Review of the “budget” Apple iPhone SE 2020


  1. Contents of delivery
  3. Positioning
  4. Design, dimensions, controls
  5. Display
  6. Battery
  7. Communication capabilities
  8. Memory, chipset, performance
  9. Camera
  10. Impressions and conclusions

Contents of delivery

  • Smartphone
  • 5W charger
  • Lightning cable
  • Clip for SIM tray
  • Two Apple logo stickers
  • Wired stereo headset
  • Brief instruction

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

Dimensions and weight 138.4 x 67.3 x 7,3 мм, 148 грамм
Body materials Aluminum, glass
Display 4.7 inches, 750х1334 pixels (16: 9), IPS, 326 ppi, automatic brightness control, maximum brightness 625 nits, ionic tempered glass (as in previous generations of iPhone)
Operating system iOS 13 at the time of release
Platform Apple A13 Bionic (7+ nm technology), two Lightning cores up to 2.65 GHz, 4 Thunder cores up to 1.8 GHz, Apple GPU
Memory 3 GB RAM, 64/128/256 GB ROM
Wireless Interfaces Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac, WiFi 6 (disabled in Russia), dual-band, Bluetooth 5.0
Сеть 2G: 850/900/1800/1900
3G: 850/900/1900/2100 и 1700/2100
4G: BFDD-LTE (bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 66 )
TD-LTE (bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48)

nanoSIM (eSIM can be installed as a second card)

Navigation GPS / GLONASS
Sensors and connectors Accelerometer, proximity sensor, light sensor, gyroscope, barometer, compass 
Fingerprint sensor
Main camera 12 MP (f / 1.8, PDAF, OIS), LED flash, 4K video recording
Front-camera 7 MP (f / 2.2), no autofocus
Battery Li-Ion 1821 mAh, talk time up to 5 hours, video playback up to 8 hours, LTE battery life up to 9 hours 
Cordless charging Qi
Fast charging support
Degree of protection IP67
Colours Black, white, red
Sound Stereodynamics
Payment System Apple Pay 
SAR Head SAR: 0.98 W / kg 
Case SAR: 0.99 W / kg (European Test Method)


Apple has been consistently losing sales, and it needs low-cost models to support its declining share. And here there is a clear danger of cannibalization, if you make an inexpensive and good iPhone, they will start buying it more often than older models. Apple’s flagships have gone wrong in the past few years, they turn out to be expensive, too inferior in capabilities to Android flagships, as a result, their share in Apple’s sales is declining. They buy old models at a discount, the price becomes the main motive for buying Apple, since Cupertino cannot offer any technology that distinguishes the company from other players. Proof of the consistent decline in sales of flagships is that for two years in a row Apple cannot fulfill its own plans for selling flagships and are forced to pay a forfeit to Samsung, it is their screens that Apple uses in top models. This year alone, they paid $ 835 million, a year earlier it was $ 683 million.

Therefore, it is extremely important for Apple to release new models, any new product attracts a specific audience and has a guaranteed sales volume. Chinese companies are aware of this that they are churning out new models at the speed of a machine gun. This, fortunately, is not Apple’s approach, but a new and relatively inexpensive device was needed.

The iPhone SE was based on the iPhone 8, since it was produced and sold at a good margin. We were solving a couple of problems at the same time: updating the components for the new model, since the old ones had already ended and there was no point in continuing their production, it was more expensive. At the same time, keep exactly the same chassis, invest minimal money in development. And so we can safely say that the 2020 iPhone SE is the iPhone 8 built on 2020 components. They updated the processor, but left the old screen and its protective glass. The fingerprint sensor on the front panel, the same camera as it was a long time ago, has slightly updated the main camera module. Inside is exactly the same battery as it was. In short, the BOM list has been updated so that the iPhone 8 can be produced in a new version and with a different name for a couple of years. Today it is an ingenious and inexpensive solution to the problems of creating a new device. An ancient model is sold in slightly modified packaging, which does not correspond to the market.

