iPhone SE vs. iPhone 8: What’s best for budget-minded Apple fans?

In a bid to lure budget-minded iPhone followers, Apple debuted its new iPhone SE for 2020 for $399 (£419, AU$749). The iPhone SE’s specs and appears are just like the iPhone eight from three years in the past, which is probably going the explanation why the tech firm introduced it could discontinue its 2017 flagship on the identical day. 

Learn extra: iPhone SE 2020 is proof that Apple will not really carry again the tiny cellphone

When it first launched, the iPhone eight price $699, however the value lowered to $449 earlier than Apple pulled the plug on it. As of late, you’ll be able to nonetheless get the cellphone from third-party retailers for even much less (Walmart, for instance, is promoting it new for $349 on Straight Talk). However if you happen to’re considering of shopping for the iPhone eight over the iPhone SE 2020 at that value, do not. The iPhone SE could share most of the iPhone eight’s specs, however for $50 extra you will get extra mileage out of a cellphone that is not going to be three years previous out-of-the-box. (And if $399 is totally out of your finances, contemplate procuring for even cheaper telephones.)


Although it shares many key specs, the brand new iPhone SE nonetheless has a couple of upgrades that make it higher than the iPhone eight. That features an A13 Bionic processor, dual-SIM capabilities and a handful of digital camera upgrades. (Neither cellphone has a headphone jack, in case you are questioning.) For those who’re on the lookout for an inexpensive new iPhone from a dependable retailer with up-to-date help, the iPhone SE is your finest wager.

iPhone SE 2020.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have already got a well-functioning iPhone eight, there is not any motive to replace to a brand new iPhone SE if you happen to will help it. However if you happen to’re tempted to purchase a brand new one, do not. Along with the iPhone SE 2020 upgrades you will be lacking out on (which I listed above), there’s the chance that software program updates from Apple and buyer help from wherever you buy your iPhone eight will not be as strong on a Three-year-old gadget than on a brand new one. Although it is troublesome to put a tangible financial worth on issues like dependable iOS updates, a strong return coverage and a presumably larger trade-in worth, it is value paying a bit extra for these options. (Talking of trade-ins, Apple is providing $170 off the iPhone SE if you happen to flip in your iPhone eight.)

Learn our Apple iPhone eight overview.

For those who want extra causes, although, let’s stroll by way of each fashions and clarify why the iPhone SE is the smarter purchase.

Design: Each iPhones are almost equivalent, however…

Not like the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11, which look completely different even at a look, the iPhone SE and the iPhone eight look comparatively the identical. Each have four.7-inch Retina HD shows (a branding phrases that Apple makes use of to distinguish its show expertise) with the identical decision and pixel density. Additionally they have a bodily house button that homes a fingerprint reader for unlocking the cellphone and authorizing digital funds. Each are rated IP67 for water safety too. 


The brand new iPhone SE appears loads just like the iPhone eight.

Angela Lang/CNET

However there are two minor variations in regards to the telephones. One is that the iPhone eight nonetheless has 3D Contact. The characteristic debuted in 2015 within the iPhone 6S, permitting you to entry further menu choices and instructions by hard-pressing your finger in opposition to the display screen. Apple started to section out the characteristic in 2018 with the iPhone XR and it is now absent from new iPhones. As an alternative, the corporate changed 3D Contact with Haptic Contact. Haptic Contact is on the iPhone SE and works comparatively the identical approach, besides as a substitute of getting to press down more durable on the display screen, you will must merely long-press on the merchandise.

Second, the iPhone eight is available in black, white and gold — however stock is restricted relying on the retailer so it’s possible you’ll discover even fewer choices. The iPhone SE, in the meantime, is on the market now and is available in black, white and crimson.

Digicam: iPhone SE has some hidden extras

The iPhone SE and iPhone eight each have a 12-megapixel rear digital camera and a 7-megapixel front-facing shooter, with the identical apertures on every (f/1.eight and f/2.2, respectively). On the floor, it appears as if there is not any distinction between the 2 telephones’ cameras, however Apple added some helpful digital camera upgrades underneath the hood. These embrace:

  • Portrait Mode and Depth Management for taking and adjusting bokeh photographs
  • Good HDR, to enhance highlights and shadows
  • Pink-eye correction
  • Quicktake, which helps you to shortly file video with out tapping out of Picture mode
  • Video enhancements: Prolonged dynamic vary for 30fps; 3x digital zoom (the iPhone eight has 2x); cinematic video stabilization for 4K video (the iPhone eight has it solely as much as 1080p) and stereo recording
  • Entrance-facing digital camera: Portrait mode and cinematic video stabilization as much as 1080p (the iPhone eight has none)

Altogether, iPhone SE captures higher high quality photographs and video than the iPhone eight, and at occasions takes photographs equally akin to the iPhone 11. For extra on digital camera high quality, be sure you learn CNET’s iPhone SE overview.

Processor, battery, dual-SIM and reminiscence

The iPhone SE is supplied with Apple’s newest proprietary A13 Bionic chip, the identical one which’s contained in the iPhone 11 flagship. Once we ran processing efficiency speeds on 3DMark and Geekbench 5, the iPhone SE clocked in comparable outcomes with the iPhone 11, which is to say that the iPhone SE additionally carried out comparably — and at occasions higher than — the Galaxy S20, Pixel four and the OnePlus eight Professional. And in comparison with the iPhone eight, the iPhone SE’s consequence for 3DMark’s Ice Storm Limitless take a look at was miles above the iPhone eight’s (97,415 in comparison with the iPhone eight’s 62,206 rating).

Apple's A13 processor in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max

Apple’s A13 processor.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Apple by no means discloses its iPhones’ battery capacities, so when it introduced the iPhone SE, all it mentioned was that it was the identical because the iPhone eight. It additionally listed equivalent wi-fi video and audio playback hours (13 hours and 40 hours, respectively) for each telephones. Nonetheless, after we ran our battery exams for video playback on Airplane mode, the iPhone SE lasted longer than the iPhone eight by almost two hours. (To be extra particular, the iPhone SE lasted about 15.5 hours, whereas the iPhone eight lasted 13.5 hours.)

As well as, the iPhone SE has choices for a nano-SIM and an e-SIM, which means you’ll be able to handle two cellphone numbers on the identical cellphone. Having dual-SIM capabilities is useful if you happen to journey loads and wish a cellphone overseas, or you’ve two telephones for private and enterprise use and wish to mix it in a single gadget. Lastly, whereas each telephones have a 64GB and 256GB reminiscence possibility, the brand new iPhone SE has a 3rd, 128GB mannequin. That capability is often thought-about to be the “candy spot” so far as storage goes. That is as a result of 64GB will not be sufficient to carry all of your photographs and 4K movies, 256GB could also be too extravagant. 

iPhone SE 2020 vs. iPhone eight

Apple iPhone SE (2020) iPhone eight
Show measurement, decision four.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels four.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels
Pixel density 326ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.45×2.65×0.29 in 5.45×2.65×0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 138.4×67.3×7.Three mm 138.4×67.3×7.Three mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.22 oz; 148g 5.22 oz; 148g
Cell software program iOS 13 iOS 11 (can replace to iOS 13)
Digicam 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Entrance-facing digital camera 7-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K
Processor Apple A13 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB
RAM Not disclosed Not disclosed
Expandable storage No No
Battery Not disclosed Not disclosed
Fingerprint sensor Residence button Residence button
Connector Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No
Particular options Water-proof (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging Water-proof (IP67); wi-fi charging