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The New iPhone SE 2020 Review- Return of the Dragon

Apple did it again. When the whole smartphone show was under the buzz of Oneplus 8 Pro and 8, out of the blue, the very next day we got an iPhone SE. People are naming it iPhone SE 2, iPhone SE 2020, but however you call it, the all new iPhone SE 2020 makes a huge statement for all the other competitors in the market out there: that Apple can make flagship killer devices too. 

When some of its primary competitors are raising their price(it’s you Oneplus), Apple turned the tables with their aggressive pricing. Will this move of entry level flagship devices bear fruit for Apple? How is this new 2020 Apple iPhone SE faring against all the odds? Without any further ado, here we come with a quick rundown of everything you need to know about the new iPhone SE 2020:

What is in the box

  • ‘Designed in California’ pocket with a welcome guide, sim ejector tool and Apple stickers(how can we miss them)
  • The legend himself, iPhone SE 2020
  • Earpods with lightning connector
  • Tiny 5W charging brick(GOOD JOB, Apple!!!)
  • Usb A to lightning cable


A lot of people got mixed feelings about this, especially in this era of bezel less screens, pop-up cameras, all these futuristic looking phones whereas we are literally looking at a three year old design of iPhone 8 with the latest internals. This is one of the least impressive designs you can get right now on a smartphone in 2020. So the question is, Are we comfortable going back to the forehead and chin again? 

The first thing that you will love is the size of the phone. There is a huge crowd out there that hates larger phones and they were eagerly waiting for Apple to launch this compact factor phone. Even if you are going to jump from a larger phone, you will not miss it after some time of usage. The design grows on you; the phone will be so comfortable in your hand and will make you feel that the small size is worth it. 

Just like how the original iPhone SE used the tried and tested design of iPhone 5s, the new iPhone SE 2020 uses the chassis of iPhone 8 including its frosted aluminum frame and glass back. The new iPhone SE 2020 comes in three different colors – clean white, matt black and (product)red. Apple used to contribute a percentage of their (product)red model’s sales profit to fighting HIV but those proceedings now will obviously be going to our new guest in the room, COVID19. 

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(PRODUCT)RED version of any iPhone usually contributes to the society

The face of all colors of the new iPhone SE is black which most of us would love. This familiar face is something we have seen since the iPhone 6 from 2015 with a thick forehead and chin, with just enough space for that iconic circular home button. So it is ideal for one to point out that the new iPhone SE is old and it would be right to say so.  

The top bezel comes with the front facing speaker which acts dually as the earphone and also the stereo speaker. The bottom bezel comes with the surprise of the decade, Apple is taking us back not to yesterday but day-before yesterday with a front facing touch id. 

The touch ID tech here is just fantastic, it is quick. In pandemic times like this where mask wearing is sort of becoming the new normal, being able to unlock the phone without removing the mask or typing the password(cons of Face ID), that’s a winner in the room. The back of the phone is things where a lot look modern. You have centered the Apple logo, to match the current lineups, on a glossy-glass back. 

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Apple Logo is centered to match the current iPhone lineups

It seems like the new iPhone SE has borrowed the same weight(148 gm), thickness(7.3mm) and battery size(1821mAH) from the iPhone 8. Something that the iPhone SE is lacking from the iPhone 8 though is the most loved 3D touch. This did get removed from all the iPhone 11 series last year and instead used a haptic engine with a long press and hold to simulate the 3d touch. The new iPhone SE 2020 comes with three different storage options: 64, 128 and 256 GB. 

Benefits of Small Phone Like the New iPhone SE 2020

Besides actually wondering why some people prefer and love using smaller phones, these are all the benefits of using a compact phone like the new iPhone SE 2020:

  1. Not only does it stay in pocket perfectly irrespective of you sitting or standing, but
  2. It’s also easy to take a run with this phone to catch a bus or chase your friend,
  3. You can reach every corner of the phone effortlessly with one-hand and we all have to admit the fact that we truly do miss this in the Samsung S20 or OnePlus 8 Pro

Okay, we have talked about the design, the one thing that comes with a lot of compromise on this iPhone. But the rest of this device is a lot better than what you expect out of a flagship killer. 


