iPhone SE 3rd generation high-quality real machine advanced evaluation (Nishida Soka)–Engadget Japan Edition

▲ The third generation iPhone SE. The color is “midnight”

I try to use the “iPhone SE” 3rd generation model as soon as possible. In this article, I will tell you about patterns.

Don’t you think the design hasn’t changed, isn’t it high end? Well, it certainly doesn’t feel “new”.

But the more you touch it, the more you can see what Apple is aiming for.

A classic design that has become a best-seller, the color tone is different from the second generation

This iPhone SE will be the third generation, but like the second generation released in 2020, the design is the same as the “iPhone 8” (released in September 2017).

I would say that the 2nd and 3rd generation have the same color, but the rough colors of white, black, and red are the same, just different shades.

“Midnight” was rented out as a review device. It’s a shade that makes you feel “the color of the midnight sky” and it’s a mix of black and a little blue. The difference in color is easy to see compared to the black part of the front.

▲ Back. If you put a little more light in it, you can see it’s “extremely deep blue” instead of black. Exactly “midnight”

This design is actually based on the iPhone 6 generation (released in September 2014), so take a long breath. If it is the next “SE” in 2 years like the second generation, it will use the “10-year player” until 2024 at least.

So the size of the white space around the screen feels really old compared to the iPhone 13.

▲ The left is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the right is the iPhone 13 Pro.Compared with the middle iPhone SE (3rd generation), the screen size is very different
▲ Back. From left to right, the new color “Alpine Green” for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, “Green” for the iPhone 13, and “Midnight” for the iPhone SE (3rd generation). Alpine Green iPhone 13 Pro Max is a very “muffled” shade

However, Apple believes that making detailed changes to the design here is “different.”

In software development, we want to avoid changes that add to the screen, and also want to keep costs down by using bulk-purchased parts, so for them, “output in this form.” Yes.

Supply prices will drop further over the next two years, and there’s no doubt that iPhones will be offered at low prices combined with cellphone carrier discounts. If so, it makes sense to prioritize creating a balance that can provide as long as possible and low cost without changing its functionality and features.

The performance is comparable to the iPhone 13, and the “everyday shooting” photos are quite good

So, after a while, it feels like “iPhone SE”.

Someone should say “this is good”, not only for the price but also for the size. This is a scale that such a person can buy without any hassle.

The screen is small (in terms of the size of the main unit), but still much smaller than the iPhone 13 series, except for the mini. The benefits of making the whole are real.

▲ side part.Aluminum body + glass finish high quality

The processor of the third generation iPhone SE is “A15 Bionic”. Therefore, the performance is greatly improved.

According to the test results of “GeekBench 5”, the performance on the CPU side is almost the same as that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. In terms of GPU, it seems that the number of cores is different, and the performance of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is higher. The estimated amount of memory has also been reduced from 6GB to 4GB.

▲ SE (3rd Gen) and 13 Pro Max CPU benchmark results. Multi-core performance is slightly worse, but not much of a difference.SE on the left, 13 Pro Max results on the right
▲ GPU benchmark results for SE (3rd generation) and 13 Pro Max. The 13 Pro Max is noticeably faster, probably due to the different GPU core count.SE on the left, 13 Pro Max results on the right

Well, it’s no big deal. Due to the small screen size, the load on the GPU will be small. It’s easier to understand if you understand it as “almost the same performance as the flagship iPhone”.

Where processor performance comes into play is the camera.

The iPhone SE uses the exact same lens and sensor in the 2nd and 3rd generation. On the other hand, the image signal processor (ISP) installed in the processor and camera-related software has been improved, as has the processing power available for the camera, so image quality seems to be improving.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a second-gen SE on hand, so I can’t check it side-by-side.

However, the trend in 2020 for photos taken with the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone SE (2nd generation) is different from this time around with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone SE (3rd generation).

Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, the SE 2 is slightly sleepy, giving the impression that the photos lack detail. But this time, I don’t think there’s much difference there. I feel that the color riding of the 3rd-generation iPhone SE is still worse due to the difference in sensor characteristics, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max is more suitable for shooting in dark places, but it is not a problem for general shooting and is very comfortable. I think it can be used.

▲ iPhone SE (third generation)
▲iPhone 13 Pro Max
▲ iPhone SE (third generation)
▲iPhone 13 Pro Max

That said, it doesn’t have an optical telephoto or non-human portraits, and it can’t shoot in HDR or “cine mode.” This is the point of difference from high-end models.

▲ iPhone SE (third generation)
▲ ▲ The image quality of the iPhone 13 Pro Max using optics for telephoto shooting is still good. SE is digital zoom. Compared to other companies’ high-end smartphones, iOS’ digital zoom seems to be weaker. This is the iPhone 13 Pro Max

SE falls short on 5G speeds, but…?

The point is to support 5G this time around. Given the iPhone SE’s user base, I don’t think it’s a “buy it because it’s 5G” kind of thing. Instead, it might be “5G of course, because I’m going to buy it later” and “5G when I buy it.” That’s why the standard smartphone, the iPhone SE, will be 5G.

That might just happen to be a test I have at hand, though, but the communication speed on 5G is a bit slower than on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 5G’s sensitivity may be a bit weak due to size and design constraints.

▲ Measured using the SoftBank Line near Gotanda Station in Tokyo. Download speeds on the iPhone SE were reduced by 25%. Measured a few times, there are some changes, but the SE is still slower.SE on the left, 13 Pro Max results on the right

I didn’t feel an extreme speed difference due to day-to-day usability, but when I measured benchmarks, I felt it was “definitely different”. Sensitivity is good, but if you think that’s an issue, then you should probably get an iPhone 13.

“It’s not the best performance, but it’s well made, cheap and just right,” the positioning of the iPhone SE hasn’t changed in the third generation.

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