iPhone SE 3 (2022) vs iPhone 11
IF you’re looking for a budget iPhone, you should have two phones on your radar: the third-gen iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone 11.
These two smartphones are similar but with some key differences – read on to find out more.
Buying a new phone is a tough decision at the best of times, but in many ways it’s a lot tougher at the affordable end of the market.
You’ve no doubt said goodbye to all the top-end features of expensive flagship options, but at the same time you want to make sure you’re getting as much bang for your buck as possible.
Both the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 11 are excellent choices for buyers on a tight leash—but deciding between them can be difficult.
One is a former flagship; One of them is Apple’s cheapest option. One was released in 2019, one in 2022. There is an almost non-existent price difference.
So what’s right for you? Read on for an in-depth iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11 guide – we talk to you about each phone’s features, design, camera, battery life and price.
For hands-on verdicts from our tech editor Sean Keach, don’t miss our iPhone SE 3 review and iPhone 11 review.
If you decide to go with the newer handset, head over to our Best iPhone SE Deals page.
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: at a glance
These two iPhones have a lot in common. Both have Retina HD displays and 4GB of storage. The rear cameras on both handsets offer 4K recording at 60fps (although the camera similarities end there).
In terms of design, both the iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone 11 have a glass construction on the front and back. In addition, both phones offer wireless charging.
In terms of size and weight, the iPhone 11 is significantly larger than the iPhone SE 3 (read on for all the details) and has a number of more advanced camera features.
The 11 also has Face ID functionality, while the SE 3 uses the older Touch ID. But the iPhone SE 3 has something that wasn’t added to smartphones when the iPhone 11 launched in 2019, which is 5G.
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: Camera
A number of differences characterize the camera setup on both devices, and it’s worth checking out the details if taking pictures is your top priority.
The iPhone 11 features a dual-camera setup compared to the iPhone SE 3’s single-camera build. B. the blurred “bokeh” backgrounds that are so popular now.
The iPhone 11 has a better front camera, which is 12MP and capable of recording 4K, compared to the 7MP HD equivalent of the iPhone SE 3.
The iPhone SE 3 still holds its own when it comes to cameras though: don’t forget it’s the newer phone and the advanced A15 Bionic chip will certainly help behind the scenes. It also has a newer version of Smart HDR.
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: Design
In terms of sheer size, the iPhone 11 is the far larger of the two smartphones at 150.9mm long, 75.7mm wide and 8.3mm thick. In contrast, the iPhone SE 3 measures 138.4mm by 67.3mm by 7.3mm.
Obviously, the merits of size are pretty subjective – long gone are the days of the super small flip phones of the noughties, but many people still appreciate a handy, pocket-sized handset.
Nowadays, however, the advantages of a larger smartphone are obvious: the display. The iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch screen, while the iPhone SE 3 measures 4.7 inches.
In terms of looks, the iPhone SE 3 most closely resembles the iPhone 8, so it has very much of an “older iPhone” aesthetic with the old-school home button.
The iPhone 11 is all the newer style: longer, slimmer and with a notch at the top of the screen instead of the concave home button.
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: features
There are a number of key features that differentiate these two iPhones.
First, the iPhone 11 uses Face ID, while the iPhone SE 3 uses the older Touch ID to access the phone.
To be honest, we don’t think that’s particularly important: although Face ID is 20 times more secure than Touch ID, according to Apple, it’s also typically slower to activate. Don’t consider this a deal breaker.
The two cell phones have different levels of waterproofing: the iPhone SE 3 has IP67 protection, the iPhone 11 has IP68 protection.
The former can survive 30 minutes in a water depth of one meter; The latter can do the same, but for two meters. Unless you are an avid water sports fan, we doubt this will influence your decision much.
This is where it gets more important though: the iPhone 11 has some camera features not present in the SE 3.
The 11 has an audio zoom feature that isolates the audio in any zoomed subject you’re filming, as well as a night mode setting. These might be more peripheral camera features, but they’re worth keeping an eye on.
The ace up the iPhone SE 3’s sleeve, however, is that it supports 5G – something the 11 doesn’t have (it was first introduced in its successor, the iPhone 12).
Whether you live in a 5G area or not, that extra connection speed shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you’re looking for a phone that will serve you for several years.
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: battery life
There isn’t a huge difference in battery life between these two phones, but the iPhone 11 simply performs better.
According to Apple’s official technical specifications, the 2019 version can deliver 17 hours of continuous video playback, while the iPhone SE 3 can deliver 15 hours.
Of course, these are only approximate numbers – whichever you use, both phones should give you good normal use without needing to be recharged.
As a nice touch, both offer QI wireless charging, making plugs a thing of the past.
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: price
The SE 3 and 11 are very similar in price – but not quite the same.
At the moment there is only a £40 price difference for SIM-free phones
Of course, you might be more interested in getting a monthly payment plan. In this case, the prices are similar – at Buymobiles, an iPhone 11 from Three with 100GB of data costs £24 a month, while an iPhone SE 3 plan with the same data costs £25 a month.
Here is a list of phone retailers that stock both phones:
iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11: Which to choose?
Ultimately, there isn’t a definitively better phone between the iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone 11. All potential buyers have different criteria – we hope this explainer enlightens you.
Choose the iPhone SE 3 if…
- You want a phone with a more powerful internal processor that has a longer shelf life
- You want 5G connectivity
- They like real pocket-sized phones
Choose the iPhone 11 if…
- You want a larger display for streaming and gaming
- You’re all about those quality selfies
- You want a “modern” looking iPhone with a notch instead of a home button
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