When evaluating telephones, you typically need them to be in the identical league. Today which may imply there’s just a few hundred separating the fashions—just like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Professional, or the Galaxy S20+ and the OnePlus Eight Professional—however it’s mainly a waste of time to pit the $1,400 Galaxy S20 Extremely in opposition to the $400 Galaxy A51.
Replace 5//23: Added new assessments to the Battery and Charging part.
However Apple’s new iPhone SE is a horse of a special coloration. Sure, it’s Apple’s price range cellphone and prices greater than a thousand lower than the highest-end Galaxy S20, however it additionally has a bunch of Apple’s newest tech. And, you already know, it’s an iPhone.
I did the unthinkable and in contrast it to the three of the highest Android telephones out there at present: Galaxy S20 Extremely ($1,400), Google Pixel four ($900) and OnePlus 7T ($600). Add all of it up and also you’ve obtained $Three,000 in Android telephones in opposition to one lowly $399 iPhone. However what ought to have been a ridiculously one-sided battle was surprisingly shut.
iPhone SE vs Android: Design
The iPhone SE appears to be like and seems like an older cellphone. Just like the iPhone 8, the SE is extraordinarily much like the launched with the iPhone 6 in 2014 and you’ll really feel each little bit of its six-year-old design. The display is small, the bezels are monstrous, and the house button is bodily. It’s been a very long time since an Android cellphone of any reputation had a house button, and the SE appears to be like and feels downright antiquated compared to the opposite telephones right here.
I’m not going to debate the designs of the opposite telephones, however I’ll say this: Regardless of its historical appears to be like, the iPhone SE is an especially enticing cellphone with a stable construct high quality and retro appeal. Even Apple’s previous designs are higher than a few of at present’s Android telephones, and the glass again, aluminum sides, and punctiliously curved chamfers are satisfyingly symmetrical and ergonomically nice. The S20 and 7T are undoubtedly a step forward within the appears to be like division—the Pixel four is a toss-up—however for a cellphone that hasn’t been in fashion for years, the SE actually isn’t so dangerous.
Granted, its not a cellphone for everybody, however those that like or can get previous its outdated House button will recognize is craftsmanship. The graceful glass again and polished aluminum edges bely its $399 price ticket, and the entire bundle seems like a premium handset. Its bezels are means too massive to compete with the opposite telephones right here, however there’s a sure appeal to the iPhone SE—and it’s good to not have to fret about palm rejection. There’s additionally one thing to be stated for a cellphone that matches in any pocket.
iPhone SE vs Android: Show
Proper off the bat, the iPhone SE is at an obstacle. Whereas the Android telephones right here all have high-refresh-rate OLED shows, the iPhone SE makes use of an LCD display that pales compared to the opposite telephones right here:
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 6.9-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED, 120Hz, 3200×1440, 511 ppi
Pixel four XL: 6.Three-inch Quad HD+ P-OLED, 90Hz, 3040×1440, 537ppi
OnePlus 7T: 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED, 90Hz, 2400×1080, 402ppi
iPhone SE: four.7-inch HD IPS LCD, 60Hz, 1334×750, 326 ppi
Apple labels the iPhone SE a Retina HD show somewhat than Liquid Retina, however it’s basically the identical show because the iPhone 11 with sq. corners as a substitute of rounded ones. However for an LCD that’s already a number of years previous, the iPhone SE’s display is surprisingly good. Textual content is crisp and it’s very vivid, rivaling the height handbook brightness I used to be in a position to obtain on the opposite shows utilizing the identical all-white picture.
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 610 nits
Pixel four XL: 745 nits
OnePlus 7T: 870 nits
iPhone SE: 740 nits
Nevertheless, with adaptive brightness turned on and a direct supply of vivid gentle utilized, the outcomes had been dramatically totally different.
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 1275 nits
Pixel four XL: 1075 nits
OnePlus 7T: 1275 nits
iPhone SE: 840 nits
With adaptive brightness turned on, the OLED shows can leverage superior algorithms and better distinction ratio to ship fuller colours and spectacular brightness. And so they’re far superior on the decrease finish too, with extremely deep blacks that put the SE’s LCS to disgrace.
