I gave up my Apple iPhone 13 Professional Max for the iPhone SE 2022. Here is what I came upon

I made the change—no, the leap—to an Apple iPhone 13 Professional Max late final 12 months, after years of finances and value-focused Android smartphones. This text although isn’t about Apple’s flagship smartphone—you possibly can examine my time with it right here.

As a substitute, Rory thought I used to be getting forward myself after so many fancy new gadgets, and needed to convey me again all the way down to earth. And so begins my time with Apple’s latest entrant to their smartphone household: the iPhone SE (2022).

What 12 months is it once more?

“Latest” iPhone is likely to be a stretch. Whereas it’s technically the most recent smartphone Apple has to supply, it actually doesn’t seem like it. As a fast primer, the brand new iPhone SE 2022 principally reuses the identical design and physique that the final era iPhone SE 2 used, which in flip reused the identical design and physique that the iPhone 8 debuted with.

To be clear, the iPhone 8 got here out in 2017. That’s 5 years in the past. In 2017, I wasn’t even out of college; that’s how way back this design originated from. Protected to say then that smooth seems to be actually isn’t the precedence relating to this 12 months’s iPhone SE. It additionally doesn’t assist that I personally was not a fan of the iPhone design throughout this era. I appreciated the flat edges and industrial look of the iPhone 5, and when Apple introduced it again with the iPhone 12 lineup, I once more was a fan of its seems to be. The iPhone 8 although was smack in the midst of the curved sides period of iPhone design philosophy and simply doesn’t seem like it belongs with the remainder of the most recent smartphones in my eyes.

For what its value, one factor I did like in regards to the total design was how compact it was. Compact smartphones virtually went extinct at one level, however the tiny iPhone SE is simply 7.3mm thick, 138.4mm tall, 67.3mm vast and weighs simply 144g, virtually half of what the iPhone 13 Professional Max weighs. In comparison with the iPhone 13 Professional Max, the iPhone SE feels almost like a toy with how gentle it’s and the way straightforward it suits in my pocket.

And but, with that being mentioned, if you happen to have been out there particularly for a compact iPhone, it’s not even the smallest one obtainable! The iPhone 13 Mini measures 131.5mm tall and 64.2mm vast, whereas weighing much less too at 140g. One other factor value declaring is that the iPhone SE solely has an IP67 water and dirt resistance score, whereas Apple’s different smartphones of this era are IP68. It additionally doesn’t have Apple’s Ceramic Protect layer so the iPhone SE is a bit more inclined to scratches.

So okay, nice, the iPhone SE is clearly not going to win any design awards or be a focus for others on the desk. However that was by no means actually the intention of Cupertino’s iPhone SE gadgets anyway. As a substitute, the iPhone SE is supposed to be the most affordable strategy to get the most recent silicon from Apple into your fingers.

It’s a pint-sized performer

Arguably the iPhone SE’s greatest promoting level right here is that it comes with the Apple A15 Bionic processor beneath the hood. It’s their most up-to-date chip for his or her cell gadgets and powers the entire iPhone 13 vary. The precise one beneath the iPhone SE’s hood although is the model with 4 GPU cores, relatively than the A15 Bionic with 5 GPU cores within the iPhone 13 Professional and Professional Max.

With such a strong processor beneath the hood, truthfully there’s little to no fear with efficiency in any respect. It took on just about all the pieces I threw at it like a champ, with my common day-to-day apps corresponding to social media stuff, Spotify, Waze, and extra all working in addition to I anticipated it to be. Gaming efficiency can be strong like a rock, and I used to be capable of play titles corresponding to Magic the Gathering: Enviornment and Apex Legends Cellular simply nice.

By the way, that is additionally the primary Apple gadget I’ve used with Contact ID. With no Face ID, the fingerprint sensor constructed into the Dwelling button was the one biometric safety measure obtainable for me to make use of and is definitely fairly good to make use of because it’s fast and responsive to the touch. It did take me some time to relearn some gestures although, because the notchless show means the iPhone SE makes use of Apple’s older gesture system for pulling out the management centre as an illustration, whereas I may now not simply swipe as much as return to dwelling both.

