Should you buy the iPhone 10 over the iPhone SE (2020)? Let’s investigate how the two phones compare – from a design and specs perspective…
The iPhone SE (2020) is now official and it has completely flipped Apple’s iPhone business on its head.
You also have Apple’s iPhone 12 range to consider – the ONLY current models with 5G.
It’s a killer deal, and reviews of the iPhone SE (2020) have been resoundingly positive so far too.
But what if you want things like an OLED display, a more advanced camera, and Apple’s Face ID, but you can’t stretch to iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max or iPhone 12 money?
One option is to pick up the iPhone 10 – AKA the iPhone X.
This phone has Apple’s FACE ID technology, features, and OLED display, and can now be picked up for almost the same price as Apple’s newly minted iPhone SE (2020) – only the iPhone X is (or was) a flagship phone and when it first launched it retailed for $999.99/£999.99.
If you want something newer, the iPhone SE 2020 is a great option; it is small and extremely powerful. It is also available on a bunch of great deals now too.
Me personally? I think I’d still rather use the iPhone X. Here’s a quick breakdown of why…
Is The iPhone 10 Worth It In 2021?
In order to answer that question, let’s first take a look at the iPhone 10’s specs in order to see how they hold up by 2020 standards.
iPhone 10 Specs:
- Weight: 174g
- Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
- OS: iOS 12
- Screen size: 5.8-inch
- Screen Resolution: 1125×2436
- CPU: A11 Bionic
- RAM: 3GB*
- Storage: 64GB / 256GB
- Battery: 2,716mAh*
- Rear camera: 12MP+12MP (both OIS)
- Front camera: 7MP
The first thing that’s worth noting is the fact that the iPhone 10 is smaller than the iPhone 11; it has a 5.8in OLED display versus the iPhone 11’s 6.1in LCD panel.
OLED is also better than LCD for a variety of reasons, so if you’re after a compact iPhone with an OLED panel that won’t break the bank, the iPhone 10 certainly looks like a good option.
The iPhone 10 runs on Apple’s A11 Bionic chipset, alongside 3GB of RAM. The iPhone SE (2020) features 3GB of RAM (apparently) and Apple’s A13 Bionic chipset.
In this respect, the iPhone SE (2020) is the better option; the A13 is vastly superior to the A11 – and you will notice the difference.
I mean, just look at the benchmarks for each chip below:
iPhone 10 Camera
The iPhone 10’s camera is a 12MP dual-lens setup.
That sounds similar to the iPhone 8 Plus’ camera, but there are key differences here that make big differences to how the camera performs.
The most notable of which is optical image stabilization on both the wide-angle and telephoto lens.
Low-light performance is A LOT better thanks to the iPhone 10’s f/2.4 aperture and newly implemented OIS, and the overall quality of images captured, either in standard mode or using the wide-angle lens/telephoto lens, is very impressive – even by 2020 standards.
Even the 7MP front-facing camera is decent; it’s great at sensing depth and can capture some really good-looking selfies.
The iPhone 10’s camera is vastly superior to the iPhone SE (2020)’s single-lens 12MP setup.
For this reason, if you want more advanced image capture while still operating on a strict budget, the iPhone 10 would be the one to go with – it has a more advanced camera and it will shot video better too.
iPhone 10 Storage Options – This Bit is Important…
If you value having a lot of storage, and you really should if you’re using an iPhone because Apple doesn’t include expandable storage on its phones, then the iPhone 10 – even by 2021 standards – starts to look really tasty, as you can pick up higher storage models for a lot less than the base model storage options of new phones.
For instance, you can pick up an unlocked iPhone X (Refurbished) via Gazelle with 256GB of storage for $469.
To put that figure into context, the iPhone 11 with 64GB of storage will cost you $699.99.
And with the iPhone X, you’re getting an OLED display, a similar dual-lens camera, and the same level of software support for the next 5-6 years.
Similarly, if you’re in the UK, you can grab an iPhone X with 256GB of storage for £489.99 via MusicMagpie, which isn’t far off being as cheap as the base model (64GB) iPhone SE (2020).
iOS Updates For iPhone 10
Apple’s iPhone business model is so successful because it looks after ALL of its customers.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running an iPhone 7 or a brand new iPhone 11 Pro Max, you get iOS updates as soon as they’re ready and no one is left out in the cold.
The same cannot be said for Android – fragmentation is still Google’s #1 problem.
The ONLY time Apple deliberately stopped supporting older iPhone models was when it switched iOS from 32-bit to 64-bit, a move that left rendered ALL iPhones below the iPhone 5s effectively out in the cold.
This move was necessary, however, and in the long run, did not cause Apple any real issues. The iPhone 6 helped a lot in this regard by instigating Apple’s last, true super-cycle.
The bottom line here, however, is simple: if you buy an iPhone 10 today, you will be getting iOS updates for it for years to come – well into the mid-to-late 2020s.
You cannot say the same thing for a brand new Samsung Galaxy S20 phone or even a Google Pixel phone, where you might be lucky to get three years of support (maximum).
Wrapping Up – Is The iPhone 10 Still A Solid Buy?
As you can see from ALL of the above, the iPhone 10’s specs – while a few years old now – are still pretty impressive where it counts.
You have a very powerful processor in the form of Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, a decent amount of memory (3GB), and a very solid 12MP dual-lens camera with an ultra-wide and telephoto lens.
From a design perspective, the iPhone 10 still looks as smart as ever. It is also extremely hard to discern the difference between the iPhone XS and iPhone 11, such is Apple’s love of using the same design over and over again.
Unlike the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE (2020), however, the iPhone 10 features an OLED display, and, as of right now, it is the cheapest OLED iPhone on the market.
For me, as a user, the iPhone 10 ticks a lot of boxes; it’s available for in and around the same price as the iPhone SE (2020), it features a gorgeous OLED panel, it’s smaller than the iPhone 11, and it has a very capable dual-lens camera.
Add in additional things like solid battery life, and it is easy to see why the iPhone 10 is still a popular option with shoppers looking for extra value for money.
Best Place To Buy iPhone 10 ✅
Gazelle (USA) – Prices Range From $380 to $500
MusicMagpie (UK) – Prices Range From £389 to £500
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.