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iPhone SE 2022 vs 2020 (2022): Time To Upgrade?

The iPhone SE has consistently been one of Apple’s most popular phones due to its compact and lightweight design, as well as the lack of competition in the market for smaller phones. With the release of the 3rd gen iPhone SE 2022 with upgraded hardware, is it time to upgrade? Or should you hold on to your iPhone SE 2020 (2nd gen)? Here is our in-depth comparison of the two.

iPhone SE 2022 vs 2020 Comparison Chart

ModeliPhone SE 2022 iPhone SE 2020
 
PriceCheck Price Check Price
Body5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches
5.08 ounces
Glass front and back
Aluminum frame
IP67
5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches
5.22 ounces
Glass front and back
Aluminum frame
IP67
Display4.7 inches IPS LCD
750 x 1334 pixels
True-tone
4.7 inches IPS LCD
750 x 1334 pixels
True-tone
Chipset & OSA15 Bionic
iOS 15.4 (upgradeable to 15.4.1)
A13 Bionic
iOS 13 (upgradeable to 15.4.1)
Storage & RAM4GB RAM 64GB
4GB RAM 128GB
4GB RAM 256GB
3GB RAM 64GB
3GB RAM 128GB
3GB RAM 256GB
Camera12MP, f/1.8 (wide)
Selfie: 7MP, f/2.2
12MP, f/1.8 (wide)
Selfie: 7MP, f/2.2
AudioStereo speakers
Bluetooth
Stereo speakers
Bluetooth
5Gsub-6GHz
C-Band
N/A
Battery2018 mAh (unofficial)
20W fast charging
7.5W Qi wireless charging
1821 mAh (unofficial)
18W fast charging
7.5W Qi wireless charging
ColorsMidnight, Red, StarlightMidnight, Red, Starlight

Design

The iPhone SE 2022 and iPhone SE 2020 have identical designs.

iphone se 2022 vs 2020 design
The iPhone SE 2022 (left) retains the classic style of the iPhone SE 2020 (right).

These two phones are pretty much indistinguishable from each other due to their identical designs. They have the same physical dimensions and they also have the same Touch ID home button. One minor difference here is how much they weigh, with the newer iPhone SE 2022 weighing just a tad lighter.

When it comes to build quality, the two phones have glass backs and fronts along with aluminum frames. The iPhone SE 2022 is equipped with tougher glass that’s similar to that of the iPhone 13. That’s the only difference. Both of them have an IP67 rating, meaning that they are dust and water resistant.

You can get the iPhone SE 2022 in midnight (black), starlight (white) and red. The older iPhone SE 2020 have the same color variants.

Display

There’s no difference with the displays of the iPhone SE 2022 and iPhone SE 2020.

iphone se 2022 vs 2020 display
The screens on the iPhone SE 2022 (left) and iPhone SE 2020 (right) are pretty much the same.

The iPhone SE 2022 and the iPhone SE 2020 have the same display. They both feature 4.7-inch LCD screens with a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels and a max refresh rate of 60Hz. These are basic displays that fall short when compared to Apples higher-end offerings such as the iPhone 12 and 13.

That said, these displays still feature Apple’s True Tone technology, Haptic Touch and a wide color display for vibrant images. Also, these screens have a peak brightness of 625 nits, so these are well-suited for outdoor viewing.

Hardware and Camera

With Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, the iPhone SE 2022 gets a significant performance improvement over the iPhone SE 2020.

iphone se 2022 vs 2020 hardware and camera
The iPhone SE 2022 (left) and iPhone SE 2020 (right) are almost indistinguishable from the back.

One of the few differences between the iPhone SE 2022 and 2020 model is with their chipset. The iPhone SE 2022 is equipped with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, which is the same chipset inside the iPhone 13. Aside from upgraded speed and performance, this chipset gives the iPhone SE 2022 5G connectivity. It’s worth noting that the iPhone SE 2022 only supports sub-6GHz and C-Band, but not mmWave. Still, though, sub-6GHz 5G is still an improvement over 4G.

As for configurations available, the iPhone SE 2022 and iPhone SE 2020 both offer 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants. However, the former now has 4GB of RAM compared to the 3GB of RAM offered by the latter. The increase in RAM allows for better responsiveness.

On paper, the cameras on the iPhone SE 2022 and 2020 models are similar. That’s because hardware-wise, they pretty much are. However, the iPhone SE 2022’s software is much improved, giving you features such as Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4, Deep Fusion and more. With these features, the 3rd Gen iPhone SE (2022) takes the cake, but only barely. Both phones still don’t have a night mode, which makes them terrible for taking pictures during night or in low-light environments.

Software Updates and Battery Life

The iPhone SE 2022 will get more updates and it comes with an increased battery capacity.

iphone se 2022 vs 2020 software updates and battery life
Both the iPhone SE 2022 (left) and iPhone SE 2020 (right) come in three colors—white, black and red.

The Apple iPhone SE 2022 ships with iOS15 already installed. As the newer phone, it will be more future-proof as it will be supported for at least 4-5 years. You can update the iPhone SE 2020 to the latest iOS version, but support for the phone will probably be dropped in 2 or 3 years.

As for battery life, the newer Apple iPhone SE 2022 comes with a beefier 2018 mAh battery compared to the 1821 mAh battery of the iPhone SE 2020 (these numbers are unofficial since Apple does not disclose the battery size of their phones). With a more efficient chipset and increased battery capacity, the iPhone SE 2022’s battery should last longer than that of the 2020 model.

When it comes to charging speed, the difference is minimal. The iPhone SE 2022 supports 20W charging while the iPhone SE 2020 supports 18W charging. They both support Qi wireless charging at 7.5W. Since these phones are quite thin, they don’t have magnets for MagSafe, so there’s no magnetic charging with these phones.

Verdict

The iPhone SE 2022 comes with some noteworthy upgrades, but they may not be enough to justify upgrading if you already own the iPhone SE 2020.

iPhone SE 2022

Improved internal hardware

iPhone SE 2020

Still worth buying

If you are looking to purchase a new phone, the iPhone SE 2022 is definitely the better buy. It comes with an upgraded chipset, bigger battery, new camera features and 5G connectivity. There’s a small price hike of around $30, but if you’re fine with that, then the iPhone SE 2022 is worth getting.

If you already own the iPhone SE 2020, upgrading to the iPhone SE 2022 will come down to whether you need its 5G connectivity. The iPhone SE 2020 hardware is not yet outdated but it is limited by its 4G connectivity. If you don’t need the 5G connectivity of the 3rd gen iPhone 2022, it might make more sense to keep the 2nd gen iPhone 2020 and just wait for the new iteration in a couple of years and buy that instead.

FAQs

📌 What is the difference between the iPhone SE 2020 and 2022?

Looks-wise they are similar, but when it comes to internal hardware and features, the iPhone SE 2022 comes with a faster chipset, improved battery life and 5G connectivity.

📌 Are the iPhone SE 2020 and 2022 the same size?

Yes, they have the same physical dimensions, but he iPhone SE 2022 is a bit lighter.

📌 Is it worth it to buy iPhone SE 2020 in 2022?

Yes, but only if it is discounted.

📌 Does iPhone SE 2022 have fast charging?

It supports 20W fast charging and 7.5W Qi wireless charging.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.