iPhone SE Review: Classic Design, Modern Performance

iPhone SE Review: Classic Design, Modern Performance


The 2022 iPhone SE looks deceptively simple. It’s got the classic iPhone design, sporting a fingerprint-scanning button at the bottom. It has bezels around its screen, a shocking sight after the iPhone X normalized full-face OLED screens. The only thing the iPhone SE is missing to make it feel like 2012 all over again is a 3.5mm audio jack.

Despite these throwback design elements, the iPhone SE is a modern phone that sports a cutting-edge processor and some of the best performance you can get at its sub-$500 price point. Apple fans who want a new phone that just works and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg are in luck. The 2022 iPhone SE is here, and it’s something special.

Timeless Design

The new iPhone SE looks essentially identical to its predecessors. It’s small, rectangular, and has bezels around the screen. The physical front button is a surprising sight in 2022, making the SE the only modern iPhone without a front-covering OLED screen. It also doesn’t support Face ID for unlocking the device. Instead, users scan their thumbprints to bypass the lock screen.

This is an unusually old-school design ethos for a 2022 phone. It’s all part of the SE’s charm, though. It’s a small handset that fits neatly in your palm and slots effortlessly into a pocket or purse. 

Can’t Beat the Price

The 2022 iPhone SE retails for $429 for the 64GB configuration. That makes it the most affordable smartphone in Apple’s lineup, a hard fact to overlook when competing smartphones can go for almost $1,000. You don’t sacrifice any power for this pricetag, either: the iPhone SE sports the same A15 Bionic chip that you can find in the iPhone 13.

This processor gives the SE a snappy interface and shockingly fast performance. Likewise, it gives this handset 5G compatibility, allowing users to push the limits of download speeds if they live in an area that offers the new wireless standard. It’s astonishing that Apple crammed so much power into such a tiny handset.

Bite-Sized Smartphone

The SE sports a downright adorable profile. It’s a flashback to an earlier era of smartphones, with a screen that barely measures 4.7 inches. If you’re in the market for a small, powerful smartphone that comes in under $500, this is the device for you. It’s easily one of the most impressive phones Apple has ever made, if only because it packs so much processing power in such a tiny, affordable package.