical bezels that sandwich a 16:9 LCD screen, with a circular home button on the bottom bezel. The screen measures 4.7-inches diagonally, and the overall phone measures around 5.5-inches tall by 2.7-inches wide. It’s a very small phone by 2020 standards; the iPhone 11 Pro Max towers over it. The iPhone SE is also very light at 148g.

And therein lies the third major appeal of the iPhone SE (with price and home button being the other two): this is the smallest phone in recent years—perfect for those who find modern phones too big.

The iPhone SE is crafted mainly out of glass with an aluminum railing, and the construction is top notch. My “Product Red” model has a very striking matte coating that makes it very nice to photograph.

Areas of Compromise

Much has already been made about the iPhone SE’s 400 price, which is really low by Apple standards—and especially ironic considering previous budget brands Xiaomi and OnePlus each launched a 1,000 phone.

But compromises obviously had to be made for Apple to meet this price point. So let’s go over them here: the retro design is a major obvious compromise. The iPhone SE’s body feels and looks almost identical to the iPhone 8’s. Reusing existing parts very likely helped shave production costs.

The screen is LCD instead of the OLED used in Apple’s higher-end iPhones. OLED produces deeper blacks and reds, and are a bit more power efficient. But the LCD panel is excellent here, with superb viewing angles and maximum brightness for outdoor visibility.

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There’s no advanced 3D facial scanning system, but in its place is the return of the fingerprint scanner—which, as mentioned, some users actually prefer over Face ID.

And finally, the camera system. The SE only has two cameras in total: a 12-megapixel shooter on the back and a 7-megapixel selfie camera. Both of these are actually very good at this price range (more on this in the next section) but the lack of an ultrawide or telephoto lens does make the overall shooting experience not as versatile.

So essentially, Apple compromised on sleek/modern design and extra cameras to reach the 400 price tag. I think the average consumer will be just fine with that.

Camera and processing: No compromise at all

Where Apple didn’t hold back is in processing power and main camera. The iPhone SE runs on the Apple A13 Bionic, the same chip used in the iPhone 11 series, and this is a major win for the SE.

The A13 Bionic is the most powerful mobile processor around. Whether in benchmarks or real world tests, it beats Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 or Huawei’s Kirin 990. To be fair, the extra boost in power can’t really be felt doing basic smartphone things like going on Instagram or sending emails. But try to run an AR application, or edit videos in real time, and the A13 Bionic is noticeably a step ahead of anything powering an Android phone—even the 1,500 ones.

Moving on to the cameras: the main 12-megapixel camera of the SE is very good—because it is very similar to the iPhone 11’s main camera, which is also a 12-megapixel camera.

Apple says they are different camera systems, but photos and videos captured by the SE and 11 during the day, or in good lighting conditions, are virtually identical.

Even at night, if there’s enough ambient city lights around, the iPhone SE keeps up with the iPhone 11. It’s only in dim or really low light situations does the iPhone SE fall short.

This is about as good a compliment I can give a 400 smartphone camera, because the iPhone 11 has one of the very best camera systems around. The camera focuses fast, colors are accurate, and dynamic range is excellent.

It’s arguable that some Android phones like the Google Pixel 4 and Huawei flagships have surpassed the iPhone in still photos, but in video recording, the iPhone 11 is the king of smartphones and it’s not close. So the iPhone SE having essentially the same video performance (during the day at least) is huge. There are a series of video samples at about the halfway point of the video review below.

Obviously, without a telephoto camera and a wide-angle camera, the iPhone SE cannot pull off the optical 2X zoom that recent iPhones can do or wide-angle shots. The SE can still do digital zoom up to 5X—and they’re okay, just not flagship level.

Despite missing a telephoto camera, the iPhone SE can still capture “Portrait” bokeh shots with the main and front camera, using entirely software processing to produce the depth-of-field effect. The below samples consist of portrait shots captured with the main and selfie cameras. The results are good, with respectable edge detection around my hair, but the depth-of-field effect are a tad less natural than what the iPhone 11 can do. Standard selfies with the SE look great as usual with Apple phones.

Software and performance: tip top

The A13 Bionic here ensures that the iPhone SE can handle any app or game as well as any phone on the market. Even graphically intensive games can run at the highest setting without hiccups.

I do find the return of the home button a bit weird. Smartphones over the past couple of years have all adopted the swipe gesture navigations that the iPhone X made mainstream (although Vivo did it first with its V5), and going back to needing to physically press into a button feels a bit primitive to me.

But then again, as I already said, the SE isn’t really for a demanding gadget geek like myself. For plenty of usually older users, pressing a clicky button is a more assuring action than swiping from this thin digital bar at the edge of the screen.

I played two graphically intensive games, Sky: Children of Light and Kick-Flight, and both ran smoothly.

Battery life is not bad, but not amazing. On average the SE can last me a full day, but towards the end of the day it’s clinging onto life in the sub-10% danger zone.

Apple made the right decision in terms of which features to keep

As mentioned earlier, the iPhone SE had to chop some recent new iPhone features such as Face ID, near bezel-less design, and excellent ultrawide-angle camera to meet this price point.

But the SE also keeps many of the bells-and-whistles features that even some Android flagships lack, like wireless charging, IP67 water resistance, stereo speakers, and a very good haptic engine (yes, haptic touch is here too).

Factor in the fact that overall processing power and standard photography and videography are nearly identical to the iPhone 11, we have ourselves a highly polished package.

Again, most people don’t care about bezel-less designs or having a camera that can zoom 20X like I do; for the average user, the iPhone SE delivers everything they’ve known Apple products for, starting at 400.

So, for those who have been pining for a small phone that doesn’t lack power; for older iPhone users who can’t stomach the four-digit pricing of notched iPhones; and for the non-tech savvy user who don’t want to bother with Face ID and all these swiping gestures, the iPhone SE just became the overwhelming top smartphone option.

I’m a Chinese-American journalist in Hong Kong, covering consumer tech in Asia. Before focusing on this exciting beat, I was a general culture writer and editor with bylines in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, New York Magazine, among others. Feel free to email me at bencsin@gmail.com