iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 13 mini: differences
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Table of Contents:
The third-generation iPhone SE (2022 edition) is not only the cheapest model in Apple's lineup, but it's also smaller than most other phones on the market... except for one: the iPhone 13 mini!
So, if you are on the hunt for a truly compact phone, this iPhone SE and the 13 mini should be at the top of your list.
But what does the more expensive iPhone 13 mini have that the iPhone SE lacks? And ultimately... which one should you choose?
In this article, we go over the differences in detail between these two, so let's waste no time and take a closer look.
iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 13 mini differences:
- iPhone 13 mini is smaller, but SE is slightly thinner
- SE has big borders around the screen and a smaller screen size
- 13 mini uses brighter and sharper OLED screen
- 13 mini has Face ID, while SE use Touch ID
- SE has just 64GB base storage, while 13 mini has 128GB storage
- Both run on the same A15 chip
- 13 mini battery lasts longer
- SE costs $430, the 13 mini — $700
- iPhone SE (2022) Preview
- iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone SE (2020): all the differences
- iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 11
- iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 13
iPhone SE (2022) pros and cons
iPhone 13 mini pros and cons
Design and Display Quality
You might not care about style, but the 13 mini is truly compact and its screen is just far better
The iPhone SE (2022) looks like a bit of an antique in the tech world of today with its big borders around the screen and dated design, while the 13 mini has a way more contemporary look with an edge to edge screen and flat sides.
However, even with its antiquated design, the SE doesn't feel poorly made at all. It has a glass back and an aluminum frame much like the 13 mini, and both phones also have water and dust protection. There is a tiny difference in the protection rating: you have IP67 on the SE vs IP68 on the 13 mini, but that really is a negligible difference.
You can see an exact visualization of the differences between these two in our size comparison tool below:
Of course, the iPhone 13 mini lives up to its name and is a bit smaller indeed, plus it's also a smidgen lighter. However, both leave the impression of being extremely lightweight and comfortable to carry in a pocket.
In terms of usability, the flat sided design of the 13 mini makes it easier to pick the phone from a table. The SE, on the other hand, comes with curved sides which help for a more comfortable in-hand feel.
But while we may argue about beauty and aesthetics, there is no arguing about screen quality: the iPhone 13 mini has the better screen, and that's easy to see. It has a larger 5.4" panel vs 4.7" on the SE. They have different dimensions too: the 13 mini is taller and narrower, while the SE screen has wider dimensions.
What matters the most here, however, is screen tech. The SE uses the older LCD tech, while the 13 mini bets on more modern OLED technology. The OLED panel has perfect blacks, excellent contrast, vibrant colors, no ghosting, and it features a sharper resolution (750p on the SE vs 1080p on the 13 mini). We noticed the SE was dimmer, it had a slower response, ghosting, and worse viewing angles. An easy win for the 13 mini.
In terms of biometrics, the 13 mini relies on Face ID, while the SE brings back the Touch ID home button. Face ID feels effortless (and now works with masks too), but there is something reassuring about having a physical home button with Touch ID and that fingerprint sensor is reliable as ever.
Performance and Software
A15 kind of power.
Apple shook the budget phone market a couple of years ago with the original iPhone SE, which had a flagship-grade processor... unheard for in a budget phone at the time! These days, we were not quite as surprised to see the latest Apple A15 chip power the iPhone SE. But even if the element of surprise is gone, we can still appreciate it. A budget phone having the same firepower as the 13 mini, that's remarkable.
As you know, the word "powerful" doesn't fully describe the A15 Bionic chip. It's more than that, it's the fastest chip on the market and that might just be so in the next couple of years. Take a look at a few benchmarks below that prove that:
On the graphics front, both iPhones have the same chips, but it's interesting how the iPhone 13 Mini throttles quicker and more severely.
In terms of software, both launched with iOS 15, but have since then received the iOS 16 update and will likely get the typical Apple treatment with 5 or 6 years of software updates (counting from the year of their launch), so you should not be worried about either of these phones withstanding the test of time.
SE as in "Single-camera Edition"
Okay, the truth is that SE stands for "Special Edition", or at least it used to, but it does indeed come with just one camera on its back, while the 13 mini brings that same wide lens but with an ultra-wide one too.
It's actually quite nice to see that the SE (2022) has all the same computational bells and whistles, even Smart HDR4 and improvements to video quality, and the only thing missing on the camera specs sheet is the sensor-shift video stabilization that you get on the 13 mini.
iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 13 mini Camera Samples
The main difference in daylight photos comes mostly from the wider camera on the iPhone 13 mini compared to the SE, but for all else the colors, detail and dynamic range are remarkably similar.
iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 13 mini night photos
In low light, however, the SE does not support night mode and this is noticeable in the pictures which just lack the clarity and vibrance you get out of the iPhone 13 mini. It's a much more noticeable difference.
But what about video quality?
Again, the wider field of view on the iPhone 13 mini is noticeable, but as I move around you can also see how you get quite a bit of jitter on the SE while the 13 mini remains much more stable.
In low light, it's not just about the video stabilization: detail appears blurry on the SE while it remains sharp on the 13 mini, and colors are also better preserved. Also notice how every movement of the camera results in ghosting on the SE, while the 13 mini maintains the picture quality.
Audio Quality and Haptics
The iPhone 13 mini might be small but it packs a punch with the speakers. The SE also employs a similar dual speaker system with a main, bottom-oriented main speaker helped by a secondary speaker in the earpiece, but you should be able to hear a difference. Stay tuned for more impressions coming soon.
And as for the headphone jack, well... it's missing. That's been the case in the last few years, and it's definitely not coming back on iPhones.
Battery Life and Charging
Don't expect miracles here
A mini phone and an SE phone walk in to a bar, and... immediately go looking for a charger!
Okay, that's not how these jokes go, but it is how reality will go with these phones if you start using them more intensely.
Is there a difference in battery life between the SE (2022) and the 13 mini? We have run our three independent battery tests where phones are set at identical brightness levels for an equal playing field. Here are the results:
PhoneArena Battery Test Results
Ah, small phones and battery life! Not the happiest of couples, but if we let the inevitable sigh go and face reality, we'd see how the SE has actually improved from its predecessor, but it's the 13 mini that lasts a bit more.
We get a full day with average use easily on the 13 mini, and that's what matters after all, but these phones will disappoint heavy users or at least keep them tethered to a charger often.
The maximum charging speeds on both is limited to 20 watts, and realistically even a bit lower.
Both the SE and the 13 mini support wireless charging, but you get the fancy and faster MagSafe magnetic charging on the 13 mini, while the SE cannot snap as tightly and is just not quite as cool with its regular wireless charging coils.
Summary and Final Verdict
So... it's time to get back to the question that started it all: should you spend nearly double the money on the $600 iPhone 13 mini when you can get an iPhone SE (2022) for $430?
If you are just an average user who mostly wants an iPhone that they would use as a phone with a bit of social media and messaging, we'd say that the iPhone SE will suffice just perfectly and leave you with some cash in your pocket.
However that price difference is really not that big. And if you are the more discerning kind that would actually use an ultra-wide camera, and appreciate the vibrant colors of the OLED screen by watching a lot of videos, and if you value the extra bit of battery life, then without a doubt go for the 13 mini. It's nicer in pretty much every way.
But that SE? It brings back serious nostalgic vibes and yeah, it's a solid phone with a button. They don't make 'em like that no more.
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