iPhone SE (2020) Vs. iPhone 11 comparison: Which new iPhone should you buy?
Apple has launched the new iPhone SE for 2020, and while it isn’t an thrilling relase it definitely boasts ‘sensible, good-value compromise’. And in these difficult times, isn’t that what we really want?
In this comparison post we put the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE (2020) head to head, seeing how they stack up and helping you decide which is best for you.
If you want to buy a new iPhone but want to save as much money as possible, the iPhone SE is your best bet — you’ll save $300 outright compared to the price of the iPhone 11 (which costs $699, £729 or AU$1,199). But the iPhone 11 does have some extra features that, if you can afford it, are useful. If you want to know how the two phones stack up though, here’s a walk-through of what you get with that extra $300.
Price & Availability
Both of these devices are good-value phones, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same price, or even close to it. The SE is affordable as far as iPhones go, for sure.
- iPhone 11 (64GB) £729/$699
- iPhone 11 (128GB): £779/$749
- iPhone 11 (256GB): £879/$849
- iPhone SE (2020, 64GB): £419/$399
- iPhone SE (2020, 128GB): £469/$449
- iPhone SE (2020, 256GB): £569/$549
The above figures and a quick glance at your bank account, may well have answered the question already. If the iPhone 11 is way out of your budget, you might want to consider the iPhone SE (2020) instead.
But for those who can afford it, the question that springs to mind is this: is the iPhone 11 striking enough to justify the extra cost?
Design & build quality
Both iPhones are beautifully designed handsets with fantastic build quality. But when it come to design, they are chalk and cheese. Or ancient and modern.
The iPhone 11 was part of the third wave of the Face ID revolution (which began with the iPhone X in 2017), and just like all of those devices it features a screen notch and no Home button. It most closely follows the iPhone XR from 2018, however, replicating exactly its big 6.1in screen and 194g chassis. Therefore it’s not a completely new design, but it’s a lot more modern than the iPhone SE (2020). The SE is so identical to the iPhone 8 from 2017 that it will fit in the same cases, and the iPhone 8 itself, even when first released, was already outdated That design is largely the same as the iPhone 6 from 2014.
So basically we’re looking at a design from 2018 versus a design from 2014, but they each have some modifications on that template. The iPhone 11, for instance, includes a second camera lens on the back (the XR featured just one) and enhance water resistance from 1m to 2m. And of course there are many tweaks that separates the iPhone SE (2020) from the discontinued iPhone 6, not least the fact that it has any official water resistance at all.
Some users will like the iPhone SE’s home button. Now that Apple is discontinuing the iPhone 8, the iPhone SE will be the only iPhone Apple will sell that features a physical home button. Besides being intuitive to use, it also means you don’t have to learn swipe gestures to return to the homescreen or bring up recent apps. The home button will also house the device’s fingerprint reader for unlocking the phone and authorizing digital payments (what Apple calls Touch ID). The iPhone 11, on the other hand, features facial mapping sensors on the front-facing camera for biometric security (aka: Face ID).
Both devices are IP certified for water protection. But because the iPhone 11 is rated IP68 compared to the iPhone SE’s IP67 rating, it means that the iPhone 11 is a tad more durable against submersion (that means, it’s certified to withstand longer or deeper submersion in water). On paper, an IP67 level of certification means the iPhone SE can withstand up to a meter of water (3.3 feet) for about 30 minutes.
Finally, the iPhone SE only ships in black, white and red. The iPhone 11 ships in those three colors, as well, but if you prefer other options, you can also get it in pastel yellow, green and purple.
The vast majority of people will be drawn to the iPhone 11’s gorgeous modern design far more than the nostalgic looks of the iPhone SE. But some will like that it still has a Home button; not everyone is a fan of Face ID (and we will concede that second-gen Touch ID is probably faster and more reliable) and some would choose not to have to learn dozens of new gestures.
Specs & Features
Here comes an interesting mixture. In a few agree the new SE is neck and neck with the iPhone 11, in terms of its processor, storage allocations and connectivity. But the screen is fway smaller (albeit just as sharp – and keep in mind that the 11, similar to SE, does not include the OLED screens that in Apple Land are reserved for the iPhone Pro models) and the cameras far weaker.
Note, though, that the A13 Bionic affects more than just the speed with which you’ll be able to run demanding apps and the future-proofing in terms of being able to install iOS updates. Its neural engine will enhance photography with the Smart HDR algorithm, and it should also enhance battery performance.
Keep in mind, the iPhone 11 is significantly less portable compared to SE, although this is totally understandable considering it’s larger screen.
If you’re not particularly a camera power-user, the iPhone SE’s single 12-megapixel back camera should suffice for posting pictures on instagram and casual video recording. But if you care about photography or want to have more tools at your fingertips, the iPhone 11 has significantly improved camera setup than the iPhone SE 2020.
The iPhone 11, for example, includes an additional wide-angle camera. That means you can take sweeping landscape photos or creative, more dramatic pictures at close distances. And though both iPhones have 5x digital zoom that uses software to render closeup images, only the iPhone 11 has the hardware to carry out 2x optical zoom, that doesn’t degrade image quality. The iPhone 11 also has Apple’s low-light camera mode, Night Mode. Night Mode reduces things like digital artifacts, graininess and motion blur to capture and brighten up images taken in dim lighting.
As far as the front-facing camera is concern, the iPhone 11 doesn’t just have a better selfie camera because it has more megapixels (12 megapixels compared to the iPhone SE’s 7 megapixels). It can shoot 4K video (compared to the iPhone SE’s 1080p video) and record slow-motion video, too.
As its main budget phone, Apple could have outfitted the iPhone SE with an older processor. But the device is equipped with the latest proprietary A13 Bionic chip, the same one that’s inside the iPhone 11. That means we should be able to observe similar processing performance speeds,
As always, Apple doesn’t disclose the iPhone SE’s battery capacity. According to its numbers though, the iPhone SE’s battery doesn’t last as long as the iPhone 11’s. When it announced the iPhone 11, Apple claimed that it lasts up to “one hour longer” than the iPhone XR and cited 10 hours of streaming video playback. Unofficial teardowns of the handset also revealed a 3,110-mAh battery. This time around, Apple said the iPhone SE has the same battery life as the iPhone 8, and listed 8 hours of streaming video playback.
This is a tough comparison to make considering that these phones are trying to do different things for different people.
The iPhone 11 might not have the Pro suffix but it’s a high-end device nonetheless, with a high-end price to match. If you’re looking for an affordable option, the SE is definitely the perfect choice, bringing a state-of-the-art processor and excellent photography options for £419/$399.
But the iPhone 11 remains a fantastic choice for anyone who want a more modern look and a huge display. If you can stretch to £729/$699 you’ll get a phone that’s well worth your outlay.
If you already have iPhone 11, it’s not exactly time to ditch it for the newer iPhone SE 2020.
The iPhone SE (2020,) is an impressive and relatively affordable handset with a fantastic camera and a fast processor. But those with an iPhone 11 from 2019 may wonder if it’s time for an upgrade. After all, the iPhone SE (2020) has some great processor and a bevy of fun enticing colors to choose from. In short, the iPhone 11 is still worth holding onto, and if you want an upgrade, I’d wait to see what the 2020 iPhone 12 has in store first, or consider the iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max instead. But if it comes down to the iPhone SE (2020) Vs iPhone 11, the better choice is the iPhone 11.