Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022) vs Apple iPhone 11 (2019): Which to buy?

Deciding which smartphone to buy next can be confusing — even if you’re on a limited budget. The brands, models, and specifications are endless. Apple released the iPhone 11 back in 2019. It’s a solid phone — relatively speaking — despite having a somewhat old processor. The iPhone SE 3, on the other hand, is a 2022 phone which features mighty internals that are packed in an outdated chassis. This is the iPhone SE 3 vs iPhone 11 — two phones that offer different blends of modern and dated elements that cater to various customers. If you buy the iPhone SE 3, don’t forget to protect it with a case and check out our list of best chargers. Similarly, if you go for the iPhone 11, grab the case to make sure it’s well-protected.

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Apple iPhone SE 3 vs Apple iPhone 11: Specifications

Apple iPhone SE 3 Apple iPhone 11
  • 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
  • 144g
  • 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm
  • 194g
  • 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display
  • 1334 x 750p
  • True Tone technology
  • Haptic Touch support
  • 625 nits max brightness
  • 6.1‑inch Liquid Retina HD LCD display
  • 1792 x 828p
  • True Tone Display
  • haptic touch
  • 625 nits max brightness
  • Primary: 12MP, f/1.8
  • Front-facing: 7MP, f/2.2
  • Wide: 12MP, f/1.8
  • Ultra Wide: f/2.4, 120º FoV
  • Front-facing: 12MP, f/2.2
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB Storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB Storage
  • 2,018mAh
  • 20W wired fast charging
  • 7.5W Qi wireless charging
  • 3,110mAh
  • 20W wired fast charging
  • 7.5W Qi wireless charging
  • Sub6/mmWave 5G
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
water Resistance IP67 IP68
Security Touch ID face ID
YOU iOS 15 iOS 15
  • black
  • Green
  • yellow
  • purple
  • Red
  • White
  • glass back
  • aluminum frame
  • glass back
  • aluminum frame
price Starts up to $429 Starts up to $499

Build and Design

iPhone 11
Having a stylish smartphone that is also solid and durable can be a concern for many potential customers. After all, plenty of people like flexing and showing off their devices as luxury items. When it comes to the build, both the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 11 feature hybrid aluminum/glass bodies. Apple claims that the glass used on the SE 3 model is the toughest it has used on a smartphone. On the other hand, the iPhone 11 is more water-resistant with an IP68 rating (compared to its counterpart’s IP67).
iPhone SE 3 2022 setup 28
Design is a very subjective matter, but we can make objective observations here to highlight the differences between the two iPhones. Most people will likely agree that the iPhone 11 looks more minimalistic and modern than the iPhone SE 3. That’s because the middle-range phone features the classic iPhone front design — which is arguably outdated in this day and age. The iPhone 11, on the other hand, goes for the iPhone X style — which eliminates the thick bezels and features the infamous Face ID notch.

When it comes to their backs, both phones are glass and have a somewhat similar look. The most notable difference would be the dual-camera system on the iPhone 11. The iPhone SE 3 settles for a single camera that doesn’t look as prominent. It’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone 11 is available in six finishes, while the more affordable iPhone only offers three. So if you’re looking for a more stylish phone with a variety of color options, the iPhone 11 would win this round. If you’d rather sacrifice the cosmetics for the sake of having the toughest glass build, then go for the iPhone SE 3.


iPhone SE 2022
Display is an important aspect to consider when buying a new phone. That’s because the digital world is focusing more on video content nowadays — not to mention mobile gaming and eBook reading. Considering the iPhone 11 is (was) a high-end phone and the iPhone SE 3 is a middle-range one, the winner of this round is quite obvious.
iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 features a larger 6.1-inch edge-to-edge display with a 1792-by-828 pixel resolution. On the other hand, the iPhone SE 3 has a smaller 4.7-inch screen with a lower 1334-by-750p resolution and thick bezels. Both phones support Haptic Touch and True Tone technology. Nonetheless, the iPhone 11 display is better or as good in all aspects. Some people might dislike the intrusive notch, but for many users, the superiority of Face ID over Touch ID and the thin bezels make the intruder worth it.


