Apple has launched iPhone 13 recently. But, the updated iPhone SE still is one of the best phones around. Apple has updated its super value product, the iPhone SE, with the new chip and new technologies that it feels like the latest phone to use. The price it released was an unexpected $399 which is very low for a fresh, brand new iPhone. But, is iPhone SE 2020 still worth it? let us see it in detail.
It still has the old design though. But, the performance and efficiency are unlike old iPhones.
What is the first thing you would see on an iPhone SE? Perhaps the home button. But mostly it should be the dimensions. The phone is very very compact in nature compared to almost all mainstream phones in the market. If you want a small phone, there is nothing better than an iPhone SE in the market.
The only other phone that can rival an iPhone SE is the all-new iPhone 13 mini. But, the price is nowhere close. The only caveat of the iPhone SE is the small screen compared to others. But if you’re a normal user, you don’t care much.
However, if you’re a gamer or you watch Netflix on the phone, then, you will find iPhone XR fascinating than iPhone SE.
How about this iPhone XR?
In this case, the $100 more for the XR is worth the spend.
Yes, I have mentioned iPhone XR. It is an old phone but it is still fantastic to compare with iPhone SE. The hardware might be old but the phone is very capable. You will see the comparison continues for the rest of this article. Let’s get back to the review.
Apple claims that the camera on the iPhone SE is the best in any iPhone with a single-lens design. The latest and greatest iPhone XR had an incredible camera. Hence, even better hardware in the iPhone SE will give you even better image quality. The spec goes as follows.
Rear camera: 12 MP at f/1.8 aperture.
- Front camera: 7Mp at f/2.2 aperture.
- Video recording: 4k up to 60 fps for rear
- Slow motion video at 1080p up to 240 fps.
Those are some flagship specs for cameras. 4k at 60fps is something even android flagships struggles to record. iPhone will trump most of them, if not all android phones as far as video recordings go. The camera includes a portrait mode.
‘It has AI enhancements (Natural, studio, contour, stage, stage mono, High-key Mono). You will love to play with it.
so, for $100 less, you get an awesome camera compared to iPhone XR. In this case, I don’t see an advantage for iPhone XR compared to iPhone SE. If the camera is the priority, you should go with iPhone SE.
Performance: Is Iphone SE 2020 worth it?
Compared to that of XR
Peak performance is the highlight of the iPhone SE 2020. It might have an old form factor. But, it is no slouch when it comes to performance. It is like a Ferrari engine put into a Fiat Punto.
It can even rival a Samsung galaxy S20 ultra easily. Click to read if the Samsung galaxy s20 ultra is worth the money paid. The iPhone SE comes with one of Apple’s powerful chips in its shed. It uses Apple A 13 to do all the processing duties.
This processor is very powerful that it can even shame some mid-range laptops.
All the animations are fluid. Even hardcore games are smooth to play. Switching between the apps has never been easier. With only a 720p resolution to push, the graphics can render faster than other apple phones. This 720p display is more than enough for day-to-day usage.
Let me tell you, the answer for ‘is iPhone SE 2020 worth it?’ is already yes because of the sheer performance in its sleeve.
But, iPhone XR is not bad either. It can smoke many androids just like that. Apple’s made its hardware to stay. My age-old iPhone 7 still works flawlessly. If you’re interested in iPhone XR, please don’t consider the performance as a limiting factor. The performance is plenty and snappy for last year’s phone.
If the large screen is your priority, you can go with iPhone XR. You don’t have to worry about the performance. Now Let’s also look at the battery and display.
The battery life is as good as an outgoing iPhone 8. Apple claims, “Lasts about the same as iPhone 8. Apple also claims that the video playback time is up to 13 hours, video streaming time of up to 8 hours. Audio playback time is up to 40 hours.
iPhone SE 2 is fast-charge compatible with an 18-watt charger. They sell it separately. Battery life shouldn’t be a problem. My iPhone 7 still lasts for a day on normal usage. iPhone 8’s battery is even bigger. Additionally, the iPhone SE supports wireless charging. That is an added convenience.
