The budget smartphone market is chock full of options, with multiple brands vying for that place in your pocket. Realme, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi, are known to have the best devices in this category, but if you come over to North America, the presence of these brands have is middling, leaving budget-conscious buyers with a limited set of options from established brands.
Samsung and Apple are two of the few that fill this gap with reliable devices, albeit with drastically different approaches, and in this article, we aim to mark those points to help you make the right choice.
The devices in question here are the $ 450 Samsung Galaxy A53 and the $ 429 iPhone SE (2022), which offer 5G connectivity as a key selling point and drastically different approaches on every other factor.
Design and Display
Looking at the iPhone SE (2022) and the Galaxy A53 side by side, it is clear that both phones have designs signifying they are from a different era of smartphones. The Galaxy A53 looks similar to current generation devices with a display that sports thin bezels and a hole punch for the front camera. On the other hand, iPhone SE continues with the blueprint set by iPhone 8, which in turn follows along the line of iPhone 6.
Speaking of build materials, the Galaxy A53 uses a plastic frame and back panel – the latter has a matte finish – with a camera island that meshes into the back. The iPhone SE maintains Apple’s quality standards and pushes for a premium feel with its glass and aluminum sandwich build.
Focussing on the displays here, the Galaxy A53 ships with a 6.5-inch FHD + Super AMOLED Display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Compare it with any other flagship or $ 700 smartphone, and you will see this device right up there, holding its own. It features deep blacks and a contrasty look in front of which the iPhone SE and its lower resolution 4.7-inch LCD will not look as good. Like other non-Pro Apple devices, the SE remains locked to a 60Hz refresh rate.
What processor do these devices feature?
While the Galaxy A53 outshines the SE in most departments, the processor housed inside them is one area where these devices are not worth comparing. iPhone SE features the same A15 Bionic found in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini; this means the compact smartphone has a performance advantage that the mid-range Exynos 1280 in Galaxy A53 cannot match. Samsung claims the Exynos chipset in Galaxy A53 brings some marginal improvements over the SoC found in its predecessor, the Galaxy A52.
The Galaxy A52 shipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G that featured Cortex A76 cores, but the presence of the better A78 cores on Exynos 1280 support claims made by Samsung. But, ignore the technical aspects, as most people buying these devices would; hence, if you wish to own a device that handles multitasking with ease and will not slow down over years of use, the iPhone SE is bound to be the better pick.
The slower brains on the Galaxy A53 might not be a major deal-breaker for many, but it will affect long-term use, so keep this factor in mind.
How does the camera hardware on Samsung Galaxy A53 compare to Apple iPhone SE (2022)?
The results produced by any camera are often subject to differing opinions, with users nitpicking results produced by flagship hardware. Both Galaxy A53 and the iPhone SE, in our opinion, perform well for their price, and you will learn more about the hardware they carry in the paragraphs below. But to preface, the Samsung Galaxy A53 ships with a quad-camera array, whereas the iPhone SE has a single sensor, as it had since its inception.
With the Samsung, users will gain access to a 64MP Wide sensor, supported by a secondary 12MP Ultra Wide unit. We would define these are the best options to consider while capturing images. Now, in addition to these, there is also a 5MP Depth and 5MP Macro camera (these don’t have much impact on the results), whereas, on the front, you will find a 32MP sensor. In comparison to this hardware, the iPhone SE has a simple setup, including a 12MP Wide camera on the back and a 7MP camera on the side display.
The images you will see captured by these cameras will ensure your memories are saved with enough detail, but the polish that higher-end smartphones offer will be missing. Here, the Galaxy A53 is the feature-rich device, and the one to consider if you will be running around capturing images all day. Its implementation of various modes, a capable Night Mode, in particular, is a huge bonus. Unfortunately, iPhone SE lacks a dedicated Night Mode but does offer some new features enabled by the flagship A15 Bionic, namely Photographic Styles and Smart HDR 4.
How does the Samsung Galaxy A53 compare to Apple iPhone SE (2022) in terms of battery life?
As you may have expected, the Galaxy A53 is the clear standout in this category due to its larger size and ability to house a 5000 mAh cell – which even supports 25W fast charging. Samsung combined this battery with a decent-sized FHD + screen and a power-efficient processor to give consumers a package that will last through an entire day of use.
On the other hand, the iPhone SE comes on the back of a generation that was lambasted for its poor battery life. But this year, reviewers have reported an improvement in endurance. Although, we believe this device will only be an all-day phone for light users and not for those who use their device extensively, owing to its 2018 mAh cell.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to pick between the iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A53, here is what we think about the two devices.
The Galaxy A53 is a device that is modernizing the budget segment. It offers a combination of hardware that aims to split its manufacturing budget equally. It offers a decent display, a set of capable cameras, and an adequate battery for all-day use. But this is also made possible due to the compromise on the SoC front and possibly long-term usability. We recommend buying this device if you are looking for something that will be put through the wringer for a couple of years. And at the end of this period, you will replace it with a successor or better alternate.
Now, making a case for Apple’s budget hardware. iPhone SE is the device to choose if you need a phone that fits into the ecosystem while working as a tool to make calls, keep in touch with family and take the occasional set of photos, all without needing a replacement in years. It’s the perfect upgrade for the family not accustomed to the all-screen design introduced with the iPhone X.
Samsung Galaxy A53
Samsung Galaxy A53 packs in a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Display, the Exynos 1280, and a 5000 mAh battery alongside a decent set of camera sensors. For $ 450, it offers a combination that is a perfect balance of price and specifications.
iPhone SE (2022)
iPhone SE 2022 arrived with 5G support and the A15 Bionic SoC, offering the unparalleled performance of the iPhone 13 at a low cost. It is the most affordable iPhone available and comes with new camera features and improved battery endurance over its predecessor.
|Smartphone||Samsung Galaxy A53||iPhone SE (2022)|
|Operating System||One UI 4.1 based on Android 12||iOS 15|
|Dimensions||159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm||138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm|
|Display||6.5-inch, FHD + (1080 x 2400) Super AMOLED Display, 120Hz||4.7-inch, Retina HD (750 x 1334) LCD, 60Hz|
|Processor||Exynos 1280||A15 Bionic|
|RAM & ROM||6GB RAM with 128GB||4GB RAM with 128GB
4GB RAM with 128GB
4GB RAM with 256GB
|Expandable Storage||Yes (up to 1TB)||No|
|Rear Cameras||64MP, ƒ / 1.8, OIS
12MP, ƒ / 2.2, Ultra-Wide
5MP, Depth, ƒ / 2.4
5MP, Macro, ƒ / 2.4
|12MP, ƒ / 1.8 Wide|
|Front Camera||32MP, ƒ / 2.2 aperture||7MP, ƒ / 2.2 aperture|
|Security||Optical Fingerprint Scanner||Fingerprint Scanner|
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 5.1||5G, Wi ‑ Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0|
25W Wired Charging
50% charge in up to 30 minutes with 20W USB-C Adapter or higher
Qi Wireless Charging
|Colors||Black, Blue, Peach, White||Black, Starlight, Midnight|
|Price||$ 449.99||$ 429 (64GB)
$ 479 (128GB)
$ 579 (256GB)