How the new iPhone SE stacks up

April 26, 2020

When Apple launched the first generation of the iPhone SE in 2016, the aim of the game was clear. The tech giant was looking to cater to demand for an affordable version of their perennially popular iPhone.

Now the second-generation SE has just hit the market, and according to reviewers it ticks all the right boxes when it comes to included features at a budget-friendly price.

So let’s power up the iPhone SE and take it for a spin.

What is the iPhone SE?

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At $399 (AU $749) the iPhone SE is Apple’s most affordable model in the current lineup. It’s markedly cheaper than the iPhone 11 which retails for $699 (AU $1199) and the 11 Pro Max which starts at $1099 (AU $1899).

Under the hood it boasts power and speed, but in its design the SE is similar to the iPhone 8.

That sees it nicely positioned for consumers who want the latest iPhone, but don’t want to break the bank. And in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that has everyone watching their bank balances, the timing couldn’t be better.

The design compared to the iPhone 11

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For iPhone enthusiasts, the design of the iPhone SE will be familiar. It takes most of its external cues from the iPhone 8, including the 4.7-inch frame, the screen with bezels at the top and bottom and a haptic home button that incorporates a fingerprint sensor.

That makes it smaller and more lightweight than other models currently available. The iPhone 11 for example is 6.1-inches, while the iPhone Pro Max is 6.5.

To facilitate a cheaper price point, Apple has pulled back on things like screen quality, so while the iPhone 11 has a liquid retina HD screen, and the 11 Pro Max has a super retina XDR display, the SE features a retina HD display.

It does however incorporate a feature that many phone users will welcome. The SE is water resistant to a depth of a metre.

Cameras and audio on the iPhone range

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An affordable iPhone isn’t the place where you’ll find a triple camera array and all the latest photography hardware. But what is on offer will more than suffice for everyday needs.

The SE includes a single 12-megapixel wide camera at the rear, compared to the dual 12-megapixel ultra-wide and wide cameras with night mode on the iPhone 11 and the triple 12-megapixel ultra-wide, wide and telephoto cameras with night mode on the 11 Pro max.

It also has FaceTime HD for video recording as opposed to TrueDepth on the 11 models and on the front, there’s the 7MP selfie camera, while unlocking is via TouchID rather than FaceID.

One feature many might miss is the 3.5mm audio jack. Apple sadly killed this off a couple of years ago, and like the higher spec iPhones, the 3.5mm audio jack is not present on the SE. Instead EarPods with lightning connector are included in the box.

Under the hood of the iPhone SE 2020

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While a few compromises might have been made on the display and camera, it’s underneath the hood that the SE really starts to show its strength.

Apple has opted for the same A13 bionic chipset it uses in the 11 series and that means this is a little phone packing a fair bit of power and speed when it comes to navigating apps and editing pics.

Battery power

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When it comes to battery power, Apple says it will be similar to the iPhone 8. Coupled with the more efficient iOS 13 operating system and A13 chipset, that may mean a slightly lengthier time between recharging and this would be welcomed as the iPhone 8 didn’t exactly win over fans with its battery life.

The verdict

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Released on April 24, the iPhone SE looks to set to carve out a solid niche as an affordable alternative to the 11 series. It may not have all the size, display and camera scope of its 11th generation cousins, but it does pack a serious punch in terms of power. That might just make it one of the best affordable phones currently available.

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