iPhone SE vs. iPhone 13 Mini Buyer's Guide

The third-generation iPhone SE and the iPhone 13 mini are among Apple's smallest iPhone options. Apple released the ‌iPhone 13‌ mini in late 2021, and bumped it down in price over time until 2023 when it discontinued the device. The slightly larger ‌iPhone 13‌ continues to be available for $599. The third-generation ‌iPhone SE‌ launched in early 2022, refreshing the most affordable ‌iPhone‌ option in the lineup with a starting price of $429.

iPhone SE vs
The ‌iPhone 13‌ mini is still available from many third-party retailers, as well as second hand. With less than $170 between them, should you get the new, smaller, entry-level ‌iPhone‌ or the slightly older, all-screen model that has come down in price over time? Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhones is best for you.

‌iPhone SE‌ (third-generation) ‌iPhone 13‌ mini
Design of 2017's ‌iPhone‌ 8, featuring rounded edges, a Home button, and large bezels at the top and bottom of the display Design based on 2020's iPhone 12 mini, featuring flat sides, diagonally arranged rear cameras, and an edge-to-edge display with a "notch" TrueDepth camera array for Face ID
Glass front and back Ceramic Shield front and glass back
4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
625 nits max brightness (typical) 800 nits max brightness (typical) and 1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR)
1400:1 contrast ratio (typical) 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
Touch ID ‌Face ID‌
15-hour battery life (during video playback) 17-hour battery life (during video playback)
Single rear camera Dual rear cameras with 2x optical zoom range
12-megapixel Main camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture 12-megapixel Main camera with ƒ/1.6 aperture
12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera with ƒ/2.4 aperture
Optical image stabilization for video Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for video
Night mode
Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)
HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 30 fps
Audio zoom
Front-facing 7MP FaceTime HD camera with 1080p HD video recording and Smart HDR 4 Front-facing 12MP TrueDepth camera with 4K video recording, Smart HDR 4, slo-mo video support, Animoji, and Memoji
Rated IP67 water-resistant to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes Rated IP68 water-resistant to a depth of six meters for up to 30 minutes
First-generation ultra wideband chip for spatial awareness
Supports Dolby Atmos audio playback
Compatible with MagSafe cases, wallets, wireless chargers, and more
Available with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB storage Available with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage
Midnight, Starlight, and PRODUCT(RED) color options Green, Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, and PRODUCT(RED) color options

Overall, the ‌iPhone SE‌ is an excellent entry-level ‌iPhone‌ option for just $429. Some users may even value the more traditional design, Home Button, and size of the ‌iPhone SE‌ compared to the ‌iPhone 13‌ mini.

For less than $170 more, the ‌iPhone 13‌ mini offers a more modern design and a brighter, OLED display, as well as ‌Face ID‌, an Ultra Wide camera, Cinematic mode, Night mode, considerably better front-facing and Main cameras, ‌MagSafe‌, and longer battery life. There is also the benefit of improved water resistance, the ultra wideband chip, and Dolby Atmos audio playback, and even additional color options to choose from. All of this makes for a significant upgrade over the ‌iPhone SE‌ if you value these features and can afford the $170 extra, but it is worth bearing in mind that they are not essential capabilities for many users.

Overall, it comes down to whether you value having a smaller, newer device, or can look past this to get the benefits of a device with ‌Face ID‌ and a larger, OLED display. If you prefer the ‌iPhone 13‌ mini's set of features, then it is still a good option, but generally most users looking for an affordable ‌iPhone‌ in this price range should opt for the ‌iPhone SE‌.

Related Roundups: iPhone 13, iPhone SE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
iOS 17

Apple Sheds More Light on iOS 17.5 Bug That Resurfaced Deleted Photos

Friday May 24, 2024 2:36 am PDT by
Last week, some iPhone users reported that Apple's iOS 17.5 update had introduced a bug that caused old photos that were deleted to reappear in the Photos app. Apple quickly released an iOS 17.5.1 update to fix the issue, but for many users, its explanation of "database corruption" in the release notes was all too brief, and did little to allay concerns about the privacy of their data. Apple ...

Top Rated Comments

classiciphone Avatar
20 months ago
> Some users may even value the more traditional design, Home Button, and size of the ‌iPhone SE‌ compared to the ‌iPhone 13‌ mini.

If you put them side by side, the iPhone SE is actually BIGGER than the 13 Mini. It’s easy to look at the specs and think that the SE is smaller because it has a smaller display, but this would be wrong. So those who care about smaller size should actually go for the Mini.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisiskyleadams Avatar
9 months ago
Fingers crossed that the iPhone 13 mini body becomes the iPhone SE gen 4.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsound1 Avatar
9 months ago

Fingers crossed that the iPhone 13 mini body becomes the iPhone SE gen 4.
Right there with you.
I have a 12 mini that needs a new battery (it's at 86% after almost 3 years) and I'm debating on getting a 13 mini or just getting my battery replaced.
I have no other complaints about the phone at all.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
saulinpa Avatar
18 months ago
I picked up a 13 mini and compared to a friend's SE the display is the big differentiator.

Other note is that it starts at 128GB and can go to 512GB but not most entry level users likely won't see the benefit.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisiskyleadams Avatar
9 months ago

Right there with you.
I have a 12 mini that needs a new battery (it's at 86% after almost 3 years) and I'm debating on getting a 13 mini or just getting my battery replaced.
I have no other complaints about the phone at all.
I will probably buy another 13 mini (if the SE hopes don't pan out) to have as a backup once my current one dies out haha
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zorori Avatar
20 months ago

For $170 more, the iPhone 13 mini offers a more modern design and a brighter, OLED display, as well as Face ID, an Ultra Wide camera, Cinematic mode, Night mode, considerably better front-facing and Main cameras, MagSafe, and longer battery life. There is also the benefit of improved water resistance, the U1 chip, and Dolby Atmos audio playback, and even additional color options to choose from. All of this makes for a significant upgrade over the iPhone SE if you value these features and can afford the $170 extra, but it is worth bearing in mind that they are not essential capabilities for many users.
Interesting that once the Mini has better battery life it’s not important for users.

The whole article might as well be a link to https://www.apple.com/iphone/compare
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)