iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phones

When evaluating telephones, you in most cases need them to be in the similar league. At the moment that may imply there’s a couple of hundred greenbacks setting apart the fashions—just like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Professional, or the Galaxy S20+ and the OnePlus Eight Professional—however it is principally a waste of time to pit the $1,400 Galaxy S20 Extremely towards the $400 Galaxy A51.

Replace five//23: Added new exams to the Battery and Charging segment.

However Apple’s new iPhone SE is a horse of a distinct colour. Sure, it’s Apple’s finances telephone and prices greater than one thousand greenbacks not up to the highest-end Galaxy S20, nevertheless it additionally has a number of Apple’s newest tech. And, , it’s an iPhone.

I did the unthinkable and in comparison it to the 3 of the highest Android telephones to be had nowadays: Galaxy S20 Extremely ($1,400), Google Pixel four ($900) and OnePlus 7T ($600). Upload all of it up and also you’ve were given $Three,000 in Android telephones towards one lowly $399 iPhone. However what will have to had been a ridiculously one-sided fight was once unusually shut.

iPhone SE vs Android: Design

The iPhone SE seems to be and appears like an older telephone. Just like the iPhone Eight, the SE is very very similar to the hardware offered with the iPhone 6 in 2014 and you’ll be able to really feel each and every little bit of its six-year-old design. The display screen is small, the bezels are monstrous, and the house button is bodily. It’s been a very long time since an Android telephone of any fame had a house button, and the SE seems to be and feels downright antiquated compared to the opposite telephones right here.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

The iPhone SE (proper) has extraordinarily an identical dimensions to the iPhone 6s.

I’m now not going to discuss the designs of the opposite telephones, however I can say this: Regardless of its historical seems to be, the iPhone SE is an especially sexy telephone with a cast construct high quality and unfashionable allure. Even Apple’s outdated designs are higher than a few of nowadays’s Android telephones, and the glass again, aluminum facets, and moderately curved chamfers are satisfyingly symmetrical and ergonomically delightful. The S20 and 7T are indubitably a step forward within the seems to be division—the Pixel four is a toss-up—however for a telephone that hasn’t been in taste for years, the SE truly isn’t so unhealthy.

Granted, its now not a telephone for everybody, however those that like or can get previous its old-fashioned House button will recognize is craftsmanship. The sleek glass again and polished aluminum edges bely its $399 ticket, and the entire bundle appears like a top rate handset. Its bezels are approach too giant to compete with the opposite telephones right here, however there’s a definite allure to the iPhone SE—and it’s great to not have to fret about palm rejection. There’s additionally one thing to be mentioned for a telephone that matches in any pocket.

iPhone SE vs Android: Show

Proper off the bat, the iPhone SE is at a drawback. Whilst the Android telephones right here all have high-refresh-rate OLED shows, the iPhone SE makes use of an LCD display screen that pales compared to the opposite telephones right here:

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 6.Nine-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED, 120Hz, 3200×1440, 511 ppi
Pixel four XL: 6.Three-inch Quad HD+ P-OLED, 90Hz, 3040×1440, 537ppi
OnePlus 7T: 6.55-inch Complete HD+ AMOLED, 90Hz, 2400×1080, 402ppi
iPhone SE: four.7-inch HD IPS LCD, 60Hz, 1334×750, 326 ppi

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

There’s a 2.2-inch distinction between the iPhone SE’s display screen and the Galaxy S20 Extremely’s.

Apple labels the iPhone SE a Retina HD demonstrate quite than Liquid Retina, nevertheless it’s necessarily the similar demonstrate because the iPhone 11 with sq. corners as an alternative of rounded ones. However for an LCD that’s already a number of years outdated, the iPhone SE’s display screen is unusually excellent. Textual content is crisp and it’s very vibrant, rivaling the height handbook brightness I used to be in a position to reach at the different shows the usage of the similar all-white symbol.

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 610 nits
Pixel four XL: 745 nits
OnePlus 7T: 870 nits
iPhone SE: 740 nits

On the other hand, with adaptive brightness grew to become on and a right away supply of vibrant gentle implemented, the consequences have been dramatically other.

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 1275 nits
Pixel four XL: 1075 nits
OnePlus 7T: 1275 nits
iPhone SE: 840 nits

With adaptive brightness grew to become on, the OLED shows can leverage complicated algorithms and better distinction ratio to ship fuller colours and ambitious brightness. And so they’re a long way awesome at the decrease finish too, with extremely deep blacks that put the SE’s LCS to disgrace.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

The iPhone is the thinnest telephone right here however now not by way of a lot.

