iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Professional: The selection between finances and flagship will not be so apparent

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Professional: The selection between finances and flagship will not be so apparent

The iPhone 11 Professional is undoubtedly the king of Apple’s iPhone lineup due to its three rear cameras, all-day battery life and high-resolution OLED display. But it surely instructions a steep value, beginning at $999 (£1,049, AU$1,749). With so many new iPhones on the market, together with the $699 iPhone 11 and the $399 iPhone SE, you might be questioning which one to decide on. I wished to check Apple’s flagship to the finances iPhone to see what distinction that $600 makes.

Realistically, in order for you the top-of-the-range iPhone (and it suits inside your finances) you in all probability will not even contemplate the iPhone SE. However as I came upon after utilizing each the 11 Professional and SE for a number of weeks, I do not really feel like I missed out on all that a lot after I converted to the cheaper iPhone.

Learn extra: How the $399 iPhone SE compares to the $699 iPhone 11

Angela Lang/CNET

Whereas the iPhone SE could seem like an older iPhone on the surface, do not be fooled. Paired with the identical A13 Bionic chip discovered on the iPhone 11 and 11 Professional, it affords nice efficiency and a really succesful digital camera for an entry-level value of $399. The battery will not final so long as the dearer telephone, however Apple has made some good trade-offs to maintain the value low.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2020) evaluate.

Angela Lang/CNET

With a smooth stainless-steel chassis, nice battery life and a high-resolution OLED show, the iPhone 11 Professional actually does really feel deserving of the “Professional” label. It is probably the most strong iPhone you should buy and has three rear cameras that provide you with flexibility from ultrawide by to telephoto. There’s additionally the choice of bumping up the display dimension from 5.Eight inches to six.5 in case you select the iPhone 11 Professional Max, and also you additionally get a bigger 512GB storage possibility on the prime finish, whereas the iPhone SE faucets out at 256GB.

Learn our Apple iPhone 11 Professional evaluate.

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New iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone 11 Professional in contrast


iPhone SE is probably the most compact, whereas the 11 Professional is extraordinarily sturdy

With a 4.7-inch display, the iPhone SE shares the identical total design because the iPhone 8. Meaning the house button is again! Or, it by no means went away in case you’re upgrading from one thing just like the iPhone 6 or 7. The iPhone 11 Professional has a 5.8-inch display and sports activities the newer iPhone design and not using a residence button.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

The iPhone SE has an aluminum body, whereas the iPhone 11 Professional is made from stainless-steel. All of Apple’s telephones are lined in customized glass on the back and front, made by Corning, and Apple claims the iPhone 11 Professional has probably the most sturdy glass of all. I’ve dropped the iPhone 11 Professional numerous instances (each in our formal drop check and when utilizing it for the previous six months) and it hasn’t sustained any vital injury. 

Even so, I nonetheless suggest placing a case in your telephone simply to be secure, as not all drops are created equal. We have not but carried out a sturdiness check on the iPhone SE, however would count on it to carry out equally to the iPhone 8 given it is the identical design. (The iPhone Eight suffered a cracked display when it was dropped from 5 toes.)

Each telephones additionally supply water resistance, though to barely completely different levels: the iPhone SE is rated IP67, which implies it may well attain a most depth of 1 meter (Three toes) for as much as 30 minutes, whereas the iPhone 11 Professional is IP68, or Four meters (13 toes) for a similar time. However in my excessive water check, I discovered the iPhone 11 Professional survived a lot deeper water than Apple claims, so I would not be shocked if the iPhone SE additionally outlived its ranking. Regardless, water injury will not be lined beneath guarantee for both telephone so do not go loopy attempting to check the bounds of your telephone (go away that to me!).

Winner: The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Professional hits the scale candy spot for me, despite the fact that the iPhone SE is simpler for one-handed use.

The iPhone 11 Professional has that attractive OLED show

The iPhone SE has an LCD liquid retina show, whereas the 11 Professional has an OLED Tremendous Retina XDR show. There isn’t any query that the 11 Professional’s display seems attractive due to a distinction ratio of two,000,000:1 and HDR assist. Its OLED tech is ready to produce deeper black ranges than the LCD on the iPhone SE.

That stated, I wasn’t disillusioned after I converted to the iPhone SE. Colours look correct and the display is simple to learn in brilliant, outside gentle. To my eyes, watching a film regarded higher on the iPhone 11 Professional due to the display being bodily larger.

