New iPhone SE 2020 vs. iPhone 11 Professional: Apple’s price range and flagship iPhones in contrast

New iPhone SE 2020 vs. iPhone 11 Professional: Apple’s price range and flagship iPhones in contrast

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, you could 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, if you’d like the top-of-the-range iPhone (and it matches inside your price range) you in all probability will not even think about the iPhone SE. However as I discovered 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 inexpensive 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 provides nice efficiency and a really succesful digicam for an entry-level value of $399. The battery will not final so long as the dearer cellphone, however Apple has made some good trade-offs to maintain the worth low.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2020) assessment.

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 probably the most sturdy iPhone you should buy and has three rear cameras that provide you with flexibility from ultrawide by way of to telephoto. There’s additionally the choice of bumping up the display screen measurement from 5.Eight inches to six.5 for those who 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 assessment.

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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 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 for those who’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 fabricated from chrome 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 take a look at and when utilizing it for the previous six months) and it hasn’t sustained any vital injury. 

Even so, I nonetheless advocate placing a case in your cellphone simply to be secure, as not all drops are created equal. We have not but carried out a sturdiness take a look at 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 ft.)

Each telephones additionally provide water resistance, though to barely totally different levels: the iPhone SE is rated IP67, which suggests it may possibly attain a most depth of 1 meter (Three ft) for as much as 30 minutes, whereas the iPhone 11 Professional is IP68, or Four meters (13 ft) for a similar time. However in my excessive water take a look at, I discovered the iPhone 11 Professional survived a lot deeper water than Apple claims, so I would not be stunned if the iPhone SE additionally outlived its score. Regardless, water injury isn’t lined below guarantee for both cellphone so do not go loopy making an attempt to check the bounds of your cellphone (go away that to me!).

Winner: The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Professional hits the dimensions candy spot for me, though the iPhone SE is less complicated 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 isn’t any query that the 11 Professional’s display screen seems beautiful 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 shiny, outside mild. To my eyes, watching a film appeared 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: House 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 cellphone. 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 off the bed — perhaps I look drastically totally different within the a.m., however I actually do not suppose I do. (It is also incompatible with face masks.) Switching to the iPhone SE and utilizing my fingerprint to unlock my cellphone 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 quite a bit on the SE in comparison with the virtually edge-to-edge display screen on the iPhone 11 Professional (though 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, large and 2x telephoto. The iPhone SE has a single, large 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 Good HDR to even out shadow and spotlight element. The iPhone 11 Professional produced photographs with better dynamic vary in difficult lighting situations, however on some photographs, it was laborious to inform them aside by way of colour and total processing. The iPhone 11 Professional has Apple’s Deep Fusion processing, which helps to provide sharper photographs in medium-lighting situations (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 trying on the identical 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 provides 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 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 largest distinction between these two cameras is evening mode — the iPhone 11 Professional has it whereas the iPhone SE doesn’t. Pictures from the 11 Professional look manner higher in low mild than these taken on the SE as evening 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 will additionally cowl video recording and the selfie cameras.

Winner: iPhone 11 Professional if you’d like totally different cameras and evening mode.

The A13 Bionic chip makes each iPhones blisteringly quick

It is no secret that these telephones share the identical processor and in consequence, I did not discover vital variations in efficiency when utilizing them each facet by facet. 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 true 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 take a look at. 

Apple would 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 cellphone. (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 bought 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 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: General efficiency appears like a tie, however the iPhone 11 Professional pulls forward for battery.

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