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

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Professional: The selection between price range and flagship will not be 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. However it 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, chances are you’ll be questioning which one to decide on. I needed to check Apple’s flagship to the price range iPhone to see what distinction that $600 makes.

Realistically, in order for you the top-of-the-range iPhone (and it matches inside your price range) 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 couple of 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 might appear to be an older iPhone on the skin, do not be fooled. Paired with the identical A13 Bionic chip discovered on the iPhone 11 and 11 Professional, it presents nice efficiency and a really succesful digicam for an entry-level value of $399. The battery will not final so long as the costlier telephone, however Apple has made some good trade-offs to maintain the value low.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2020) overview.

Angela Lang/CNET

With a modern 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 way 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 high 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 total design because the iPhone 8. Which means 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 house button.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

The iPhone SE has an aluminum body, whereas the iPhone 11 Professional is fabricated from chrome steel. All of Apple’s telephones are coated 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 instances (each in our formal drop check and when utilizing it for the previous six months) and it hasn’t sustained any vital harm. 

Even so, I nonetheless advocate 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 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 could 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 harm will not be coated beneath guarantee for both telephone so do not go loopy attempting to check the boundaries 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 simpler for one-handed use.

The iPhone 11 Professional has that beautiful OLED show

The iPhone SE has an LCD liquid retina show, whereas the 11 Professional has an OLED Tremendous Retina XDR show. There is not any query that the 11 Professional’s display screen appears to be like beautiful because of 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 once I converted to the iPhone SE. Colours look correct and the display screen is simple to learn in shiny, out of doors gentle. To my eyes, watching a film appeared higher on the iPhone 11 Professional because of the display screen being bodily greater.

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

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

After utilizing the brand new iPhone SE for a number of weeks, I rely myself among the many many individuals preferring utilizing a fingerprint to unlock their telephone. Face ID is strong, however has limitations regardless of changing into extra responsive as time goes on. Contact ID simply works higher for me in numerous conditions. Face ID struggles to acknowledge me very first thing within the morning after I roll away from bed — perhaps I look drastically totally 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 screen actual property to accommodate the house button and I observed the bezels rather a lot 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 digicam).

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 digicam. However as I discovered when taking a look at pictures from each side-by-side, the distinction was not as dramatic as I used to be anticipating.

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

You possibly can see the distinction Deep Fusion makes when wanting on the similar photograph on the SE and 11 Professional at full magnification — see the photograph of the orchid under.


Check out the 100% crop (inset) displaying 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 presents higher flexibility when composing your pictures because of its ultrawide and telephoto lenses. I really like the ultrawide perspective and it is the most important factor I miss when utilizing the iPhone SE.

Additionally, that digicam 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 most important 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 approach 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 digicam 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 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 consequently, I did not discover vital variations in efficiency when utilizing them each aspect by aspect. I ran a couple of benchmarks on each telephones and the outcomes had 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 truth, the cheaper SE was a hair quicker in my anecdotal check. 

Apple does not disclose official battery capability for any of its telephones, however we do know the iPhone SE has the same battery to the iPhone 8. The iPhone 11 Professional, in the meantime, has a better 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 is not any query the battery life differs considerably in day-to-day use. The 11 Professional simply obtained me by way of a day, generally 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 digicam fairly a bit, I reached for the iPhone SE’s charger to have the ability to make it by way of 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 looks like a tie, however the iPhone 11 Professional pulls forward for battery.

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