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I swapped from an iPhone 13 Pro Max to an iPhone SE

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Put things in perspective by moving from Apple’s finest phone to its cheapest

These days, it’s probably not the best use of your limited finances to purchase high-end smartphones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max that I use on a daily basis. So, having just received the iPhone SE (2022), I set out to see what the experience was like going from Apple’s most expensive phone to its most affordable.

Apple’s iPhones are the most popular, but also the most expensive, smartphones on the market. Users in need of an upgrade but unable to spend more money on a higher-end phone may find some solace in the fact that the cheapest iPhone they can buy still delivers all they need.

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An unpleasant start

After transferring my data, I discovered that 60Hz phone displays irritate me greatly. This was something I saw coming even before I started. Reverting to a standard refresh rate after using 120Hz displays on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and numerous Android phones over the previous few years has left my eyes feeling odd. With its 60Hz display, this year’s iPhone SE pales in comparison to the iPhone 12 Pro, which I used last year. Even if you’re using one of the most recent iPhones, you won’t notice a difference from other 60Hz iPhones unless you’re making the switch from Android.

Despite the fact that I was tempted to utilize my PC or iPad for my typical phone activities (video viewing, social media, internet surfing, and online shopping), I decided to stick with the iPhone SE so that I could properly evaluate its capabilities. For a five-year-old screen, the display is fine and still looks good. In my experience, I’ve come to believe that other possibilities are considerably more superior.

Even though I mostly used Wi-Fi all day, my phone’s battery kept running low, which was a major inconvenience. After using the iPhone 13 Pro Max for a full day of work and going out in the evening, I’m used to seeing 30-40 percent of the battery remaining when I get back to my desk at night. Smartphone users in 2022 won’t be satisfied with this level of performance in 2022, regardless of how they use their devices.

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Things get better

After a shaky start, I began to appreciate the SE’s positive attributes. Its size, to begin with. Only the iPhone 13 mini, which is reported to be the only modern smartphone with this size, will be replaced by the iPhone 14 series. Because I can use the SE one-handed and it fits in my pants pocket sideways, it’s a really handy phone to have with me at all times.

The rounded edges are a nice touch, too. However, I am a fan of the slab-sided iPhone 13’s design, but I find it difficult to hold in my hand. Based on my experience with the SE, I have no objections to Apple reverting to the previous iPhone design of rounded edges given that the devices themselves have grown in size as well as thickness.

For lengthy periods of time, typing on a phone as small as the SE isn’t ideal. For me, typing on the phone’s 4.7-inch screen for an extended period of time results in either a cramp or a slew of errors because my fingers aren’t acclimated to it.

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This past week, I was reminded of the usefulness of Touch ID and the home button for unlocking and operating a smartphone. I really enjoy the convenience of being able to access Control Center simply swiping up from the bottom of the screen. A Face ID iPhone’s app switching would be disrupted by this action, but it’s much more convenient than having to reach into the upper right corner of the screen to access it.

The iPhone SE’s A15 chipset is the same as that found in the iPhone 13 series, hence there is no degradation in performance. Although the SE’s display is smaller and less vibrant, I was able to play Townscaper and Grid Autosport just as well as I did on the larger, more costly iPhone.

Surprisingly, the camera continues to function flawlessly. My garden and shed may be seen here in a similar state in both photographs.

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Selfies are treated the same way around here. Since it was able to cut around my face without mistakenly including some of the plant behind me, the iPhone SE really did a better job in this situation than the iPhone 5. 7MP instead of 12MP, which is lesser than the iPhone 13 Pro’s 12MP. If I wanted to enlarge the shot, I’d use the Pro iPhone because it preserves more fine detail.

My newfound appreciation for the iPhone SE was bolstered when I discovered that it was still possible to take high-quality images. However, the lack of access to wide-angle or telephoto lenses, as well as cameras with aspect ratios other than 16:9, is a hindrance. No matter how expensive a phone is, I’m willing to sacrifice a little photo quality in exchange for the sheer amount of functionality it delivers.

Final thoughts

Even now that I’m back to using my regular phone, I’m still recalling several aspects of the iPhone SE (2022) fondly from my time with it. My initial desire for more hertz and screen size was replaced with a realization that tiny phones still have a place in today’s smartphone lineups, and that some people prefer Touch ID to Face ID for security reasons.

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It’s difficult to suggest the iPhone SE due of its high pricing. However, for the same amount of money you could obtain a much better Android phone (such as the Samsung Galaxy A53 or OnePlus Nord 2T) than an iPhone.

If you don’t plan on switching to Android, the SE may not be the best option for a cheap iPhone. As our courageous editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer stated, the iPhone 11 is still the better option. It lacks 5G and has some of its own out-of-date components, but it has a considerably more current appearance and behavior.

In my opinion, the iPhone SE isn’t worth recommending to anyone who isn’t a fan of iOS or a tight budget. Take heart, though, in the fact that I didn’t find it quite as difficult to use in the actual world as I had anticipated.

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