Apple has announced a new iPhone outside the month of September for the first time since 2016, and outside autumn for only the second time in a decade. It is a very big deal. It's the new iPhone SE for 2020.
Apple's popular first-gen iPhone SE was discontinued in September 2018, and fans of small, affordable handsets have been asking for a replacement ever since. At long last, they've got it - although it isn't quite as small this time around.
In this article we have all the details about the new iPhone SE's launch, price in the UK and US, specs, design, new features and much more. We'll help you decide if this is the phone for you.
Release date: When will the new iPhone SE come out?
It's out right now! The iPhone SE (2020) was announced at 4pm UK time on 15 April 2020. Pre-orders began at 1pm UK time (or 5am PDT) on Friday 17 April, and appeared in shops today, Friday 24 April.
Price: How much does the iPhone SE (2020) cost?
The iPhone SE (2020) starts at £419 in the UK, and $399 in the US. Yeah, that exchange rate bites just a bit. Here's the full pricing:
- iPhone SE (2020, 64GB): £419/$399
- iPhone SE (2020, 128GB): £469/$449
- iPhone SE (2020, 256GB): £569/$549
It might be galling for UK readers to see prices that are higher in pounds than in dollars, but that's something we've grown used to since the launch of the original iPhone SE in 2016. We investigate if this product is an example of 'Rip-Off Britain' in the separate article How much is an iPhone SE (and is it too much?).
And once you look past this, these are great prices. The new SE replaces the 8 and matches it in most respects, adding a processor that's two generations newer, but comes in at £60/£50 less at the base 64GB storage allocation. This is a phone launch that's all about value rather than excitement, which may be apt for the strange time we live in.
Wondering how this handset compares to its predecessor? Read our comparison of the old and new iPhone SE.
The iPhone SE is a popular iPhone - it was even chosen by the UK government's Department of Work and Pensions!
iPhone SE (2020) design
The iPhone SE for 2020 takes its design cues from the iPhone 8 (it will reportedly fit into iPhone 8 cases), so this isn't a return to the ultra-compact 4in design of the iPhone SE (2016), nor do we get the squared-off corners of the iPad Pro range - both of which were touted, and in some cases demanded, in the run up to the launch.
There's only a single camera lens on the rear, and it keeps the Home button - so Touch ID is the order of the day rather than Face ID.
Here are some images of the new handset in all its glory:
The iPhone SE comes in three colours: white, black and (Product)Red.
iPhone SE (2020) specs and new features
Don't expect envelope-pushing specs and features at this price, but this is still a solid offering. Here's the specs sheet:
- A13 Bionic processor
- 3GB RAM
- 64GB/128GB/256GB of storage
- 4.7in (1334x750 at 326 ppi) display, 625 nits brightness, 1400:1 contrast, True Tone
- 12Mp (f/1.8) rear-facing camera with flash, Portrait mode, 4K video
- 7Mp (f/2.2) front-facing camera, Portrait mode
- IP67 water and dust resistance
- 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm; 148g
What processor is in the iPhone SE (2020)?
The standout inclusion in that specs list is clearly the A13 Bionic chip, which is state of the art in Apple Land and matches the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.
The A13 is arguably Apple's flagship mobile processor - arguably, because the iPad Pro 2020 has a chip called the A12Z, which is from the generation before but incorporates a double enhancement (successive upgrades from A12 to A12X, and from A12X to A12Z) indicated by the letter Z. There will be a faster A14 chip when the iPhone 12 launches in autumn 2020.
The added power of the A13's neural engine should enable the seemingly unimpressive camera setup to produce excellent shots.
How much RAM is there in the iPhone SE (2020)?
The iPhone SE (2020) has 3GB of RAM. (Apple doesn't announce RAM for its phones, but this figure was quickly discovered via early teardowns.)
That's less than the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and Pro Max, and the iPhone XS and XS Max from the previous generation - all of these come with 4GB of RAM. The iPhone XR, however, has 3GB.
How fast is the iPhone SE (2020)?
It's not as fast as the other A13 iPhones (in multicore performance, at any rate), but given its lower RAM count we wouldn't expect that.
In our speed tests (using the Geekbench 5 benchmarking app) the iPhone SE (2020) averaged scores of 1,327 in single core and 3,039 in multicore. Here's how that compares with other recent iPhones:
- iPhone X: 917 (SC) + 2353 (MC)
- iPhone XR: 1110 (SC) + 2734 (MC)
- iPhone XS: 1107 (SC) + 2735 (MC)
- iPhone SE (2020): 1327 (SC) + 3039 (MC)
- iPhone 11: 1288 (SC) + 3338 (MC)
- iPhone 11 Pro: 1333 (SC) + 3544 (MC)
The tech site GSMArena thinks the iPhone SE is underclocked, based on underwhelming performance in a separate speed test, AnTuTu. The site thinks this was done to maintain battery life.
Will there be an iPhone SE Max?
We think so, yes, but don't expect it to arrive until 2021.
It's strange, give how neatly the iPhone SE (2020) replaces the iPhone 8, that there isn't a corresponding model to replace the iPhone 8 Plus. But the SE is available in only one screen size: 4.7in.
Pundits are in almost universal agreement that a larger version is in the pipeline, but they can't agree on exactly how much larger. Both 5.5in and 6.1in have their backers, and Apple itself may not have decided yet.
It's also expected to have a different design to the standard SE, with an all-screen layout and no Home button. It won't have Face ID, though - there will be a Touch ID sensor in the power button on one side.
For more details of this device, and its likely release schedule, read iPhone SE Plus postponed until 2021.
To look even further into the future, take a look at iPhone SE 3 release date, price & specs.
That's all for now, but we'll expand this article as we delve deeper into the new iPhone SE. For broader buying advice related to Apple's phone range, meanwhile, take a look at our roundup of the best iPhone deals as well as our iPhone buying guide.