Apple's new iPhone SE is a $399 iPhone 8 with the latest chipset and a better camera

Vlad, 15 April 2020

Apple has just unveiled the new iPhone SE, sticking with the rumored date, even if there was no flashy event - just a press release.

Despite what its name might have you believe, the new iPhone SE is more of a refresh of the iPhone 8 than of the original SE. You can think of it as an iPhone 8 with the latest chipset and a better camera. Oh, there are new colors too, but that's about it.

Apple's new iPhone SE is a $399 iPhone 8 with the latest chipset and a better camera

The new iPhone SE has the iPhone 8's 4.7-inch "Retina HD" screen with True Tone and support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 playback. This is surrounded by large bezels, and below there's a sapphire crystal covered capacitive Touch ID fingerprint sensor like in the iPhone 8. It's powered by the A13 SoC, just like the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

Its camera has benefited from the new chipset too. The single 12 MP f/1.8 shooter on the back, features improved Smart HDR photography thanks to the raw power inside that chip. For portrait shots, in lieu of a secondary camera, Apple has gone with something called "monocular depth sensing", which uses machine learning to detect depth and faces. We'll have to see how this compares to the first three Google Pixel generations, in terms of quality of portrait mode shots from one lens.

Apple's new iPhone SE is a $399 iPhone 8 with the latest chipset and a better camera

The camera has "cinematic" video stabilization - and you can record up to 4K at 60fps, with stereo audio. The front-facing selfie cam is still a 7 MP unit, and this has some portrait mode effects too.

Otherwise, this is an iPhone 8, it even ships with the same measly 5W charger in the box. However, the new iPhone SE does support 18W charging, you just need to buy another adapter (or use a beefier one you may have around the house). If you have such an 18W adapter, expect the battery to charge from 0 to 50% in about 30 minutes.

The iPhone SE (2020) - which is what we're calling it for sanity's sake - also supports fast wireless charging, Wi-Fi 6, LTE-A, and dual SIMs, although the second one is eSIM.

Gone is the 3D Touch tech, now replaced with Haptic Touch. It has an IP67 water and dust resistance rating, meaning it can be submerged in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.

Apple's new iPhone SE is a $399 iPhone 8 with the latest chipset and a better camera

The new iPhone SE has grown a lot in size compared to the original SE model, but then again phones have been doing that left and right for the past few years. So it may just qualify as a 'compact' device in this day and age, depending on what your exact definition of that may be.

The 2020 iPhone SE in black, white, and red goes on pre-order this Friday, on April 17, and will start shipping on April 24. In the US, you can get one for $399 with 64GB of storage. So, price-wise at least, it does fit its chosen name. If you need 128GB, you'll have to pay $449, while the 256GB model is $549.

With a qualifying trade-in you can pay just $229 for a brand-new iPhone SE (2020), and Apple offers installments too, starting at $9.54 per month.

Across the pond, the iPhone SE starts at €479 and £419, respectively.


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Reader comments

  • MidKnight

You're very correct. I would rather get an 8 plus rather than this

First of all, anybody buying this phone isn't gonna care about the "screen resolution", "inferior LCD", "non expandable storage", "no fast charger in the box", etc. The only people that care about these specs are people like you and me, which probab...

  • Anonymous

iOS is the most outdated operating system in the world. No wonder they are limited to less than 10% in marketshare. No one wants to use a handicapped OS.

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