iPhone SE 2020 Review: Powerful, Affordable and Handy

The iPhone SE 2022 adds 5G. The iPhone SE 2020 was meant to be cheaper than ever, and it succeeded. For $399, £389 / AU$679, you can get one of the finest iPhones ever made.

Anyone who’s used an iPhone since 2013 will recognise the 4.7-inch frame and home button with fingerprint scanner.

The iPhone 13 series includes this phone, the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. They’re all more expensive and premium than the SE.

The iPhone SE (2020) is the “smaller” iPhone given the all-screen designs of more recent models, and it’s more lightweight and pocketable than any other modern Apple phone except the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini, which are marginally smaller (despite packing in a larger screen), but more expensive than a mid-range phone.

Design and Display of iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE looks precisely like the iPhone 8 from 2017. Apple didn’t need to invest in a completely new production process by using this form size and screen components.

In three years, the 4.7-inch iPhone screen with hefty bezels seems outdated. In that time, the flagship iPhone series has shifted to an all-screen design, with scarcely any bezels, and more quality metal within.
One assumes that if Apple had relaunched the original iPhone SE form, with the smaller 4-inch screen and clickable home button, it would have sold well; but the bigger 4.7-inch LCD screen is more beneficial for today’s applications, which make excellent use of the longer display.
The iPhone SE screen isn’t as crisp as newer iPhones or some inexpensive Android phones, but it’s hardly noticeable in most situations.

iPhone SE 2020

A13 Bionic chipset of iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE 2020 has the iPhone 8’s engine. While the outside is almost similar, Apple’s upgraded processor powers the inside.

This added power should enable the new iPhone SE to match the iPhone 11 range in speed when switching applications and editing photos and video. It should also boost the camera performance.
The iPhone SE equaled the iPhone 11 Pro Max for speed while exporting an iMovie and compressed a 1080p 4.5-minute film nearly as fast.

The iPhone SE 2020 compressed and exported a video more faster than the iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone SE 2020 camera

The iPhone SE camera is the make-or-break feature for the phone and how well it performs in day-to-day use. Given that there’s ‘old’ hardware on offer here, Apple has gambled that it can improve photo quality using image processing powered by the A13 Bionic chipset.

The risk paid off. The new iPhone SE can typically compete with the iPhone 11 Pro Max in general snaps, but lags in hardware-limited areas.

The iPhone SE 2020 holds its own against the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone 8 Plus.

First, let’s look at the camera’s hardware. The iPhone SE camera has a 12MP camera, a six-element lens, and a sapphire glass cover.

Battery Life of iPhone SE 2020

Apple hasn’t disclosed the new iPhone SE battery capacity (it never does), but the iPhone 8 has a 1,821mAh battery, so we expect something similar for 2020.

If that’s true, it may be a problem since the iPhone 8’s battery life wasn’t great; it could survive a day under moderate usage, but the charger was needed by nightfall.

The new iPhone SE has a more efficient engine, and iOS 13.4 is better at regulating power use.

Apple claims the iPhone SE “lasts roughly as long as iPhone 8,” which is startling and means you could notice 2-4 hours’ poorer battery life than an iPhone 11, and up to 25 hours fewer if only listening to music.

Purchase it if..

  • You want a new, great-value iPhone: It’s Apple’s best-value phone. It’s the lowest model with Touch ID, a strong engine, and a respectable camera for roughly half the price of an iPhone 11.
  • You’re going to keep hold of it for a few years: The 2016 iPhone SE was popular because it gave a new iPhone for less money than older models, and the next generation does the same. With the iPhone SE 2020, you’ll likely receive improvements and security enhancements for three to four years, which will appeal to many.
  • You want a lightweight handset: This (or the iPhone 12 small) is the model to choose if you want a new iPhone without the bulk. It’s lighter (partly because it has a smaller battery) and easier to hold than other variants.

don’t purchase it If…

  • You want the best pics from an iPhone: The iPhone SE 2020 camera isn’t the best in the range, and it issues with exposure and depth of field. It’s remarkable for the price, especially for those upgrading from previous phones.
  • You value long battery life: We don’t know why Apple kept the iPhone 8’s battery life. It’s usable, but knowing that recent models can easily last a day, we anticipated more — this is “average iPhone battery life.”
  • You love watching movies on the go: The iPhone SE 2020 uses the iPhone 8’s screen. It’s not great in strong light and lacks the crispness of modern displays, but the speakers are powerful.

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Phil has been an avid gamer ever since he was a kid, and he now spends most of his free time reviewing and testing video games and other forms of consumer technology. When he's not out and about in Los Santos, that is.

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