Just like the iPhone 8, the display comes here with a 4.7” LCD retina screen and true tone color gamut. The resolution is 750*1334 pixels which means it is a 720p display. The color reproduction here is fantastic with 326 ppi density. The brighter and accurate display comes with a maximum brightness of 625 Nits. Many users will like the compact form factor as it is easy to operate it in one hand.  

Thanks to the small form factor, pulling up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Panel will be much easier and you are gonna love it. Not having tap-to-wake feature is a bummer though. By saying the bigger bezeled chins, you are going to miss the super fast sliding through between apps across the bottom of the screen on the new phones. 

Some hardcore original iPhone SE fans were looking for a follow-up of the 4” display, but it looks like this is what we got. This is basically just an iPhone 8 and you shouldn’t be surprised if you have been using the large displays. I wonder it would be too small a screen for the things we do on phones these days.  

You can’t really watch videos in 1080p and you might even see some pixels if you bring the display up close to the eyes. But, at a regular, normal viewing distance, it looks decently fine. It’s small but it’s good, nonetheless. 


Another thing that was borrowed from the iPhone 8 and not upgraded was the Cameras. Most of us expected the iPhone SE to get cameras from iPhone XR or XS but that is not actually true. The cameras are the same front and rear cameras found in the iPhone 8 which is practically old in terms of camera tech, since the last 2 years brought major updates with larger faster sensors. Recently after its teardown, ifixit released that the rear camera setup is actually the same sensor of the iPhone 8 while the software processing is of the iPhone 11 series. 

But you will be surprised with the iPhone SE’s camera results though as it comes with better dynamic range, better details and even low noise which proves how much software and processing matters in photos. With the smart HDR feature, it preserves highlights and shadows on your face keeping it natural looking while also preserving details in the background. 

the new iPhone SE 2020 review - detailed overview and analysis of the iphone SE 2020 Design, Display, Camera, Performance, Battery Life, And much more.
The rear camera setup of iPhone SE shoots 4k at 30 FPS and at 60 FPS(with and without HDR respectively)

The new iPhone SE comes with the same single 12 MP wide angle camera, f/1.8 aperture on the rear  and a 7 MP camera with f/2.2 aperture up front. The rear camera is also capable of shooting 4k video at 60 fps and slow motion videos of 1080p at 240 fps. It is also worth noting that you are getting 1080p video recording capability on the front facing camera as opposed to 4k on the iPhone 11 series. But it is relaxing to know that the latest iPhone video features like Quick Take and Stereo audio recording are found here as well. 

Despite having the same hardware of iPhone 8, the 8-core neural engine on the A13 bionic is what it uses to get the camera performance boost. Apple says it harnesses the neural engine for realtime machine learning, a process called monocular depth estimation which helps it with the portrait effects.

portrait mode has 6 options in the new iphone SE 2020
six portrait lighting features are available in the iPhone SE 2020 just like the iPhone 11 series

The new iPhone SE comes with six portrait lighting features: natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light, stage light mono, and high key mono. You will find no mistake during the day and even during the sunset through the blue hour, as the iPhone SE can hold its fort neck to neck with iPhone 11 series. Selfies with the front camera are pretty nice too which also gets the portrait mode. 

Some camera features that did not make it to the iPhone SE from the iPhone 11 series are the deep fusion and night mode. While the phone does a decent job with cutouts, and edge detection, when the lights go off, the results are more obvious. Low Light photography and the absence of night mode is definitely a bummer. It is clear its weak point now. 

The low light photography on the iPhone SE is not great that it cannot be compared even to budget Androids. Let alone Google Pixel 3a you can’t even compare this to any Gcam installed Xiaomi phones here. So it completely depends on you and how you take photography from your smartphone camera. 

Some camera disappointments in iPhone SE 2020 are:

  • Absence of night mode is highly disappointing as it look like watercolor paintings 
  • Bokeh portrait photos apply only for people and not for objects and pets either, just like the one in iPhone XR. 
  • Rear camera can shoot 4k videos only at 30 fps with HDR whereas at 60 fps, it is without HDR.


