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iGBEditorialSamsung Galaxy A54 vs iPhone SE (2022): Which budget smartphone is better?

Samsung Galaxy A54 vs iPhone SE (2022): Which budget smartphone is better?

Samsung and Apple have long been competitors, each bringing their unique approach to winning over the masses. Though the key battle has always been in the flagship space, there’s another intriguing contest brewing in the budget space – Samsung Galaxy A54 vs iPhone SE (3rd generation). These are two highly anticipated contenders in the mid-range segment.  

Samsung Galaxy A54 aims to provide a feature-rich experience at an affordable price. On the other hand, iPhone SE (3rd gen) brings the power of Apple Silicon and the familiarity of iOS in a more compact and budget-friendly package. 

So, whether you’re an Android enthusiast seeking a device with a multitude of features or an Apple aficionado who values seamless integration, let’s find out which budget smartphone is better – iPhone SE or Samsung Galaxy A54?

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE – Specs 

Before we delve into comparing each segment, let’s get a bird’s eye overview of the technical specifications of both devices so that you have a better understanding!   

SpecsSamsung Galaxy A54iPhone SE (3rd Gen)
Screen size6.4-inch AMOLED 4.7-inch LCD
ResolutionFHD+ (2340 x 1080)1080p (1344 x 750)
Refresh rate120Hz60Hz
(Not disclosed officially)
CPU chipExynos 1380A15 Bionic
RAM6GB4GB
Memory128GB
(Expandable up to 1TB)
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras50MP main (f/1.8)
12MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
5MP macro (f/2.4)
12MP (f/1.8)
Front cameras32MP (f/2.2)7MP (f/2.2)
Battery5,000 mAh1,624 mAh
(Not disclosed officially)
Connectivity5G5G
Size6.2 x 3.0 x 0.32 inches5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches
Weight7.1 ounces5.09 ounces
Starting price$449.99$429

In addition to these basics, there is much more to consider before buying, if the budget is tight. So, I’ve considered both devices’ specifications, design, camera capabilities, performance, and overall user experience.

Thus, by the end of this detailed comparison, you can decide which device balances price, performance, and features and aligns with your needs and preferences.

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE (2022) – Design

With Galaxy A54, Samsung has tried to provide the premium feel of the flagship Galaxy S23 on a budget. The design of the A54 has the same sleek minimalism. The rear cameras are arranged vertically with the lenses sticking out. However, I feared scratching the lenses and wobbling each time I put the phone face up.

iPhone SE 3rd Gen and Galaxy A54 Design

On the front, bezels are quite noticeable, and it is mated to an Infinity O camera cutout. For durability, Samsung has used Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides of the Galaxy A54. Samsung offers two color options, Violet and Black. Both phones are IP67 certified and can resist water for 30 minutes under 3 feet depth. 

In contrast, iPhone SE (3rd gen) looks aged with the Touch ID Home button and wide bezels on the top and bottom of the screen. However, the single camera lens does not stick out much like A54. The iPhone SE comes in a (Product) Red variation along with its white and black versions. 

If you want a modern look to match your style statement, Samsung Galaxy A54 has an edge. However, iPhone SE is more compact, slim, and lightweight, making it ultraportable.

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE (2022) – Display 

Who can compete with Samsung’s industry-leading display technology? No one! Even in the mid-range budget segment, you get a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with FHD+ support. I loved streaming videos on it thanks to its 1000 nits peak brightness, 82.9% screen-to-body ratio, and 20: 9 aspect ratio.  

Galaxy A54 Display
Image Credit: Digitaltrends

Besides, the visuals were crisper and sharper as it has 403 PPI, 127.1% Natural sRGB, and 90% DCI-P3 color gamut. Also, the 0.06 Delta-E rating ensures the produced colors are accurate. Moreover, you can enjoy gaming due to the 120Hz refresh rate. The in-display fingerprint sensor keeps your phone secure.

The iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen is the smallest compared to the market’s smartphones. Besides, it has a decent LCD display equipped with IPS technology. Unfortunately, I was able to stream 1080p videos only. In addition, the 625 nits max brightness and 326 PPI pixel detailing disappointed me.  

The video quality was not good either due to 114.7% sRGB and 87.2% DCI-P3 color gamut. Additionally, the screen-to-body ratio is just 65.4%, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. True Tone and Haptic Touch support and Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating are the only good thing. 

Therefore, the clear winner in the display segment is Samsung. 

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE (2022) Performance 

If you want a phone for daily work chores, you must focus on performance the most. Here’s the benchmark comparison of both devices.  

Samsung Galaxy A54iPhone SE (3rd gen)
CPUExynos 1380A15 Bionic
Geekbench 5 Single core7811746
Geekbench 5 Multi core26334840
AnTuTu 9519393809887
3DMark Wild Life28218722

In CPU tests, A15 Bionic beats Exynos by a huge difference. However, in the graphic tests, Samsung showed more stability than Apple, whereas the latter achieved 52 FPS.

Samsung has included its own Exynos 1380 in Galaxy A54. The chip has a 2.4 GHz Octa Core Processor with Cortex-A78 and Cortex-A55 cores. Besides, it is incorporated with Mali-G68 MP5 GPU at 0.95GHz.  

