Apple iPhone SE 2022 gaming review: Do NOT make a mistake

    The Apple iPhone SE with its A15 Bionic chipset and great optimisation gives Android flagship killers and gaming phones a tough benchmark for gaming.

    | Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 10:54 IST
    Apple iPhone SE
    Apple iPhone SE 2022 gaming review: Both great and not-so-great for mobile games at this price. (Amritanshu/ HT Tech)
    Apple iPhone SE
    Apple iPhone SE 2022 gaming review: Both great and not-so-great for mobile games at this price. (Amritanshu/ HT Tech)

    Who doesn't like more power for less? You put a mighty straight six motor in the back of a Volkswagen Beetle and it becomes a Porsche 911! Okay, that might put off Porsche fans but the point is that this is a successful formula and Apple has piggybacked on this for years for its iPhone SE lineup. Small in size but being a Goliath in terms of performance. And this new iPhone SE is no different! It is one of the most powerful smartphones, right now.

    Obviously, having such a phone in our hands meant we couldn't resist putting it to gaming duties. Why not? After all, this is a high performance phone and there is a chance somebody could buy it mostly for its gaming capabilities. Hence, I have been putting in hours of gaming into this button-sized phone and now, I wonder whether anything from the Android universe can do something to offset the iPhone SE's ego.

    Apple iPhone SE: Why it is great for gaming?

    -The core reason is obviously its iPhone 13 derived A15 chip. We saw this chip do wonders on the iPhone 13 six months ago and now on the iPhone SE, it performs even better. With lesser resolutions to push on its small display, the A15 performs like magic.

    -On games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and BGMI, the iPhone SE breaks no sweat at all. I was able to run both the games at their highest of settings, with one caveat — there's high FPS mode present on this device. And that is obvious due to the 60Hz display, which is naturally limited in its capabilities.

    -An hour of Call of Duty: Mobile at the maxed out settings saw the iPhone SE keep the gameplay very smooth, and I observed no major frame drops. The phone warmed up around its cameras and on the top side, but never did the phone translate all hat heat into the gameplay experience.

    -Similarly, I was able to play Shadow Fight 4: Arena at its Ultra settings for an hour and the iPhone SE did not throw any excuses. In fact, the gameplay performance seems to be matching the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

    -Battery drain is rapid — an hour of COD Mobile will drain the battery by at least 20 percent, if not more. This is fine for a high performance phone selling at price range.

    -Most of the games default to the highest possible graphics settings. In comparison, Android flagship killers running on the Snapdragon 870, Snapdragon 888, and Dimensity 1200 require you to manually tweak the settings.

    -The fat bezels around the display help a lot in creating more in-hand grip while playing for long hours.

    Apple iPhone SE: Not an outright gaming phone

    iPhone SE 2022
    iPhone SE 2022's 4.7-inch 60Hz display throws a spanner in the gaming experience. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    iPhone SE 2022
    iPhone SE 2022's 4.7-inch 60Hz display throws a spanner in the gaming experience. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    -The obvious one is its small display. Despite the phone being able to run AAA games with absolute ease, the 4.7-inch canvas doesn't make for an immersive gaming experience, especially next to the 6.7-inch behemoths from the Android side. In COD Mobile, you can barely see fairway enemies.

    -The 60Hz refresh rate means the movements are even the touch response rate isn't the smoothest I have seen on any modern Android phone. Hence, you aren't getting a very responsive display here.

    -The smaller capacity battery and its slow 20W charging limits the gameplay time. You can drain the battery in 3 hours easily while gaming. And the charging is painfully slow for a gaming phone.

    -iOS does not offer dedicated gaming tools like Android phones do. Hence, you do not get any customised gaming overlay that lets you block notifications, or mute calls, or clear the memory, or keep an eye on the battery life.


    As was the case with the previous iPhone SE, the 2022 iPhone SE is certainly a nice phone to game. With a massive performance overhead, the SE can run most of the popular demanding mobile games with ease, especially when compared to a similarly priced Android smartphone. And this performance is likely tasty consistent for at least three more years.

    That said, the dated display tech curtails the gaming experience and if you are considering it, you need to keep in mind whether you can compromise with the display size and experience for that superior gaming performance.

    The iPhone SE starts at a price of Rs. 43,990 for its base 64GB variant at the moment. And at this price, I can't think of any other phone that offers this level of performance. Mobile gamers, check this out once before scoffing at its small display.

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    First Published Date: 19 Mar, 18:28 IST
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