The iPhone SE is powerful and accessible with a tired design, according to early reviews


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Apple’s third-generation iPhone SE has the A15 Bionic, 5G, and Touch ID for $429, and here’s what people are saying about it.

If you look at the new iPhone SE, you will see an identical design to the iPhone 8 released in 2017. Apple is doing this to cut costs for its budget iPhone by using older and cheaper manufacturing processes and parts.

According to MKBHD, the A15 Bionic means it will have “world-class” processing and camera, but lack design, battery life and display. He’d rather Apple try a new design, add an ultra-wide camera, and mix things up like other phones in its price range.

However, others have praised Apple’s consistency, with Forbes calling it “the most accessible iPhone for a sizable number of people with disabilities”. The “old” design means consistency, which is valuable for certain cognitive conditions. Plus, the low price means access to iOS and its accessibility features by those who need it, rather than having to opt for a more expensive model just to access needed apps.

The edge called the new iPhone SE a “fantastic mid-range phone” held back by its “tired design” and 4.7-inch screen with large bezels. The powerful processor guarantees years of updates, so The edge says you’ll get what you pay for, but the lack of a larger display, OLED or ProMotion makes the screen “cramped” worse. That longevity means its 4.7-inch screen will still be around for 2028 and iOS 21, which will feel antiquated at this point.

There seems to be universal praise for the performance and camera included in the $429 iPhone SE. Repeated complaints revolve around the aging design and Apple’s desire to shift its budget to the design language of the iPhone X. A major complaint is the lack of night mode for dark photography.

A review of Tom’s Guide compares using the iPhone SE 2022 to “taking a trip back in time”. There’s Touch ID instead of Face ID, and the glasses take up “a lot” of space compared to modern devices. However, the reviewer admitted that the device is designed for people who like small phones and are upgrading from older devices like the iPhone 8.

Camera comparisons universally praise the quality of the camera despite the fact that the same camera hardware is integrated. The Image Signal Processor enables new features such as Cinematic Mode, Deep Fusion and now Extended Dynamic Range for 4K video up to 30 fps. Video producer Jonathan Morrison has shared a music video shot on the new iPhone SE to show off its quality recording capabilities.

The third-generation iPhone SE is up for pre-order and will ship on Friday, March 18. It starts at $429 and comes with A15, 5G, and a classic design.