The original iPhone SE was Apple’s first budget phone. But that was four years ago. Until now, Apple had yet to release a newer model that was anywhere near as budget-friendly, easy to use, or small enough to comfortably hold one-handed.
At $399, the iPhone SE (2020) is finally here to give the company’s budget option a refresh. It also replaces the iPhone 8, which was the closest option to an updated SE that customers had since its launch in 2017. Although with a starting price of $699, the iPhone 8 wasn’t necessarily a true low-cost phone.
With a single rear camera, Touch ID, and a 4.7-inch display, the new SE packs almost all of the same features as the iPhone 8, allowing Apple to discontinue that model completely. Which, in a way, essentially makes the new iPhone SE the unofficial “iPhone 9.”
The new SE’s $399 price is just for the 64GB base model. If you’re looking for more storage, the 128GB version will cost you $449 while the 256GB configuration goes for $549.
But based solely on its specs, it’s clear this new iPhone SE isn’t for those who want the latest and greatest. It’s a great option for someone who is finally willing to let go of their dated flip phone, but who also doesn’t want to pay a high cost or feel overwhelmed by confusing new features.
What’s more, the only available iPhone upgrade alternatives, which include the iPhone XS (the ‘X’ series being the first iPhones to ditch Touch ID completely) and up, require growing accustomed to Face ID, gesture navigation, and a much larger handset build. There’s also the fact that each of these phones comes with a relatively higher price tag.
The new iPhone SE, on the other hand, is the perfect choice for those who are content with the basic features of their current iPhones, but are desperately in need of an upgrade. Whether it’s because their phone is starting to slow down or they just want something a little more updated, the new iPhone SE is a solid replacement.
While the new iPhone SE is the smallest handset Apple currently offers, it’s not as small as its predecessor. In fact, it’s actually identical to the iPhone 8 in both size and design.
As far as dimensions go, the iPhone SE (2016) measured 4.87 inches long by 2.31 inches wide. Meanwhile, the second-generation version is slightly larger at 5.45 inches long by 2.65 inches wide. So, there’s quite a difference there.
Unlike the original iPhone SE which featured an aluminum body, the new model is made of glass on both the front and back. Only its sides are coated in aluminum. It does look and feel high-end for what’s considered a budget phone, though. My model came in the (Product) Red version, which I think adds to the sleek aesthetic, but it’s also available in black or white.
It’s also worth noting that, if you’re upgrading from the original iPhone SE, the 2020 version is a bit heavier. In comparison to the 2016 version which weighed in at 3.99 ounces, this model is 5.22 ounces. Having come from the iPhone 11 Pro (which weighs almost 6.63 ounces), the new SE felt super lightweight and small in my hands. But for those of you with the older models, it might feel like a bit of an adjustment at first.
I admit, it initially felt a little foreign to cradle the new SE in both my hands. My fingers were awkwardly crammed together as they rested on the back of the diminutively sized phone. Regardless, at 4.7-inches, it’s still the perfect size for someone with tiny hands like mine. It’s also ideal to use with one hand without feeling like you’re going to drop it.