Samsung thinks its Galaxy A53 5G is the best budget phone of 2022, but is it enough to take on the iPhone SE 3 from Apple? Few consumer tech niches are as competitive as affordable smartphones. Companies are in a constant battle to deliver the best displays, processors, batteries, and more — all while keeping prices as low as possible.
As of 2022, two budget phones stand out above the rest. Announced in March 2022, the Galaxy A53 5G is Samsung’s latest offering. It comes with a big display, multiple cameras, and a massive battery for the low price of $449. Then there’s the iPhone SE 3. The iPhone SE 3 doesn’t look like much at first glance, but when you realize it’s packing the same processor as the iPhone 13 Pro, the $429 retail price becomes a lot more exciting. If both the A53 5G and SE 3 have your attention, here’s a closer look at them to help you decide which is the right choice.
Related: iPhone SE 3 Vs. iPhone 13 mini
The Galaxy A53 5G takes a huge lead right off the bat with its design. That’s because it looks like any other modern smartphone. It has a big 6.5-inch display, a hole-punch camera cutout, and extremely small bezels. The display itself also checks all the boxes — touting a Super AMOLED panel, 2400 x 1080 resolution, and a 120Hz refresh rate. By comparison, the iPhone SE 3 looks like it’s from 2017. And that’s because it kind of is. The design of the iPhone SE 3 is almost identical to that of the iPhone 8. It has a tiny 4.7-inch display, a physical home button, and giant bezels on the top and bottom. The screen itself also doesn’t impress. It’s an LCD panel with a 1334 x 750 resolution and has a 60Hz refresh rate. The iPhone SE 3 fits the bill perfectly if you want one of the smallest phones available today. But if you want a big and vibrant screen for watching movies, playing games, browsing the web, etc., all of those things will look infinitely better on the Galaxy A53 5G.
More Galaxy A53 5G & iPhone SE 3 Comparisons
What the iPhone SE 3 lacks in modern looks it quickly makes up for with its processor. Powering the iPhone SE 3 is Apple‘s A15 Bionic chip. That’s the same chip used in the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro. In other words, the iPhone SE 3 is a performance beast. No matter what app or game you throw at the phone, it’ll handle it with ease. The Galaxy A53 5G is no slouch with its octa-core Exynos 1280 chip, but the A15 Bionic is the smartphone chip to beat. That said, the A53 5G makes up for this in the storage department. Samsung offers a choice between 128 or 256GB of storage along with microSD support for expandable storage. The iPhone SE 3 has half the starting storage at 64GB and doesn’t offer any expandable storage options at all. If you want additional room, you’ll need to pay more for the 128 or 256GB models.
Then we have the cameras. Once again, the Galaxy A53 5G delivers something you’d expect on a much more expensive flagship. There’s a 64MP primary camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP macro camera, and 5MP depth camera. The iPhone SE 3? It has just a single 12MP camera on the back. The iPhone SE 3 takes good photos for the price, but the A53 5G’s quad-camera setup is more capable across the board. Samsung also delivers a more impressive selfie camera. The A53 5G has a 32MP front-facing camera with support for 4K video recording. The iPhone SE 3 has a 7MP selfie camera and maxes out at 1080 Full HD recording.
Battery life is another big win for the A53 5G. Samsung gave the phone a 5000 mAh battery and says it gets “up to two-day battery life.” Apple doesn’t explicitly mention the SE 3’s battery capacity, but it’s suspected to have the same 1821 mAh capacity found in the SE 2. With Apple‘s promise of up to 15 hours of video playback, the SE 3 is very much a phone you’ll need to charge at the end of each day. And when it does come time to charge, the Galaxy A53 5G delivers up to 25W wired charging speeds vs the 18W of the iPhone SE 3. That said, only the iPhone SE 3 has wireless charging support.
The other big difference between the phones is their software. The Galaxy A53 5G runs Android 12 while the iPhone SE 3 has iOS 15. If you have a strong preference for one operating system over the other, it makes sense to choose the phone with the software you prefer. But what should you do if you like both platforms? In that case, it’s hard not to be impressed by the Galaxy A53 5G. It has a substantially nicer display, more capable cameras, a much bigger battery, and double the internal storage — all for just $30 more than the iPhone SE 3. The iPhone SE 3 remains an excellent choice for die-hard fans of iOS and small phones, but if you’re comfortable looking beyond Apple‘s walled garden, Samsung packs a big punch with the A53 5G.