Who might the iPhone SE be for? Surely these may be children who will like such a device by default, and parents are not at all sorry for the money for it. It may be those who have not saved up enough money for older iPhones, are shaking over every penny and therefore buy a new, but affordable iPhone, without considering the previous generations in principle. These are those who need a fairly compact smartphone for calls and almost do not need additional features, as a rule, in this case it is the second smartphone, it is not the main one. There is hardly a large, noticeable audience of those who are ready to buy the iPhone SE as the main device. There are several reasons for this – an outdated design, the lack of chips that Apple has been promoting for several years, for example, face unlocking. The number of competitors in the segment for 40 thousand rubles is such that the iPhone SE loses to everyone in terms of the totality of features and characteristics, there are no exceptions. Interestingly, this model loses almost outright to the model, which costs half as much.

What conclusions can be drawn from this? They are obvious, the device is positioned exclusively for a loyal audience, for those who want to buy Apple at any cost and do not pay attention to the world around. For hardcore fans of the company or, in rare cases, for those who are convinced of the need for such a purchase by the seller in the store.

Design, dimensions, controls

The model is available in three colors, each color is good in its own way, my phone is white. The back is covered with glass (ion-exchange hardened glass, as in previous generations of smartphones), behind it there is a gloss. I like the fact that fingerprints do not remain in the white phone, or rather, they are not visible. In the black case, this is no longer the case.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

Often referred to as compact, the iPhone SE is actually noticeably smaller than other iPhones or most models on the market – 138.4 x 67.3 x 7,3 mm, 148 grams. With a width of less than 68 mm, it fits perfectly in any hand.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

Compared to iPhone 11 Pro

The quality of materials and workmanship here are typical for this price group, that is, it is the metal of the chassis (aluminum), as well as glass at the front and rear. But the frames at the screen are such that it’s time to cry, this is some kind of monster from the past. A small screen even in such a small case that it brings sadness. Moreover, the frames are from above, from below, from the sides. They obviously saved on the matrix, so that in no case the device would compete with the older models.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

On the front panel is an old friend, a fingerprint sensor. It works great, there are no complaints. I like that the device has protection against water (IP67), that is, it can be dropped into water and nothing will happen to it.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

The arrangement of elements is usual, on the left side there is a silent mode lever, a volume rocker. The power button is on the right side. There is also a SIM card slot, this is one nanoSIM card, the second can be an eSIM card. By the way, this is the most affordable smartphone with an eSIM card today, which may, in theory, be of interest to someone.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

At the bottom there is a speaker, as well as a Lightning connector. It remains to say about the main camera, it protrudes from the body, albeit slightly. But this does not create inconvenience, taking out the phone, you do not touch the edges of the pocket, it does not cling.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020


It has already been said about the screen frames, but it will be useful to repeat that this is a very strange decision, it is from the past. And visually the device looks old-fashioned, like you have an ancient iPhone, the fingerprint sensor complements this image.

The technical characteristics of the display are as follows: 4.7 inches, 750×1334 pixels (16: 9), IPS, 326 ppi, automatic brightness control, maximum brightness of 625 nits, ionic tempered glass (as in previous generations of the iPhone). Dropping this iPhone SE is not worth it, the quality of the protective glass is lower than that of the iPhone 11 of all variations, this was done deliberately so that such devices would beat more often, and Apple could make money on repairs. Nothing personal just business.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

On the street, the screen remains readable, an IPS-matrix with such brightness is sufficient for this. In general, I like the screen, if you close your eyes to its size and the fact that it is not comfortable to read sites here – rather small fonts.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

For calls, such a screen is enough, but in order to play games, surf the Internet, answer in instant messengers, it is clearly not enough. And nothing can be done about it, it is corny small by modern standards. It was possible to put a screen one inch larger in a case of this size, but it was impossible to give buyers such a solution, because then the older iPhones would be completely unnecessary.

There are no special modes of operation here – a blue filter, True Tone, which reduces color reproduction and few people like it. That’s all the settings.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020


With moderate use, the iPhone SE will survive daylight hours, and the battery is dead (1821 mAh). Add a larger battery here, and space allows you to do this, and you would get a really bestseller. But this is not Apple’s way, they just need to make an inexpensive smartphone that has saved development costs.

