iPhone SE vs iPhone 11: how big is the difference?

Apple finally released the new iPhone SE 2020. We’d already predicted it a few times, but it was likely that the coronavirus was interfering with Apple’s plans. At first glance, it seems like a super good deal: the specifications of an iPhone 11 in the housing of an iPhone 8, for the nice price of 489 euros. But there are some snags. In this article we list where the second generation of the iPhone SE is identical to the iPhone 11, but also what you miss compared to the more expensive iPhone model.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 11: how big is the difference?

iPhone SE vs iPhone 11: Similarities


Let’s start with the similarities between the iPhone SE and iPhone 11. First, the heart of the two devices. In both powered by the A13 Bionic processor (with Neural Engine for artificial intelligence). The 12-megapixel camera used in the SE corresponds to the wide-angle lens from the iPhone 11. The SE even has support for portrait mode (photos with blurred background).

iPhone SE vs iPhone 11: chipset a13 bionic


In terms of connectivity to wireless networks, the SE has the latest iPhone 11features such as Ultra-fast Wifi 6, ultra-fast 4G, Bluetooth 5.0 and support for Express Cards (which are included in some countries already used for public transport). Finally, the screen technically used is the same. With both devices get an LCD screen with a contrast of 1400: 1 and the same screen brightness of 625 nits. Of course, the screen of the iPhone 11 is almost borderless and it has a higher resolution.

As you can see, there are quite a lot of similarities between the SE and iPhone 11. But there are also differences – even in places where you might not have expected them.

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iPhone SE 2020 vs. iPhone 11: What’s different?

iPhone SE vs iPhone 11: camera

Fewer camera lenses, no night mode, no slofies

Everyone sees that the iPhone SE has fewer camera lenses than the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Compared to the iPhone 11, you miss the ultra-wide-angle lens. Compared to the 11 Pro, you also miss the telephoto lens for zoom shots. It’s clear that the iPhone SE lacks a nice camera function than the iPhone 11. You cannot take photos in the night mode. Here, the camera software mimics a slow shutter shot and ensures super good shots in poor lighting conditions. Also the selfie camera of the SE is worse than the iPhone 11. The SE does not have a TrueDepth camera, so you can’t take Bokeh pictures or use Portrait Mode like when using the back camera. No 4K recording and can’t record slow-motion video.

No Face ID, no Ultra Wideband chip

It may seem obvious, but the missing TrueDepth camera prevents you from unlocking the iPhone SE via Face ID. So you must use the old trusted Touch ID fingerprint sensor. It sounds like a decline, but we think both ways of unlocking have advantages and disadvantages. We don’t even think Touch ID on the SE is a big flaw. In this way, we can at least easily unlock the phone when it is flat on our desk.

Another difference concerns the wireless capabilities of the iPhone SE. Earlier we said that the SE has the latest of the latest. That’s right, but Apple has left out one chip. The Ultra Wideband chip from the 11 and 11 Pro is not in the SE. This should make it possible to detect other wireless devices in the area at the centimeter-level. Right now, Apple only uses that chip for more precise directions where AirDrop devices are around. For the time being, we don’t think this is a big loss, but maybe that will change when Apple launches the AirTags. These reportedly use the same technique.

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iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone 11: the little things

Finally, there are a lot of small differences between the iPhones, but we do not think they are very important. For completeness, we would like to mention them here.

In terms of waterproofing, the iPhone SE differs a little bit from its more expensive brothers. The 11 Pro can be put in the water at four meters for half an hour, the iPhone 11 at two meters and the SE at one meter. In terms of sound, Apple is talking about the SE only supporting “stereo playback”, the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro have even more spacious “spatial audio playback”.

It is also important that the SE also has a smaller battery due to its smaller dimensions. According to Apple, the battery capacities is also slightly smaller than the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

Which one should you choose?

So there remains only one question: do you choose the iPhone SE or iPhone 11? As far as we’re concerned, the iPhone SE is a very good deal – on paper then, we don’t have it in real life yet. The price is excellent for what you get, and the features you miss compared to the 11 are manageable. Only the night mode for photos is completely gone, the rest we do not find a big problem. If you ask us, there is no good reason not to buy the iPhone SE.

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