Comparison iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone 8: what are the differences?

by nativetechdoctor
8 minutes read

Apple just launched the iPhone SE 2020 and This device has been released more than four years after the first version.

In 2016 Apple introduced the first iPhone SE. Like the iPhone 5c, this model wants to be cheaper. This is the same strategy that was implemented when the iPhone 8 was launched in conjunction with the iPhone X. This device offers more mid-range features than its sister at a cheaper price.

Paid positioning because product manufacturers seem to repeat the process with the iPhone SE (2020). This is based on an information sheet that is very similar to the iPhone 8 but has several advantages over its cousin.

iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone XR: comparison and differences

Operating system: the best quality of service on iPhone

The iPhone 8, like the iPhone SE (2020), has iOS. If the first is released with the eleventh version of the software, the second goes directly to version 13.4. This adds some cool features to the phone, including:

  • file sharing in iCloud, to work together and remotely on the same document (like Google Drive)
  • additional shortcuts with the Shazam app
  • a revamped design for the Mail client toolbar

However, if you still choose the iPhone 8 rather than the iPhone SE (2020), be aware that the former is still supported by Apple. It is thus quite possible to update it to iOS 13.4 manually.

The manufacturer also recommends always installing the latest edition of its OS, because it also fixes security vulnerabilities discovered after the formalization of the program. However, you should always keep in mind that dating from 2017, the iPhone 8 may no longer be compatible with the latest iterations of iOS before the second generation iPhone SE knows the same fate (but probably not before 2022 at seen Apple’s habits in the matter).

Apple iPhone SE 2 launched price starts at 399$

Did the iPhone SE (2020) copy its design to that of the iPhone 8?

At first glance, most consumers will be struck by the resemblance between the iPhone 8 and the second iPhone SE. And that’s normal: the two devices are both designed with a front and a back in Gorilla Glass, all surrounded by an aluminum structure. In addition, the two devices both weigh 148 grams and adopt the same dimensions, notably 7.3 mm thick.

In terms of colors, the iPhone SE offers white, black and a PRODUCT (RED) version, part of the profits of which are donated to the fight against AIDS and COVID-19. This edition is also available on the iPhone 8, which is also sold in gold, silver and space gray. But given that it is strongly advised to protect these devices with a silicone shell, to avoid breaking the screen or the rear window, this specificity should not be a factor of decision, except for those who opt for a model transparent.

Small difference to note all the same between iPhone 8 and new iPhone SE, the apple on the back is passed in the center of the device on the new model. On the old one, it was higher. There were also more inscriptions visible at the bottom of the dorsal hull, which is no longer the case on the SE. The latter only displays a mention “iPhone”.

Photo enhancement with iPhone SE

Released more than two years after the iPhone 8, the new iPhone SE still incorporates a single back lens. This is the same, by the way: it is a 28mm EXMOR wide-angle sensor outsourced by Sony, with a resolution of 12 MPx and an aperture f / 1.8. It can film in 4K, and uses an LED flash to light up night scenes.

Despite everything, we notice a notable difference (which is however mainly induced by a modification of the iOS code): the iPhone SE of 2020 can use the “portrait mode”, while this is not the case of the iPhone 8. This is a feature that automatically blurs a background when you take a face shot, but it works much better with multiple sensors like the iPhone 11 Pro.

For selfies, the iPhone 8 as well as the iPhone SE have the same 7-megapixel lens at the front, but without TrueDepth and therefore without the biometric unlocking of Face ID.

Screen: the last of a long line?

While most rumors have been announcing for many months that Apple had chosen to completely abandon the production of LCD screens, the second iPhone SE has yet been marketed with an IPS panel the same size as that of the iPhone 8 The supplier who manufactures them is also the same, which suggests that the component has in fact not changed between the two products. If you were satisfied with this solution, then this is the time to take advantage of it, because it is the last time that an iPhone offers such a display. As of the iPhone 12, only the all-OLED would be favored by Cupertino, because it consumes less energy and has deeper blacks (pixels off).

With the same diagonal of 4.7 inches on the meter, the iPhone 8 and iPhone SE offer a pixel density of 326 ppi thanks to a Full HD definition and a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. Both are equipped with proprietary True Tune and Retina technologies, capable of diffusing sixteen million colors. The only change concerns the abandonment of the 3D Touch of the iPhone 8 in favor of the Haptic Touch on the iPhone SE, an alternative also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.

Performance: iPhone 8 vs iPhone SE (2020)

Let’s get down to business: which of the iPhone 8 or iPhone SE (2) is the most powerful? To find out, two options: the first is to look at the parts used to design the two smartphones, while the second will use a benchmark application. This type of service makes it possible to subject a series of performance and speed tests to the various components of the mobiles, including the battery, the processor and the GPU, then to compare the results obtained. And there is no question that the iPhone SE is better than the iPhone 8.

The battery, on the other hand, is the same: 1821 mAh on both models.

Among the factors of this success are:

  • the A13 Bionic SoC, engraved in 7 nanometers on the iPhone SE (while the iPhone 8 sticks to the A11 Bionic in 10 nm),
  • 3 GB RAM
  • and compatibility with Wi-Fi 6, not present on the iPhone 8


As you can see by reading this comparison: the iPhone SE (2020) is more of an update to the iPhone 8 than a real brand new smartphone. Indeed, whether at software or hardware level, the two devices offer a very similar value proposition. The only major differences are the arrival of “portrait mode” and that of the new Apple A13 Bionic processor. The former may be viewed by some as anecdotal, since it is possible to edit a photo after taking it to achieve a similar effect. As for the engine of the SoC, it is certainly different, but as for the battery, the updates of iOS make it possible to guarantee stability and fluidity, whatever the model.

Since the iPhone 8 is now cheaper, it could perhaps be an excellent alternative in the near future to save several tens of dollars on the price of an iPhone SE. The only risk may be to get your hands on a second-hand iPhone 8 with half-life and a battery to change.

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