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

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 on April 15 for $399 (£419, AU$749). It is a sequel to its 2016 iPhone of the identical identify. The brand new iPhone SE’s specs are just like the iPhone 8 from three years in the past, which is probably going the rationale why the tech firm introduced it might discontinue its 2017 flagship on the identical day. 

When it first debuted, the iPhone Eight price $699, however the worth lowered to $449 earlier than Apple pulled the plug on it. Today, you may nonetheless get the cellphone from third-party retailers for even much less (Walmart, for instance, is promoting it new for $349 on Straight Speak). However should you’re considering of shopping for the iPhone Eight over the iPhone SE 2020 at that worth, 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 cellphone that is not going to be three years previous out-of-the-box. (And if $399 is totally out of your finances, contemplate purchasing for even cheaper telephones.)

When you want extra causes although, let me stroll you thru 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 digital camera upgrades. (Neither cellphone has a headphone jack, in case you are questioning.) When you’re searching for an inexpensive new iPhone from a dependable retailer with up-to-date assist, the iPhone SE is your finest guess.

Learn the iPhone SE hands-on.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have already got a well-functioning iPhone 8, there is not any purpose to replace to a brand new iPhone SE should you will help it. However should you’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 might not be as sturdy on a 3-year-old machine than on a brand new one. Although it is troublesome to put a tangible financial worth on issues like dependable iOS updates, a sturdy return coverage and a probably increased trade-in worth, it is price paying a bit extra for these options.

Learn our Apple iPhone Eight overview.

Have to get extra particular? This is an in-depth walkthrough of how the 2 iPhones stack up.

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Design: Each iPhones are practically equivalent, 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 expertise) with the identical decision and pixel density. In addition they have a bodily house button that homes a fingerprint reader for unlocking the cellphone and authorizing digital funds. Each are rated IP67 for water safety too. 


Anticipate the brand new iPhone SE to look quite a bit just like the iPhone 8.

Sarah Tew/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 towards the display. Apple started to section 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 manner, 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 you could discover even fewer choices. The iPhone SE, in the meantime, is obtainable now and is available in black, white and pink.

Digital camera: iPhone SE has some hidden extras

The iPhone SE and iPhone Eight each have a 12-megapixel rear digital camera 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 not any distinction between the 2 telephones’ cameras, however Apple added some helpful digital camera upgrades below the hood. These embody:

  • Portrait Mode and Depth Management for taking and adjusting bokeh photographs
  • Sensible HDR, to enhance highlights and shadows
  • Crimson-eye correction
  • Quicktake, which helps you to shortly file 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 digital camera: Portrait mode and cinematic video stabilization as much as 1080p (the iPhone Eight has none)

Altogether, iPhone SE ought to seize notably higher high quality photographs and video than the iPhone 8. CNET hasn’t examined the iPhone SE’s digital camera but, however you may depend on a bunch of digital camera comparisons and evaluation as soon as we do. I am going to replace this comparability after I may give you extra particulars.

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. Whereas we’ve got to attend till we run benchmark checks on the iPhone SE, it’s greater than possible that it will carry out quicker and extra effectively than the iPhone Eight and its A11 Bionic processor from 2017.

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

Apple’s A13 processor.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

For what it is price, after we ran Geekbench 5 and 3DMark’s Slingshot Limitless on the iPhone 11 final 12 months, it carried out comparably — and at instances higher than — the Galaxy S20, Pixel 4 and the OnePlus Eight Professional. For 3DMark’s separate Ice Storm Limitless check, the iPhone Eight scored 62,206, whereas the iPhone 11 scored 97,199. Once more, we do not know concerning the iPhone SE’s efficiency but, however we must always anticipate comparable scores because the iPhone 11.

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 equivalent wi-fi video and audio playback hours (13 hours and 40 hours, respectively) for each telephones. Unofficial teardowns of the iPhone Eight revealed a 1,821-mAh battery and after we ran steady video playback on Airplane mode, the machine lasted 13.5 hours. Potential iPhone SE customers can anticipate comparable utilization instances.

As well as, the iPhone SE has choices for a nano-SIM and an e-SIM, which means you may handle two cellphone numbers on the identical cellphone. Having dual-SIM capabilities is helpful should you journey quite a bit and want a cellphone overseas, or you have got two telephones for private and enterprise use and want to mix it in a single machine. Lastly, whereas each telephones have a 64GB and 256GB reminiscence choice, 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 might 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
Cellular software program iOS 13 iOS 11 (can replace to iOS 13)
Digital camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Entrance-facing digital camera 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 Waterproof (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging Waterproof (IP67); wi-fi charging

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