iPhone SE: Does it still make sense to buy Apple’s most affordable iPhone?


Apple’s iPhone SE was launched in April 2020 and it is nonetheless on sale for its $399 launch worth.

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Apple’s latest iPhone lineup, the iPhone 13, is filled with some unbelievable specs, however its steep worth makes it an impractical selection for a lot of. As an alternative, you might wish to think about the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 or Apple least expensive iPhone to this point, the 2020 iPhone SE. The reasonably priced iPhone is rumored to get an upgrade early next year, with the iPhone SE Plus or iPhone SE 3. It’s stated to launch with 5G connectivity, an A14 Bionic chip and a design much like the iPhone XR. However, we cannot know for certain till Apple takes the wraps off the cellphone subsequent 12 months.

Learn extra: iPhone SE 3 rumors: Apple’s next affordable phone could be the iPhone SE Plus

At $399 (£419, AU$749), the 2020 iPhone SE stays an reasonably priced entry into the world of iPhones and iOS. However the iPhone 11 has not too long ago seen a big worth reduce to $499, whereas the more moderen iPhone 13 Mini is available in at $729 (£699, AU$1,199). That is earlier than we even think about the plethora of reasonably priced rivals operating Android. So is the iPhone SE 2020 nonetheless value your time? 

Let’s have a look.

What’s the iPhone SE 2020?

It is Apple’s try at offering an reasonably priced iPhone choice, with extra cut-down specs than the opposite telephones launched in 2020 however with a a lot cheaper price. These specs embody a 4.7-inch show, an Apple A13 processor and a single 12-megapixel rear digicam. Storage begins at 64GB, it helps Qi wi-fi charging and there isn’t any 5G. 


The iPhone SE 2020 is by far the most cost effective iPhone you should purchase straight from Apple.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

iPhone SE’s $399 price ticket

At $399 the iPhone SE is the most cost effective new iPhone it is attainable to purchase so should you’re merely trying on the lowest value, that is the way in which to go. Whereas Apple did attempt to make its iPhone 13 vary extra reasonably priced, even the most cost effective iPhone 13 Mini begins at $699, a big worth enhance over the SE. 

The following least expensive iPhone you will get is the iPhone 11. It was launched again in 2019, however you possibly can nonetheless purchase a brand new one on the Apple retailer. It makes use of the older A13 Bionic processor, additionally begins with 64GB of storage, additionally has wi-fi charging however does provide a wonderful twin rear digicam. You additionally get a a lot larger display with the iPhone 11; 6.1 inches versus the iPhone SE’s 4.7 inches. 


Angela Lang/CNET

Apple solely gave the iPhone SE one digicam

Whereas most telephones launched final 12 months tended to have a number of cameras on the again, the iPhone SE saved its prices down with simply the one. It is prone to be one of many largest compromises you might have to make, significantly should you get pleasure from taking photographs together with your cellphone. 

Whereas the one digicam can take some nice photographs — comfortably rivaling the iPhone 11 — it lacks the flexibleness and artistic potential of cameras with a number of lens choices. I really like utilizing the totally different lenses on the costlier iPhones. As a photographer, I would not wish to go with out these taking pictures choices, however they arrive at a further worth. The iPhone 11 packs a regular digicam and a further ultra-wide lens which is nice for capturing a large scene in entrance of you. For those who’re into your pictures, that additional hundred bucks for the iPhone 11 could be a savvy spend.

If multilens setups are essential however you do not wish to spend any greater than the SE’s worth, you may want to think about an Android cellphone. Which brings me neatly on to…


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

iOS vs. Android

Whereas the iPhone SE is the most cost effective iPhone you should purchase, it is on no account the most cost effective cellphone. Many Android manufacturers provide a lot cheaper handsets and normally include extra engaging specs, together with a number of lens rear cameras, larger shows, extra storage and even 5G connectivity. 

The OnePlus Nord N10, for instance, has a 6.4-inch show, 128GB of storage, a good-quality quadruple rear digicam and 5G for super-fast knowledge speeds. It may be picked up, SIM-free, from OnePlus for less than $300. For those who’re searching for the very best bang in your buck then you definately’ll normally discover higher specs for decrease costs with Android. 

The flip aspect of the argument is that Apple’s telephones are inclined to age higher, with even five-year outdated handsets capable of run the newest variations of iOS — full with safety patches to maintain them protected. Additionally they maintain their worth higher should you determine to promote your iPhone in a while.

Learn extra: How to buy a new iPhone or Android phone in 2021


Angela Lang/CNET

iPhone SE’s efficiency

The iPhone SE shares many bodily options and {hardware} specs with 2017’s iPhone 8, apart from the processor. The 2020 SE has Apple’s A13 Bionic chip; the identical {hardware} discovered within the costlier iPhone 11. And it exhibits, with benchmarks placing the 2020 SE leagues above the iPhone 8 and completely crushing the OnePlus Nord N10. 

It is nippy to make use of, and highly effective sufficient to deal with something you’d possible throw at it, together with most, if not all, of the most important video games to be discovered within the App Retailer. It could be a price range cellphone, however its processor energy means you are getting something however a price range expertise. This can even imply your cellphone will stay usable for longer, with the ability to deal with new variations of iOS as they arrive. 


Lexy Savvides/CNET

5G vs. 4G

The iPhone SE 2020 does not have 5G connectivity. Which means these thrilling potential obtain speeds you might need seen marketed might be out of attain with this cellphone. Certain, at its low worth which may not seem to be a giant deal now, however should you plan on protecting the cellphone for at the very least two or three years, you might properly really feel in a different way in a while. 

Some rumors suggest Apple might release a 5G version of the iPhone SE in its subsequent iteration, however that won’t occur till subsequent 12 months. And it is attainable the iPhone SE 3 will include an even bigger price ticket if it does embody 5G.

So your choice right here is whether or not or not you positively need 5G in your life. For those who do, you may have to look elsewhere (or await the up to date iPhone SE). That may imply Android telephones if you cannot stretch your price range to the iPhone 12 vary, which does have 5G.

https://www.cnet.com/tech/cellular/iphone-se-does-it-still-make-sense-to-buy-apples-most-affordable-iphone/ | iPhone SE: Does it nonetheless make sense to purchase Apple’s most reasonably priced iPhone?


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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