Then there’s the problem of measurement. The iPhone SE isn’t simply small for 2020, it seems to be comically small in comparison to the Galaxy S20 Extremely and is greater than an inch and a part smaller than the common Android flagship. Even the five.Eight-inch display screen at the iPhone 11 Professional seems to be monstrous by way of comparability, and movies and internet sites really feel very cramped by way of comparability. With Apple rumored to be switching to an all-OLED lineup for the iPhone 12, the SE’s LCD goes to briefly transform out of date, however all in all it’s a good demonstrate.

iPhone SE vs Android: Efficiency

Relatively frankly, the iPhone SE wouldn’t be value its salt (or evaluating to the telephones right here) if now not for its processor. Apple has put the iPhone 11 Professional’s A13 processor throughout the iPhone SE, making it probably the most speediest telephones ever made and for sure the quickest for not up to $400.

I picked the 3 telephones I did as a result of they constitute the cream of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon crop. The S20 Extremely makes use of the 865, the most efficient system-on-chip to be had, the OnePlus 7T is powered by way of the Snapdragon 855+, and the Pixel four runs the Snapdragon 855. Merely put, you received’t discover a trio of quicker processors in any Android telephone. However pitted towards the lowly iPhone SE, the 3 telephones merely can’t stack up:

Geekbench five (CPU)

Galaxy S20 Extremely

Unmarried-core: 901
Multi-core: 3245

Pixel four XL

Unmarried-core: 724
Multi-core: 2529

OnePlus 7T

Unmarried-core: 772
Multi-core: 2883

iPhone SE

Unmarried-core: 1331
Multi-core: 3310

Sooner than you ask, the ones effects are with the entire newest patches and updates put in and following contemporary restarts. I carried out them a couple of instances and took the most efficient effects. In brief, there’s no contest. The iPhone SE now not best handles the most efficient Android telephones, it handily beats telephones costing two times and 3 times as a lot. And relating to graphics, the iPhone SE is a beast.

Geekbench five (Compute)

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 3085
Pixel four XL: 2149
OnePlus 7T: 2675
iPhone SE: 6413

That’s to not say any of the telephones listed below are sluggish. A ways from it. The Galaxy S20 Extremely and OnePlus 7T each have UFS Three.zero garage along side 12GB and 8GB of RAM, respectively, in comparison to the iPhone SE’s 3GB. The Pixel four, just like the iPhone SE, has the good thing about being engineered along the similar staff that makes the Android running formulation. However even with the ones benefits, the iPhone SE is principally quicker in each and every approach.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesIDG

The iPhone SE merely trounced the most efficient Android telephones relating to processing speeds and graphics energy.

And when you have been to match the iPhone SE to a $399 Android telephone, the consequences could be lopsided to the purpose of being absurb. Don’t consider me? Check out the Geekbench five ratings for the Pixel 3a, which is broadly thought to be the most efficient finances Android telephone you’ll be able to purchase:

Unmarried-core: 351
Multi-core: 1244
Compute: 639

And the ones are excellent numbers in comparison to the Exynos-powered Galaxy telephones in that worth vary. However truthfully, despite the fact that the approaching Pixel 4a have been to percentage the similar Snapdragon 855 processor because the Pixel four, the iPhone SE would nonetheless run circles round it. It is even were given Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which you’ll be able to best in finding at the S20 right here. Apple can have made sacrifices with the SE’s pace with an A12 chip and even the A10 Fusion that powers the Nine.7-inch iPad and nobody would have minded. As an alternative it delivered the quickest telephone you’ll be able to purchase at a ridiculously reasonably priced worth.

iPhone SE vs Android: Battery and charging

Granted, the Android telephones I checked out are a lot larger, so they’ll have larger batteries. Apple doesn’t reveal the battery capability of its telephones, however via teardowns it’s been published that it has the similar 1,821mAh battery because the iPhone Eight. Through any metric that’s extremely small, nevertheless it’s downright puny compares to the others right here.

Galaxy S20 Extremely: five,000mAh
Pixel four XL: Three,700mAh
OnePlus 7T: Three,800mAh

It’s additionally small in comparison to Apple’s different choices. The iPhone XR has a 2,942 mAh battery, the iPhone 11 has a three,110 mAh battery, the iPhone 11 Professional has a three,046 mAh battery, and the iPhone 11 Professional Max has a three,969 mAh battery. And on this case, measurement indubitably issues. The iPhone SE’s battery lifestyles is suitable in that it’ll most likely get most of the people via an afternoon of standard use, nevertheless it’s now not going to blow someone away. And when you plan on the usage of it do to a excellent quantity of streaming or navigation, you’re going to need to have a charger close by.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

When you’re going to be the usage of the iPhone SE’s Lightning port for charging, you’ll need to spend money on a greater adapter.