Apple surprised everyone by including the newest A13 bionic chip that is on the latest iPhone 11 series and the surprise continues as it runs on the latest iOS 13. And also the 3 GB RAM makes this phone stupidly fast. You will not experience any slowness, lag or long wait times while using it for routine activities. From the basics of day to day usage and multitasking and switching between apps and even heavy gaming, the phone does not stop for anything.  

Beyond acting as your daily driver, the phone also gives us the key to the Apple ecosystem with icloud support, Apple watch support, iMessage, Apple tv plus, airdrop, and whatnot; you get it. 

The phone runs on the latest iOS 13 which means you are going to have many software updates for at least 5 years. It is pretty much the exact performance on Apple’s most expensive phone and on its least expensive sibling here as well.  

A13 Processor

This processor that is on the iPhone SE is the same one that is powering the flagship iPhone 11 series. While it is appropriate to see the iPhone SE as the Apple’s budget or mid range offering, unlike any budget or mid range Android phones, the chip here is ultra powerful and top of the line. 

the new iPhone SE 2020 review - Design, Display, Camera, Performance, Battery Life, Features, Should I buy the new iPhone SE 2020, Ideal Buyers of the iPhone SE
iPhone SE 2020 comes with the same A13 Bionic Chip that is on the iPhone 11 series

Whether you are playing graphics rich games, using AR based learning apps, or editing a high resolution footage you just shot, the CPU and GPU that is on the A13 bionic chip have enough raw power to handle anything that you throw at it. It is the exact same A13 bionic chipset, not any underclocked version, so it is the same full raw power you are getting from the top of the line iPhone. 


The one other disappointing factor that has to be on this phone is gotta be that battery life. The battery on the iPhone SE is relatively small. It’s just 1821 mAh. If you are doing stuff like emails, social media, netflix and browsing the web, it’s fine. It will comfortably last you till the end of the day.

Now a quick disclaimer. You use a lot of camera apps for taking pictures and shooting videos (which is fantastic on this device), consume social media and watch a lot of videos, literally If you use your phone a lot, this is not for you. So depending on what you do, it will affect your battery life very heavily on this device. 

If you are just doing regular stuff, it’ll easily last for a day or day and a half in some cases but if you try to push it hard, you will kill it fast. The point here is this is not a “battery life king”, you are looking at. Just keep in mind, it is a physically small battery in this phone. If you are looking for an iPhone with better battery life and latest tech, you should opt for iPhone 11

Back to SE, the cheapest iPhone is fast charging compatible but it comes with the same 5W charging brick. So, in typical Apple fashion, you have to buy a fast charger separately. Since Apples cost much, I’ll attach a few legit ones at a cheaper price in the comments section below. The new iPhone SE 2020 can be wirelessly charged which no one out there in the market offers in this price range. Again, I’ll link some of the best wireless chargers in the comment section below. 


Despite the fact that this is the cheapest model of the iPhones in 2020, it is nothing short of any flagships with the latest features it has to offer. It can connect to an 18W fast‑charge adapter to go from zero to up to 50% in 30 minutes. Or go wireless, as it offers Qi wireless charging support. 

iPhone SE comes with IP67 certification with which it can survive under water of up to 1 metre for 30 minutes. If you think this is not enough, Apple offers more features with the cheapest iPhone SE as follows. 

  1. iPhone SE now comes with Wi-Fi 6 with a bandwidth of 802.11 ax which now can take us to speeds of upto 9.6 GB/s when compared to 6-7 gb/s of Wi-Fi 5. 
  2. Now the cellular speed has been upgraded to 4G, gigabit class-LTE which is capable of getting speeds upto 1GB/s, which was 300 mb/s with the LTE advanced technology seems to be a massive improvement here. 
  3. Apple has also adopted its infamous dual sim approach – one is a physical sim and the other is an e-sim. The second e-sim is an Embedded sim so that if your phone gets stolen, thieves cannot disable the e-sim and the phone can be tracked easily.


