The iPhone SE 2022 battery life is rated to be 2 hours longer, according to Apple. That's because it features a more efficient A15 Bionic chip and other optimizations, plus a slightly larger battery than the one inside the 2020 iPhone SE. But based on our testing, the new iPhone doesn't offer the best endurance in its price range.
We put every phone we review through our Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over a 5G connection at 150 nits of screen brightness. In this case that was 22% brightness for the iPhone SE 2022. The test loads a fresh webpage every 30 seconds until the battery dies.
Here's how the new iPhone SE 2022 stacks up against the competition, as well as with other iPhones.
iPhone SE 2022 battery life vs other phones
|iBattery life (hours:mins)
|iPhone SE 2022 (5G)
|iPhone SE 2020 (4G)
|iPhone 13 Pro Max
|iPhone 13 Pro
|iPhone 13 mini
|Google Pixel 5a
|Samsung Galaxy A52
|12:19 (60Hz) / 10:19 (120Hz)
The good news is that the iPhone SE 2022 lasted longer than the iPhone 13 mini, though not by much. The new iPhone SE endured for an average of 9 hours and 7 minutes, compared to 8:41 for the iPhone 13 mini.
It's hard to account for the difference in runtime, but the mini does have a significantly larger 5.4-inch display, compared to just 4.7 inches for the iPhone SE 2022. Based on teardowns, the iPhone 13 mini features a 2,406 mAh battery, but we don't yet know the capacity of the new iPhone SE.
The previous iPhone SE 2020 lasted 9:18 with its 1,821 mAh battery. However, it's important to remember that our testing for that phone ran over 4G LTE, which uses less power than 5G. We would expect the iPhone SE 2022 to last significantly longer over 4G LTE if you decide to turn 5G off.
Another interesting iPhone SE 2022 battery life comparison is with the Google PIxel 5a. Google's $450 phone lasted for 9 hours and 45 minutes on our web surfing test over 5G. That's more than 30 minutes longer than the new iPhone SE, but it's not a huge delta. The Pixel 5a sports a relatively large 6.3-inch display, but it also houses a fairly large 4,680 mAh battery.
So what about the regular iPhone 13? Apple's mainstream flagship lasted for 10 hours and 33 minutes, which is about an hour and a half longer than the iPhone SE 2022. That phone packs a 6.1-inch display and houses a 3,227 mAh battery.
Samsung has a budget phone of its own in the Galaxy A52, though the company is expected to unveil the Samsung Galaxy A53 as soon as this Thursday. The previous Samsung phone's 4,500 mAh battery lasted an epic 12 hours and 19 minutes on our battery test with the screen set to 60Hz. At the more demanding 120Hz, we saw that time dip to 10:19, which still beats the iPhone SE 2022 by an hour.
The bottom line is that the iPhone SE 2022's battery life is about what we expected. When you factor in 5G connectivity the endurance is better than what the iPhone SE 2020 turned in, and it's not that far off from the Google Pixel 5a. But the new Samsung Galaxy A53 could blow away the iPhone SE, and iPhone shoppers who want longer endurance (and are willing to pay for it) should step up to the regular iPhone 13.
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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.