Exynos 1380 in Galaxy A54

On the other hand, iPhone SE (3rd gen) features the A15 Bionic chip like iPhone 13. This Apple Silicon chip has a 3.22 GHz 6-core CPU with 2 performance Avalanche cores and 4 efficiency Blizzard cores. Moreover, the 4-core 0.60GHz Apple GPU offers quick video transcoding. In addition, the 16-core Neural Engine enables AI ML functionalities. 

A15 Bionic chip in iPhone SE 3rd Gen

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE (2022) Camera

I was looking forward to comparing the camera performance of Samsung Galaxy A54 and iPhone SE (3rd gen). You will get the same 50MP primary shooter in A54 as Galaxy S23, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a macro sensor. Besides the solid lenses, Samsung has worked on camera technology to produce better colors that seem realistic.  

Galaxy A54 camera quality
Image Credit: GSMArena

The Single Take captures a shot for 10 seconds and produces the sharpest image. Also, the OIS support makes the videos more detailed and stable. Moreover, the Nightography gives A54 an edge over iPhone SE. So, you can enjoy less blurry crisp images in low light ambiance. Besides, the 32MP front camera captured my natural looks and did not oversaturate the selfies.

In terms of hardware, iPhone SE may have a single 12MP camera, but it’s still competitive thanks to A15’s Deep Fusion photo processing capabilities. It can capture beautiful photos in sufficient sunlight. Further, it can level brightness and contrast properly with Smart HDR 4 and auto image stabilization.

iPhone SE camera quality
Image Credit: GSMArena

Also, the portrait mode works out great due to the six different lighting settings. I liked its advanced bokeh effect, Depth control, color enhancement, and avert overexposure. You can capture 4K videos at 60 FPS max and click 8MP photos while recording. Cinematic video stabilization supports video production further.

The only drawbacks of the iPhone SE camera are that there’s no ultrawide sensor, and the night mode is only available for video recording. So, you will struggle to click pictures in the dark. Additionally, the 7MP selfie shooter is somewhat considerate. I only noticed that the backdrop was detailed in iPhone SE selfies. You may record 1080p videos at 30 FPS using the front camera.

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE (2022) Battery life

Samsung has packed a big 5000mAh battery in A54. I spent almost a day with a full charge at a 60Hz refresh rate. If you use the phone at 120Hz, you may get an average of 10 hours of battery backup. But it only supports 25W charging in the name of “Super-Fast.”  

On the other hand, Apple claims to offer up to 10 hours of video streaming on SE 3. The exact battery size is unknown, but according to my experience, it’s less than 2000mAh. I needed to fully charge it twice daily as it only survived 8 hours on average.

Besides, the charging speed is slow, too (20W). However, as the battery size is less, it only took 30 minutes to juice 50%. The only advantage is iPhone SE 3rd Gen supports wireless charging.  

Memory 

You must consider the storage capacity if you are going to keep your device for a long time. 

Samsung Galaxy A54 comes with 6GB LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB memory. Besides, the UK-only model has an additional option of 8GB RAM with 256GB storage. Moreover, the MicroSD card slot allows you to expand the storage up to 1TB. Therefore, you will never run out of space. 

In contrast, iPhone SE 3 packs 4GB LPDDR4X RAM and can be customized with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB storage capacity. But obviously, the higher storage option will reflect on the pricing. Also, note that iPhone SE has less memory bandwidth than A54.  

Operating system 

Whatever the phone’s features, the ultimate decision depends on which OS you prefer.  

The A54 has the latest Android 13 with the famous OneUI, which makes navigation a breeze. Moreover, you can enjoy customizing your phone. Also, to compete with Apple, Samsung has launched a four-year upgrade guarantee. Furthermore, the Samsung Galaxy A series is known for its multi-layered Knox Security system. Besides, the Samsung-only Private Share feature lets you share sensitive information with different access permissions. 

Operating System in iPhone and Android

The iPhone SE 3rd Gen has the latest iOS 16 and will get software updates for at least five years (until 2027). So, it’s totally future-proof. I will choose iPhone over anything because of iOS. The new iPhone SE will integrate into the ecosystem without effort if you already have Apple devices.   

Samsung A54 vs iPhone SE (2022) Price

Samsung Galaxy A54 and iPhone SE 3rd Gen are battling it out in the mid-range segment. You will get the base model at $449 and $429, accordingly. But Samsung offers 128GB storage at this price, where you will get only 64GB in the iPhone SE base model. For higher storage options, Apple charges an additional $50.

Galaxy A54 vs iPhone SE – Which smartphone should you buy?

As I thought Samsung Galaxy A54 vs iPhone SE (3rd gen) battle was intense, and we have our final verdict here.  

Samsung Galaxy A54 offers a modern look, crispier display, better camera module, more significant memory, and long battery backup. It also provides additional freebies with the purchase. You will get 6 months of Microsoft 365 basics, 2 months of Adobe Lightroom, and 6 months of SiriusXM Streaming subscription for free. So, it’s entirely value for money.  

If you want a powerful performance for daily work and save some bucks, you may go for iPhone SE 3rd Gen.  

What’s your choice? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Ava

    Ava is a die-hard Apple aficionado and seasoned writer with a knack for breaking down complex tech concepts into easily digestible content. Having honed her writing and editing skills over 3 years at renowned media houses like TechBurner, Ava crafts informative and engaging articles including troubleshooting guides, product reviews, editorials at iGeeksBlog. When not typing, you can find her exploring the latest Apple releases or pondering the future of tech innovation.

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