Then there’s the problem of dimension. The iPhone SE isn’t simply small for 2020, it appears to be like comically small in comparison with the Galaxy S20 Extremely and is greater than an inch and a half smaller than the typical Android flagship. Even the 5.Eight-inch display on the iPhone 11 Professional appears to be like monstrous by comparability, and movies and web sites really feel very cramped by comparability. With Apple rumored to be switching to an all-OLED lineup for the iPhone 12, the SE’s LCD goes to rapidly change into out of date, however all in all it’s a good show.
iPhone SE vs Android: Efficiency
Fairly frankly, the iPhone SE wouldn’t be value its salt (or evaluating to the telephones right here) if not for its processor. Apple has put the iPhone 11 Professional’s A13 processor contained in the iPhone SE, making it one of many speediest telephones ever made and positively the quickest for lower than $400.
I picked the three telephones I did as a result of they symbolize the cream of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon crop. The S20 Extremely makes use of the 865, the most effective system-on-chip out there, the OnePlus 7T is powered by the Snapdragon 855+, and the Pixel four runs the Snapdragon 855. Merely put, you received’t discover a trio of sooner processors in any Android cellphone. However pitted in opposition to the lowly iPhone SE, the three telephones merely can’t stack up:
Geekbench 5 (CPU)
Galaxy S20 Extremely
Pixel four XL
Earlier than you ask, these outcomes are with the entire newest patches and updates put in and following recent restarts. I carried out them a number of instances and took the most effective outcomes. Briefly, there’s no contest. The iPhone SE not solely handles the most effective Android telephones, it handily beats telephones costing twice and thrice as a lot. And on the subject of graphics, the iPhone SE is a beast.
Geekbench 5 (Compute)
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 3085
Pixel four XL: 2149
OnePlus 7T: 2675
iPhone SE: 6413
That’s to not say any of the telephones listed below are sluggish. Removed from it. The Galaxy S20 Extremely and OnePlus 7T each have UFS Three.zero storage together with 12GB and 8GB of RAM, respectively, in comparison with the iPhone SE’s 3GB. The Pixel four, just like the iPhone SE, has the good thing about being engineered alongside the identical staff that makes the Android working system. However even with these benefits, the iPhone SE is mainly sooner in each means.
And when you had been to match the iPhone SE to a $399 Android cellphone, the outcomes could be lopsided to the purpose of being absurb. Don’t imagine me? Check out the Geekbench 5 scores for the Pixel 3a, which is extensively considered the most effective price range Android cellphone you should purchase:
And people are good numbers in comparison with the Exynos-powered Galaxy telephones in that value vary. However actually, even when the upcoming Pixel 4a had been to share the identical Snapdragon 855 processor because the Pixel four, the iPhone SE would nonetheless run circles round it. It is even obtained Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which you may solely discover on the S20 right here. Apple might have made sacrifices with the SE’s velocity with an A12 chip and even the A10 Fusion that powers the 9.7-inch iPad and nobody would have minded. As a substitute it delivered the quickest cellphone you should purchase at a ridiculously inexpensive value.
iPhone SE vs Android: Battery and charging
Granted, the Android telephones I checked out are a lot greater, so they’ll have greater batteries. Apple doesn’t expose the battery capability of its telephones, however by teardowns it’s been revealed that it has the identical 1,821mAh battery because the iPhone Eight. By any metric that’s extremely small, however it’s downright puny compares to the others right here.
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 5,000mAh
Pixel four XL: Three,700mAh
OnePlus 7T: Three,800mAh
It’s additionally small in comparison with Apple’s different choices. The iPhone XR has a 2,942 mAh battery, the iPhone 11 has a Three,110 mAh battery, the iPhone 11 Professional has a Three,046 mAh battery, and the iPhone 11 Professional Max has a Three,969 mAh battery. And on this case, dimension undoubtedly issues. The iPhone SE’s battery life is suitable in that it’ll in all probability get most individuals by a day of regular use, however it’s not going to blow anybody away. And when you plan on utilizing it do to a very good quantity of streaming or navigation, you’re going to need to have a charger close by.
