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Should you get Apple's new iPhone SE?

·Technology Editor
·3 min read
In this article:
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Apple (AAPL) took the wraps off an upgraded iPhone SE during its virtual event on Tuesday, and that means you’re probably wondering if you should take the leap and snag the tech giant’s latest handset.

And that’s where I come in, dear reader. I’m going to break down exactly what Apple’s newest iPhone has to offer, and whether it’s worth the upgrade. For some people, this is the iPhone you’ve been waiting for. For others, it’s a hard pass.

So pop that credit card back in your wallet, and read on to see if you should pick up one of Apple’s freshest devices.

The iPhone SE in short:

  • $429

  • Same chip as iPhone 13

  • New camera

  • 5G connectivity

  • 4.7-inch screen

  • Older design

Apple's new iPhone SE gets the same chip as the pricier iPhone 13 and 5G connectivity for $429. (Image: Apple)
Apple's new iPhone SE gets the same chip as the pricier iPhone 13 and 5G connectivity for $429. (Image: Apple)

An iPhone that won’t break the bank

Let’s start off with the iPhone SE. Priced at $429, the SE is Apple’s entry-level iPhone. But that doesn’t make it a slouch. On the contrary, Apple has outfitted the iPhone SE with the same processor found in the iPhone 13: the A15 Bionic. In other words, you’ll get the same performance out of the low-cost iPhone SE as you will a pricier iPhone 13, which starts at $699. That’s a pretty solid deal.

But the iPhone SE’s relatively low price means you’ll have to make some trade-offs compared to Apple’s more expensive phones. Unlike the iPhone 13 line, the iPhone SE doesn’t have an edge-to-edge display. Instead, you’ll get a 4.7-inch screen bordered on the top and bottom by large bezels like the old iPhone 8.

That means you don’t get Apple’s Face ID facial recognition lock technology. You do, however, get the classic Home button complete with an old school Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

That 4.7-inch screen is the smallest display in the iPhone line-up, even more diminutive than the iPhone 13 mini’s 5.4-inch panel. So if you’re the type of person who wants a large screen to stream movies or read tons of text, the SE might not be for you.

The SE also features a new camera setup that Apple says will produce improved colors and contrast. Apple’s iPhone cameras are among the best around, and I have no doubt the SE’s camera will be just as good. But unlike the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro, which have two and three camera lenses, respectively, the iPhone SE has one lens. That means you’re not going to be able to take ultra-wide shots like you can with the 13 or 13 Pro, and zoomed photos won’t look as sharp as those taken with the 13 Pro and its telephoto lens.

Finally, Apple estimates that iPhone SE’s battery life will last roughly 15 hours while watching video. That’s two hours longer than the last generation SE, but shorter than the iPhone 13 mini, which lasts 17 hours and the iPhone Pro Max, which lasts 28 hours.

So who’s the iPhone SE for? Well, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want a giant phone, and doesn’t necessarily need a slew of cameras, the SE is a great option. Its got Apple’s latest processor, and packs the vast majority of the features found in the iPhone 13. But if you need a larger handset, then you’ll want to opt for the iPhone 13.

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Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.