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Apple iPhone SE 2022 Review Roundup

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Apple’s updated iPhone SE is officially in reviewer’s hands, and the company’s least-expensive phone is getting decent reviews. Although previous SE models used older parts throughout their design, Apple changed that formula for 2022. This year’s phone gets both the latest A15 Bionic SoC from the iPhone 13, as well as a 5G radio. The inclusion of its newest A-series chip ensures many years of software updates from Apple. Plus, although 5G coverage is still somewhat spotty, it will only improve in the years to come. Both of these inclusions make this a pretty future-proof phone, if you don’t mind its tiny 4.7″ display. The $429 iPhone SE is primed for battle with Google’s $450 Pixel 5a smartphone.

The Verge loved almost everything about the cheapest iPhone, but was really put off by its dated iPhone 8 chassis. Although TouchID is useful in a pandemic, the phone’s thick bezels and puny LCD panel are features we all moved on from years ago. As an aside, iOS 15.4 came out on March 14th, which allows FaceID with a mask (iPhone 12 or newer only). Going back to TouchID due to masks is not as relevant as it was six months ago. They also bemoaned the camera’s lack of Night Mode, which is an undeniable negative, and they weren’t thrilled with just 64GB of storage in the base model. On the upside the iPhone SE has greatly improved battery life compared to the 2020 model. If you can get over the ancient bezels and small, low-res display that can break a lot of current apps, their bottom line is that it’s a “fantastic phone” for the price.

Cnet likened the iPhone SE to an older VW Beetle that had its engine replaced with an electric motor. The mental confusion that can occur from experiencing a fast and responsive phone in a chassis from 2017 is (reportedly ) real. They reckon the Home button and thick bezels have “vintage appeal,” which is making us feel old. Their main gripes were that the LCD display is too low-res and doesn’t get bright enough. They also weren’t impressed by the 7MP selfie camera. They noted the biggest headache is the phone doesn’t include a charging brick for fast-charging. Instead there’s just a Lighting to USB-C cable, but it does support wireless charging (without MagSafe).

Buzzfeed snarkily likens the wee iPhone to getting back together with a toxic ex. That comment is aimed at the Home button and TouchID, which they enjoyed meeting again only to realize why they broke up in the first place. Overall Buzzfeed thought the phone was a buzz-kill due to all the previously mentioned drawbacks. The tiny display, thick bezels, and $429 isn’t chicken scratch for a lot of people. The small-handed reviewer appreciated being able to navigate with one hand again, however. Their summary was “it’s fine,” but an unpleasant step back in time.

To summarizing the reviews, all the reviewer’s praised the phone’s snappy performance. With both 5G and the A15 Bionic chip, it’s as fast as a lower-end phone can get currently. Given Apple’s track record, they will likely offer updates to the phone for the next five years, if not more. But it’s obviously a phone with some limitations, especially if you are downgrading from a more expensive phone. Perhaps you like the small size or want TouchID again, but that downgrade will highlight the phone’s shortcomings. If you’ve never used an iPhone, or are upgrading from an older SE model, you’ll probably be quite happy with it.

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