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Comparison: iPhone SE (2020) or iPhone XR?

Which is the “cheapest iPhone” best: iPhone SE (2020) or iPhone XR? We compare the new cheap with the colorful iPhone.

Without the fanfare of a major launch – amid the pandemic of the new coronavirus – Apple launched the iPhone SE (2020), the second generation of the “low cost” device that came to compete for attention with the colorful iPhone XR. also “cheaper” than the more robust versions of the iPhone 11 family. We compare the specifications of the models: iPhone SE, which we probably call SE (2020), and iPhone XR.

While “SE” in “iPhone SE (2020)” means “Special Edition”, “XR” in “iPhone XR” means a total of “zero things”. Both have one feature in common: lower prices than Apple’s updated line – the iPhone 11. Another factor of note is that the “XR” was famous for being the replacement of the iPhone 5C as the “colored iPhone”, available in six colors: red, yellow, white, coral, black and blue. The “new iPhone SE” is just black, white and red.

iPhone SE (2020) or iPhone XR?

But what about the rest?

Below are some important questions about design, processor and battery.


Outside, the iPhone SE (2020) has a body with glass on the back and aluminum on the sides, 4.7 inch Retina HD screen (smaller), a single 12 megapixel rear camera (which shoots in 4K / 60 fps) and edges more generous, with fingerprint reader on the Home button. Yes, the new iPhone SE brought back the physical button on the iPhone.

iPhone SE design

The iPhone XR is all colored, not only on the back, but also on the aluminum that is on the edges. Without Home button, the on / off and screen lock is on the side, as in other models of the iPhone X and iPhone XS lines. The screen of the iPhone XR is larger, with 6.1 inches and the unlock is by “Face ID”, without offering a digital reader.

While the “XR” features a screen over the entire front body of the device, with a notch on top, the “new SE” brought back the look of the iPhone 8 – with chin and forehead.

iphone XR design

See the exact measurements:

iPhone XR:

  • Height: 150.9 mm
  • Thickness: 8.3 mm
  • Width: 75.7 mm
  • Weight: 194 grams

iPhone SE (2020):

  • Height: 138.4 mm
  • Thickness: 7.3 mm
  • Width: 67.3 mm
  • Weight: 148 grams

That is, we have a smaller and lighter model on the iPhone SE 2020, it fits in your pocket.

Winner: iPhone XR


With the difference in the frontal look, it is evident that the screen of the new iPhone SE is much smaller, with 4.7 inches. While the iPhone XR occupies the entire front, except for the 6.1 inch notch. In short, what differs both displays is just size.

iPhone XR:

We have a Liquid Retina HD on a borderless, multi-touch LCD with IPS technology. The screen resolution is 1792 x 828 pixels (326 dpi), True Tone and maximum brightness of 625 nits.

iPhone SE (2020):

We have Retina HD in a bordered, multi-touch, widescreen LCD with IPS technology. The screen resolution is 1334 x 750 pixels (326 dpi), True Tone and maximum brightness of 625 nits.

iphone se screen size

And the notch?

Those who do not like the notch on the body of the iPhone XR may find even worse the return of the immense edges of the iPhone 8 in the new iPhone SE. Without a doubt, it is a very outdated look. But anyone looking for smaller devices may love nostalgia.

Winner: iPhone XR


The iPhone SE (2020) has a single 7-megapixel front camera, with a f / 2.2 aperture lens, cinematic video stabilization and 1080p footage up to 30 fps; and another rear camera, also unique, of 12 megapixels, with f / 1.8 aperture lens, kinematic and optical stabilization, shooting in 4K at up to 60 fps. Higher resolution only at the rear.

There is also no dual camera on the iPhone XR. The sensors and the front camera are the same as the previous generation, with a 12 megapixel rear camera (f / 1.8 wide angle) and a 7 megapixel front camera and an f / 2.2 aperture. That is, it is the basics and the same kit.

Both make the bokeh effect (portrait mode) via software, offer digital zoom up to 5x, make Panoramas (up to 63 MP) and are equipped with Intelligent HDR for photos – the iPhone SE, however, better, with its new generation, due to the new processor.

Winner: optional

Processor, RAM, battery and storage


Here, a lot changes. To begin with, the iPhone XR comes equipped with a second generation A12 Bionic processor and Neural Engine. The same as the iPhone XS. The iPhone SE (2020) arrives with the third generation A13 Bionic and Neural Engine chip.

The Bionic A13 is exactly the same chip that is in the entire iPhone 11, Pro and Pro Max family. The processor, even with a single camera, does a better job with HDR. The nanoreview.net points better gaming performance and improved energy efficiency.

RAM memory

It is bad that Apple does not disclose how much RAM is installed in its devices in the specifications, but it is known that the RAM is the same in both: 3 GB.


According to operator China Telecom, in addition to bringing the same look of the iPhone 8, the new iPhone SE is also repeated in other specifications of the Apple smartphone launched in 2017, such as the 1,821mAh battery. The iPhone XR would have 2,942mAh in total.

