Compared: iPhone SE versus iPhone XR versus iPhone 11

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
With a new iPhone SE occupying Apple's entry-level price tier, the question of which budget-friendly iPhone to buy has gotten a bit harder. We're here to help.

Apple's trio of cheaper iPhones all have differences and similarities that may sway your decision.
Apple's trio of cheaper iPhones all have differences and similarities that may sway your decision.


The second-generation iPhone SE packs a lot of device into a $399 price tag, but it's still missing some of the key flagship features users have come to expect from modern Apple handsets.

Though it still retains some years-old design elements, like a Home button and significant bezels, the new iPhone SE offers some extremely competitive specifications for the price, especially when compared to the other cheaper device in Apple's lineup.

Let's take a closer look at how the iPhone SE, iPhone XR and iPhone 11 stack up.
iPhone SE (second-generation)iPhone XRiPhone 11
Price$399$449$699
Dimensions (inches)5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 5.94 x 2.98 x 0.335.94 x 2.98 x 0.33
Weight (ounces)5.225.845.84
ProcessorA13 BionicA12 BionicA13 Bionic
RAM3GB3GB4GB
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB, 512GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Display type4.7-inch Retina HD6.1-inch Liquid Retina6.1-inch Liquid Retina
Resolution1,334 x 750 at 326ppi1,792 x 828 at 326ppi 1,792 x 828 at 326ppi
True ToneYesYesYes
BiometricsTouchIDFace IDFace ID
ConnectivityGigabit-class LTE
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 6
Gigabit-class LTE
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 5
Gigabit-class LTE
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 6
Rear CamerasSingle-lens 12MP Wide cameraSingle-lens 12MP Wide camera Dual-lens 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide Cameras
Night Mode
Bright True Tone Flash
Front Cameras7MP FaceTime HD Camera7MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera
Battery SizeVideo playback up to 13 hoursVideo playback up to 17 hoursVideo playback up to 17 hours
ColorsBlack, White, (PRODUCT)REDBlue, White, Black, Yellow, Coral, (PRODUCT)REDPurple, Yellow, Green, Black, White and (PRODUCT)RED

Basic overview of the iPhone SE, iPhone XR and iPhone 11

Apple's new iPhone SE (let), iPhone XR (center), and iPhone 11 (right)
Apple's new iPhone SE (let), iPhone XR (center), and iPhone 11 (right)


The iPhone SE may seem like the biggest outlier here, but it has similarities to both the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE, depending on the exact specification.

For example, the overall footprint of the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11 are very similar, with virtually no differences in dimensions or weight. The iPhone SE has a vastly different form factor than current iPhones, with a 4.7-inch display, relatively large bezels and a Home button.






Both the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11 pack an A13 Bionic chipset, meaning that their performance is going to outpace the older and slower A12 Bionic in the iPhone XR. It's a similar story for connectivity, with the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 featuring support for Wi-Fi 6. The trio do feature the same Bluetooth specification and 4G LTE support, however.

When it comes to cameras, the iPhone SE and iPhone XR are fairly evenly stacked, with a similar single-lens rear camera. The iPhone 11 has the best camera setup with a dual-lens system that includes an ultra-wide-angle lens and next-generation Smart HDR.

The TrueDepth Camera in the edge-to-edge iPhones offers some competitive advantages and access to features like Face ID.

None of the displays here are OLED-based. While the two edge-to-edge displays use Apple's Liquid Retina LCD technology, they all have the same pixel density. The only difference is the iPhone SE's resolution, which is lower due mainly to its smaller screen.

The biometrics are different, of course, with the new iPhone SE retaining a Home button and Touch ID. All three devices sport dual-SIM capabilities thanks to Apple's embedded eSIM, as well as support for Qi wireless charging.

Which of the trio you should buy

The 2020 iPhone SE mixes in features from both the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, all at a more affordable price.
The 2020 iPhone SE mixes in features from both the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, all at a more affordable price.


As mentioned earlier, the iPhone SE has quite a few flagship-like features hidden underneath its older iPhone form factor. It's going to be an extremely attractive choice for the price, compared to both mid-range iPhones as well as Android devices.

It could also act as a good stepping stone to a modern iPhone for users who have held onto their old devices for some time. It's a familiar form factor, despite having some of the latest updates inside of it. Fans of the 4.7-inch, or those avoiding the newer designs, may want to give it a hard look.

The iPhone XR occupies a slot somewhere in the middle, though it actually has the slowest processor and several other features that lag about a year behind its 2020 stablemates.

While it's going to offer a similar experience to the iPhone 11, its hardware and internals are slightly older. It's probably best for users who want the cheapest way to get Face ID and an edge-to-edge display.

Apple's iPhone 11 is representative of the company's current flagship. It's essentially the whole package, with the best cameras, and is the best phone out of the bunch -- but at a cost premium.

Even though it's missing a few features compared to the iPhone 11 Pro models. It is, of course, the most expensive. And a $700 price isn't exactly friendly to every budget.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,001member
    The new SE is a very compelling device for a lot of people. If those who are looking to spend the least amount possible insist on a bigger screen, they can spring for another $50. For everyone who is OK with the 4.7", $399 is a great value. My Mom has been hesitating to upgrade her 16GB 6 (or 6S, I can't remember) because of the screen sizes and her comfort with Touch ID. This will overcome both of those objections.
    macplusplus
  • Reply 2 of 33
    Hi Mike just to let you know the XR price is $599. $449 is the trade in price.
    mbenz1962williamlondonGeorgeBMacbakerzdosenTaintmastertenchi211
  • Reply 3 of 33
    SE Looks good for now. But the discounted iPhone 11 in September/October will look better to me, I can wait.
     
    tenchi211
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Since it has the a13 anyone know if the camera will have the night mode and deep fusion features like the 11?
  • Reply 5 of 33
    jingojingo Posts: 109member
    I’m with Mike1. This is a great day for me - I have an order for three of these ready to go on Friday to replace our family’s three 6S models that have been great until now. This is the first phone that we find a compelling replacement - not too big for a pocket and a great price! It should do us very well for the next few years.
    forgot usernamedtb200radarthekattenchi211
  • Reply 6 of 33
    For anyone that has an iPhone 6s and is happy with it, the new iPhone SE is the perfect upgrade.

