iPhone SE vs. iPhone Eight comparability: Which $400 iPhone must you get?

In a bid to lure budget-minded iPhone followers, Apple debuted its new iPhone SE for 2020 for $399 (£419, AU$749). The brand new iPhone SE’s specs and appears are much like the iPhone 8 from three years in the past, which is probably going the rationale why the tech firm introduced it will discontinue its 2017 flagship on the identical day. 

When it first debuted, the iPhone Eight value $699, however the value lowered to $449 earlier than Apple pulled the plug on it. Nowadays, you may nonetheless get the telephone from third-party retailers for even much less (Walmart, for instance, is promoting it new for $349 on Straight Speak). However if you happen to’re pondering of shopping for the iPhone Eight over the iPhone SE 2020 at that value, do not. The iPhone SE might share most of the iPhone 8’s specs, however for $50 extra you will get extra mileage out of a telephone that is not going to be three years previous out-of-the-box. (And if $399 is completely out of your funds, take into account procuring for even cheaper telephones.)

In the event you want extra causes, although, let’s stroll by way of each fashions and clarify why the iPhone SE is the smarter purchase.


Although it shares many key specs, the brand new iPhone SE nonetheless has a couple of 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.) In the event you’re searching for an inexpensive new iPhone from a dependable retailer with up-to-date assist, the iPhone SE is your greatest guess.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2020) evaluate.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have already got a well-functioning iPhone 8, there is no cause to replace to a brand new iPhone SE if you happen to will help it. However if you happen to’re tempted to purchase a brand new one, do not. Along with the iPhone SE 2020 upgrades you will 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 sturdy on a 3-year-old gadget than on a brand new one. Although it is tough to position a tangible financial worth on issues like dependable iOS updates, a strong return coverage and a presumably greater trade-in worth, it is price paying a bit extra for these options. (Talking of trade-ins, Apple is providing $170 off the iPhone SE if you happen to flip in your iPhone 8.)

Learn our Apple iPhone Eight evaluate.

Must get extra particular? Here is an in-depth walkthrough of how the 2 iPhones stack up.

Design: Each iPhones are practically similar, however…

In contrast to the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11, which look completely 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 phrases that Apple makes use of to distinguish its show know-how) with the identical decision and pixel density. Additionally they have a bodily house 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 loads 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 characteristic 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 part out the characteristic 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 a substitute of getting to press down more durable on the display, you will 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 offered 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 as if there is no distinction between the 2 telephones’ cameras, however Apple added some helpful digicam upgrades underneath the hood. These embody:

  • 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 shortly report video with out tapping out of Picture 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 instances takes photographs equally corresponding to the iPhone 11. For extra on digicam high quality, you should definitely learn CNET’s iPhone SE evaluate.

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 instances higher than — the Galaxy S20Pixel 4 and the OnePlus Eight Professional. And in comparison with the iPhone 8, the iPhone SE’s end result 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 mentioned 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, after we ran our battery exams for video playback on Airplane mode, the iPhone SE lasted longer than the iPhone Eight by practically 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, which means you may handle two telephone numbers on the identical telephone. Having dual-SIM capabilities is helpful if you happen to journey loads and wish a telephone overseas, or you could have two telephones for private and enterprise use and want to mix it in a single gadget. Lastly, whereas each telephones have a 64GB and 256GB reminiscence possibility, the brand new iPhone SE has a 3rd, 128GB mannequin. That capability is usually 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 measurement, 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
Cellular 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 Dwelling button Dwelling 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

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