To get the facts clear first: yes, the new iPhone SE (2022) is priced starting at Rs. 43,900 in India, and yes, it looks very similar to the iPhone 6 in 2014. The proposal may seem ridiculous at first – you can find some great phones with all the latest amenities priced at or around Rs. 40,000 in India now, such as the OnePlus 9RT 5G, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, Vivo V23 Pro 5G, Oppo Reno 7 Pro 5G, and even Apple’s own iPhone 11. However, Apple thinks the value and appeal of this phone lies in its A15 Bionic processor, camera capabilities and software.
I’ll discuss all of that in our full review, coming soon, but until that’s ready, here are some initial impressions and thoughts. The new iPhone SE (2022) is almost indistinguishable from the iPhone SE (2020) (Revised), except in terms of color choices. The new Midnight and Starlight options replace the Black and White from the previous generation, and we first saw this finish on the iPhone 13 line (Review). Midnight has a deep blue tone, while Starlight is a very warm creamy white. There is also (Product) Red as before.
The price may disappoint many people who expect a sub-R. 30,000 iPhones. The basic variant of the iPhone SE (2022), priced at Rs. 43,900 in India, has 64GB of storage. There are also 128GB and 256GB options priced at Rs. 48,900 and Rs. 58,900 each. You just get a USB Type-C cable to the Lightning, a SIM remove pin and some stickers in the box.
If you don’t have a Type-C USB charger, you’ll need to buy one-fast charging up to 20W is supported. One feature you won’t find on many Android competitors at this price level is Qi wireless charging. The Apple MagSafe wireless charger won’t be strapped to the back of this phone but should work fine if you can stack one accurately.
The iPhone SE (2022) itself is a complete setback. Even when the iPhone 6 came out in 2014, it was seen as behind the curve, playing catch -up to the larger Android phones of the time. Its 4.7-inch screen is very small by today’s standards, and the empty space above and below it, as well as the physical Home button, is like an artifact of the past.
All of this isn’t necessarily bad, especially in terms of handling and comfort – many people like to have a fingerprint sensor on the front, and this phone is very easy to hold and use. It’s quite thin and light by today’s standards, at 7.3mm and 144g. The device is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, and its body is made of aluminum and glass. In terms of usability, almost nothing has changed compared to the previous generation, and you can read our review of the iPhone SE (2020) here.
Many people like smaller phones and really just want the basic ones. However, this is not a basic budget phone, in terms of the Indian market. The screen is small, but high quality. There’s only one camera, but Apple’s computational photography knowledge should mean great results. It supports 5G, which is not yet available here. The biggest selling point of the iPhone SE (2022) is the same A15 Bionic processor you’ll find in any iPhone 13 model, but does this phone’s target audience want to do things that take full advantage of its potential?
Outside of the SoC, the specification is a mixed bag. There are 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options, even if you are willing to spend Rs. 59,900 there are many options in the world of Android with flagship features and specifications. Apple did not reveal the amount of RAM or battery capacity of its phone, but the performance should be comparable to the iPhone 13 series.
There’s only one 12 -megapixel f/1.8 camera on the back and a 7 -megapixel f/2.2 on the front. The Bionic A15 SoC enables several computational photography features such as the Photography Style we saw with the iPhone 13 series and Portrait Lighting. You get optical stabilization, and video recording increases to 4K 60fps. There’s no 3D Face ID sensor, though people may not have missed it so much in the days of incognito.
Many people can’t justify the price of the latest iPhone, and therefore the iPhone SE series aims to be a fairly affordable way to stay in the ecosystem. You might have a lot if your life is tied to iMessage, iCloud and all the apps you’ve paid for. However, in India at least, the new iPhone SE (2022) is still too expensive. The iPhone SE (2020) is supposed to remain available for a while at a much better price (especially on sale and with deals), the iPhone XR is also lower cost and still viable thanks to Apple’s generous software update policy, even the iPhone costs 11 just a little more. Banking schemes and exchange offers can even bring the iPhone 12 (Review) and iPhone 12 mini (Review) to this price level – as we’ve seen.
In short, the new iPhone SE (2022) looks a bit unsuitable in India. The design feels recycled and there are no real “wow” moments you might expect when using an expensive new device. The price far exceeds the budget segment and has to compete not only with the Android heavyweight but also several other iPhone models.
I have a lot of questions about how the new iPhone SE (2022) works and for whom it really makes sense. A full review will reveal the performance of its SoC, camera and battery, so stay tuned for the Gadgets 360.