Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) nails the price at the cost of its display
The tale of the iPhone and industry-standard refresh rates
The rumors were true. Business as usual.
At the Peek Performance Apple event yesterday, the affordable iPhone SE was announced. Equipped with Apple’s beefy A15 Bionic processor and upgrades to battery life and durability, the $429 device is a great gateway into the Apple ecosystem. Enhanced camera algorithms and 5G support sweeten the deal.
But on further inspection, a glaring omission surfaces.
A 4.7 inch HD display isn’t a great look for a premium device but the 720p resolution isn’t my biggest gripe on such a small screen. It’s the refresh rate. Say what you will about Apple and its responsive displays.
A 60 Hz display is ridiculous on a smartphone in 2022, let alone a $429 one.
If Realme and Xiaomi can offer 120 Hz displays at sub-$200 price points, it’s not unreasonable to expect the same from something twice as expensive. It’s a quality of life improvement that has a noticeable effect on everything you see and do.
High refresh rates aren’t just for gamers; they’re for everyone.
Smartphones rarely feel different from their predecessors in terms of performance. Sure, benchmarks and graphs tell a different tale but those gains seldom translate into real-life improvements. But quicker refresh rates can be appreciated by everyone from power users to those unfamiliar with smartphone tech.
Be it scrolling through social media or browsing the internet, a smoother display can make a world of difference. And it’s near-impossible to go back.
Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) gets nearly everything right
Apple’s pocketable iPhone SE doesn’t break new ground.
But it occupies an interesting position in the Apple ecosystem.
While the iPhone 13 Mini is smaller in size, Apple’s new SE handily undercuts its $729 sibling while making the right compromises. An outdated camera isn’t as much of a pain point considering that Apple’s latest camera optimizations will make their way to the iPhone SE. As for the notched display, it’s a matter of preference.
While some find fault with bezels and TouchID, others find the iPhone 8-esque look iconic.
While Apple still restricts its 120 Hz displays to its Pro lineup of iPhones and iPads, I had hoped for a better outcome for the iPhone SE. I can’t blame a $429 phone when the $829 iPhone 13 settles for a 60 Hz display as well. Perhaps the iPhone 14 lineup will catch up to the mid-range Android crowd.
Right now, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone SE over its rivals.
If you’re an Android user looking to jump into the Apple bandwagon, chances are that you already have a smartphone with a 90 Hz or 120 Hz display. Despite Apple’s reputation for speedy phones with responsive displays, a 60 Hz display is going to limit the iPhone SE. And when you’re spending $429, cost-conscious buyers will certainly think twice before going with Apple.
The iPhone SE is one step away from a glowing recommendation but the rest of the package remains a tempting proposition.