Save or Spend?: iPhone SE vs iPhone 13 Mini

By Azrul Abas    April 14, 2022

Apple iPhone SE 2022

iPhone SE 2022 (Source: apple.com) 

If you are currently searching for a pocketable iPhone, now is probably the right time. At the Apple March Event “Peak Performance” the iPhone SE 2022 was announced with several updates. One of which is the A15 Bionic chip which means it has the same performance as the iPhone 13 Mini.

Even though the iPhone SE uses the same A15 Bionic chip, it is clear that the iPhone 13 Mini is still the better option. It has a bigger and better display, and better camera on both front and back, as well as other amazing features. However, this comes at a $500 tradeoff. But, is it really worth it? We’ll pit them against each other in various categories to see who will win in this standoff. 

iPhone SE 2020
iPhone SE 2020 (Source: apple.com)

Good Old Design

Design-wise, both iPhones use 2 different designs - the iPhone SE still uses the older iPhone 8 design with a Touch ID whereas the iPhone 13 Mini has a flat-edged square design, full screen display, and a new diagonally placed dual camera setup. The iPhone SE is wider, taller, and heavier than the former, but it’s not something significant.

By having a future-proof design, you won’t feel out of place when a newer iPhone model comes out as opposed to having an older design. The iPhone 13 Mini also has the latest features such as the thin bezel display and Face ID. From the design perspective, the iPhone 13 Mini wins the first point.

Super Retina XDR vs Retina HD

The OLED display in the iPhone 13 Mini is undoubtedly way better than iPhone SE’s IPS LCD screen. Let us break that down in simpler terms:

  • The iPhone 13 Mini has a bigger screen size at 5.4”, so you can see much more content on the screen compared to the iPhone SE
  • The iPhone 13 Mini has OLED technology which enables you to see truer black, higher contrast, and brighter display for outdoor use
  • The iPhone 13 Mini also has higher pixel density at 476 ppi, allowing to watch videos in HD and a better gaming experience
  • Both phones has true tone capability, it could match the display color to your surroundings for better sight

With the iPhone 13 Mini’s display, it will clearly be a pleasure to your eyes, be it for mobile gamers or Netflix binge watchers. And with that, it's another point for the iPhone 13 mini.

Super fast A15 Bionic Chip

iPhone SE’s biggest update this year would be the A15 Bionic chip which means it is now running as fast as the iPhone 13 Pro as shown by the Geekbench 5 test. This means that both iPhones will have no problem launching MLBB or PUBG mobile games for its users. Its software, the iOS 15, also feels great on both phones as it performs with no lags and issues. With great performance and usage on both models, it’s fair to say that this is a draw for both sides.

Single or Double

Another update on the iPhone SE would be its camera, which we covered on the budget phones review. The camera on the iPhone SE is good with the single camera setup featuring HDR 4, deep fusion technology to enhance low-light photos. And now, it includes a 4K recording which is considerably worth it for a budget phone.

But yet when we compare it to the iPhone 13 Mini, it does lose the point in this category. The Wide camera captures more light for low-light photography and it uses sensor-shift stabilization for a smooth 4K video. The 13 Mini also has a second camera on the back which is the Ultra Wide camera to give you a wide field of view even when you're up close. 

The iPhone 13 Mini would benefit more to phone photographers, influencers, or food bloggers because it delivers better quality images than what the iPhone SE provides.

iPhone SE 2022

All-day battery life?

Small phones naturally come with small batteries - you won’t be seeing all day batteries in both phones. However, we do know that the iPhone SE is now loaded with a bigger battery size than the iPhone SE 2020 (albeit smaller than the iPhone 13 Mini!). And what we do know is that both phones are powered by the A15 Bionic which has very good power efficient cores to make sure the battery lasts longer.

On Apple websites the iPhone 13 Mini claimed to last longer at 17 hours of video playback compared to the 15 hours on iPhone SE. But on the plus side, both phones featured 18W fast charge, and it could fill up to 50% in 30 minutes. It’s neck to neck for this category but the iPhone 13 Mini slightly won for this round.

It’s all about the price tag 

Jessi J may have sung to forget about the price tag, but honestly, it all comes down to it. 

Starting at $699 for the SE and $1,149 for the 13 mini, the $450 price difference is pretty clear. Below are the detailed information for each model:

iPhone SE

  • 64GB at S$699
  • 128GB at S$769
  • 256GB at S$939
iPhone 13 Mini
  • 128GB at S$1,149
  • 256Gb at S$1,319
  • 512GB at S$1,649

While the iPhone SE is much cheaper than the iPhone 13 Mini, the iPhone 13 Mini packs a lot more features. So undoubtedly the SE will take the cake for this one. However, would you be better off with the SE or is it worth spending a bit more?

Apple iPhone 13 Mini

Which one is better?

The winner is clear, it’s the iPhone 13 Mini. In a nutshell, it has a future-proof design, better display, longer battery life, amazing dual camera, uses Face ID for security, and also features the Magsafe. The compact size of this phone suits everyone, after all the size and design reminds us of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 that we used to love. However, if price point is your determining factor, then it’s also clear which is the winner for you. 

In any case you might be looking for a  replacement for your broken iPhone. Maybe you broke the screen of your phone or the battery health starts deteriorating. Mend.sg is one of the Apple service centers that offers iPhone battery replacement in Singapore. Go to our website to check the full pricing for products and services.

Also do not forget to check our other articles as well where you can find what’s the best Lenovo laptop to get or looking at things to consider before buying an iPad Pro M1. Check our blog page to find out more!