In my trying out, I performed a two-hour film at the brightest settings with automated brightness grew to become off after which the similar film with automated brightness grew to become on. Right here’s how a lot battery lifestyles each and every telephone used:

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 23 p.c
Pixel four XL: 35 p.c
OnePlus 7T: 29 p.c
iPhone SE: 46 p.c

Even with a long way fewer pixels to push, you’ll wish to fill the SE up way more steadily than the opposite telephones right here. When that point arrives, iPhone SE helps wi-fi charging, which is one thing of a rarity for a telephone this affordable. (Working example: The OnePlus 7T and the more moderen OnePlus Eight don’t.) Charging speeds are applicable however the SE continues to be the slowest of this bunch, topping out at 7.5W, part what the Galaxy S20 provides (15W) and slower than the Pixel four’s 11W max speeds.

For stressed charging, the iPhone SE comes with a lame 5W adapter within the field, which is able to take a painfully lengthy two-plus hours to totally fee your iPhone SE. That’s high-quality when you’re plugging it in sooner than bedtime, however when you’re on the lookout for a handy guide a rough fee sooner than heading out for the evening, you’re going to need to plan forward.

All the different telephones strengthen fast-charging out of the field they usually each and every wreck the SE’s out-of-the-box charging speeds. The OnePlus 7T can achieve 30W, the S20 hits 25W, and the Pixel four will get 18W, however the distinction between them is beautiful minimum, with all them filling up between 40-50 p.c of the battery in a part hour so long as you’re the usage of the charger and cable. In a good battle, the SE in fact does OK.

That’s for the reason that iPhone SE does helps 18W quick charging. However you’ll wish to purchase a charger able to 18-watt speeds and a USB-C-to-Lightning cable. You’ll purchase each at Apple.com for $48 however you’re at an advantage checking Amazon for a high-rated third-party choice.

To stay issues truthful, I examined each and every telephone the usage of a 65W GaN Aukey PD charger with the similar USB-C cable and an Apple USB-C-to-Lightning cable for the iPhone SE. All the telephones had not up to 40 p.c energy to be sure that they charged as quick as conceivable. Right here’s what I noticed the usage of an influence meter for 15 mins of charging:

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 16% fee, 9V, 15W
OnePlus 7T: 13% fee, 5V, 10W
Pixel four XL: 24% fee, 9V, 19W
iPhone SE: 28% fee, 9V, 12W

Granted, the iPhone SE is graded on one thing of a curve since its battery is so small, however there’s no denying that those telephones love their proprietary charging programs. With a regular charger and cable, which many of us will use, you’ll get cast charging speeds for all of those telephones, together with the iPhone SE, however nowhere close to the mentioned claims that the OnePlus 7T and S20 boast.

iPhone SE vs Android: Biometrics

The iPhone SE is the one telephone right here (and truly, any place) to make use of a bodily fingerprint scanner. I don’t assume Apple is able to creating a $399 iPhone with Face ID, so till the following iteration of the SE, this can be a high-quality tradeoff. The Pixel four makes use of three-D face free up and it’s just about as quick as it’s at the iPhone 11. It’s relatively much less handy than a fingerprint sensor in that you want to be taking a look without delay at your telephone, nevertheless it’s extra safe.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

Yup, that’s an honest-to-goodness house button.

Even finances telephones have begun to undertake in-display fingerprint scanners just like the Galaxy S20 Extremely and the OnePlus 7T, so the era will have to be mature by way of now. However whilst in-display scanners glance excellent and permit near-edge-to-edge designs, they’re now not just about as quick as bodily fingerprint scanners. My iPhone SE unlocked in a split-second each and every time I tried it whilst the 2 telephones with in-display sensors from time to time struggled. As an admittedly unscientific take a look at, I set a stopwatch for a minute and timed how time and again I may lock and free up each and every telephone with he similar finger:

Galaxy S20 Extremely: 29
Pixel four XL: 33
OnePlus 7T: 28
iPhone SE: 42

Apple’s Contact ID sensor will not be as cool or beautiful as an in-display scanner, however bodily scanners are merely awesome to digital ones. You’ll in finding it with out taking a look, you don’t need to look forward to the display screen to activate, they usually’re extra dependable. The iPhone SE’s bodily scanner will not be beautiful, nevertheless it’s nonetheless the speediest approach to put into effect biometric unlocking on a telephone.

iPhone SE vs Android: OS updates

The deserves of iOS as opposed to Android shall be debated eternally, so I’ll go away that argument for every other day, However something is obvious: You’ll nonetheless be getting updates for your iPhone SE in 2024. And also you’ll most likely be capable to set up iOS 18 on it too. That Galaxy S20 Extremely persons are spending $1,400 on is fortunate to get Android 12 in two years.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

The iPhone SE will nonetheless be getting updates lengthy after the S20 is EOL’d.

