iPhone SE vs. iPhone 13 Mini Buyer's Guide
The third-generation iPhone SE and the iPhone 13 mini are Apple's smallest iPhone options, starting at $429 and $599 respectively. Apple released the iPhone 13 mini in late 2021, and has bumped it down in price since then to make it more accessible as new iPhone models have been released. On the other hand, the third-generation iPhone SE launched in early 2022, refreshing the most affordable iPhone option in the lineup.
With just $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? Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhones is best for you.
iPhone SE (third-generation)
- Glass front and back
- 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display
- 625 nits max brightness (typical)
- 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical)
- Home Button with Touch ID
- 15-hour battery life (during video playback)
- Single rear camera (ƒ/1.8 Main)
- Optical image stabilization for video
- Front-facing 7MP FaceTime HD camera with 1080p HD video recording and Smart HDR 4
- Rated IP67 water-resistant to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes
- Available with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage
- Midnight, Starlight, and PRODUCT(RED) color options
iPhone 13 mini
- Ceramic Shield front and glass back
- 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display
- 800 nits max brightness (typical) and 1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR)
- 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
- Face ID
- 17-hour battery life (during video playback)
- Dual rear cameras with 2x optical zoom range (ƒ/1.6 Main and ƒ/2.4 Ultra Wide)
- 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 12MP TrueDepth camera with 4K video recording, Smart HDR 4, slo-mo video support, Animoji, and Memoji
- Rated IP68 water-resistant to a depth of six meters for up to 30 minutes
- U1 Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
- Supports Dolby Atmos audio playback
- Compatible with MagSafe cases, wallets, wireless chargers, and more
- Available with 128GB, 256GB, 256GB storage
- Green, Pink, Blue, Mighnight, 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 $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.
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 for $599, but generally most users looking for an affordable iPhone should opt for the iPhone SE.