Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs. Apple iPhone SE 2022

If you’re in the market for a midrange phone, it’s fair to say you’re spoiled for choice right now. But there can be such a thing as too much choice, and if you’re struggling to choose between Samsung’s latest mid-ranger, the Galaxy A53 5G, and the new Apple iPhone SE (2022), you’re not alone. With its 6.5-inch Super AMOLED 120Hz display, Exynos 1280 processor, and beefy 5,000mAh battery, the Galaxy A53 may seem like a great choice. But what about the new iPhone SE‘s powerful A15 Bionic chip, up to 256GB of onboard storage, and compact footprint?

We’ve compared the Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. iPhone SE (2022) across six core categories to help you decide which to buy — so keep reading.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy A53iPhone SE (2022)
Size159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm (2.94 x 6.28 x 0.32 inches)138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches)
Weight189 grams (6.67 ounces)144 grams (5.08 ounces)
Screen size6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display

120Hz refresh rate

4.7-inch Liquid Retina

60Hz refresh rate

Screen resolution2400 x 1080 (407 pixels per inch)1334 x 750 pixels (326 pixels per inch)
Operating systemAndroid 12

One UI 4.1

iOS 15
Storage128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slotYesNo
Tap-to-pay servicesSamsung PayApple Pay
ProcessorExynos 1280Apple A15 Bionic
RAM6GB, 8GB4GB
Camera64-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, 5MP macro rear

32MP front

12MP wide rear, 7MP front
Video

Up to 4K at 30fps

4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 120 fps
Bluetooth versionBluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5.0
PortsUSB-CLightning
Fingerprint sensorYesYes, front-mounted (Home button)
Water resistanceIP67IP67
Battery5,000mAh

25W fast charging

No charger in the box

TBC

18W fast charging

Qi wireless charging

App marketplaceGoogle Play StoreApple App Store
Network supportAll major carriersMost major U.S. carriers
ColorsAwesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, Awesome PeachMidnight, Starlight, Product Red
Prices$450$429
Review scoreHands-on reviewNews

Design, display, and durability

At first glance, the most obvious difference between the Samsung Galaxy A53 and the new iPhone SE (2022) is their sizes. The Galaxy A53 has a textured rear panel that offers plenty of grip and feels good in your hand, with a chassis that feels like plastic, ensuring it should be moderately durable if it’s dropped. The camera module blends nicely into the rear, and an Infinity-O hole-punch selfie cam takes center stage on the front. This is a chunky phone and it feels substantial to hold. That said, it’s not the easiest for one-handed use, particularly if you have smaller hands, although it’s light, which helps.

The new iPhone SE (2022) boasts a dated design lifted from the iPhone 8, with big bezels and a home button that doubles as a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The case is made from the same tough glass as the iPhone 13 (minus Ceramic Shield). The iPhone’s smaller size — it measures just 67.3mm in width and 138.4mm in height — makes this the ideal phone for one-handed use, and it’s light too, at 144 grams.

When it comes to screen size, the Galaxy A53’s 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ display boasts 2400 x 1080 resolution (407 ppi) and there’s plenty of brightness. You also benefit from a 120Hz refresh rate so the display is fast and responsive, and particularly noticeable if you’re playing demanding games like Genshin Impact.

The iPhone SE (2022) has a much smaller 4.7-inch Liquid Retina display with 1334 x 750 resolution (326 ppi) and a 60Hz refresh rate. In practice, you shouldn’t notice much difference between the two phones’ refresh rates, but if you’re a heavy gamer, the 120Hz display may be a wiser choice. The iPhone SE (2022) still has a great display though, with TrueTone that adapts to the lighting in your environment, haptic touch, and wide color support.

Both phones also have an IP67 water resistance rating, meaning they can be safely submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.

Although both phones look good and have excellent displays, we’re giving this round to the Galaxy A53 for that larger Full HD+ display and faster refresh rate. We also like the addition of the blue and peach colors, which are sure to attract their share of fans. If size is everything to you and you’re looking for a phone that’s comfortable to use with one hand, you might want to opt for the iPhone SE (2022).

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 

Performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G facing front in hand.
Samsung Galaxy A53 Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

There are several noticeable differences between the two phones in this category. The Samsung Galaxy A53 is powered by the octa-core Exynos 1280 chip, with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Notably, you can allocate up to 6GB of the phone’s 128GB storage as virtual RAM, great for multi-tasking or more demanding games. Samsung was keen to point out this chip is made with a 5nm process, something it reserved for its flagships until a few years ago. This should mean the chip can handle anything, from multi-tasking to gaming.

The iPhone SE (2022) packs Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, the same processor found in the iPhone 13. It’s a six-core CPU with four high-efficiency cores and two high-performance cores. Its lightning-fast performance means it can handle anything, including playing the latest games. The iPhone has just 4GB RAM, but iPhones generally need less RAM than Android devices anyway.

When it comes to storage the two phones differ somewhat. With the Galaxy A53, you get 128GB of onboard storage, expandable via a microSD card. The iPhone SE (2022), on the other hand, has 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB variants, though 64GB is a paltry amount that isn’t enough for anybody these days, and there’s no microSD card slot, so the storage variant you choose is all you’ll ever have.

When it comes to battery life, the Galaxy A53 has a beefy 5,000mAh cell on board that should easily see you through a day and into the next, with 25W fast charging There’s no charger in the box though — standard for Samsung these days. Notably, there’s also no wireless charging with this phone, so that’s something to bear in mind if it’s important to you.