Since power consumption is also connected to the screen, the processor and the management of resources by software, it is difficult to pinpoint which of the two lasts longer.

The iPhone XR, however, had better performance and battery life than the iPhone XS Max (which works with 3174 mAh). It would be no wonder to see it plugged in and out longer than the new iPhone SE – doing so with an older processor, though.

By way of comparison, Apple itself claims that the iPhone XR battery is up to an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8 Plus; and the battery of the iPhone SE (2020) has a similar duration to the iPhone 8. That is, it is the iPhone XR that comes out ahead.

iPhone XRiPhone SE (2020)
Video playbackUp to 16 hours *Up to 13 hours
Audio playbackUp to 65 hours *Up to 40 hours
*with wireless headphones

Both report charging up to 50% in 30 min (with 18W charger or higher, sold separately) and wireless charging (which works with standard Qi chargers).

Internal storage

In internal storage, we have a few options: the iPhone XR has 64 GB or 128 GB; while the new iPhone SE offers 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB for more data.

Winner: iPhone XR (battery) iPhone SE (processor)

Price and other details

Both are equipped with protection against water and dust classified as IP67 (maximum depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes), according to IEC 60529.

  • IPhone SE has Touch ID (for fingerprint).
  • IPhone XR has Face ID (for face recognition).

Both are factory-fitted with iOS 13, are compatible with EarPods and Lightning headphones (both do not have the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack).

IPhone SE has Touch ID (for fingerprint)IPhone XR has Face ID (for face recognition)

They are dual SIM (eSIM and nano SIM) and not compatible with existing micro SIM cards.

Now, the one that makes the difference at the time of purchase: the price.

“Cheap”, the XR and SE iPhones are cheaper than the iPhone 11 line. But, don’t be fooled, they are expensive – less expensive – but they still cost a lot of money.

The Apple iPhone has reduced prices for XR , iPhone 8 and 8 Plus iPhone shortly after the iPhone announcement 11; we compare all of them in a table.

* The values ​​refer to the official Apple store

Launch PricePrice April 2020In dollars (US)
iPhone XR (64 GB)R $ 5,199R $ 4,299$ 749
iPhone XR (128 GB)R $ 5,499R $ 4,599$ 799
iPhone XR (256 GB)R $ 5,999 Discontinued$ 899
iPhone SE (64 GB)R $ 3,699$ 399
iPhone SE (128 GB)R $ 3,999$ 449
iPhone SE (256 GB)R $ 4,499$ 549
iPhone 11 (64 GB) *R $ 4,999R $ 4,999$ 699
iPhone 11 (128 GB) *R $ 5,299R $ 5,299$ 749
iPhone 11 (256 GB) *R $ 5,799R $ 5,799$ 849

As seen, the iPhone SE is the new “cheapest”, with its size limitations (body and display) but a newer processor. Meanwhile, the iPhone XR is the closest to an iPhone XS, with a higher price, of course. I believe that the power of choice is mainly in the pocket. With more beautiful design and bigger battery, the iPhone XR stands out. With a lower price and A13 processor, the new iPhone SE shines.

And now?

Winner: iPhone SE

The best option: yours

The iPhone SE (2020) is a “cheaper” option. For those who want to have an iPhone and are on a tight budget, it will be a good iPhone. However, it will not be the best.

If you can loosen up a bit on how much you are going to spend, the iPhone XR, even with an older processor (the A12), wins in design, display and battery life.

There are a lot of personal issues in this choice, so I separated into two groups that can help you define. They are two totally different profiles, but perfectly viable.

If for you, the winner is …

Winner: iPhone XR

It is a choice for those who are already used to the trends of smartphones with large screens, batteries that last longer and a look closer to the latest releases like iPhone XS and iPhone 11 – with notch and without much edge. Certainly, you don’t like the smaller screen or are satisfied with an older processor, but still very good, the Bionic A12. It is a more expensive option than the iPhone SE, but even cheaper than the current iPhone, with features similar to the more expensive models.

Winner: iPhone SE

It is a choice for those who are short on cash, but do not dispense with the quality of an updated processor (A13). In its favor, is the fact that the iPhone SE (2020) was launched two years after the iPhone XR (2018). Theoretically, it will be updated to the latest iOS for a longer time (on average five years), leaving the iPhone XR with just three more years of software survival. Also, if a small body is what you wanted, iPhone SE is perfect to fit in your pocket or handbags (smaller ones).

Hope this helps! 😉

George Philiphttps://www.betechwise.com
George is a technology content writer with few years of experience. Specialized in mobile devices, personal computers and consumer technology, as well as software and applications. He explains all technological concepts so that users with less knowledge can understand it. If not writing, you may find him engrossed playing action games on his smartphone. Just so you know, he loves Xiaomi products alot. You may contact him via his email - [email protected]


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