The cream of the crop when it comes to iPhones is the iPhone 11 Pro series. But let’s face it: those phones are expensive. That’s why Apple offers lower-cost options, namely the new iPhone SE (2nd generation) and the two-year-old iPhone XR.
But just how to the iPhone SE and the iPhone XR compare? And which is right for you? Let’s take a detailed look at their specs to find out.
iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR Quick Comparison
- iPhone XR – The iPhone XR has a 6.1in display and features Apple’s biometric authentication system called Face ID. Its industrial design features a glass and aluminum body and comes in a wide range of six color options, including a blue model.
- iPhone SE – The iPhone SE has a 4.7in display and features Apple’s original biometric authentication system called Touch ID, which uses your fingerprint instead of your face to unlock your phone. Its industrial design features a glass and aluminum body and comes in a wide range of three color options.
Winner? iPhone XR – The iPhone XR has an edge-to-edge design and Face ID. It’s stunning.
- iPhone XR – The iPhone XR features an edge-to-edge LCD display that is 6.1in and has a 1792 x 828-pixel resolution at 326ppi.
- iPhone SE – The iPhone SE features a Retina HD LCD display that is 4.7in and has a 1334 x 750-pixel resolution at 326ppi.
Winner? iPhone XR – While the display tech in both is the same, the edge-to-edge display of the XR beats the iPhone SE with its chin and forehead.
- iPhone XR – the iPhone XR features last year’s A12 chipset, which is about 20% slower than the A13.
- iPhone SE – the iPhone SE features the A13 chipset. This A13 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores, which is absolutely INSANE.
Winner? iPhone SE – The A13 is 20% faster than the A12.
- iPhone XR – The iPhone XR features a 7MP front-facing camera. On the rear camera you get a single-lens 12MP camera complete with a wide-angle lens.
- iPhone SE – The iPhone SE features a 7MP front-facing camera. On the rear camera you get a single-lens 12MP camera complete with a wide-angle lens.
Winner? Draw – The camera systems on both phones are almost identical, though the SE does have a few extra Portrait effects.
- iPhone XR – 64GB or 128GB
- iPhone SE – 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
- iPhone XR – The iPhone XR’s battery will get you about 16 hours of battery life with mixed usage. It also features wireless charging.
- iPhone SE – The iPhone SE’s battery will get you about 13 hours of battery life with mixed usage. It also features wireless charging.
Winner? iPhone XR – You get an extra three hours of battery life.
- iPhone XR – The 6.1in iPhone XR costs cost $599 (64GB) and $649 (128GB).
- iPhone SE – The 4.7in iPhone SE costs $399 (64GB) and $449 (128GB) and $549 (256GB).
Any way you look at it, it’s easy to tell which phone looks better from a design standpoint: the iPhone XR is the clear winner here. That’s because it features that gorgeous (and HUGE) 6.1in edge-to-edge display. It also sports Apple’s Face ID system, which blows the Touch ID system on the iPhone SE out of the water.
But the iPhone SE does beat the iPhone XR in some respects. Most notably, the iPhone SE features the A13 chipset. That’s the exact same one found in the iPhone 11 Pro. The iPhone XR, on the other hand, still has the A12 chipset. You’ll see about a 20% speed boost in the A13 versus the A12.
The camera systems on both phones are nearly identical–so that’s not much of a way to differentiate the two. Which should you get? If you have the money, for the iPhone XR. Its design and Face ID tech is a better catch than the updated processor in the iPhone SE. Of course, if you want the cheapest iPhone possible, the iPhone SE is the one to grab.
iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Specs
Here are the specs for the iPhone SE (2020):
- Display: 4.7in LCD Retina HD display with a 1334 x 750-pixel resolution at 326ppi
- Dimensions: 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm
- Weight: 148 grams
- Storage: 64, 128, or 256GB
- Processors: A13 Bionic chip with third-generation Neural Engine
- Front camera: 7MP FaceTime HD camera with 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps, Portrait Mode
- Rear camera: Single 12MP Wide camera; 4K video, Portrait Mode
- Battery: Up to 13 hours (video playback)
- Other: Touch ID, NFC, wireless charging, IP67 waterproof (1m)
And here are the specs for the iPhone XR:
- Display: 6.1in LCD Liquid Retina display with a 1792 x 828-pixel resolution at 326ppi i
- Dimensions: 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm
- Weight: 188 grams
- Storage: 64 or 128GB
- Processors: A12 Bionic chip with second-generation Neural Engine
- Front camera: 7MP TrueDepth camera with 4K video recording at up to 60 fps
- Rear camera: Single 12MP Wide camera; 4K video
- Battery: Up to 16 hours (video playback)
- Other: Face ID, NFC, wireless charging, IP67 waterproof (1m)
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.