Winner: It is arduous to compete with the iPhone 11 Professional’s OLED show.

Contact ID vs. Face ID: Residence button or facial recognition?

After utilizing the brand new iPhone SE for a number of weeks, I depend myself among the many many individuals preferring utilizing a fingerprint to unlock their telephone. Face ID is stable, however has limitations regardless of turning into extra responsive as time goes on. Contact ID simply works higher for me in lots of conditions. Face ID struggles to acknowledge me very first thing within the morning after I roll away from bed — perhaps I look drastically completely different within the a.m., however I truthfully do not suppose I do. (It is also incompatible with face masks.) Switching to the iPhone SE and utilizing my fingerprint to unlock my telephone at all times works.

On the iPhone SE, you do sacrifice display actual property to accommodate the house button and I seen the bezels loads on the SE in comparison with the virtually edge-to-edge display on the iPhone 11 Professional (despite the fact that there is a notch for the TrueDepth digital camera).

Winner: iPhone SE for seamless Contact ID.

The iPhone 11 Professional has three rear cameras, however do you want them?

There are three rear cameras on the iPhone 11 Professional: ultrawide-angle, broad and 2x telephoto. The iPhone SE has a single, broad rear digital camera. However as I discovered when taking a look at images from each side-by-side, the distinction was not as dramatic as I used to be anticipating.

The principle cameras on each telephones use Sensible HDR to even out shadow and spotlight element. The iPhone 11 Professional produced photos with larger dynamic vary in difficult lighting circumstances, however on some pictures, it was arduous to inform them aside by way of shade and total processing. The iPhone 11 Professional has Apple’s Deep Fusion processing, which helps to supply sharper pictures in medium-lighting circumstances (suppose indoors). Learn extra on how Deep Fusion works in my colleague Patrick Holland’s nice explainer.

You may see the distinction Deep Fusion makes when trying on the identical picture on the SE and 11 Professional at full magnification — see the picture of the orchid beneath.


Check out the 100% crop (inset) exhibiting the impact of Deep Fusion on the iPhone 11 Professional in comparison with the iPhone SE, which has no Deep Fusion.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Naturally, the iPhone 11 Professional affords larger flexibility when composing your pictures due to its ultrawide and telephoto lenses. I like the ultrawide perspective and it is the largest factor I miss when utilizing the iPhone SE.

Additionally, that digital camera on the iPhone 11 Professional means you get extra flexibility with selfies, like making Animoji and Memoji that mimic your facial expressions, and filming in 4K.

The largest distinction between these two cameras is night time mode — the iPhone 11 Professional has it whereas the iPhone SE doesn’t. Photographs from the 11 Professional look manner higher in low gentle than these taken on the SE as night time mode helps illuminate the scene and ship a clearer, brighter shot. Keep tuned for my full digital camera comparability between these two telephones coming quickly, the place I am going to additionally cowl video recording and the selfie cameras.

Winner: iPhone 11 Professional in order for you completely different cameras and night time mode.

The A13 Bionic chip makes each iPhones blisteringly quick

It is no secret that these telephones share the identical processor and because of this, I did not discover vital variations in efficiency when utilizing them each aspect by aspect. I ran a number of benchmarks on each telephones and the outcomes have been shut, with the 11 Professional pulling forward for multicore efficiency on Geekbench.

In the actual world, each loaded apps quick and did not have any noticeable lag when trimming down a 4K video. Actually, the cheaper SE was a hair sooner in my anecdotal check. 

Apple does not disclose official battery capability for any of its telephones, however we do know the iPhone SE has an identical battery to the iPhone 8. The iPhone 11 Professional, in the meantime, has the next capability battery than the cheaper telephone. (Unofficial third-party teardowns revealed the 11 Professional has a 3,046mAh battery and the 11 Professional Max 3,969mAh.)


Angela Lang/CNET

There isn’t any query the battery life differs considerably in day-to-day use. The 11 Professional simply obtained me by a day, typically to a day and a half of pretty heavy use whereas the iPhone SE lasted a full day with lighter use. If I used to be watching video or utilizing the digital camera fairly a bit, I reached for the iPhone SE’s charger to have the ability to make it by a complete day. Each telephones additionally assist wi-fi charging and quick charging, however solely the iPhone 11 Professional ships with an 18-watt quick charger within the field.

Winner: General efficiency appears like a tie, however the iPhone 11 Professional pulls forward for battery.

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