Surprisingly, even though the successor released the iPhone 12 mini, Apple still kept the iPhone 12 mini for us. But since then, the iPhone SE 3 has gained market share with its equally compact format. What is the difference between these two models? Comparison in pictures.
First, let’s introduce the iPhone SE series. Following the design of older high-end models, the series aims to be the gateway to iPhones at a more affordable price. The current version is the third generation and remains the cheapest of all new Apple smartphones on sale.
On the other hand, the iPhone 12 mini was released in November 2020, almost a year and a half before it. It was the compact representative of Apple’s high-end range at the time, and it was also the cheapest. But its spec sheet has been revised, with the iPhone SE containing 3 components from the iPhone 13.
Advantages of iPhone SE (3rd generation)
Includes the proprietary A15 Bionic chip and its 16-core Neural Engine. This is an improved version of the iPhone 12 mini’s A14 Bionic processor, which is bound to be faster in terms of graphics or task management. Like the iPhone 12 mini, the motherboard comes with 4GB of RAM.
The third-generation iPhone SE is also 5G, and you can listen to music while watching dramas. A technology introduced precisely by the iPhone 12 mini will therefore have no real impact.
For comparison, we can also look at the AnTuTu benchmark: the iPhone SE 2022 has 746,738 points, while the iPhone 12 has 725,611 points. We can see that the difference is there, but it’s not very significant, especially when we look at the numbers and know one place in the ranking. iPhone 13 Pro and its over 800,000 points.
iPhone SE 3 form factor
The iPhone SE 3 is also the largest in our comparison, although we’ll see later that it has a more compact screen. Here, Apple gives us the same format as the iPhone 8, 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm, and weighs 144 grams. By comparison, the exact dimensions of the iPhone 12 mini are 131.5mm x 64.2mm x 7.4mm. Hence it is thicker. Then again, this is a lightweight product from the duo at just 133 grams over the counter.
Also, for purists, note that the third-generation iPhone SE offers only a 65.4 percent size-to-screen ratio, compared to 85.1 percent for the iPhone 12 mini. But that’s the price of not being able to afford a notch phone: there’s no facial recognition here, so there’s no need to make room for the TrueDepth sensor.
In short, the iPhone SE 2022 is an ideal phone for small hands, ie potential students.
Also, this is for job seekers, you should know that the iPhone SE 3 is cheaper than the iPhone 12 mini. This is the official price range, and since dealers often set up promotions, some nuances are required:
- iPhone 12 mini – 64GB: 729$
- iPhone 12 mini – 128GB: 779$
- iPhone SE 3 – 128GB: 479$
- iPhone 12 mini – 256GB: 900$
- iPhone SE 3 – 256GB: 579$
Touch ID on iPhone SE (3rd generation)
As they say, the third-generation iPhone SE does not include Face ID, which is unique to the iPhone 12 mini. Instead, Apple offers a traditional biometric unlocking system called Touch ID. It’s a fingerprint sensor mounted under the home button, which has the advantage of being configurable with several different fingers. Performs as fast as Face ID unless your hands are wet…
Advantages of the iPhone 12 mini
Now let’s take a look at what we think are the advantages of the iPhone 12 mini compared to the iPhone SE 2022. Starting with its color, it’s twice as large. Some are no different, like red or white and black, each akin to Starlight and Midnight on the iPhone SE 3. But if you want green, purple or blue, only the iPhone 12 mini can give you that.
The iPhone 12 mini is also more water resistant: up to 6 meters in water for up to 30 minutes. Be careful when using the iPhone SE 3: by comparison, it can only be submerged one meter deep. Also note that the third-generation iPhone SE is not eligible for Ceramic Shield, an enhanced front protection against potential scratches.
Another benefit of the iPhone 12 mini is compatibility with MagSafe accessories such as approved wireless chargers and magnetic external batteries. The iPhone SE 3 does not offer two products. However, our duo is entitled to the same autonomy (at least on paper): fifteen hours of video playback. Music playback time is increased to 50 hours, but cannot exceed half a day when streaming using 5G.
Screen: iPhone 12 mini vs iPhone SE 3
As everyone knows, the big difference between the iPhone 12 miniscreen and the iPhone SE 2022 is the notch, one have and one don’t. But it’s not the only one. In fact, the iPhone 12 mini is lucky to be able to rely on a larger panel: a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR or 2,340 x 1,080 pixel resolution at 476 dpi. By comparison, the third-generation iPhone SE meets 1,334 x 750 pixels, 326 dpi, but features an IPS LCD. With OLED, the iPhone 12 mini uses less energy and theoretically discharges more slowly.
Also note that only the iPhone 12 mini achieves 1,200 nits of brightness in HDR. On the iPhone SE (3rd gen), the contrast ratio is poor and the HD Retina screen doesn’t stand up to full sunlight well.
Take better photos and videos with iPhone 12 mini
Let’s end with a key element that could rank the iPhone 12 mini winner in this comparison: its camera. Judge for yourself, the difference from the 2022 iPhone SE is obvious:
- 12 MPx wide angle and ƒ/1.8 aperture (for iPhone SE 3) and ƒ/1.6 (for iPhone 12 mini)
- Ultra wide only available on iPhone 12 mini with aperture ƒ/12.4
- Record HDR video up to 4K at 60 fps and audio zoom with Dolby Vision only on iPhone 12 mini
- Night mode only works on iPhone 12 mini
- Optical zoom up to 2x on iPhone 12 mini and digital zoom up to 5x on both models
- Photography styles are only available on iPhone 12 mini
When it comes to selfies, the iPhone SE 3 also lags behind the 12 MPx and 4K on the iPhone 12 mini at 7 MPx.
Conclusion: iPhone SE vs iPhone 12 mini
So, summing up this comparison, we can say that the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone SE 3 each have their advantages.
The iPhone SE 3 is the cheapest and fastest, but it doesn’t require Face ID. However, it will fit the smallest budgets or those who are used to a no-notch format. The price/performance ratio of the iPhone 12 mini is almost similar to the iPhone 13 mini, but at a cheaper price. So if you’re looking for a quality Apple device, this is a very good option, but it’s unlikely to always fall out of your pocket, and most importantly, it shoots better than the 3rd-gen iPhone SE.