You don’t buy an iPhone SE for its revolutionary new design; you buy it for its price tag. No doubt, this is gonna be a crazy popular phone this year because of the lower price tag in the North American region. When you look at South America, Europe and India, it is a completely different conversation though. In fact, iPhone SE 2020 is a more expensive phone than the Oneplus 8’s base variant in India. 

But even with the respective taxes of your market, the new iPhone SE 2020 is about 40 percent less than the latest iPhone 11 and 65 percent cheaper than any flagship Android phone or iPhone Pro; this is a great deal to seal. The following table will give us an idea about the price of the new iPhone SE 2020 in different markets. 

Country / Phone iPhone SE 64 GBiPhone SE 128 GBiPhone SE 256 GB
USA$399 $449$549
AustraliaA$ 749A$ 829A$ 999
UAEAED 1699AED 1909AED 2329
All New iPhone SE 2020 Price in the world markets

Why Should I buy the iPhone SE 2020?

Apple surprised everyone with the launch of iPhone SE 2020. This phone is gonna be a great value and Apple is gonna sell a ton of them. Yes, you do miss out on some major tech advancements but multiple things are in this phone that you would not expect at this price point. So how do you decide that this new iPhone SE 2020 is for you? 

The three great deficiencies of the iPhone SE are the smaller screen, average battery life and an inferior camera experience. Depending on what you want out of your phone, now you know how those deficiencies manifest themselves in real day usage. But you can still see people who look at it as a perfect fit for their kind of usage.

Now, yes, it definitely doesn’t look like a 2020 phone by any means especially with the thickest of the bezels. Externally this is the same iPhone 8 by every mm but if you are anticipating to get disappointed with this device by the look of it, you are possibly wrong. The best way to look at iPhone SE 2020 is that it got the iPhone 8’s body with the iPhone 11 pro’s internals. 

This is a big freaking deal, not for the 64 gb storage version which isn’t the best but it is also not awful. I think the best value will be the next step up where you get double the storage of 128 GB. 

Who is the new iPhone SE 2020 for?

Answering this question is not that hard. If you identify yourself one among the following categories, certainly you can go and grab the deal. 

  1. If you are someone who has older iPhones later than iPhone 8, and are looking to upgrade into the Apple ecosystem, you are definitely going to be happy with it. 
  1. If you are someone who is looking to jump from Android to iOS but want a budget option, this is going to be your boarding pass. 
  1. If you are someone who wants a very functional phone that is super reliable, this is the easiest option. 
  1. Now this iPhone SE can be replaced with your mom’s older iPhones. This can be a gift for the baby boomers who just want the basics of the phone with some necessary features on it. 

Disclaimer: If you are a heavy user, no doubt, the battery is going to be charged down by 50% by noon and by the time you leave office or before you go for your evening soccer session, you have to search for the charging dock. 


Yes, there are some deficiencies but are they worth it? Are they legitimate enough to not take this deal? It is difficult to switch back to a smaller screen initially because when you put them side by side with any other latest device, the difference is massive. But when you start using the phone as a regular, you are not going to try comparing and start nitpicking the differences in other phones.  

the new iPhone SE 2020 review - Design, Display, Camera, Performance, Battery Life, Features, Should I buy the new iPhone SE 2020, Ideal Buyers of the iPhone SE
the New iPhone SE 2020 offers best value for the money you and stands on top of rivals

If you want a brand new iPhone and you don’t want to spend a lot, but still want a somewhat flagship kind of experience, I can recommend the 2020 iPhone SE. With this device, Apple effortlessly hijacked the session from the hands of Oneplus and made everyone chant their own Flagship Killer Killer device – iPhone SE 2020

So what do you think of the 2020 iPhone SE? Did Apple give us enough of the phone for the price? What would you have liked to see different in this phone? And do you plan to buy one? Tell me in the comments down below. You know I read all of them. And thanks for reading. 

About the author


I'm Arunyuvaraj, a techno freak, fascinated about the world of science. I would love to share my knowledge about new gadgets, tech products and automobiles with my friends. Through this blog, I aspire to help more friends.

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