We’re still waiting on confirmation of the new iPhone SE’s battery capacity, but the A15 chip should boost battery life in comparison to the older iPhone SE (2020). That phone gave us around eight hours of battery life while streaming video, and Apple claims the 2022 iPhone SE battery lasts up to two hours longer. The iPhone SE (2022) supports 18W fast charging as well as Qi wireless charging, although again there’s no charger included in the box.

We had to give this round to the Samsung Galaxy A53. With its octa-core processor, the ability to allocate extra RAM from storage, expandable storage, beefy battery, and 25W fast charging, it comes out ahead of the iPhone SE (2022), even though it doesn’t support wireless charging. It depends on what you want from your phone though. Some people might prefer the iPhone’s 256GB of onboard storage and wireless charging.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53

Camera

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G camera app and viewfinder.
Samsung Galaxy A53 camera Andy Boxall/Pro Well Tech

When it comes to cameras, these two phones are worlds apart. The Samsung Galaxy A53 offers a quad-camera array on the rear, with a 64-megapixel main lens, plus 12MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, and 5MP macro lenses. There’s also a 32MP front lens. The main and ultrawide offer solid performance, but it’s under the hood software improvements over the phone’s predecessor, the Galaxy A52, that make the difference here. Samsung claims the upgraded A.I.-powered main lens enhances the phone’s photo processing capabilities to deliver enhanced performance in low-light conditions, plus better detail and color.

In contrast, the iPhone SE (2022) has just a single 12MP camera and 7MP front camera. The rear camera takes excellent, well-balanced shots in most environments, with Apple’s Deep Fusion technology, smart HDR 4, improved portrait mode, and the same Portrait Lighting effects as the iPhone 13. Photographic Styles allow you to apply your preferences across various subjects and scenes. If we had to pick fault here, there’s no Night mode, which is something worth bearing in mind if you often take photos in low-light conditions or at night.

When it comes to video, the Galaxy A53 captures up to 4K at 30 frames per second (fps), and the camera automatically adapts the frame rate to suit lighting conditions. The iPhone SE (2022) captures up to 4K at 60 fps, and 1080p at 120 fps.

Although we haven’t spent much time with either phone’s cameras yet, we’re giving this round to the Galaxy A53, simply because it boasts more lenses, which should, theoretically, make it more suitable for taking a variety of different shots. The inclusion of Night Mode also means taking excellent low-light and night-time shots should be easier on the Galaxy A53. Our verdict here might change when we’ve spent more time with both phones, however.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53

Software and updates

iPhone SE 2022 launching in Q1 Gurman
Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Samsung’s latest mid-ranger runs Android 12 and the Samsung OneUI 4.1 interface, which is customizable and easy to learn. You’ll also get four years of major Android updates and five years of security updates, making the Galaxy A53 a great future-proof choice.

The iPhone SE (2022) runs Apple’s iOS 15, which means you get access to features seen on more expensive iPhones, such as FaceTime, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, SharePlay, and the handy Focus Mode, which lets you set various modes to prioritize notifications. Apple usually provides five or six years of OS updates, too.

This round’s too close to call, and will probably come down to the age-old Apple or Android question, depending on your preferences. Both Apple and Samsung offer excellent update promises, meaning both phones will last for years.

Winner: Tie

Special features

iPhone SE 2022 Being Used.
Apple iPhone SE (2022)

When it comes to special features, both phones have their own take. Both have 5G, though the iPhone SE (2022) only supports sub-6GHz 5G (and C-Band), not mmWave, so you won’t be able to take advantage of Verizon’s Ultra-wideband network. It’s not clear yet whether the Galaxy A53 supports mmWave, so we’ll update this once we know more.

The Galaxy A53 has an in-display fingerprint sensor, while the iPhone SE (2022) packs a slightly more old-school front-mounted fingerprint sensor integrated into the Home button.

One notable difference is that the Galaxy A53 has a microSD card slot, so you can expand the storage to suit your needs. This is absent from the iPhone SE (2022), so the storage option you choose (up to 256GB) is all you’ll ever have. It’s worth noting here also that neither phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, something that’s sadly become pretty standard on new phones nowadays.

This round’s too close to call, as neither phone has any stand-out special features to set it apart, so it may come down to whether you need that microSD card slot in your life.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy A53 is currently available to pre-order from Samsung, and if you place your order now you’ll get a free pair of Galaxy Buds Live. The phone is officially on sale from April 1 for $450, from Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

The iPhone SE (2022) is available right now from Apple starting from $429 for the 64GB version, $479 for the 128GB model, and $579 for the 256GB variant.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy A53

There isn’t a huge difference between these two phones, and many of the differences are things that will ultimately come down to personal preference, like the Galaxy A53’s expandable storage or the iPhone SE’s wireless charging. But we’ve crowned Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G our overall winner thanks to that octa-core processor, larger full HD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate, beefy battery with 25W fast charging, and expandable storage. You’re paying a few bucks more for the Galaxy A53 compared to the iPhone SE (2022), but there’s not much in it. The iPhone SE (2022) is still a solid choice for those who want to buy into the Apple ecosystem, and you do get the benefits of wireless charging and more onboard storage, plus a more compact footprint that’s ideal for smaller hands and one-handed use. But we’d say the Galaxy A53 is the better deal here overall.

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