iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Professional: The selection between funds and flagship just isn’t so apparent

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Professional: The selection between funds and flagship just isn’t so apparent

The iPhone 11 Professional is undoubtedly the king of Apple’s iPhone lineup because of its three rear cameras, all-day battery life and high-resolution OLED display screen. But it surely instructions a steep worth, 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 needed to match Apple’s flagship to the funds iPhone to see what distinction that $600 makes.

Realistically, if you’d like the top-of-the-range iPhone (and it matches inside your funds) you most likely will not even think about the iPhone SE. However as I discovered after utilizing each the 11 Professional and SE for just a few weeks, I do not really feel like I missed out on all that a lot once 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 gives nice efficiency and a really succesful digital camera for an entry-level worth of $399. The battery will not final so long as the costlier telephone, however Apple has made some good trade-offs to maintain the worth low.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2020) overview.

Angela Lang/CNET

With a glossy 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 essentially the most strong iPhone you should purchase and has three rear cameras that offer you flexibility from ultrawide by means of to telephoto. There’s additionally the choice of bumping up the display screen dimension from 5.Eight inches to six.5 if you happen to select the iPhone 11 Professional Max, and also you additionally get a bigger 512GB storage choice on the prime finish, whereas the iPhone SE faucets out at 256GB.

Learn our Apple iPhone 11 Professional overview.

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


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

With a 4.7-inch display screen, the iPhone SE shares the identical general design because the iPhone 8. Meaning the house button is again! Or, it by no means went away if you happen to’re upgrading from one thing just like the iPhone 6 or 7. The iPhone 11 Professional has a 5.8-inch display screen and sports activities the newer iPhone design with no 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 essentially the most sturdy glass of all. I’ve dropped the iPhone 11 Professional numerous occasions (each in our formal drop check and when utilizing it for the previous six months) and it hasn’t sustained any important injury. 

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

Each telephones additionally provide water resistance, though to barely totally different levels: the iPhone SE is rated IP67, which suggests it will probably 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 just isn’t lined beneath guarantee for both telephone so do not go loopy making an attempt to check the bounds of your telephone (depart that to me!).

Winner: The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Professional hits the scale candy spot for me, regardless that the iPhone SE is less complicated 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 screen appears to be like attractive because of a distinction ratio of two,000,000:1 and HDR help. Its OLED tech is ready to produce deeper black ranges than the LCD on the iPhone SE.

That mentioned, I wasn’t dissatisfied once I converted to the iPhone SE. Colours look correct and the display screen is simple to learn in vivid, out of doors gentle. To my eyes, watching a film regarded higher on the iPhone 11 Professional because of the display screen being bodily greater.

Winner: It is laborious 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 changing into extra responsive as time goes on. Contact ID simply works higher for me in a variety of conditions. Face ID struggles to acknowledge me very first thing within the morning after I roll off the bed — possibly I look drastically totally different within the a.m., however I actually do not assume I do. (It is also incompatible with face masks.) Switching to the iPhone SE and utilizing my fingerprint to unlock my telephone all the time works.

On the iPhone SE, you do sacrifice display screen actual property to accommodate the house button and I seen the bezels lots on the SE in comparison with the virtually edge-to-edge display screen on the iPhone 11 Professional (regardless 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, extensive and 2x telephoto. The iPhone SE has a single, extensive rear digital camera. However as I discovered when taking a look at photographs from each side-by-side, the distinction was not as dramatic as I used to be anticipating.

The primary cameras on each telephones use Good HDR to even out shadow and spotlight element. The iPhone 11 Professional produced pictures with better dynamic vary in difficult lighting circumstances, however on some photographs, it was laborious to inform them aside by way of shade and general processing. The iPhone 11 Professional has Apple’s Deep Fusion processing, which helps to supply sharper photographs in medium-lighting circumstances (assume 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 similar photograph on the SE and 11 Professional at full magnification — see the photograph 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 gives better flexibility when composing your photographs because of its ultrawide and telephoto lenses. I like the ultrawide perspective and it is the most important 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. Images from the 11 Professional look means 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 will additionally cowl video recording and the selfie cameras.

Winner: iPhone 11 Professional if you’d like totally 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 important variations in efficiency when utilizing them each aspect by aspect. I ran just a few 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. In actual fact, 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 acquired me by means of 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 means of a whole day. Each telephones additionally help wi-fi charging and quick charging, however solely the iPhone 11 Professional ships with an 18-watt quick charger within the field.

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

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