In my testing, I performed a two-hour film on the brightest settings with automated brightness turned off after which the identical film with automated brightness turned on. Right here’s how a lot battery life every cellphone used:
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 23 p.c
Pixel four XL: 35 p.c
OnePlus 7T: 29 p.c
iPhone SE: 46 p.c
Even with far fewer pixels to push, you’ll must fill the SE up way more usually than the opposite telephones right here. When that point arrives, iPhone SE helps wi-fi charging, which is one thing of a rarity for a cellphone this low cost. (Working example: The OnePlus 7T and the newer OnePlus Eight don’t.) Charging speeds are acceptable however the SE continues to be the slowest of this bunch, topping out at 7.5W, half what the Galaxy S20 gives (15W) and slower than the Pixel four’s 11W max speeds.
For wired charging, the iPhone SE comes with a lame 5W adapter within the field, which is able to take a painfully lengthy two-plus hours to completely cost your iPhone SE. That’s positive when you’re plugging it in earlier than bedtime, however when you’re in search of a fast cost earlier than heading out for the evening, you’re going to need to plan forward.
The entire different telephones assist fast-charging out of the field they usually every destroy the SE’s out-of-the-box charging speeds. The OnePlus 7T can attain 30W, the S20 hits 25W, and the Pixel four will get 18W, however the distinction between them is fairly minimal, with all them filling up between 40-50 p.c of the battery in a half hour so long as you’re utilizing the charger and cable. In a good battle, the SE truly does OK.
That’s as a result of the iPhone SE does helps 18W quick charging. However you’ll want to purchase a charger able to 18-watt speeds and a USB-C-to-Lightning cable. You should purchase each at Apple.com for $48 however you’re higher off checking Amazon for a high-rated third-party possibility.
To maintain issues honest, I examined every cellphone utilizing a 65W GaN Aukey PD charger with the identical USB-C cable and an Apple USB-C-to-Lightning cable for the iPhone SE. The entire telephones had lower than 40 p.c energy to make sure that they charged as quick as attainable. Right here’s what I noticed utilizing an influence meter for 15 minutes of charging:
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 16% cost, 9V, 15W
OnePlus 7T: 13% cost, 5V, 10W
Pixel four XL: 24% cost, 9V, 19W
iPhone SE: 28% cost, 9V, 12W
Granted, the iPhone SE is graded on one thing of a curve since its battery is so small, however there’s no denying that these telephones love their proprietary charging programs. With a regular charger and cable, which many individuals will use, you’ll get stable charging speeds for all of those telephones, together with the iPhone SE, however nowhere close to the acknowledged claims that the OnePlus 7T and S20 boast.
iPhone SE vs Android: Biometrics
The iPhone SE is the one cellphone right here (and actually, anyplace) to make use of a bodily fingerprint scanner. I don’t suppose Apple is able to making a $399 iPhone with Face ID, so till the following iteration of the SE, this can be a positive tradeoff. The Pixel four makes use of 3D face unlock and it’s practically as quick as it’s on the iPhone 11. It’s barely much less handy than a fingerprint sensor in that you’ll want to be trying instantly at your cellphone, however it’s safer.
Even price range telephones have begun to undertake in-display fingerprint scanners just like the Galaxy S20 Extremely and the OnePlus 7T, so the know-how must be mature by now. However whereas in-display scanners look good and allow near-edge-to-edge designs, they’re not practically as quick as bodily fingerprint scanners. My iPhone SE unlocked in a split-second each time I tried it whereas the 2 telephones with in-display sensors typically struggled. As an admittedly unscientific check, I set a stopwatch for a minute and timed what number of instances I might lock and unlock every cellphone with he identical finger:
Galaxy S20 Extremely: 29
Pixel four XL: 33
OnePlus 7T: 28
iPhone SE: 42
Apple’s Contact ID sensor won’t be as cool or fairly as an in-display scanner, however bodily scanners are merely superior to digital ones. Yow will discover it with out trying, you don’t have to attend for the display to activate, they usually’re extra dependable. The iPhone SE’s bodily scanner won’t be fairly, however it’s nonetheless the speediest technique to implement biometric unlocking on a cellphone.
iPhone SE vs Android: OS updates
The deserves of iOS versus Android will likely be debated perpetually, so I’ll depart that argument for an additional day, However one factor is obvious: You’ll nonetheless be getting updates to your iPhone SE in 2024. And also you’ll in all probability be capable to set up iOS 18 on it too. That Galaxy S20 Extremely individuals are spending $1,400 on is fortunate to get Android 12 in two years.