A15 Bionic
In the performance battle of the iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 11, there’s not much to compare. Both phones have 4GB of RAM, run the same operating system (iOS 15), and include 64GB of storage on the base models. Notably, though, the latest A15 Bionic chip powers the iPhone SE 3, and its memory can expand to 256GB. The iPhone 11, on the other hand, packs the A13 Bionic chip from 2019, which is inferior to the Apple A15 in all aspects. Additionally, the storage of the iPhone 11 maxes out at 128GB. If you don’t need the extra storage and don’t plan to run extensive tasks on your phone, the iPhone 11 will offer enough power for everyday matters. Otherwise, go for the iPhone SE 3 — since it wins the performance battle by far.


iPhone 11
In today’s era, many depend on their smartphones to document their exciting journeys to restaurants (and sometimes natural resorts). After all, is life really lived if we don’t post every little detail on Instagram? That’s why it’s essential to buy a phone that packs a reliable camera system. In this battle, the iPhone 11 dominates most aspects. After all, it has a dual-lens system that makes it tough for the iPhone SE 3’s single lens to compete. The mid-range iPhone uses the A15 Bionic chip to improve the camera output, though. It also supports Smart HDR 4 which is absent on the iPhone 11. Otherwise, the iPhone 11 has an Ultra-Wide lens with a 120th field of view. This enables 2x optical zoom and other photography features on the device.

iPhone SE 2022
The 12MP front camera on the iPhone 11 also wins over that of the iPhone SE 3. The former has the TrueDepth system, which allows it to 3D map faces for Face ID authentication and Portrait mode effects. The more affordable iPhone has a 7MP one that supports Portrait mode effects through machine learning — but lacks Face ID.

Battery Life and Charging

With the world slowly opening up and us spending more time outdoors post COVID19 lockdowns, a solid phone battery has become essential. If a smartphone dies halfway through the day, then charging it twice every 24 hours quickly becomes cumbersome. Fortunately, both iPhones should last you a full day with normal, non-extensive use. However, according to Apple, the iPhone 11 should last you longer than the iPhone SE 3.

For reference, the company claims that the former can play up to 65 hours of audio on a single charge, while the former can only go up to 50 hours. Ultimately, the difference isn’t big, and this shouldn’t affect your purchasing decision. It’s also worth noting that neither of the two supports MagSafe charging. Instead, they support Qi wireless charging at 7.5W and fast wired charging at 20W.

Apple iPhone SE 3 vs Apple iPhone 11: Which smartphone should you buy?

iPhone 11
The price difference between the base models of the iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone 11 is $70 in the US. The former starts at $429, while the latter goes for $499. Personally, if I had to choose one of them, I would most certainly go for the iPhone 11. That’s because I don’t see myself switching back to Touch ID and the thick-bezeled display after getting used to the edge-to-edge screen and Face ID. For those who just want a reliable phone that should be receiving software support for around five years from now, the iPhone SE 3 is faster and still fresh, so it will be getting iOS updates for years to come. The iPhone 11 will most likely lose software support beforehand.

In this battle, choosing a winner is a very subjective matter. One device looks outdated but has a faster SoC, while the other has a more modern chassis that packs dated internals. Ultimately, you can’t get both futuristic externals and solid internals—you have to sacrifice one and settle for the other, depending on your personal expectations, needs, and standards.

    Apple iPhone SE 3 (2022)

    The all-new iPhone SE 3 (2022) packs Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, 5G support, and a dated design. It is available in three colors to choose from.

    Apple iPhone 11 (2019)

    The iPhone 11 was released back in 2019. However, it’s still a solid phone when compared to the iPhone SE 3 (2022).

Which of the two iPhones will you be buying, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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