iPhone SE vs. 8: This is why you should not purchase the 3-year-old telephone

In a bid to lure budget-minded iPhone followers, the iPhone SE debuted in April for $399 (£419, AU$749). The iPhone SE’s specs and appears are just like the iPhone 8 from three years in the past, which is probably going the rationale why Apple discontinued its 2017 iPhone when it introduced the iPhone SE.

Learn extra: iPhone SE 2020 is proof that Apple will not truly carry again the tiny telephone

When it first launched, the iPhone Eight value $699, however the worth lowered to $449 earlier than Apple pulled the plug on it. Nowadays, you may nonetheless get the telephone from third-party retailers, generally for even much less (You will get a brand new iPhone Eight on eBay, for instance, for $359). However for those who’re considering of shopping for the iPhone Eight over the iPhone SE 2020 at that worth, do not. The iPhone SE might share lots of the iPhone 8’s specs, however for $40 extra you may get extra mileage out of a telephone that is not going to be three years outdated out-of-the-box. (And if $399 is totally out of your finances, take into account buying for even cheaper telephones.)


Although it shares many key specs, the brand new iPhone SE nonetheless has just a few upgrades that make it higher than the iPhone 8. That features an A13 Bionic processor, dual-SIM capabilities and a handful of digicam upgrades. (Neither telephone has a headphone jack, in case you are questioning.) For those who’re in search of an reasonably priced new iPhone from a dependable retailer with up-to-date assist, the iPhone SE is your finest guess.

iPhone SE 2020.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have already got a well-functioning iPhone 8, there isn’t any cause to replace to a brand new iPhone SE for those who can assist it. However for those who’re tempted to purchase a brand new one, do not. Along with the iPhone SE 2020 upgrades you may be lacking out on (which I listed above), there’s the probability that software program updates from Apple and buyer assist from wherever you buy your iPhone Eight will not be as strong on a 3-year-old system than on a brand new one. Although it is troublesome to position a tangible financial worth on issues like dependable iOS updates, a strong return coverage and a presumably larger trade-in worth, it is value paying a bit extra for these options. (Talking of trade-ins, Apple is providing $170 off the iPhone SE for those who flip in your iPhone 8.)

Learn our Apple iPhone Eight overview.

For those who want extra causes, although, let’s stroll by each fashions and clarify why the iPhone SE is the smarter purchase.

Design: Each iPhones are almost similar, however…

In contrast to the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11, which look totally different even at a look, the iPhone SE and the iPhone Eight look comparatively the identical. Each have 4.7-inch Retina HD shows (a branding time period that Apple makes use of to distinguish its show know-how) with the identical decision and pixel density. In addition they have a bodily residence button that homes a fingerprint reader for unlocking the telephone and authorizing digital funds. Each are rated IP67 for water safety too. 


The brand new iPhone SE appears to be like so much just like the iPhone 8.

Angela Lang/CNET

However there are two minor variations concerning the telephones. One is that the iPhone Eight nonetheless has 3D Contact. The function debuted in 2015 within the iPhone 6S, permitting you to entry further menu choices and instructions by hard-pressing your finger in opposition to the display. Apple started to section out the function in 2018 with the iPhone XR and it is now absent from new iPhones. As a substitute, the corporate changed 3D Contact with Haptic Contact. Haptic Contact is on the iPhone SE and works comparatively the identical method, besides as an alternative of getting to press down more durable on the display, you may must merely long-press on the merchandise.

Second, the iPhone Eight is available in black, white and gold — however stock is restricted relying on the retailer so it’s possible you’ll discover even fewer choices. The iPhone SE, in the meantime, is accessible now and is available in black, white and purple.

Digital camera: iPhone SE has some hidden extras

The iPhone SE and iPhone Eight each have a 12-megapixel rear digicam and a 7-megapixel front-facing shooter, with the identical apertures on every (f/1.Eight and f/2.2, respectively). On the floor, it appears to be like as if there isn’t any distinction between the 2 telephones’ cameras, however Apple added some helpful digicam upgrades beneath the hood. These embrace:

  • Portrait Mode and Depth Management for taking and adjusting bokeh photographs
  • Sensible HDR, to enhance highlights and shadows
  • Purple-eye correction
  • Quicktake, which helps you to rapidly document video with out tapping out of Photograph mode
  • Video enhancements: Prolonged dynamic vary for 30fps; 3x digital zoom (the iPhone Eight has 2x); cinematic video stabilization for 4K video (the iPhone Eight has it solely as much as 1080p) and stereo recording
  • Entrance-facing digicam: Portrait mode and cinematic video stabilization as much as 1080p (the iPhone Eight has none)

Altogether, iPhone SE captures higher high quality photographs and video than the iPhone 8, and at occasions takes photographs equally corresponding to the iPhone 11. For extra on digicam high quality, make sure to learn CNET’s iPhone SE overview.

Processor, battery, dual-SIM and reminiscence

The iPhone SE is provided with Apple’s newest proprietary A13 Bionic chip, the identical one which’s contained in the iPhone 11 flagship. Once we ran processing efficiency speeds on 3DMark and Geekbench 5, the iPhone SE clocked in comparable outcomes with the iPhone 11, which is to say that the iPhone SE additionally carried out comparably — and at occasions higher than — the Galaxy S20Pixel 4 and the OnePlus Eight Professional. And in comparison with the iPhone 8, the iPhone SE’s outcome for 3DMark’s Ice Storm Limitless check was miles above the iPhone 8’s (97,415 in comparison with the iPhone 8’s 62,206 rating).

Apple's A13 processor in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max

Apple’s A13 processor.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Apple by no means discloses its iPhones’ battery capacities, so when it introduced the iPhone SE, all it stated was that it was the identical because the iPhone 8. It additionally listed similar wi-fi video and audio playback hours (13 hours and 40 hours, respectively) for each telephones. Nonetheless, once we ran our battery assessments for video playback on Airplane mode, the iPhone SE lasted longer than the iPhone Eight by almost two hours. (To be extra particular, the iPhone SE lasted about 15.5 hours, whereas the iPhone Eight lasted 13.5 hours.)

As well as, the iPhone SE has choices for a nano-SIM and an e-SIM, that means you may handle two telephone numbers on the identical telephone. Having dual-SIM capabilities is useful for those who journey so much and wish a telephone overseas, or you might have two telephones for private and enterprise use and wish to mix it in a single system. Lastly, whereas each telephones have a 64GB and 256GB reminiscence possibility, the brand new iPhone SE has a 3rd, 128GB mannequin. That capability is often thought of to be the “candy spot” so far as storage goes. That is as a result of 64GB will not be sufficient to carry all of your photographs and 4K movies, 256GB could also be too extravagant. 

iPhone SE 2020 vs. iPhone 8

Apple iPhone SE (2020) iPhone 8
Show dimension, decision 4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels 4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels
Pixel density 326ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.45×2.65×0.29 in 5.45×2.65×0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 138.4×67.3×7.Three mm 138.4×67.3×7.Three mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.22 oz; 148g 5.22 oz; 148g
Cell software program iOS 13 iOS 11 (can replace to iOS 13)
Digital camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Entrance-facing digicam 7-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K
Processor Apple A13 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB
RAM Not disclosed Not disclosed
Expandable storage No No
Battery Not disclosed Not disclosed
Fingerprint sensor Residence button Residence button
Connector Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No
Particular options Water-proof (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging Water-proof (IP67); wi-fi charging

Learn extra: The very best methods to promote or commerce in your outdated iPhone in 2020  

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