There’s no contest right here. I’ll admit that Android telephone makers have got approach higher at pushing updates in a well timed type and speaking to consumers what they’re going to be getting, however even the most efficient Android telephone within the iPhone SE’s worth vary, the Pixel 3a, best promises two years of model updates and 3 years of per thirty days safety updates. And Samsung’s cheap choices best get quarterly updates.

iPhone SE vs Android: Digital camera

The most recent iPhone is at all times at or close to the highest of the smartphone heap relating to taking photos, however the SE is a brand new iPhone in title best. That’s to not say it has a foul digital camera, nevertheless it’s  a long way cry from the multi-camera modules within the iPhone 11 Professional and the Android telephones right here. You’re getting a succesful digital camera, however I don’t assume we’ll be seeing any iPhone SE pics in Apple’s subsequent Shot on iPhone marketing campaign.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

Can one digital camera tackle 9?

The largest hole between the iPhone SE and the opposite telephones this is with low-light pictures. Apple made a gigantic deal of Night time Mode at the iPhone 11, and rightfully so—the iPhone 11’s algorithms do a exceptional process of extending the seize time and amping up the publicity to scale back noise and up the brightness in difficult gentle.

With out Night time Mode, the SE struggles like Apple’s telephones used to, and the consequences are darkish and grainy. They’re satisfactory generally, however in comparison to the telephones right here, particularly the Pixel four XL, there’s no contest. Night time Mode is the primary factor I leave out with the SE, and it’s irritating that Apple left it out, for the reason that digital camera and chip appear to be technically able to dealing with it.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

When the sunshine is going down, the iPhone SE’s deficiencies pop out.

Even with a unmarried lens, the iPhone SE can take portraits, however just like the iPhone XR, it best works with other folks. It’s every other bizarre limitation that different single-camera finances telephones don’t have, however the SE takes incredible bokeh pictures of people. Even in comparison to the S20 Extremely, which has 4 cameras together with a devoted intensity sensor, the iPhone SE carried out impressively. Within the pictures beneath, the iPhone SE treated the intense background with out a hitch or even did a greater process with my son’s pores and skin tones, in particular his rosy cheeks.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

The iPhone SE (left) is as excellent of a portrait taker because the S20 Extremely even with a unmarried digital camera.

The iPhone has at all times had an inclination to tamp down the colour in pictures in want of real-world accuracy, and the iPhone SE doesn’t stray from that lane. Within the photograph beneath, the OnePlus 7T oversaturated the fairway a bit of and added a groovy tint to the wall whilst the SE maintained colour accuracy and right kind white steadiness.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

The iPhone SE (left) did a greater process than the OnePlus 7T with dealing with the colour on this shot.

The consequences see fairly subjective, however the SE does its highest to correctly seize the scene. And in the precise gentle, it’s as excellent of a point-and-shoot as the opposite cameras right here.

iPhone SE vs Android: Conclusion

I will be able to’t believe someone with one thousand dollars to spend on a brand new smartphone would in fact go for an iPhone SE over the iPhone 11 Professional or probably the most Android telephones right here, but when they do, they’ll be getting a telephone that’s quicker, extra pocketable, and many able to taking superb photos. Extra importantly, when you’re on the cheap, it’s an especially sexy choice regardless of which platform flag you fly beneath.

- iPhone SE vs Android’s best: A $399 iPhone stands up to $3,000 in Android phonesMichael Simon/IDG

The iPhone SE prices loads not up to the OnePlus 7T, Galaxy S20 Extremely, and Pixel four XL.

The velocity of the iPhone SE is solely mind-blowing. With the similar design as my outdated iPhone 6s, I be expecting it to be pokey, however the SE flies via duties and apps conveniently. I didn’t be expecting it to stack as much as the opposite telephones right here in each and every class, however its super efficiency is eye-opening and compensates for probably the most spaces the place it falls a bit quick, specifically the demonstrate and battery.

In brief, the compromises Apple made with the SE are good. Sure, it’s an outdated design and lacks probably the most latest iPhone tech, nevertheless it’s a $399 telephone that received’t really feel gradual after a 12 months or two or 4, which is greater than you’ll be able to say for any Android worth in that worth vary—or even a couple of which are a lot more dear.

This tale, “iPhone SE vs Android’s highest: A $399 iPhone stands as much as $Three,000 in Android telephones” was once at first printed by way of


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