Apple has released the iPhone SE (2022), the third iteration (following the 2016 iPhone SE and the 2020 iPhone SE) of its cheapest smartphone series. It borrows a handful of features from the company’s more expensive mobiles, including the A15 Bionic chipset, 5G compatibility, and fast charging support, packing them all into a smaller form factor and at a much lesser price.
Besides, there’s another compact smartphone from the company — the Apple iPhone 13 Mini. It costs about $270 more but rocks a larger display despite the smaller overall size, and it offers a lot more features. Many people are unsure whether to buy the iPhone 13 Mini or save some money and buy the iPhone SE (2022) instead. Here’s a head-to-head comparison of both these smartphones to help you decide which one’s better for you.
|Apple iPhone SE (2022)||Apple iPhone 13 Mini|
|Size||138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches)||131.5 x 64.2 x 7.7mm (5.18 x 2.53 x 0.30 inches)|
|Weight||144 grams (5.08 ounces)||141 grams (4.97 ounces)|
|Screen size||4.7-inch Liquid Retina||5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED|
|Screen resolution||1334 x 750 pixels (326 pixels per inch)||2340 x 1080 pixels (476 ppi)|
|Operating system||iOS 15||iOS 15|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap-to-pay services||Apple Pay||Apple Pay|
|Processor||Apple A15 Bionic||Apple A15 bionic|
|Camera||12-megapixel wide rear, 7MP front||12MP wide and 12MP ultrawide rear, 7MP front|
4K at up to 60 frames per second, 1080p at up to 240 fps
|4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at up to 240 fps, Dolby Vision HDR at 60 fps|
|Security||Touch ID||Face ID|
Qi wireless charging
Qi and MagSafe wireless charging
|App marketplace||Apple App Store||Apple App Store|
|Network support||Most major U.S. carriers||All major U.S. carriers|
|Colors||Midnight, Starlight, Product Red||Starlight, Midnight, blue, pink, red, green|
|Prices||$429, $479, $579||$699, $799, $999|
|Review score||3.5 out of 5 stars||Hands-on review|
Design, durability, and display
The iPhone SE (2022) and the iPhone 13 Mini rock completely different designs from both the back and front. Talking about the iPhone SE (2022) first, Apple hasn’t updated its aesthetics, and you get the same old iPhone 8-esque design. On the front, you’ll see the big top and bottom bezels, with Touch ID at the bottom. On the rear, you get a single camera that protrudes just a little.
The iPhone 13 Mini, in comparison, comes with a more modern and up-to-date design. On the front, you get negligible bezels on all four sides, with a notch on the top. The rear sees a huge camera bump that houses two diagonally arranged camera sensors.
The iPhone 13 Mini is marginally smaller than the iPhone SE (2022), but thanks to the smaller bezels, it features a larger display. You get a 5.4-inch XDR panel with a screen resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. The 2020 iPhone SE, in contrast, houses a 5.4-inch HD LCD panel with a screen resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9. It’s rare to find a smartphone with this aspect ratio these days, as you’d see a taller aspect ratio even on most of the cheapest smartphones out there.
There’s an included IP rating on both these smartphones for protection against dust and water. The iPhone SE (2022) gets IP67 protection and can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes, at a maximum depth of 1 meter. The iPhone 13 Mini with an IP68 rating offers better protection. It can be submerged at a maximum depth of 6 meters for a similar duration.
If you’re OK using a phone with an obsolete design, chunky bezels, and a single rear camera for a few more years, the iPhone SE 2022 can be your go-to choice. Otherwise, the real winner here is the iPhone 13 Mini, as it’s better on all these fronts.
Winner: Apple iPhone 13 Mini
Performance, battery life, and charging
Since both these phones come equipped with Apple’s latest A15 Bionic SoC under the hood, you can expect them to offer top-notch performance. The iPhone SE (2022) features 4GB of RAM, whereas the iPhone 13 Mini gets 6GB. The extra gigs of RAM inside the latter may help it perform slightly better, but there won’t be much of a difference. Both these smartphones should be able to handle most tasks quite easily.
Speaking of internal storage, the iPhone SE (2022) comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB memory variants. The iPhone 13 Mini, in comparison, starts at 128GB and goes up to 512GB. Both these phones do not have a microSD card slot, so if you choose the iPhone SE (2022), we recommend you at least go for the 128GB variant.
