Apple’s latest phone model, the iPhone SE, is available in-stores and online from Friday, March 18, but how is it different to the iPhone 12, which was released in September 2020? If you’re looking to upgrade to a new phone, should you go with the newest Apple drop, iPhone SE, or the iPhone 12 — or how about the iPhone 13, which was released in October 2021?
The answer to that is – it depends. If you’re on a budget and want to go with a brand-new iPhone because you’ve been an Android user and never had one before or because yours has damaged hardware like a cracked screen, the new iPhone SE could be perfect for you.
The third iteration of the iPhone SE starts at just $719 for the 64GB model. Though you’ll be able to run the latest iOS version on it, therefore using Apple’s newest tech, it’s a lot less than the iPhone 12, which starts at $930 or the iPhone 13, which starts at $1200.
The iPhone SE, which is meant to be a gateway into Apple’s tech product world and for those who can’t afford the latest iPhones, comes in Midnight Black, Starlight White and (PRODUCT) Red, and three data sizes of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.
As for the iPhone SE phone itself, which is roughly the same size as the iPhone mini, it’s similar to the iPhone 8, with a home button, which you can program Touch ID for on five different fingers. The iPhone 12, meanwhile, has Face ID, while the iPhone SE doesn’t. Weight-wise the iPhone SE weighs less at 144g while the iPhone 12 is 164kg.
The iPhone SE also has a more advanced chip, A15 Bionic, than iPhone 12’s A14 Bionic, meaning it has better battery life and faster performance. Both have 5G compatibility, meaning faster downloads and uploads and higher-quality video streaming, as well as the fact you can have the phone for even longer as it’s able to tap into the best connection possible.
As for the camera, the iPhone SE has a single lens, while the iPhone 12 can have up to three lenses. The iPhone SE also lets you access the same camera modes and features as the iPhone 12 including Portrait and Portrait Lighting effects. iPhone 12 only has Smart HDR 3 (while iPhone SE has Smart HDR 4) and doesn’t have Photographic Styles functionality.
Really, though, if you think about how often you use your phone and then cost-per-use, personally, I think if you can afford to buy the iPhone 13, which has just been released in two new colours, alpine green and green, it’s best to get that as it’ll mean you have it for even more years to come without needing to upgrade.
If you can’t afford the iPhone 13, though, I’d recommend heading into an Apple store to see which of the two – iPhone SE and iPhone 12 — you like the feel of more (some people like having the home button), testing out the camera there, and then making your pick based on that. Because really, their differences are minimal and might not even be noticeable to you, so why pay that bit more for the iPhone 12?
Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.