OPINION: Apple’s new affordable phone excels in the same areas as its predecessor, but there are also some undeniably disappointing aspects.

So after all the hype, the new iPhone SE 3 has finally been released… and the public is getting mellow.

After rumors of a redesign and the hope, more than expected, that something will finally be done about that display, we are instead left with a device almost indistinguishable from its predecessor, with the only major progress being made in its strengths rather than addressing its weaknesses.

To start with the positives, admit that it’s quite frankly extremely impressive for any smartphone to run on a chipset as powerful as Apple’s monstrous A15 Bionic, let alone an affordable one like this one.

The same processor you’ll find on the iPhone 13 Pro will no doubt excel here, leaving all its rivals in the dust; but similarly, the A13 Bionic in the iPhone SE 2 had already made a big impression on us, and performance was at the very bottom of our wish list of improvements before launch.

While the SE 2’s camera was excellent for daytime use, we had hoped for improvements to the camera, especially for low-light shooting – and indeed Apple has claimed to have upgraded the sensor this year. We’ll have to wait and see how it performs and if it makes a big difference, but this was welcome news nonetheless.

Despite its overall value for money, the iPhone SE 2 had some obvious, almost crippling weaknesses when it was released – and now, two years later, they are more noticeable than ever, but have been left completely unresolved by the sequel.

I can’t really understand how Apple releases a phone that costs £419 and yet only offers a 4.7-inch LCD display with a resolution of 750x1334p. Simply put, no other smartphone manufacturer would do such a thing these days. This small and disappointing panel is way behind most of its competitors; take for example the recently released Poco X4 Pro 5G, which costs €299 (~£249) yet offers a 6.67-inch AMOLED with a Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.

Incidentally, the overall design makes the iPhone SE 3 look more like a museum piece than the best phone. Still clinging to the exterior of the iPhone 8, which was released five years ago and itself resembled the iPhone 6 from 2014, this tiny device looks almost ten years old and is far from the direction of the rest. from the market towards bezel-less handsets that maximize display size.

I can understand that the home button still has a fan base, and I actually appreciate that there are many benefits (including wider accessibility) to opting for a smaller and more manageable handset. However, Apple’s execution leaves a lot to be desired and the brand should do better next time.

There’s a third concern for the iPhone SE 3 besides the design and screen, and that’s battery life. We found that its predecessor would last about a day of use before needing a recharge, but it really wasn’t anything special in this department. While the efficiency that the new chip brings may lead to the battery lasting a little longer during the day, there was no word during the presentation about increased battery capacity, and again, when it comes to this crucial feature, we often find the midtones. Android phones out of the range boast an impressive longevity.

The iPhone SE 3 still has plenty to offer: a brilliant processor, 5G connectivity and a promising camera are among its main selling points. But the limitations of the design and display, and possibly even the battery, make it seem like Apple has metaphorically thrown a Ferrari’s engine into a Fiat.

This post iPhone SE 3 doubles its strengths, but has gaping weaknesses

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