In terms of battery life, you won’t be disappointed, but you shouldn’t expect much from these compact smartphones either. The iPhone 13 Mini, thanks to a larger battery capacity, will last longer than the iPhone SE 2022. Apple claims that when fully charged, the iPhone SE (2022) offers up to 15 hours of video playback, while the iPhone 13 Mini lasts up to 17 hours.
Both these phones support up to 18W fast charging and can charge up to 50% in just 30 minutes. There’s support for wireless charging as well, though only the iPhone 13 Mini is MagSafe compatible. This, along with a longer battery backup, makes the iPhone 13 Mini a winner.
Winner: Apple iPhone 13 Mini
On the iPhone 13 Mini, you’ll see dual 12MP cameras on the back — a wide and an ultrawide. The iPhone SE (2022), in comparison, comes with a single 12MP wide rear camera. The iPhone 13 Mini also gets a host of camera features that the 2022 iPhone SE misses out on, like 2x optical zoom, Night Mode, and Cinematic Mode. Faintly similar to Portrait Mode for photos, Cinematic Mode allows for changing focus and blurring the background or the foreground while shooting videos.
Talking about videos, both these smartphones are capable of recording 1080p at up to 240 fps and 4K videos at up to 60 fps. The iPhone 13 Mini also supports Dolby Vision HDR 4K recording.
While the 2022 iPhone SE’s camera department isn’t on par with the iPhone 13 Mini’s, it isn’t disappointing, either. Despite the phone making use of the same old camera lens from its predecessor, the Apple A15 chipset’s improved ISP helps it shoot better. You even get a handful of features like Portrait Mode, Smart HDR 4, Deep Fusion, and Photographic Styles (similar to the iPhone 13 lineup).
Things remain the same with the front camera, too — you get a 12MP lens on the iPhone 13 Mini and a 7MP shooter on the iPhone SE (2022). The former is better at shooting selfies or making video calls and also supports Portrait Mode. Overall, the iPhone 13 Mini has a better camera setup, and the additional features are a cherry on top.
Winner: iPhone 13 Mini
Software and updates
Both these smartphones come with Apple’s current latest iOS 15 out of the box. iOS 15 brings along a good deal of new features and changes, including a revamped home screen layout, Focus Modes, new Notification Summary, revamped Safari interface, and new SharePlay features, to name a few.
As evident by Apple’s past record, you can expect both phones to offer five to six years of software updates. Since the iPhone 13 Mini was launched half a year sooner than the iPhone SE (2022), it could receive updates for a little longer. But we expect the difference to be negligible, and considering that both phones run the same software version, this round’s a draw.
The iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone SE (2022) both support sub-6GHz and C-Band 5G connectivity, but only the former gets mmWave support. Regardless, you’ll be able to enjoy high-speed internet on these smartphones if you live in an area where 5G is available.
Moreover, the iPhone 13 Mini comes with a TrueDepth front-facing camera, which supports Face ID to unlock your phone and make payments. The iPhone SE (2022) still rocks the good ol’ Touch ID in the home button.
Lastly, the iPhone 13 Mini supports Apple’s MagSafe Wireless charger that magnetically attaches to the back of the phone. Other than these, there aren’t any notable special features, and the iPhone 13 Mini takes the lead here.
Winner: Apple iPhone 13 Mini
Price and availability
The Apple iPhone SE (2022) is up for grabs from Apple and all major retailers or carriers. It starts at $429 for the 64GB variant, $479 for the 128GB version, and maxes out with 256GB storage for $579.
The iPhone 13 Mini is also widely available and starts at $699 for the 128GB variant. The 256GB version costs $799 and goes up to $999 for 512GB storage.
Overall winner: Apple iPhone 13 Mini
If you don’t mind spending an extra $300 on a smartphone, the Apple iPhone 13 Mini is clearly the better choice. You get a richer and more detailed display, a modish design with negligible bezels, better cameras, more storage, and longer battery life. The Apple iPhone SE (2022) saves you money but also misses out on some features.
But given the price difference, it’s something of a mismatch and was always going to be. If you personally feel like the feature differences don’t justify the price increase for you, and you can make do with the old iPhone 8 aesthetic, the iPhone SE (2022) is a great budget option.