There’s no contest right here. I’ll admit that Android cellphone makers have gotten means higher at pushing updates in a well timed trend and speaking to clients what they’re going to be getting, however even the most effective Android cellphone within the iPhone SE’s value vary, the Pixel 3a, solely ensures two years of model updates and three years of month-to-month safety updates. And Samsung’s low-cost choices solely get quarterly updates.
iPhone SE vs Android: Digicam
The most recent iPhone is all the time at or close to the highest of the smartphone heap on the subject of taking photos, however the SE is a brand new iPhone in title solely. That’s to not say it has a nasty digicam, however it’s far cry from the multi-camera modules within the iPhone 11 Professional and the Android telephones right here. You’re getting a succesful digicam, however I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing any iPhone SE pics in Apple’s subsequent Shot on iPhone marketing campaign.
The largest hole between the iPhone SE and the opposite telephones right here is with low-light photographs. Apple made a giant deal of Night time Mode on the iPhone 11, and rightfully so—the iPhone 11’s algorithms do a outstanding job of extending the seize time and amping up the publicity to cut back noise and up the brightness in difficult gentle.
With out Night time Mode, the SE struggles like Apple’s telephones used to, and the outcomes are darkish and grainy. They’re satisfactory most often, however in comparison with the telephones right here, particularly the Pixel four XL, there’s no contest. Night time Mode is the principle factor I miss with the SE, and it’s irritating that Apple left it out, because the digicam and chip appear to be technically able to dealing with it.
Even with a single lens, the iPhone SE can take portraits, however just like the iPhone XR, it solely works with folks. It’s one other bizarre limitation that different single-camera price range telephones don’t have, however the SE takes improbable bokeh photographs of people. Even in comparison with the S20 Extremely, which has 4 cameras together with a devoted depth sensor, the iPhone SE carried out impressively. Within the photographs beneath, the iPhone SE dealt with the intense background and not using a hitch and even did a greater job with my son’s pores and skin tones, notably his rosy cheeks.
The iPhone has all the time had an inclination to tamp down the colour in photographs in favor of real-world accuracy, and the iPhone SE doesn’t stray from that lane. Within the photograph beneath, the OnePlus 7T oversaturated the inexperienced a bit and added a cool tint to the wall whereas the SE maintained coloration accuracy and correct white stability.
The outcomes see considerably subjective, however the SE does its finest to correctly seize the scene. And in the precise gentle, it’s nearly as good of a point-and-shoot as the opposite cameras right here.
iPhone SE vs Android: Conclusion
I can’t think about anybody with a thousand bucks to spend on a brand new smartphone would truly go for an iPhone SE over the iPhone 11 Professional or one of many Android telephones right here, but when they do, they’ll be getting a cellphone that’s sooner, extra pocketable, and many able to taking excellent photos. Extra importantly, when you’re on a price range, it’s an especially enticing possibility irrespective of which platform flag you fly below.
The velocity of the iPhone SE is solely mind-blowing. With the identical design as my previous iPhone 6s, I count on it to be pokey, however the SE flies by duties and apps with ease. I didn’t count on it to stack as much as the opposite telephones right here in each class, however its large efficiency is eye-opening and compensates for a few of the areas the place it falls slightly quick, particularly the show and battery.
Briefly, the compromises Apple made with the SE are good. Sure, it’s an previous design and lacks a few of the latest iPhone tech, however it’s a $399 cellphone that received’t really feel sluggish after a yr or two or 4, which is greater than you’ll be able to say for any Android value in that value vary—and even just a few which might be far more costly.
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