That brings us to the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone SE 3 is the latest entry in the SE family and is a pretty straightforward purchase. It looks like the iPhone 8, has the iconic home button, and is available for a wallet-friendly $429 starting price. It’s a solid purchase in a bubble, but the iPhone 13 mini shakes things up a bit. It costs considerably more at $699, but with an equally compact body and better features across the board, is it worth splurging for? Here’s a closer look to help you decide.
Related: iPhone SE 3 Vs. iPhone SE 2
The chip that powers a phone is one of the most crucial components. It determines how fast a phone is, the types of games it can play, etc. This is where the iPhone SE 3 impresses the most. Powering the SE 3 is Apple‘s A15 Bionic chip — the same one found in the iPhone 13 mini. The A15 Bionic is one of the fastest mobile processors in existence. It can handle any app with ease, play graphically intense games, and is one of Apple‘s most power-efficient chips to date. It also enables 5G connectivity on both phones, though there is a slight difference here. While both iPhones support sub-6 5G, only the iPhone 13 mini can connect to mmWave 5G networks. mmWave 5G is still pretty limited in some parts of the country, but when you’re in an area that has it, it’s substantially faster than what sub-6 5G is capable of.
Why The iPhone 13 mini Is Better Than The iPhone SE 3
Moving beyond the A15 chip, the differences between the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 13 mini become much more drastic. Take the display as an example. The iPhone SE 3 has a 4.7-inch LCD panel, 1334 x 750 resolution, a 1400:1 contrast ratio, and max brightness of 625 nits. The iPhone 13 mini is better in every way. It touts a 5.4-inch OLED panel, 2340 x 1080 resolution, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and 800 nits of max brightness (plus 1200 nits when viewing HDR content). And thanks to the iPhone 13 mini’s much slimmer bezels, it delivers that larger screen size in a smaller footprint. The iPhone SE 3 measures 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm and weighs 144g. By comparison, the iPhone 13 mini is 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65mm and weighs 141g.
And the hits keep coming for the iPhone SE 3. The iPhone SE 3 has just a single 12MP camera on the back with an f/1.8 aperture. It has some of the same camera features as the iPhone 13 mini, such as Deep Fusion image processing, Smart HDR 4, and Photographic Styles. That said, the iPhone 13 mini is still better. Its 12MP primary camera has a larger f/1.6 aperture and supports Night mode. That’s also joined by a 12MP ultra-wide camera, allowing you to get a wider field of view in your shots. Combined with Apple‘s sensor-shift image stabilization tech, HDR/Dolby Vision video recording, and Cinematic video mode, the iPhone 13 mini stands out as the more robust and reliable camera.
Along with the better display and cameras, the iPhone 13 mini keeps taking the lead in smaller areas, too. The iPhone SE 3 is promised up to 15 hours of video playback, whereas the iPhone 13 mini gets up to 17 hours. Both phones have official water resistance ratings, but the iPhone 13 mini’s is more robust. The iPhone SE 3 can survive up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, but the iPhone 13 mini can survive up to 6 meters for 30 minutes. The iPhone 13 mini also has MagSafe support, double the storage (128GB vs. 64GB), and uses Face ID instead of Touch ID.
This all makes the iPhone 13 mini an objectively better phone — but that was never a question. What you need to decide is whether or not those upgrades are worth spending an extra $270 over the iPhone SE 3. If $429 is the most you’re looking to spend, the SE 3 is a solid phone for the price. Its display is fine, the 12MP camera will take good pictures, and the A15 chip will ensure it keeps running smoothly for years to come. But if do have some wiggle room with your budget, it is worth considering an upgrade to the iPhone 13 mini. From the higher-quality display, more capable camera system, longer battery life, faster 5G, and more, it has a lot of substantial improvements over the SE 3.