The iPhone 13 series dropped in September 2021, and the iPhone SE (3rd generation) followed closely with its release in March 2022, a mere six months later. While the iPhone SE (3rd generation) is the latest model, it differs starkly from the iPhone 13 lineup.
Read on to find out more about the differences between iPhone 13 and iPhone SE and decide which be the best option for you.
Let’s kick it off with the real deal, shall we? It is common knowledge that the popularity of the iPhone SE is mainly dependent on its low price, and it’s popular as one of the best iPhones on a budget. We’ll take a look at how big the price difference actually is.
The iPhone 13 currently retails at $799, while the iPhone SE stands at $429. That’s a whole $370 gap between the two, which is a pretty big feat. You could throw in another $60 and get two iPhone SEs for the same price as one iPhone 13.
However, this lower price is associated with compromise on several features. Read on to decide if the budget-friendly iPhone SE is worth the low cost.
The differences in design follow a basic rule of thumb: buy the iPhone 13 if you want a larger, trendier, modern-day iPhone; and opt for the iPhone SE for a smaller, iPhone-6-style iPhone that will eradicate your nostalgia for the older iPhones.
To begin with, put the two iPhones side by side and you’ll notice some noteworthy changes between them, from the front as well as the back. At first glance, you’ll see a slight variation in size, with the iPhone 13 being the larger device at 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches and the iPhone SE being slightly smaller at 5.5 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches. Another significant change will be the presence of a Home button on the iPhone SE.
The iPhone 13 follows the latest trend in iPhones, with a notched display, no Home button, and a screen that stretches out across the entire device. The iPhone SE is part of the old-school crew, having a Home button, no notch (as it is not compatible with Face ID), and a smaller screen.
Flip the two iPhones over, and you’ll see the back sporting different cameras for both models. The iPhone 13 features a pair of lenses, while the iPhone SE has just one. Apart from that, both the models have a glass rear and a metal casing, so the material is the same. Both also have Lightning ports for charging, and neither has a headphone jack.
The iPhone SE has three basic color options:
The iPhone 13 has a slightly larger variety, with five color options available:
- little finger
The size difference for the display is quite remarkable. The iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch display, while the iPhone SE cuts it down to 4.7 inches. Quite a leap, isn’t it?
With the iPhone 13 being on the higher end of the budget, it’s evident that it will feature better resolution when compared to the iPhone SE. The iPhone 13 has a resolution of 1170×2532 pixels, and the latter has 750×1334 pixels to its name. This means the iPhone 13 also has a higher resolution. Add to that the fact that the iPhone 13 offers HDR and it’s clear to see how much better the display is.
Starting with the front camera, the iPhone SE has a 7MP camera and the iPhone 13 has a 12MP camera. This basically translates to the fact that the iPhone 13 has better resolution in its front camera, allowing you to enjoy smooth, HD video chats.
The rear camera comes with physical changes along with functional ones. The iPhone 13 has two lenses: a wide-angle lens plus an ultra-wide lens. The wide-angle lens on the iPhone 13 is better than the iPhone SE lens in minor ways that bring out a significant quality difference. The lack of an ultra-wide lens on the iPhone SE also means you can’t have much of the background in your photos and videos.
iPhone 13’s camera also boasts a Night Mode and Cinematic Mode, something the iPhone SE lacks. All in all, the iPhone 13 generally has better image resolution and quality on the front and back, so if you’re someone who loves taking pictures and videos of the best quality, you may want to invest in the iPhone 13.
Storage and Performance
While both offer three different storage options, the iPhone 13 has a higher maximum limit, going up to 512GB as opposed to 256GB on the iPhone SE. The base model also starts higher on the iPhone 13, which gives you 128GB, compared to 64GB on the SE.
The 256GB iPhone SE retails at $579, which is still cheaper than the starting price for iPhone 13, though, at 128GB at $799.
Both the phones offer A15 Bionic chips and 5G connectivity, putting them on even footing for performance. The A15 Bionic chip is quite powerful, so you won’t have any complaints about performance with either of these two phones.
Before we discuss battery life, we’ll break the bad news. Neither phone comes with a power brick in its packaging, so you’ll have to get your own if you don’t have one already. Moreover, MagSafe on the iPhone is only supported by iPhone 13 and not the iPhone SE.
That being said, the battery life of the iPhone 13 is extremely good, making it one of the best features of the iPhone 13. With greater charging power and battery capacity, the battery life of the iPhone 13 was the highest compared to all the previous models. The iPhone SE offers 15 hours of video playback, while the iPhone 13 has 19 hours of playback time.
Numerous comparisons state that it takes an average of one hour for the iPhone SE to reach 50% charge, while it takes the iPhone 13 half the time to achieve the same battery level.
It’s About Price vs. Features
With a larger display, Face ID, better camera resolution, a longer battery life, and more color options, the iPhone 13 is definitely the better iPhone on paper. Well, that is, if you can afford it. If there’s one place where the iPhone SE has the upper hand, it’s the price, as the iPhone SE is more than $350 cheaper than the iPhone 13 on average.
However, if you’re not on a tight budget, why not go all out? You can get even better features by upgrading to the iPhone 13 Pro instead of the iPhone 13.