iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 13 mini


The iPhone SE is not only the budget iPhone model to get, it’s also a way more compact phone than most others on the market… except for one, the iPhone 13 mini!

If you are on the hunt for a truly compact “mini” phone, well these two should be on the top of your list.

But what does the iPhone 13 mini which costs $700 offer that the $400 new iPhone SE does not?

And which one should you choose?

the name that comes to mind first, but if you are willing to spend just a Benjamin more, you can actually have something with a much larger screen, bigger battery, a secondary camera, Face ID, swipe navigation and a few extras on top of that. Yes, the device we have in mind is the iPhone 11, with a retail price of $500 in 2022, compared to the $400 MSRP on the iPhone SE 2022 edition.

In this article, we go over the differences in detail and try to give you a sense of the pros and cons of each of these two models, and which one would fit you better.

Let’s waste no time and take a closer look!

This article is based on official information provided by Apple, but we have not yet had hands-on experience with the iPhone SE (2022).

iPhone SE (2022) vs iPhone 13 mini differences:

  • 13 mini is more compact
  • But SE actually has the smaller screen
  • 13 mini used OLED screen with more vibrant colors
  • 13 mini screen also gets brighter and is sharper
  • 13 mini has Face ID vs Touch ID on SE
  • The SE has 64GB base storage, the 13 mini has double that
  • Both have the same A15 chip
  • The 13 mini lasts a bit longer
  • The SE costs $430, the 13 mini — $700

Read more:

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 older design, while the 13 mini looks just way more contemporary and fresh.

But despite its cheaper price and dated looks, the SE doesn’t feel subpar in terms of build quality. Both phones have an aluminum frame, both have toughened glass on the front and back, both even have water and dust protection (IP67 on the SE, IP68 on the 13 mini, a negligible difference).

Just take a look at our size comparison tool, compact phone lovers would be super pleased with both:

Of course, the mini lives up to its name and is a bit smaller indeed. It’s also a smidgen lighter too, again not that you’d notice as both leave the impression of being lightweight and comfortable to carry in a pocket.

The one difference is the sides: the flat style on the 13 mini makes it easier to pick from a table, while the curved sides on the SE actually help it feel more organic in the hand, to each their own,.

But while we may argue about beauty and aesthetics, there is no arguing about screen quality: the iPhone 13 mini is the better phone and that’s easy to see. The display on it is slightly larger, 5.4″ vs 4.7″ on the SE, but it’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison since they do have different aspect ratios. The 13 mini has a tall and narrow screen, while the SE has wider dimensions.

What matters the most here is screen tech: LCD on the SE vs OLED on the 13 mini. And it’s no contest as the OLED panel has perfect blacks, excellent contrast, vibrant colors, no ghosting, and it’s sharper on top of that (750p on the SE vs 1080p on the 13 mini).

Last but not least, the 13 mini relies on Face ID for biometrics, while the SE uses the good old Touch ID home button thing. Face ID might be cool and all, but it’s not as practical with Covid and masks still around, so the SE might have a win here.

Performance and Software

A15 kind of power.

Apple shook the budget phone market a couple of years ago with the original SE, which had a flagship-grade processor, unheard at the time. But now that’s kind of become the norm, and Apple bumping the SE (2022) to the A15 chip brought far less enthusiasm. Still, it’s important: a budget phone having the same firepower as the 13 mini, we love it!

As you know, the A15 is no joke. In fact, it’s the fastest chip on any smartphone right now. We will be running some benchmarks just to see if the different form factors handle it a bit differently and maybe what’s the difference in throttling, but that will be coming in the near future and not quite right now, so stay tuned.

In terms of software, both phones have iOS 15, both will get updated for long years to come, both are perfectly future-proof.


SE as in “Single-camera Edition”

Don’t let me fool you: 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. 

We will look at sample photos and videos, but we expect them to look mostly the same, honestly. And having to say so little about these excellent cameras is a testament to Apple’s camera work on the budget SE.

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 gone missing. And that’s been the case in the last few years, it’s not coming back on iPhones, end of story.

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 heavily.

Now, is there a difference in battery life between the SE (2022) and the 13 mini? Apple says there is: the company measures battery life in hours of continuous video playback and here are the official numbers for both:

*all values above are measured in hours.

Ah yes, small phones and battery life! Not the happiest of stories, 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 these munchkings is limited up to 20 watts, and realistically even a bit lower.

Both the SE and the 13 mini support wireless charging, but you get the fancy MagSafe trick 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 $700 iPhone 13 mini when you can get an iPhone SE (2022) for just $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.

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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