Review: iPhone SE (2020)

In a world of $1,000 smartphones where does a $400 iPhone, with an age-old design, fit in?

My daily phone is the iPhone 11 Pro. I absolutely love it except for one thing, it is still too big. I know I am in the minority here as the Plus and Max size devices are extremely popular. But, I know there are a lot of those out there who still love a small phone. That is where the iPhone SE comes in.

Remember the iPhone 6, 7, and 8? Well the iPhone SE has the same 4.7-inch screen as those devices. There is nothing new when holding this device. This isn’t a bad thing though. The size feels so great in the hand if you like smaller phones. I love that I can hold this phone and use it in one hand. Also, coming from a bigger phone, that is very heavy, this phone is amazingly light. I sometimes had to check my pockets to make sure it was still there! The size and feel of it is my favorite part of the iPhone SE

The performance on this thing is great. I don’t have much to say other than you are getting the same power in this phone, for $400, as you do with a $700-$1,000 phone. That is astonishing.

The camera is very good. I have wanted this type of camera since the iPhone 8. I loved the dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus because of Portrait Mode. When the 8 and 8 Plus came out, I was hoping the smaller 8 would get the Portrait Mode feature but it didn’t. To get that feature you always had to pay the premium and get the larger phone. Then the iPhone XR came out. It was significantly cheaper than the iPhone XS at the time and had a single camera that could take portrait photos. That was great but you could only take portrait photos of humans with the XR camera. That is the same with the iPhone SE. If you try taking a portrait photo of anything other than a human’s face, it will tell you that it cannot detect a human. This is a downside to the camera, for sure. Outside of that, the camera is great.

Another pain point for me is the battery. If you have followed this blog for a while you will know that I get all of the new battery cases for phones when they come out. The last few from mophie and Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro wasn’t really needed. The 11 Pro’s battery is just so good. But the iPhone SE reminds me why the battery case market was a thing years ago. If you are near a charger all day, this will not be a problem. If you cannot get to a power outlet throughout the day, you will be scrambling to find a charge at the end of the day. Of course, everyone uses their phones different, but if you plan on keeping this phone for a while, a battery pack or battery case may be something you want to invest in.

I forgot how well Touch ID worked on the iPhone. It is extremely fast and in today’s world where a face mask might be the new normal, Touch ID was a joy to have compared to Face ID. With that being said, Touch ID seems like an extra step. Coming from Face ID, I was sometimes waiting for the phone to unlock forgetting to put my finger on the button to unlock it.

If you are coming from something older than the iPhone 8, the SE is an amazing upgrade. If you want a phone that will get you through the next few years without any problem, get the SE. If you want the cheapest or lightest iPhone out there, the SE is by far one of the best values available. If you love the home button and refuse to jump into the Face ID generation, get the SE. If you have been trying to get your friend or family member to upgrade, get them the SE. If you want the latest and greatest, well, you probably already have it and it is safe to say the SE is not for you. But only you can make that decision.

You can pick up the iPhone SE from Apple starting at $400 for the 64GB model. I highly recommend paying the extra $50 and getting the 128GB for $450.

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

2 thoughts on “Review: iPhone SE (2020)”

  1. […] This is my go-to setup when getting new iPhones. If they offered the Saddle Brown leather case, I would opt for that one instead. Choosing the iPhone is the one item I need and it gets you into the ecosystem and lays the foundation for what will follow. If you want to read more about my thoughts on the iPhone SE, check out my review. […]

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