iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone SE (1st Generation) – Which Is Better?

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 04/22/20 •  6 min read

If there’s any one iPhone that has had a fervent fanbase it was 2016’s iPhone SE (first generation). While Apple’s flagship iPhones at the time had display sizes of 4.7in and 5.5in, the iPhone SE has a 4in display. In other words, it was essentially an iPhone 5 with some then-modern-day specs.

The reason people loved the iPhone SE so much was due to its diminutive size. As smartphones kept getting larger (and still are) the iPhone SE harkened back to a day when phones were smaller, and appealed to a group of people, that liked said smaller smartphones.

But Apple discontinued the iPhone SE in 2018. The good news? Apple just released the 2020 iPhone SE. However, instead of being a repackaged iPhone 5, it’s a repackaged iPhone 8. How else does it compare to the original iPhone SE? Let’s take a look.

iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone SE (1st generation) Quick Comparison

iPhone SE (2nd generation) vs iPhone SE (1st generation)
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Design

Winner? Draw – You can’t pick a winner here as some people adore the form-factor of the iPhone 5, which the 1st gen iPhone SE was based on. Others like the iPhone 8-inspired design of the iPhone SE (2020). It’s just down to personal preference.

MORE: Is The iPhone SE (2020) 100% Worth It? Let’s Investigate…

Displays

Winner? iPhone SE (2020) – Size of the display aside, the iPhone SE (2020) display has objectively better tech, including a True Tone display and Haptic Touch.

CPU/Processor

Winner? iPhone SE (2020) – The A13 is at least 2x faster than the A9.

is-the-iphone-se-2020-worth-it-1
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Camera

Winner? iPhone SE (2020) – The iPhone SE (2020) wind hands down. Its 12MP rear camera sports optical image stabilization and Portrait mode. Its FaceTime HD camera is also far superior.

Storage Options

Battery Life

Winner? iPhone SE (2020) – The battery life is the same for both phones, but the 2nd gen iPhone SE features wireless charging.

MORE: New iPhone SE? Or, A Refurbished iPhone XS for $60 More…

Price

iPhone se (1st generation)
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Verdict?

From a completely objective perspective, the winner here is the iPhone SE (2020). It’s tech runs circles around the 1st gen iPhone SE. Its A13 processor is far superior, as is its True Tone and haptic display. That’s not even to mention its better front and rear cameras and wireless charging.

But it does have a 4.7in display. And while many people will be fine with that display, original 1st gen iPhone SE fans will probably feel it’s still too large. But at 4.7in, the iPhone SE (2020) is the smallest display Apple offers on a smartphone now. So if you want a modern-spec’d iPhone with a “tiny” display, your only choice is the 2nd gen iPhone SE.

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iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone SE (1st Generation) – Which Is Better?
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iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone SE (1st generation): Specs

iPhone SE (2nd generation) colors
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Here are the specs for the iPhone SE (2020):

And here are the specs for the iPhone SE (1st generation):

iPhone SE (2nd generation) vs iPhone SE (1st generation)
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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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