One notably unhappy new characteristic on the iPhone SE that I couldn’t actually check was its 5G capabilities. As you’ve in all probability heard, Malaysia’s 5G rollout continues to stutter and whereas we do have Sure with their 5G plans up to now, they at the moment don’t assist Apple gadgets. It’s an actual disgrace as one of many iPhone SE’s greatest promoting level was its 5G capabilities, one thing that beforehand was restricted to the iPhone 12 collection and newer. It’s nonetheless Apple’s least expensive 5G-capable iPhone, however that basically shouldn’t be the explanation why you get this proper now contemplating the home 5G state of affairs.

Apple did promote a ‘higher’ battery life on the brand new iPhone SE when it debuted earlier this 12 months. Now I used to be capable of get on the very least almost an all-day battery life with the iPhone SE, ending the day with roughly round 20% of battery life left. This was with a 50% show brightness and a mean display on time of round 6 hours. It’s nowhere close to the day and a half I may comfortably get with the iPhone 13 Professional Max, and typically the iPhone SE cuts dangerously near 10% on busier days, however for essentially the most half it’s on the very least acceptable.

The largest weak point right here is its display

Bear in mind how I mentioned earlier that I used to be capable of play video games corresponding to Apex Legends Cellular simply nice? Effectively, that was from a efficiency standpoint, however these video games actually weren’t enjoyable to play as a result of tiny little 4.7-inch, HD+ Retina show.

The “enjoyable sized” display might need been large enough in 2017, however in 2022 it’s simply horrible to make use of as most apps and video games as of late have their UI designed for a lot bigger shows. In Magic the Gathering: Enviornment, a card sport the place it’s essential to take a look at a lot of playing cards performed on the desk, I principally couldn’t play optimally as I spent extra time making an attempt to learn every merchandise on display. Studying articles additionally develop into extraordinarily irritating too as I navigate by means of all of the cookie requests and on-screen ads that pop up throughout the already puny display.

It’s tiny show isn’t even that nice from a constancy standpoint, because the low decision show is barely able to a 326ppi pixel density, in comparison with the iPhone 13 Professional Max for instance which has a 458ppi pixel density. In actual fact, the efficiency of those video games may’ve additionally been so good as a result of GPU solely needing to render at HD+ resolutions. The show can be solely a 60Hz panel and has a decrease most brightness of 625nits, in comparison with 1,200nits most brightness on the iPhone 13 Professional Max. The distinction additionally isn’t nearly as good, with the LCD panel on the iPhone SE able to only a 1,400:1 distinction ratio.

However okay, perhaps it’s just a little unfair to solely examine it to the iPhone 13 Professional Max—besides when you examine it to different Android midrange gadgets the iPhone SE merely seems to be like an excellent worse show. The Redmi Notice 11 for instance has a really strong 6.43-inch, FHD+ AMOLED show with an honest 90Hz refresh fee. It’s additionally brighter at 700nits, has a 409ppi pixel density and doesn’t have the thick high and backside bezels that the iPhone SE has. In actual fact, you’d be laborious pressed to search out any new smartphone previously couple of years with bezels this thick.

The Redmi Notice 11

As for audio system, it’s actually the identical story right here once more, with the stereo audio system being alright sufficient however no the place close to nearly as good because the iPhone 13 Professional Max. They’ll be loud sufficient to fill a small room certain, however don’t have the identical sort of full sound you’ll discover on the iPhone 13 vary of smartphones. For what it’s value, they’re a minimum of stereo audio system, which nonetheless isn’t a typical characteristic on each smartphone as of late ( you, Honor 50).

