- Chunky bezels
- Poor low-light camera performance
- No Face ID
- Ships with "slow" charger
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
The original iPhone SE was one of the more popular options in iPhone’s history. This year sees the relaunch of this popular compact model. But does it still hold the same appeal as iPhones have become sleeker and screen sizes continue to expand?
The iPhone SE (2020) is a blast of retro Apple design, bringing back the same general design used for the iPhone 6 through iPhone 8. You’ll find rounded corners, chunky bezels, and a physical home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
So, it’s different from the rest of the 2019-2020 Apple lineup. But whether that’s bad is up to you. It’s one of the most premium feeling phones at its price point though.
CNet summed up thoughts on the design well, saying, “It's not ugly, it's just dated. And that might appeal to some people, but not me.”
The 4.7-inch Retina display is tiny for phones releasing in 2020, but for many reviewers that was part of the appeal. That means you can enjoy your games and shows or fire off a quick text or email while being able to effortlessly slip the iPhone SE (2020) into your pocket.
As with most Apple displays, reviewers found this once checks all the boxes in terms of color, clarity, and brightness.
Engadget says, “... This display is perfectly fine for what it is. The only real question is whether it's big enough for you.”
The iPhone SE (2020) can go toe to toe with any phone on the market right now -- and win. It includes Apple’s latest and greatest processor and more than enough memory to let you bounce between apps as you go through your day.
PC Magazine says, “The iPhone SE has, almost certainly, a longer functional life ahead of it than any other phone of its price in the US.”
Software & Storage
The iPhone SE (2020) runs the latest version of Apple’s software -- iOS 13. Storage options include 64, 128, and 256GB models. If you’re not sure how much space you need, it’s better to have a bit more than you need than too little since iPhones do not support expandable storage -- such as microSD cards.
Unlike many recent releases, this one includes a single rear camera and a single front-facing lens. However, reviews indicate that unless you’re shooting at night, the iPhone SE (2020) produces images that rival many of the leading -- and much pricier -- phones on the market.
At night, the phone takes much darker shots. But that’s to be expected for a single lens camera with no Night mode.
Tom’s Guide says, “The iPhone SE 2020’s camera is so good that you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the iPhone 11 in many cases.”
While the 1821mAh battery might seem tiny, the phone had no problems lasting a full day for reviewers. When it comes time to top things off, fast charging and wireless charging add convenient options as well.
Just be sure to budget for an extra charger if you plan to take advantage of either feature. The phone ships with a standard “slow” charger.
CNet says, “Anecdotally, it made it through a day and a half without a problem, and a couple times it went two days straight without a charge.”
While there’s nothing wrong with the audio experience on the iPhone SE (2020), it’s also nothing special. If you really want to enjoy your favorite movies, music, or TV shows, plan to use headphones.
Since there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, you’ll also want to be sure to budget for a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter unless you prefer wireless headphones.
Specs at a Glance
- IP67-rated glass and aluminum chassis
- 4.7-inch Retina IPS display running at 1334-by-750 pixels
- A13 Bionic processor
- 3GB of RAM
- iOS 13
- 1821mAh battery
- 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage
- Single-lens 12MP rear camera
- 7MP front-facing camera
- All-day battery with fast charging and wireless charging support
Overall, the iPhone SE (2020) is proving to be one of Apple’s most popular phones ever. It offers a compact design, top-tier performance, and that premium Apple feel at a firmly mid-tier price point.
Tom’s Guide says, “The iPhone SE 2020 is the affordable phone to beat, and the one of the best cheap phones you can get. It’s the closest thing to future-proof you’ll find [at this price]...”
iMore says, “Who would like this iPhone? Honestly, almost everyone. It's lightweight, pocket-friendly, and has the speeds you need for today, tomorrow, and next year's technology.”
Prices (Where to Buy)
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