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(Pocket-lint) - Apple announced the iPhone SE (3rd generation) on 8 March 2022 and made it available on 18 March 2022. The device sits beneath the iPhone 13 range and replaces the older iPhone SE (2nd generation), but it brings a number of features across from the iPhone 13 models.

We've compared the latest iPhone SE against its predecessor in a separate feature, but here we are looking at how the iPhone SE (3rd generation) stacks up against the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 11.

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Design

  • iPhone SE (3rd generation): 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm, 144g
  • iPhone 13 mini: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65mm, 141g
  • iPhone 11: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm, 194g

The Apple iPhone SE (3rd generation) features a glass and metal body and while it's an old design, it's still lovely, small and light to hold. There's a single-lens rear camera on the back, while the front has bezels at the top and bottom of the display with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor Home Button - which still works brilliantly - at the bottom. 

It's IP67 water and dust resistant and it comes in Midnight, Starlight and Product (RED) colour options. The frame is curved like iPhone 11, rather than squared off like the iPhone 13 mini, though the iPhone SE (3rd generation) does have the same tougher glass protection as the iPhone 13 range.

The iPhone 13 mini is smaller than the iPhone SE (3rd generation) despite offering a bigger display and it's IP68 water and dust resistant, which is a grade up from the iPhone SE. The iPhone 11 meanwhile, is larger than the iPhone SE (3rd generation), though it too is IP67 water and dust resistant. It doesn't offer as tough glass as the iPhone SE and iPhone 13 mini on the front or the back however.

Both the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 11 opt for Face ID, which delivers a full screen experience with a notch at the top of the display and it is a better experience overall compared to the iPhone SE. The iPhone 13 mini has a smaller notch than the iPhone 11 and it also offers a slightly different camera layout, though the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 11 both have dual setups compared to the single-lens offering on the iPhone SE 3.

The iPhone 11 comes in a range of colour options including Purple, Yellow, Green, Black, White and Product (RED), while the iPhone 13 mini comes in Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and Product (RED). There is also a new Green option for the iPhone 13 mini.

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Display

  • iPhone SE (3rd generation): 4.7-inch, LCD, 1334 x 750 pixels, 326ppi
  • iPhone 13 mini: 5.4-inch, OLED, 1792 x 828 pixels, 476ppi
  • iPhone 11: 6.1-inch, LCD, 1792 x 828 pixels, 326ppi

The Apple iPhone SE (3rd generation) comes with a 4.7-inch Liquid Retina HD display which is the same technology as the iPhone 11 but a drop down from the Super Retina XDR display found on the iPhone 13 mini. It's a good display, with bright and punchy colours, and decent brightness, though it does feel a little squashed compared to the iPhone 13 mini.

The iPhone 13 mini has a 5.4-inch display, while the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch display, which means the iPhone SE has the smallest screen real estate but in a footprint that sits in between the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 11.

In terms of resolution, the iPhone SE (3rd generation) has a 1334 x 750 pixel resolution for a pixel density of 326ppi, which is the same as the iPhone 11 that has a resolution of 1792 x 828 pixels. The iPhone 13 mini has a higher resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 476ppi, meaning it offers a sharper display.

All three models offer Apple's True Tone technology and they all feature Haptic Touch and a P3 wide colour gamut. The iPhone 13 mini opts for an OLED display though, which also has a higher max brightness, while the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE (3rd generation) are both LCD panels. Despite being LCD though, both the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 have very good displays.

Hardware and specs

  • iPhone SE (3rd generation): A15 Bionic, 64/128/256GB storage, 5G
  • iPhone 13 mini: A15 Bionic, 128/256/512GB storage, 5G
  • iPhone 11: A13 Bionic, 64/128GB storage, 4G

The Apple iPhone SE (3rd generation) runs on the same chipset as the iPhone 13 mini - the A15 Bionic - and it is rapid. That means the latest iPhone SE not only offers the same power as the iPhone 13 mini, but it is 5G capable too. The iPhone 11 meanwhile, runs on the A13 Bionic and is 4G capable only.

The iPhone SE (3rd generation) comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options. The iPhone 11 is only offered in 64GB and 128GB options, while the iPhone 13 mini starts at 128GB and is offered in 256GB and 512GB options too.

Battery life is claimed to be 15 hours for the iPhone SE (3rd generation) - we found it to be between 13 and 15 hours, while the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 11 are both claimed to be 17 hours. In our experiece, the iPhone 13 mini doesn't have a brilliant battery life, while the iPhone 11 is a solid performer. All devices are wireless charging compatible, though only the iPhone 13 mini is MagSafe charging compatible.

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Camera

  • iPhone SE (3rd gen): 12MP rear, 7MP front
  • iPhone 13 mini: Dual rear (12MP+12MP), 12MP front
  • iPhone 11: Dual rear (12MP+12MP), 12MP front

The Apple iPhone SE has a single-lens camera setup with a 12-megapixel main lens offering an f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilisation.

You'll find features including Deep Fusion, as well as Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting on the iPhone SE (3rd generation), and you'll also find Photographic Styles and Smart HDR 4 for photos, taking some features from the iPhone 13 mini. It takes decent shots in good lighting conditions, though low light shots aren't the best.

Despite offering an extra lens on the rear, with a 12-megapixel wide lens with f/1.8 aperture and a 12-megapixel ultra wide lens with f/2.4 aperture, the iPhone 11 doesn't offer Photographic Styles, though it does have Night mode, which the iPhone SE doesn't offer and it really does need for the low light conditions.

The iPhone 13 mini has a dual camera on the rear but it's slightly different to what is found on the iPhone 11. There's a 12-megapixel wide lens with f/1.6 aperture and a 12-megapixel ultra wide lens with f/2.4 aperture. It has sensor-shift image optimisation and Smart HDR 4 for photos on top of what the other devices offer, and overall, it offers the best results.

The iPhone SE has a 7-megapixel front camera, while the iPhone 11 and iPhone 13 mini have a 12-megapixel front camera. The iPhone SE and iPhone 13 mini have features like Photographic Styles on the front camera as well as the rear, while the iPhone 11 doesn't offer this. The iPhone 13 mini adds a couple of extra features too though, like Cinematic mode.

Conclusion

The Apple iPhone SE (3rd generation) is cheaper than the iPhone 13 mini and slightly cheaper than the iPhone 11, though you get a larger display in a smaller footprint with the iPhone 13 mini, along with an OLED panel instead of LCD, Face ID over Touch ID and a more capable camera with better results.

The iPhone SE offers a processor bump over the iPhone 11, as well as a number of other benefits, like some of the iPhone 13 mini camera features and 5G connectivity - the latter being key in terms of future proofing. It's excellent in terms of performance though.

The decision between these devices will likely come down to budget, as well as what features are important to you. If you want 5G at the cheapest price for an iPhone, you'll want the iPhone SE. If you want the biggest screen in the smallest footprint and most capable camera, the iPhone 13 mini is an absolute powerhouse and cracker of a phone. If you want a large screen but you're ok to compromise the latest features and extra power, the iPhone 11 is likely to be the best option.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.