Apple surprised many tech reviewers and enthusiasts upon their release of the iPhone SE 2020 last April. The device was built for one purpose: to provide an iPhone at a lower cost. In a way, this could be thought of as another Apple mid-range phone aside from the now-discontinued iPhone SE, and their entry in the saturated 2020 mid-range smartphone space.
The iPhone SE 2020 is the brand's most affordable iPhone and retails starting at $399. It looks familiar to the iPhone 8, and on the outside, it basically is the 8, but with upgraded internals to keep up with the ever-advancing computing demands.
What You Need To Know About The iPhone SE
Few people thought "Apple" and "budget" would be mentioned together in a sentence, but the iPhone SE proves it can be done. It also serves as a testament that Apple can dip their toes in the budget cost segment; it's only a matter of whether they want to. What do you need to know about Apple's newest iPhone?
The design of the 2020 iPhone SE shares many similarities to the iPhone 8. The 4.7-inch Retina LCD has thick bezels on the top and bottom. The upper bezel houses the front camera, Face ID sensors, and the earpiece speaker. The bottom bezel has the home button, which also acts as the Touch ID, Apple's trademarked term for a fingerprint scanner.
The new iPhone SE also has the same all-glass body of the 8 held together by a band of aluminum with small lines indicating the antennas. The back panel has a single 12-MP camera, an LED flash, and a microphone. On the left side of the phone lies the volume rockers and the switch to instantly mute your phone. The right side has the sleep/wake power button and a dual-sim tray. The bottom has the speakers and the Lightning port. There is no headphone jack here, so there is a need to purchase wireless earbuds or Lightning earphones.
The 2020 iPhone SE is also IP 67-certified for water and dust resistance, meaning that it is dust-proof, and can withstand a meter of water for up to thirty minutes.
Apple's iPhone comes in three colors, black, white, and red, with the proceeds from the red color redirected and donated to COVID-19 response efforts.
The iPhone SE 2020 is Apple's smallest phone in its current lineup but is still larger than the old iPhone SE. If you are an Apple fan and want a more compact iPhone or a fan of small phones in general, then the new iPhone SE may just be right up your alley.
The iPhone SE 2020 sports the same display as the iPhone 8, a Liquid Retina display with a 1334 x 750 resolution. Now that may seem a tad bit small, especially compared to today's huge phones, but it is a perfectly capable screen in itself with accurate colors and just the right outdoor brightness. The screen also supports ambient light detection through True Tone and a press and hold feature with physical feedback through Apple's proprietary Haptic Touch.
Internally is where the iPhone SE 2020 separates itself from the first iPhone SE. It is equipped with the A13 Bionic chip similarly found in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Apple dubbed the processor as the fastest chip ever in a smartphone. You cannot deny that the A13 is much speedier than the A11 found in iPhone 8.
Because of this chipset upgrade, the rear camera gets a slight upgrade as well, positive because of the improved computational power of the A13 over the A11, even if the hardware is the same.
Apple does not release the battery sizes of their phones, but the iPhone SE 2020 battery is measured at 1,821 mAh capacity, about the same as the iPhone 8. However, many test results had the SE 2020 as having a longer battery life, partly due to the new chipset's upgraded power efficiency.
The device ships out of the box with Apple's standard 5W charger, but the phone supports 18W charging. The catch is that you have to buy a separate Apple adapter. The phone is also capable of charging wirelessly with any 5 to 7.5W Qi-wireless charger.
The iPhone SE 2020 only has a single back camera similar to the 8. With upgrades brought about by the upgraded chipset and some improvements in Apple technology, the camera has a slight edge over the latter. Apple stated that it is the best single-camera system ever on an iPhone.
The phone, despite having only one camera, has a portrait mode afforded by the upgraded image signal processor and Neural Engine of the A13 chip. The SE can also shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second and can also take slo-mo and time-lapse videos.What Is Different About The New iPhone SE?
The budget iPhone is not entirely a new concept from Apple. The original iPhone SE, which was effectively an iPhone 6s chipset inside an iPhone 5s body, also started to retail at $399.
And just like the former generation SE, the 2020 iPhone SE follows the same style: put the flagship processor inside an old model's body to save costs and to allow them to price the unit more aggressively.
If you are an Apple user and have experience with the iPhone 8, then the iPhone SE may look familiar. The iPhone SE is designed and engineered exactly as the iPhone 8. This is a contributing reason for the inexpensive phone.
The 4.7-inch screen with large top and bottom bezels, the single 12-MP camera lens, the 7-MP front-facing camera, the Touch ID sensor, and IP-67 rating for water protection, are all shared hardware similarities with the iPhone 8.
...But Feels New
The main difference between iPhone 8 and SE 2020 is that the latter comes with an upgraded chipset, including the blisteringly fast A13 Bionic chipset similarly found in the company's flagship offering in the iPhone 11 line. There are also minute camera improvements under the hood.
Overall, the iPhone SE 2020 will feel smoother, snappier, and better than the iPhone 8. There are no expected hiccups on even the most demanding tasks because the flagship chipset, combined with the smaller screen, results in less computational effort from the already powerful A13 processor.
The iPhone SE 2020 is one of the best small form factor phones out there, and seeing that it is apple, you can be sure that this phone is future-proofed, and will receive timely system updates for three to five years down the line.
