Recently, Apple unveiled its latest iPhone 15 models, introducing a range of new features that caught the attention of many. Following this release, Apple retained some of its older non-pro iPhones in the market, removing the iPhone 12 and placing the 2021 iPhone 13 at a $599 price point. Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 mini has been discontinued, leaving only the standard 6.1-inch model available.
While the $429 iPhone SE is typically considered the entry-level iPhone, the iPhone 13 now provides Apple with two budget-friendly options. With both models on the market, deciding between the two may be challenging. To assist in this decision, let’s explore the essential factors to consider when choosing between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 13.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Price
If the primary consideration is price, the iPhone SE emerges as the more cost-effective option. Both iPhones are considered budget-friendly by Apple standards, with the iPhone SE starting at $429. However, it’s essential to note that this entry price corresponds to the 64GB storage variant. If additional storage is required, the cost increases to at least $479 for the 128GB model.
In comparison, the iPhone 13 starts at $599 for the 128GB model. For users requiring a minimum of 256GB of storage, the iPhone SE is priced at $579, while the iPhone 13 requires a higher investment of $699. Although the iPhone SE has a storage limit of 256GB, the iPhone 13 offers a 512GB variant for $899, entering into iPhone 15 territory.
In summary, for those prioritizing the most economical iPhone, the iPhone SE is the preferable choice.
Winner: iPhone SE
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Performance
Both devices excel in internal performance, featuring the A15 Bionic chip, a powerful processor that is only two years old. While Apple doesn’t disclose RAM details, reports suggest both the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE are equipped with 4GB of RAM, resulting in similar performance levels.
Consequently, performance should be excellent regardless of the chosen iPhone.
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Design
Diverging from price and performance, the design is a notable distinction between the two models. The iPhone SE retains the appearance and feel of an older iPhone, specifically the 2017 iPhone 8, with upgraded internals. This design includes the familiar Touch ID sensor in the home button, a 4.7-inch LCD Retina Display, a smaller battery, and a single rear camera.
In contrast, the iPhone 13 boasts a modern and premium design consistent with Apple’s style since the iPhone 12. Featuring a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen, a larger battery, and a dual-camera system on the back, the iPhone 13 offers a more contemporary look and feel.
Moreover, the iPhone 13 introduces Face ID, resulting in a notch at the top. Although this may be a trade-off for some, it surpasses the larger top and bottom bezels present in the more economical iPhone SE.
The design divergence is a significant factor in the decision-making process. Users favoring smaller devices may opt for the iPhone SE, while those desiring more modern, larger devices may find the iPhone 13 preferable.
Winner: iPhone 13
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Cameras
The camera system is another substantial factor distinguishing the iPhone 13 from the iPhone SE. The iPhone SE features a single 12-megapixel camera on the back, comparable to the 2017 iPhone 8. Despite improvements in image processing through the A15 Bionic chip, the iPhone SE’s photography capabilities are limited.
Conversely, the iPhone 13 boasts a superior camera setup with two cameras on the back. This includes a 12-megapixel main camera with an f/1.6 aperture and a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera with an f/2.4 aperture. The front camera on the iPhone 13 is a 12MP camera with TrueDepth, supporting 4K videos, Smart HDR 4, Animoji, and Memoji.
Additionally, the iPhone 13 introduces features such as Night mode, Cinematic mode, and HDR recording, providing an enhanced photography and videography experience.
In summary, if photography is a priority, the iPhone 13 stands out as the superior option.
Winner: iPhone 13
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Battery Life
Battery life is an area where the iPhone 13 excels compared to the iPhone SE. While Apple does not disclose specific battery sizes, the company provides estimates for battery life. The iPhone SE is expected to last up to 15 hours on a single charge, whereas the iPhone 13 is projected to last around 19 hours.
These estimates are approximate and may vary for power users. However, it’s clear that the iPhone 13 offers longer-lasting battery life, making it a more suitable choice for individuals with active lifestyles who may not have frequent access to charging.
Winner: iPhone 13
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Longevity
Both the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE, released in 2021 and 2022, respectively, feature the same A15 chip, indicating they are likely to receive similar future software updates. Typically, iPhones receive five to six years of software support, suggesting ongoing updates for at least three or four more years.
However, the iPhone 13 has a better chance of supporting future features due to its more advanced hardware. The iPhone SE’s limited cameras rule out compatibility with features such as Cinematic mode, Focus & Depth Control, FaceTime gesture reactions, and mask-aware Face ID.
In practical terms, this means that while both iPhones may support upcoming iOS versions, the iPhone 13 is more likely to fully utilize new features.
Winner: iPhone 13
iPhone 13 vs. iPhone SE: Conclusion
In determining the preferred iPhone model, the choice between the more budget-friendly iPhone SE and the future-proof iPhone 13 depends on individual preferences and priorities.
For users seeking the best value within a limited budget and are willing to compromise on camera quality, display, and battery life, the iPhone SE emerges as the optimal choice. Its strong performance and anticipated software support make it a practical selection for those prioritizing basic functionality.
On the other hand, for individuals desiring a feature-rich iPhone with advanced camera capabilities, superior display quality, and extended battery life, the iPhone 13 is an ideal solution. While it comes with a higher price tag, the additional features contribute to an enhanced user experience.
In summary, the iPhone 13 is recommended for advanced users seeking additional features, while the iPhone SE offers a budget-friendly option for users focused on essential functionality.