However, however, iPhone XR has a much bigger battery. iPhone SE has a nonremovable 1821 mah battery. But iPhone XR has a much bigger 2942 mah battery. This is small compared even to a basic android. But, it is huge in the iPhone’s world. 2942 mah translates into 16 hours of talk time and 65 hours of music playback time.
If battery life is your concern, You should avoid iPhone SE in favor of the iPhone XR. Having said that, iPhone SE still has impressive battery life. Just that iPhone XR has a bigger battery and worth $100 extra on iPhone XR.
The display on the SE is identical to the ongoing iPhone 8. If you have used any old iPhones before, you will get the idea of how good the display is despite it is a 720p screen. Texts are sharper, but not as sharp as the AMOLED variants. With true tone technology and DCI p3 color gamut support, the pictures and videos are vivid.
The phone houses a 4.7-inch IPS led display with a resolution of 1334-by-750-pixel resolving at 326 PPI. It has a contrast ratio of 1400:1 while the display goes bright up to 625 nits. This and the DCI p3 gamut enable us to watch HDR content seamlessly.
With that said, you will get a bigger and better display for $100 more. Yeah, I am talking about the display of the iPhone XR. iPhone XR has a Liquid Retina LCD display with a typical brightness of 625 Nits. The brightness is the same as iPhone SE. what differs is the resolution and dimensions.
The resolution of XR is 828 x 1792 pixels at a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen size of the iPhone SE is 4.7 inches while iPhone XR has a massive 6.1 inches. More real estate means more joy. The display even supports the DCI P3 color gamut. Thus the quality is as good as iPhone SE but with a higher resolution and bigger screen size.
If the size is not an issue, for $100 more you will get a better and bigger display. Playing games or watching movies is real fun with iPhone XR.
Security has always been an upside to any Apple device. In that lineage, both iPhone SE and iPhone XR have better security features. The difference boils down to Touch ID and Face ID. iPhone SE has Touch ID. They have implemented it onto the fingerprint reader. The Touch ID is very well secured and you cannot go wrong with it. It is faster as well.
Place the finger on the Touch ID sensor and the phone unlocks instantaneously.
iPhone XR has a different method of authentication. it is called as Face ID. Simply put, it is a face scanner. The phone has a few sensors for the same.
There is an infrared sensor that shoots out infrared rays. There are cameras to capture the reflected image and renders it into the 3d image of the face. This 3D image is unique to every user unless they are identical twins. Apple claims that FaceID is faster and more secured than Touch ID. The bonus is that it works even in dark and even with a beard and mustache.
FaceID is the latest gen unlocking system and for $100 you cannot go wrong with it. For just $100, the product you get in return is awesome.
What iPhone SE lacks.
Although iPhone SE ticks all the right boxes, it still has some disadvantages. Apple had to cut down some features to keep the cost at its lowest. Let’s see what are the trade-off
- No edge to edge display
- No face Id for facial unlock
- No Night mode in the camera
- No headphone jack
What IPhone XR lacks compared to SE?
- better camera
- faster processor
- compact design
Where iPhone XR stands?
iPhone XR is an incredible device. for $100 more you will get the following with the new iPhone XR.
- Better screen
- Face ID
- Huge battery
It is you who has to decide if these additions are worth $100 extra. Otherwise, both the phones are excellent in whatever it does, in a very good way.
Is iPhone SE 2020 worth it?
We have had a good look at the new iPhone SE. At this price, we get android phones with a bigger AMOLED display and a better battery. If those are the priorities then the iPhone SE is not for you.
But if you don’t care about the edge-to-edge display, dual cameras, and fast charging, this is the phone for you. If you need a phone that is easy to operate, easy to handle, has the best camera, better security, better resale value, best support, this phone is for you. And thus the answer for ‘Is iPhone SE 2020 worth it?’ is a solid ‘YES’.
But, if you can spend $100 more, you will get an iPhone XR. It is also a good deal because you will get a better battery, better screen, and Face ID. Between iPhone SE and iPhone XR, I will choose iPhone XR for its screen and battery life. A $100 more is well spent.
Thank you for reading
Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to audio gears. He is an avid writer and loves to blog.