What Should First-Time iPhone Users Know About the new iPhone SE?
If you were a previous Android user and are thinking of switching to Apple, this is the perfect time. With the recent iPhone SE, the company has a budget offering on par with many of the best mid-range Android phones, at least when it comes to processing power and photography.
First-time iPhone users should take note of these things about the new iPhone SE.
It Is Small
If you are from the Android space, you are used to bigger phones, some even bordering on the oversized. While these have advantages such as a better viewing experience and more screen to work with, it is sometimes too large, bulky, and heavy for your tastes.
The iPhone SE 2020, with its 4.7-inch screen, is compact and lightweight. Yes, the overall design looks dated due to the large top and bottom bezels, but for the people who like the small form factor, the Apple ecosystem, or just on the hunt for a budget phone in general, then the latest SE hits the spot.
If you are on the hunt for a top-end phone without the limitations of a smaller screen or battery size, then the iPhone 11 line and its casings are your best bet.
It Will Last For A Long Time
If you take care of the phone, the iPhone SE 2020 will last you a long time, the same as other Apple phones. This is because Apple pushes constant iOS updates for several years, even up to the older models. This helps keep the phone modern and secure enough, even if the hardware and design are outdated.
The iOS updates also bring constant software improvements to the table. If the continuing software support is what you are looking for, then Apple and iOS have that in spades.
It Supports Wireless Charging
Apple's new iPhone SE supports wireless charging for up to 7.5W. You just need the device and a Qi Wireless charger. For those who find cables a hassle, Apple's new iPhone gives you this option to charge the phone.
No Headphone Jack
Nowadays, many smartphone devices are cutting costs, and one of the components they are opting to remove is the headphone jack. Apple, with its recent devices and including the latest iPhone SE, also cut ties with the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Instead, you have to purchase Apple's proprietary earphones with a lightning connector separately, or their wireless earphones, called Airpods, that need a separate casing for storage and charging.
How Similar Are The External Designs Of The Last Model and the New iPhone SE?
The original iPhone SE was based on the iPhone 5s, and the new Apple iPhone SE is patterned from the iPhone 8. This alone will tell you that the original iPhone SE and the new generation iPhone SE don't have much in common.
Old SE vs. New SE
(Source: Gadgets 360)
The two phones are practically worlds apart, so much has changed within four years from the release of Apple's past generation iPhone in 2016.
The 2016 iPhone SE has one thing that sets it apart from others upon launch: its compact 4-inch screen. The 2020 iPhone SE, while a little bit bigger at 4.7 inches, is still smaller compared to today's standards. If a small screen is what you want, then the latest Apple device covers that.
Colors are quite different too. The first Apple iPhone SE has more color options to choose from, in space gray, silver, gold, and rose gold. Today's iPhone SE comes in black, white, and red. The first generation had livelier color options.
The front cam is better on the new SE at 7 megapixels, as compared to the old SE, which stands at a laughable 1.2 megapixels in today's standards.
Battery life is also slightly longer on the new SE than the old one. However, know that the new iPhone does not have stellar battery life in the least. Most old apple devices are like this, and as it is patterned from the iPhone 8, expect the battery life to be roughly the same as that device.
The two have similarities as well. Both the old and new SE have a home button, and both have the same 12-MP back camera. The new SE has an edge in the photography department because its A13 chipset is much better than the A9 one in the first generation SE.
The Apple iPhone SE 2020 shares little externally with the old generation SE, and if you want a case, one from the iPhone 8 or one specially created for the new Apple iPhone SE would be the most fitting choice.
What Cases Should You Buy for Your New iPhone SE?
If you want to protect your phone, then a case is mandatory. Most people put cases over their phones to provide protection and protect from dust and fingerprint smudging at the back of the phone.
There are a lot of phone cases you can purchase. Catalyst cases are the ideal solution if you want a durable, lightweight, and slim case, at a reasonable cost.
Among their offerings, the Impact Protection Case for the iPhone SE stands among the rest as the highest quality casing for this iPhone. Their 29-gram cases are thin but rugged and can stand a fall from up to 3 meters (9.9 feet).
The raised side bezels protect the screen from cracking when falling, the dust ring protects your rear camera from dust and debris, and the clear back design still allows you to showcase off the colors of your phone.
The impact case also provides full functionality to ports, including the wireless charging coil on the back of the phone. The product also passes the military standards for durability, including drop proof, sand and dust resistance, and shock and pressure tests. On top of this great value are a one-year customer service warranty, four-color variants, and a perfectly reasonable price.
If you are on the hunt for a value case for your new generation iPhone SE, then the Catalyst Impact Protection Case will be your best bet.
Round it all up with waterproof backpacks or sleeves so that you can safely carry the iPhone’s accessories, the wireless and wired chargers, earphones, Airpods, and other Apple tech you own, anywhere you go.
The Apple iPhone SE 2020 is the brand's newest and cheapest offering, placing itself in the middle of the already saturated low-cost premium phone segment. This is the phone to buy when you want your device to last years on end with timely software updates but don't want to pay for a lot.
With really decent but not flagship-level performance and lower cost, this is one of the best iPhones Apple has ever made in recent times.