Unusually for an iPhone launch, the iPhone SE (2020) slipped quietly under the radar last month, without the unusual fanfare and queues of Apple fan boys forming outside stores the night before.
OK, we were in the middle of a lockdown, but even so, I have never known such a low-key launch of an iPhone. Although, let’s face it, the phone isn’t much to write home about in terms of new features and improved functionality in that it looks like the 2017 iPhone 8 and doesn’t perform that much better.
Before we start this quick overview, I better lay my cards on the table. I am not and never will be an Apple fan as I find the almost slavish utterings of their fan boys a real turn off. I have always viewed the iPhone as a victory of style over substance with an expensive price tag to boot. Despite this I will endeavor not to let my views cloud this review!
The SE (2020) looks identical to the iPhone 8 and shares the same 4.7” LCD screen. This has a 65.4% screen to body ratio, 750p resolution, 326ppi density and 625 nits maximum brightness. It has the same sturdy and premium feeling glass front & back and aluminium frame construction, weighing in at 148g.
Whilst obviously being well-built, the whole effect looks dated particularly in relation to the screen where it compares poorly to the big screens with small bezels that even the cheapest smartphones are sporting these days. The iPhone SE (2020) is designed to be the cheapest iPhone available in an attempt to hold onto market share but is only likely to attract committed Apple users who want to upgrade from an iPhone 7 or older.
New A13 Bionic processor
Inside it is driven by the Apple A13 Bionic processor used in the latest iPhone 11. However, if reports are believed to be true this chip has been somewhat throttled, so don’t expect the same performance as you would from the 11. It has 3GB of RAM and is available with 64, 128 or 256GB of non-expandable storage.
There are stereo speakers, but no headphone jack, and the fingerprint sensor is front mounted on the Home button at the bottom of the screen. The whole thing is powered by an 1821 mAh battery with 18W fast-charging that will give you 50% charge in 30 minutes.
Best single camera system available
The camera is probably the best single camera system out there (although it could be argued that that is because no one else ships premium smartphones with single cameras now!). As with the iPhone 8, it is a 12MP f/1.8 wide with OIS that gives good shots both days and nights.
The selfie camera is a 7MP f/2.2 unit that can also take 1080p resolution videos at 30 frames per second.
One for the Apple fans
Available in Black, White or Red, the SE (2020) costs £419, which is cheap compared to the other iPhones available, but when you consider what you can get for that amount in the Android world (Large AMOLED screen, triple or Quad camera array, 4000+ mAh battery) it does not stand up well.
The iPhone SE (2020) is basically the iPhone 8 with a new processor and as such is definitely one for the Apple fans out there.