    I don’t like FaceID, so this is the one for me.

    Sorry old SE users your form factor is dead...  this new SE isn’t really an SE at all.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    nicmartnicmart Posts: 13member
    Get the SE with adequate memory and, as usual for Apple, the price is absurd. It's a terrible value compared to many Android phones. After almost 40 years of buying Apple, I'm sick of the ripoff.
    dtb200williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Lord ZeddLord Zedd Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    So we can get a 7MP FaceTime HD Camera in our phone, but Apple can only fit a 720p camera from 2011 in their $2700 MacBook Pro and $2300 iMac?
    dtb200
  • Reply 9 of 33
    fred1fred1 Posts: 965member
    This article is very helpful as I look to upgrade from my 7 this year. I wasn’t sure which to get but now I’m with you, Cndgoose, the 11 this Fall when the 12s are released. 
  • Reply 10 of 33
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 338member

    No Night mode, no Audio zoom, no Support for Dolby Atmos audio, no Animoji and Memoj and few other video related functionality. But one feature is missing that should technically work is “ night mode” Taking low-light photos is not possible with new iPhone SE.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 33
    petripetri Posts: 102member
    Of the three I still think XR is best bang for the buck.  It still has a significant battery life advantage over the SE (not mentioned here) and the benefits of the bigger screen and Face ID more than outweigh the minor processing bump IMHO.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    talexytalexy Posts: 80member
    Lord Zedd said:
    So we can get a 7MP FaceTime HD Camera in our phone, but Apple can only fit a 720p camera from 2011 in their $2700 MacBook Pro and $2300 iMac?
    So you like making selfies with your computer?
  • Reply 13 of 33
    talexytalexy Posts: 80member
    What I do not like about this device is that the 4" form factor got lost. That was one of the most compelling features of the old SE in may opinion. But I understand, that the main reason for being of this device is that they don't have to design a new chassis for it.
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 14 of 33
    Its says in the article: "When it comes to cameras, the iPhone SE and iPhone XR are fairly evenly stacked, with a similar single-lens rear camera."
    Is there any reliable evidence to back this up? There were lots of rumours in the last few days that SE's camera hardware would be the same as XR, but Apple hasn't confirmed it. 

    iPhone 8 and X have a 1/3
    ″ sensor with 1.2µm pixel size. iPhone XS and XR have a 1/2.5″ sensor with 1.4µm pixel size. A larger sensor means a thicker unit if the lens is the same.

    8 and SE are the thinnest of the bunch and the camera bump looks the same. Something doesn't fit right here. An obvious guess would be: could SE's camera hardware be from 8 and not from XR?
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 15 of 33
    Hola, Amigos, y el SE nuevo!

    I have been interested in the new SE since 2017. No Joke. I looov my current 2016 SE.

    SE, SE .... lol

    I WILL NOT buy the new one.

    It is Not Comfortable to hold. 

    I hold out hope for iPad Pro flat sides in a small(ish?) iPhone.

    When one-handed use FEELS comfortable again while using a phone, that is when I will sign up.

    Merci beaucoup. 
  • Reply 16 of 33
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    petri said:
    Of the three I still think XR is best bang for the buck.  It still has a significant battery life advantage over the SE (not mentioned here) and the benefits of the bigger screen and Face ID more than outweigh the minor processing bump IMHO.

    I would hesitate to buy any phone right now -- no 5G.   It's not a big deal now -- at least here in the U.S.   But over the life of the phone it will become increasingly important.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    For $449, there's no way I'd choose the new SE over an Xr. But as was mentioned in a comment above, that's not the actual price but the tradein price. For those of us who won't be trading in (and does your old phone just magically disappear without value if you're getting an SE gen2?) the Xr at $200 more is less of a no-brainer.
    mbenz1962
  • Reply 18 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,123member
    For anyone that has an iPhone 6s and is happy with it, the new iPhone SE is the perfect upgrade.

    I don’t like FaceID, so this is the one for me.

    Sorry old SE users your form factor is dead...  this new SE isn’t really an SE at all.
    But it is. SE = Special Edition. There was never any promise or commitment on the shell size. As many argued the SE was really about utilizing an older shell w/ newer components, which is exactly what they've done...again. The pattern is clear. Gruber puts a bow on it for you:

    https://daringfireball.net/2020/04/the_quadrennial_iphone_se_schedule
  • Reply 19 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,123member
    Lord Zedd said:
    So we can get a 7MP FaceTime HD Camera in our phone, but Apple can only fit a 720p camera from 2011 in their $2700 MacBook Pro and $2300 iMac?
    When it comes to the MB cameras, the edge of your MB's lid is much thinner than a phone. Do you want a camera bump with that?
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 20 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,123member
    petri said:
    Of the three I still think XR is best bang for the buck.  It still has a significant battery life advantage over the SE (not mentioned here) and the benefits of the bigger screen and Face ID more than outweigh the minor processing bump IMHO.
    I would hesitate to buy any phone right now -- no 5G.   It's not a big deal now -- at least here in the U.S.   But over the life of the phone it will become increasingly important.
    I doubt this. Faster web pages on the bus just isn't going to matter to most people in the next few years. 
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