Because the purchase of the iPhone 11 requires a large budget, Apple has launched a new iPhone SE that is much cheaper. But the iPhone XR, launched a few months earlier, was released for the same purpose, and one of the wonders of these two devices is the wiser choice. Comparison.
On April 15, 2020, Apple released a new middle-class smartphone in a simple press release: iPhone SE, the second of which was its name. This device is sold under 500 USD and must, therefore, be on a tight budget.
But the iPhone XR (announced in September 2018), which is also cheaper than the brand’s triple-sensor phones, is still available in stores and online. With similar characteristics, it is therefore confusing. Therefore, it is better to clarify the differences between the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE (2020) to avoid a potentially costly mistake.
A simple question of timing for the operating system
Whichever model you choose, be aware that both the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE run on iOS. The software, published by Apple and only available on its products, is very fluid, no matter the circumstances on a new phone. The only real difference between iPhone XR and iPhone SE in this regard is actually the version of the program that you will have access to when you first power on. Indeed, if the iPhone XR comes with iOS 12, this is not the case for the iPhone SE (2) which benefits directly from iOS 13.4.
This edition brings some minor innovations, but in any case the iPhone XR is fully eligible for the update to the latest version of iOS. The only decision criterion may be on the side of the support of the oldest smartphone, which will logically stop a little earlier than the iPhone SE, around 2023 according to Apple’s habits.
You have to choose between a large iPhone XR or a compact iPhone SE
Let’s go to the template. While the design of the second-generation iPhone SE is much the same as that of the iPhone XR, with glass front and back, there are a few differences from phone to phone. First of all, it’s anecdotal, but the apple logo on the back of the iPhone SE is located in the middle of the shell, while it is located higher on the iPhone XR. In addition, the on/off button is more imposing on the latter: useful for less agile hands.
But it is not only this element which is wider on the XR, since this iPhone is in itself more slender than the SE, with dimensions of 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm against 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm. The diagonal / format ratio is also more complete on the iPhone XR, with 79% while the iPhone SE is limited to only 65.4%. And logically, the weight follows, with 194 grams against 148 g for the SE.
To finish with the exterior, you should know that the iPhone SE only offers three colors: PRODUCT (RED), black and white. The iPhone XR is however much more supplied in variations, since it also exists in blue, coral and yellow. And, I almost forgot: the rear photo module is vertical on the XR, while it is horizontal on the SE.
One screen better than the other?
The most noticeable difference between the iPhone SE and the iPhone XR is actually in their respective tiles. That of the iPhone SE only offers 4.7 inches, like the iPhone 8 which looks very similar to it, while the iPhone XR displays 6.1 inches on the clock. Enough to rank it as a phablet.
Although having the same pixel density on paper (326 ppi), the iPhone XR is however the victim of a big downside. Its notch. Indeed, the user experience will be degraded by this imposing notch, which occupies three quarters of the width of the display at the top of the device. But that’s the price you pay to enjoy a bigger screen.
Photo: the bare minimum, whether with the iPhone XR or the iPhone SE
Are you a fan of premium shots? Instead, turn to the iPhone 11 Pro or its big brother, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, both of which have three lenses. The iPhone XR is only equipped with a single 26 mm 12-megapixel sensor on the back, with an f / 1.8 aperture and supported by an LED flash for night photos. However, it can shoot in 4K, and it’s the same with the iPhone SE.
For the front lens, no difference either. The iPhone SE has 7 MPx, with a convenient “portrait mode” for selfies, and an f / 2.2 aperture. Finally, for video, it will be 1080p, in the same way as on the iPhone XR.
Performance is a selection factor for the most demanding
On the power side, however, there is a better component on the iPhone SE than on the iPhone XR. This is the Apple A13 Bionic processor, etched in 7 nanometers, with six cores of 2.65 GHz each under the hood. It’s exactly the same chip as the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which was still considered the best iPhone on the market when our two subjects were released.
Benchmarks prove it by using this component and its predecessor, the difference in performance is significant. But on ex-factory products, what’s more, knowing that the iPhone XR and iPhone SE are powered by 3 GB of RAM, the difference is not visible to the naked eye. Otherwise, the Wi-Fi 6 integrated on the SE and not on the XR also makes it possible to decide between the duo.
Security: Face ID vs Touch ID
Apple has always been keen – especially since Tim Cook’s arrival at the helm – to take a stand for privacy. Confidentiality is thus at the heart of its marketing operations, and there is indeed reason to compare the biometric unlocking technique of the iPhone XR and that of the iPhone SE of 2020.
The iPhone XR has a TrueDepth sensor on the front, which can scan the entire face of the user in three dimensions so that access to iOS is only allowed if the software detects the correct identity. The iPhone SE, meanwhile, has a similar alternative: Touch ID. It relies on the home button located below the screen to analyze fingerprints, which can be multiple.
Which of the iPhone XR or iPhone SE has the best battery?
The iPhone XR has been renowned since its launch for its substantial autonomy, which would be one of the best among all Apple smartphones combined. It therefore takes the day without really intensive solicitation, and even does better than the iPhone 8 Plus according to the manufacturer. But the iPhone SE, whose 1,821 mAh battery is equivalent to that of the iPhone 8, would only reach thirteen hours of non-stop video playback on paper.
iPhone XR vs iPhone SE: summary of differences
Neither the iPhone XR nor the iPhone SE is touted as “the best iPhone ever made” by their brand. However, they are both of very good quality. Their differences really boil down to a few technical characteristics:
- iPhone XR may not fit in all pockets due to its size, while iPhone SE is smaller
- iPhone SE is more muscular than iPhone XR thanks to its A13 Bionic CPU
- Face ID or Touch ID
To conclude, we can therefore consider that the iPhone XR is more suitable for:
- big hands,
- less tight budgets
- and those who like to be entertained in front of a good series in transport.
Conversely, the iPhone SE, whose prices are updated in real time below, will be more preferred by:
- students or grandparents,
- those who have always wanted an iPhone, but could not afford it before,
- and those nostalgic for screens of sufficient size (and god knows there are).
Which Iphone do you prefer? let us know in the comment section