It nonetheless has a strong sufficient digicam although

Apple has packed the iPhone SE with only a single rear digicam right here, a 12MP, f/1.8 vast digicam able to a 5x digital zoom in addition to a portrait mode and optical picture stabilisation (with out Apple’s Sensor Shift although). You’ll additionally discover a 7MP, f/2.2 front-facing digicam. They aren’t a lot however for essentially the most half work simply nice, and the iPhone SE will take adequate photographs for social media and the like. Photographs are nonetheless clear and crisp with a pure color tone to it too.

What I do miss although is the pliability of the iPhone 13 Professional Max’s cameras, or certainly the pliability and flexibility of most midrange to flagship smartphones as of late. Gone are the 12MP telephoto and 12MP ultrawide cameras I used to be used to on the iPhone 13 Professional Max, and even Evening Mode is lacking on the iPhone SE. Consequently, the digicam on the iPhone SE kinda feels one dimensional.

If all you need is a straightforward point-and-shoot system in your smartphone, the iPhone SE does that properly. Nevertheless, you received’t get all of Apple’s bells and whistles such because the aforementioned Evening Mode, Cinematic Mode, Macro Mode and even simply an ultrawide angled shot. It’s virtually too primary, particularly when you think about that loads of Android midrangers are additionally able to comparable if not higher versatility with its digicam setups.

For essentially the most half, I’d choose to mess around with the triple digicam setup on one thing like a Realme 9 Professional+ any day, however if you happen to merely desire a good essential digicam, you’ll probably be fairly proud of the iPhone SE’s digicam right here.

And but, the iPhone SE is simply not value it in any respect

Look, you may’ve learn up until this level and thought, “Strong efficiency, respectable digicam… that doesn’t sound too unhealthy proper?” Effectively, you’re proper—performance-wise it’s not the worst gadget. It’s simply completely not well worth the price ticket that Apple has slapped onto it.

As somebody who craves the most effective price-to-performance ratios when forking out my very own cash for {hardware}, the brand new iPhone SE is just one of many worst choices I’ve ever seen. I imply, simply check out how outrageously priced they’re:

  • Apple iPhone SE, 64GB storage – RM2,099
  • Apple iPhone SE, 128GB storage – RM2,299
  • Apple iPhone SE, 256GB storage – RM2,799

This makes the iPhone SE merely means too costly to be value it, particularly contemplating that the one actual improve you’re getting right here is the Apple A15 Bionic chip which you’ll be able to’t even use to the fullest as a result of hamstrung show and the crippled digicam setup that the iPhone SE has. Even its 5G capabilities, one thing Apple highlighted lots in its advertising materials, can’t be utilized in Malaysia on the time being.

It’s additionally value mentioning that whereas the iPhone SE often is the least expensive iPhone obtainable proper now, the value balloons considerably if you happen to plan to get extra storage onboard. And contemplating that the bottom mannequin has only a pathetic 64GB of storage on it, you’ll in all probability have to finish up getting the upper spec choices anyway. However at RM2,799 for the iPhone SE with 256GB of storage, you might be getting one of many plethora of Android flagships with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip beneath the hood for almost the identical efficiency beneath the hood, with higher {hardware} in all places else on the gadget too.

Sometimes, the saving grace that the iPhone has is its nice software program assist, the place you possibly can count on round 5 to 6 years of iOS upgrades, one thing that the Android scene is barely now starting to chase after. Nevertheless, with a design that’s already 5 years previous, I truthfully don’t suppose anybody would need to hold utilizing the iPhone SE for an additional 5 years. If it’s essential to get your foot within the door for iOS, you’re maybe higher off with an iPhone 11 which may be discovered on sale considerably typically as of late, or maybe an iPhone 12 with a telco plan. When you don’t want iOS and want to keep inside this finances, then I implore you to take a look at the Android scene as an alternative.

The iPhone SE feels such as you’ve positioned a slick new V8 engine right into a beat up 1994 Perodua Kancil; certain it’s bought the facility, however driving it feels horrible and simply isn’t one thing I can suggest anytime quickly.

Images by Sofie Danial with the Sony A7III.