Apple iPhone SE (2022) Review: Paying For The Future

Overall, though, it’s hard not to see the biggest draw of the iPhone SE being its chipset. iOS on Apple’s cutting-edge silicon simply flies, but it’s the reassurance that buyers can be assured of many years of software updates to come that has real budget implications.

Take, for example, iOS 15, currently supported on models as old as the iPhone 6S: that phone launched in 2015. Apple doesn’t make any explicit commitments for how long it’ll keep pushing out updates to older smartphones, but it definitely has a track record of keeping them upgraded for far longer than its Android-making counterparts do. That’s even more impressive when you consider that cheaper Android phones still often have just two to three years of promised updates.

The other age factor to consider with phones is battery life, of course. Again, Apple is combining hardware and software changes for its 2022 budget hero: a slightly larger battery paired with the efficiency improvements of the A15 Bionic. There’s Qi wireless charging — though not MagSafe, so the iPhone SE won’t cling to a charging pad — along with fast wired charging. You’ll need to supply your own 20W charger for that, mind, since Apple only includes a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box.

The promise is up to 15 hours of playback or, more generally, 1-2 days of average use. That’s based, I suspect, on people who wouldn’t be considered smartphone addicts. As my daily driver, the new iPhone SE fell short of the iPhone 13 mini, making it into the evening but no longer. I’m probably more demanding than most, however. Looking further ahead, meanwhile, Apple will replace an iPhone SE (3rd generation) battery for $49, if it’s out of warranty or AppleCare+ coverage.

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