iPhone SE 3: Why Apple's cheapest 2022 phone is Android's biggest threat

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
iPhone SE 3: Why Apple's cheapest 2022 phone is Android's biggest threat
While the iPhone 14 series is going to steal the show this September, 2022 has another Apple smartphone coming, and it's coming much earlier – the iPhone SE 3.

That one might be out in just a month or two, and unlike the iPhone 14, isn't a yearly flagship. It's actually the Cupertino company's heavy-hitter in the mid-range and budget markets that would follow the 2020 iPhone SE 2 and the 2016 iPhone SE.

And in many, many regions – it's going to be Apple's most threatening iPhone in the eyes of Android phone makers.

The flagship market is small, but the mid-range and budget markets are huge

…And those are the ones iPhone SE 3 aims to dominate. Likely to start at around $399, the SE 3 fits the bill for what we call an affordable phone these days – definitely not cheap, but well within the grasp of many people, unlike flagships like the $799 iPhone 13.

The mid-range and budget smartphone markets are extremely competitive, and by default, dominated by Android phones. Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, Xiaomi and the likes offer some of the best budget phones out there, and constantly produce more new models, to the point that it's hard to keep up or make a choice, really.

And with their sub-$400 price in mind, it's always a win-some, lose-some gamble to buy one. The average budget phone can reasonably offer a good experience in just a few areas, sacrificing the rest. For example – it might have a good display or pack a huge battery, but cheap-feeling build quality, bad cameras, and poor performance.

Recommended Stories
Budget Samsung phone and even tablet users are likely well familiar with the lackluster performance they can squeeze out of those devices, but hey – if you're on a budget, you can't expect greatness, right?

Wrong, "says" Apple with its iPhone SE. You can get a budget phone without compromising on anything except flagship bells and whistles. And it's an easy choice to make – there's not a billion different budget iPhones, it's just the one budget iPhone. Easy peasy.

For its price range, the iPhone SE 3 will offer unrivaled performance, and for many – an entry to that so-alluring Apple experience

Back in 2020 when we did our iPhone SE 2 review, we were very impressed with its unmatched performance, impressive camera capable of then-industry-leading 4K video recording, and even the small things like its wireless charging capability.

The SE 2 is now a 2-year-old phone, but it still holds up today, and is still running the latest iOS software. Like many iPhones before it, it's expected to continue getting security and feature updates for many years to come.

And about its successor – the upcoming iPhone SE 3... That one's still a bit of a mystery. We've heard rumors that the iPhone SE (2022) could come with iPhone XR design, Apple A15 SoC, and 5G, and all that (maybe besides the design part) seems very plausible.

5G support is a given, and the Apple A15 processor is also reasonable to expect, which will make the iPhone SE 3 the most powerful budget smartphone to get in 2022.

Combined with how optimized Apple's iOS 15 operating system is for its phones – the iPhone SE 3 will be a major threat for Android in the booming budget and mid-range markets all over the world. By offering something those other budget phones can't – peace of mind that it will just work, it will work smoothly, it will cover the basics, and it will be up to date for a long time.

The iPhone SE 3's lack of bells and whistles won't matter to the average consumer looking for a great, affordable phone that will last

Here's what we're almost certainly not going to get from the iPhone SE 3 – an AMOLED display that refreshes at a smooth 120Hz, cameras that offer Apple's best quality or support for high-end features like Smart HDR4, Apple ProRAW recording, or Cinematic mode.

Whether we get Face ID or not depends on the truth behind the rumor claiming the iPhone SE 3 will reuse the iPhone XR design. If it does so, then Face ID can be expected to finally come to the SE line. Alternatively, this phone might have the exact same design as the 2020 iPhone SE – and with that, just a fingerprint scanner for securely unlocking the phone.

But, Apple cutting corners is to be expected when it comes to the SE. In addition, giving its budget phone a more outdated design is a nice little trick to keep it well separated from its flagship lineup. And even more sneaky – on a psychological level it encourages certain buyers who might worry a bit too much about their social status to shell out for the iPhone 14 instead.

In any case – the lack of high-end bells and whistles won't really matter to the average buyer who is looking for a phone that will just work well for years to come, at a low price; doesn't matter if it has bezels or not.

Until our favorite Android brands can match or surpass the performance, the build quality, the flagship-like experience from this rather affordable iPhone lineup, the SE will continue to sell well.

And selling well it is – a few months back we reported that indeed the second-generation iPhone SE is really paying off for Apple, as is to be expected. The Cupertino company was smart to invade the mid-range and budget phone markets with it, instead of only aiming for the high-end.

The SE will continue to do well, converting Android users to iOS in the process, unless another challenger appears and offers an equal or better experience for the same price, or lower.

Do you believe there's already an underrated Android phone out there that beats the iPhone SE 3? Share with us your favorite mid-rangers and budget phones that you believe match up to it, so anyone looking will have more to consider!

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless