iPhone SE vs iPhone 12: Why I’d Probably Get The iPhone SE…

The iPhone SE costs $399.99 and runs on Apple’s A13 SoC. It also has a home button and TouchID. That’s basically a wet dream for most iPhone fans, even with the prospect of the iPhone 12 looming on the horizon…

For the last several years, outside of testing, I haven’t bought a new iPhone outright or on contract for one very simple reason: they’re just too expensive. And it’s the same with Samsung’s latest and greatest flagships as well; they just cost too much money. And no amount of marketing fluff is going to change my mind about this…

I care about technology, sure, but I’d rather have cash in my pocket. I like high-end specs but I know that I don’t really need 12GB of RAM or the latest and greatest SoC. What am I going to do with all that memory? Do I need laptop-grade performance on my phone? I don’t even play games on my phone. Instead, I use it to browse the web, send email, and make calls.

This is why I will not pay $1000 for a phone.

I’d rather just get an older flagship that has depreciated in price and save a bunch of money. This is why I often talk about the merits of buying older flagship phones like the Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone X. I do this because 99.9% of people don’t even touch 80% of their phone’s potential performance. They’re just suckers for marketing.

And if you’re not using your phone to its full potential, what’s the point of paying all that extra money for it? Why not just get something cheaper that works perfectly fine and save a boat-load of cash in the process and put it towards something useful like an investment account?

The iPhone SE (2020) is Basically Apple’s Google Pixel 3a…

Back in the day, ironically when I had less money than I do now, I’d happily fork out huge amounts of money every month to get my hands on the latest and greatest phone. But then I got a mortgage and a car and a child and things began to change. I started thinking like a grown-up; I started being smarter with money.

iPhone 9 vs iPhone 12Pin

The Pixel 3a, however, was what really changed my opinion on things for good. I used that phone for almost 12 months and it has been brilliant; the camera is great, the software is near-perfect, and the phone functions just perfect for what I use it for – web browsing, apps, calls, IM, and email.

And it costs $399.99 (even less now if you go via Amazon).

Given all of the above, it should come as no surprise that, within a few months of release, the Pixel 3a went on to become the most popular Pixel release of ALL TIME.

The iPhone SE Might Out-Sell The iPhone 12

Let’s cut right to the chase here: the iPhone SE costs $399.99 for the base model,  and it features TouchID, and runs on Apple’s A13 CPU, the same SoC that is used inside its iPhone 11 range. You can see a breakdown of all of the iPhone SE’s specs below:

iPhone SE Specs:

  • Screen: 4.7-inch True Tone display
  • Rear cameras: 12-megapixel single 6-element lens, features OIS, flicker sensor for white balance, focus pixels, HDR, and portrait mode for people, video recording at 4K/60fps
  • Selfie camera: 7-megapixel camera
  • Dimensions: 67.3 x 138.4 x 7.3mm, 148 grams
  • Processor: A13 Bionic
  • Memory: TBD
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB
  • Battery: TBD
  • OS: iOS 13
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit LTE, Dual SIM with eSIM
  • Biometric authentication: second-generation Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • Wireless charging, Lightning connector, 5W charger included
  • IP67 protection

It will be the cheapest iPhone Apple has ever released too. But, thanks to its A13 SoC, it will not run like a cheap phone; rather, it will function and perform much the same as the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.


And because of the price of the iPhone SE, many of you will be able to buy the phone outright, get yourself a bangin’ SIM-only deal, and never have to deal with 18-24 month contracts ever again. This means reduced monthly bills AND you still get a new iPhone.

What’s not to like, right? Well, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Apple isn’t stupid; its not going to release a phone that will effectively kill all potential sales of its more expensive iPhone 12. Instead, Apple will cleverly divide its user-base around a few key areas, which I think will look a little something like this:

  • People that don’t want 5G. 
  • People that want a smaller iPhone. 
  • People that DO NOT want to pay a lot for an iPhone. 

And this makes perfect sense because if Apple does not cater to the needs of these types of user they will simply go elsewhere, as they have been doing for years now.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 12 – Wrapping Up…

Given all of the above, why the hell would I want an iPhone SE over the iPhone 12? First and foremost, it’s not really a case of want; it’s more a case of what’s most appropriate for my needs as a user. Let’s look at each one individually…

I don’t need 5G, not yet anyway; I live in the countryside and it won’t be here for a long time. I’m not a massive photography guy. I take pictures of my son and the occasional snap on nights out, but that’s about it. The iPhone 8/iPhone XR camera will do just fine for me.

As for the display, the iPhone 8’s display was not bad. Neither was the iPhone XR’s or the iPhone 11’s. And because the iPhone SE will use a smaller-sized display, the resolution and overall image quality will look and feel crisper and sharper. Again, I’d obviously prefer an OLED panel, as you get on the Pixel 3a, but there’s no way this was ever going to happen with the iPhone SE.

Mostly, though, it’s ALL about the price – $399.99 for an iPhone is brilliant. The phone will get iOS updates for years to come and this means I could basically keep and run this phone until at least 2023 without any real issues, taking myself out of the yearly update cycle once and for all.

Or, I could get the similarly priced (rumored) Google Pixel 4a once that lands. Either way, whatever happens during the remainder of 2020, I definitely won’t be buying a flagship from Apple or Google this year…

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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He has written for Den of Geek, Fortean Times, IT PRO, PC Pro, ALPHR, and many other technology sites. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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