Standard charging charges the entire phone in 2.5 hours, in 1.5 hours you get 80% charge. It’s just a classic! If you buy an 18W charger, then you get 82% in an hour, a full charge in 2 hours. Wireless charging is also slow, alas.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

Using the iPhone SE as my main smartphone, I got a bad result, by lunchtime it just ran out of power and turned off. It is impossible to ensure that with such a battery, a smartphone, even with such a small screen, works for a long time (and the processor is rather gluttonous).

Communication capabilities

Saving on development is not always a bad thing, for example, Apple had to use the same radio part as in the latest smartphones, which means that here a modem, uncharacteristic for this price segment, is of a higher class. Maximum aggregation of frequencies, high speed and scanty screen size. In theory, it would be possible to use such a smartphone as a router, but a dead battery does not allow this. The design in the form of an external battery and a smartphone looks at least strange, and in this case overheating is noticeable.

The presence of NFC does not matter, it is used only in Apple Pay, which is traditional for the company.

Bluetooth 5.0 version, GPS / GLONASS navigation, there are no special complaints here.

There is support for WiFi 6 (in Russia the option is disabled, since there is no certification yet).

In general, I can say that the communication capabilities are excellent and higher than the device itself.

Memory, chipset, performance

One of the key features of this device is the latest generation of the chipset – A13 Bionic, the same processors are used in the company’s flagships. Considering the HD-resolution of the screen, the performance in synthetic tests at the maximum, Tim Cook even called the iPhone SE the fastest smartphone. And this is partially true – it is fast due to the fact that the synthetic processor is so fast. But in practice, in the interface, in other applications, you do not get any gain in speed compared to Android smartphones, on the contrary – the scrolling of lists is not so fast, large files open slower. The reason is that the RAM was supplied with 3 GB, and this is clearly not enough in 2020. Despite the optimization and other tweaks.

The lack of memory cards leads you to the fact that you need to initially choose the right amount of memory, the options are as follows: 64, 128, 256 GB. Most people buy the 64GB iPhone SE because they don’t plan to use it to the fullest, only for calls. Or they just save money, because they need the most inexpensive iPhone from the new line.


The front camera came to us straight from the distant past of the iPhone – 7 megapixels, but it can do HDR. The quality of the pictures is typical, when making calls, everyone will know that you have an iPhone, this characteristic soapiness of the picture in the room cannot be confused with anything.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

The main camera is not the level of flagships, no matter how much you want. Modest enough module, look at the sample pictures.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

Sample Photos

Video sample (MOV, 48 MB) >>>

And here you can see a comparison of pictures with the Galaxy A51, which costs half the price, and takes the same or better.

Impressions and conclusions

There is no point in talking about iOS13, everything is exactly the same. With a cost of the iPhone SE at 39 rubles, this is the most affordable model in the line from Apple. But if you look at the characteristics of the device, then it loses to literally all classmates. And it loses in everything from screen size to camera capabilities, battery life. But for the sake of the purity of the experiment, I compared this apparatus with a model that is twice as affordable.

Review of the "budget" Apple iPhone SE 2020

It turned out ugly, as the Galaxy A51 smudged the greatness of Apple a little and trampled it into the dirt. If we compare this device with models for 40 thousand rubles, then it will turn out even worse. The cost of the iPhone SE 2020 cannot exceed 25 thousand rubles today, in a good scenario it should cost 20 thousand rubles. But Apple sells last year’s snow for the price of diamonds, and you have to come to terms with that.

Should you buy this unit? Definitely yes, if you heat your fireplace in a country house with only 100 dollar bills, you are ready to spend money without an account. For rational people, there are many other smartphones.

PS In one of the articles I came across an amazing comment that shows the logic of the fans: “iPhone SE will be updated for four years, and in a couple of years the same A51 will be abandoned, and you will not receive updates.” The statement is at least controversial, since in Android, updates are now coming to old models, everything has changed. But even if this were so, then for the cost of the Galaxy A51, you can buy another device in two years (A53, probably), get new characteristics and capabilities in it, a new battery, and at the same time you will not spend as much money as the iPhone costs SE today. It’s just that the iPhone SE stands like a steam locomotive, which it is in the age of aircraft.

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