Apple iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Price and spec comparison

Apple iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Price and spec comparison

Subhrojit Mallick | 16 Apr 2020

Here's a spec-to-spec comparison between the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone XR.

The entry of a budget iPhone SE (2020) on Wednesday makes things really interesting for Apple’s lineup of smartphones in India. Starting from Rs 42,500, It’s now the most affordable iPhone to sport the A13 Bionic CPU and going by the expected pricing, it might even be less expensive than the new OnePlus 8 that was announced for India just a day before Apple’s surprise. However, before the iPhone SE (2020) came into play, the iPhone XR used to be the most affordable iPhone to buy in India. After the hike in GST rates for mobile phones, the iPhone XR now starts at Rs 52,500 in India.

Both the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone XR are good iPhones to buy, but both are aimed at fundamentally different users. We take a long hard look at the hardware specs of both smartphones to understand what is the right fit for you —

Apple iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Performance and storage

The iPhone SE (2020) features a more powerful Apple A13 Bionic CPU, which also powers the iPhone 11 series launched last year. The iPhone XR is one generation behind with the Apple A12 Bionic. Apple claimed a 20 percent boost in performance in the A13 Bionic as compared to the A12 while using 40 percent less power. Both CPUs are fast, however, and at the time of their debut, they had beaten their Android counterparts by a good margin.

The GPU on the iPhone XR is slightly more powerful though. It’s a four-core GPU on the iPhone XR while the iPhone SE (2020) gets a three-core GPU.

Both the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE (2020) use 3GB RAM but while the iPhone XR features a much larger 2942mAh battery, the iPhone SE (2020) packs a 1821mAh battery, which is the same as the iPhone 8. Owing to the power efficiency gain from the A13 Bionic, we are expecting slightly better battery life than the iPhone 8, but not a lot. The iPhone XR will still be one of the longest-running iPhones to buy.

Both the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone XR are available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage variants. Both iPhones also support Qi-based 5W wireless charging.

Looking at this, the iPhone SE (2020) is marginally faster but it’s likely you won’t really feel any difference coming from the iPhone XR, save for the benchmark numbers. But the iPhone SE (2020) may get to outlive the iPhone XR with longer support from Apple. However, if you are looking for an iPhone that will last the day in a single charge, the iPhone XR is the one to go for. The battery capacity is far more than the iPhone SE (2020).

Apple iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Display

This is where it gets interesting. Both the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone XR offer 720p displays which otherwise would have been beaten by other Android phones into a pulp with the high refresh rate, HDR certifications and bezel-less displays and more. But the truth of the matter is, the iPhone XR display looks way better than it does on paper. Apple’s colour science is spot on and watching movies and playing games on the iPhone XR display is perfectly fine. But the panel is huge at 6.1-inches. It’s one of the largest Apple has ever made if you dream of owning a compact phone, the iPhone SE (2020) is the one to go for.

Measuring just 4.7-inches, it’s the same display as the iPhone 8. Retina IPS LCD with TrueTone colour. There are a lot more bezels on all sides while the iPhone XR gets the infamous forehead notch with narrow bezles on all sides.

The advertised max brightness levels on both the panels are the same at 625 nits.

Apple iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Design

The two iPhones are designed differently from the ground up. The iPhone SE (2020) follows the old iPhone design philosophy with a TouchID-enabled Home Button and thick bezels around the display. The iPhone XR follows the iPhone X’s design philosophy with a bezel-less display and wide forehead notch. As a result, the iPhone SE (2020) unlocks using fingerprint while the iPhone XR only has FaceID. There’s no 3D Touch in either of these iPhones.

Both the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE (2020) have Gorilla Glass on both sides with aluminium frames. Both are IP67-rated water and dust resistant and charges via the Lightning cable. You get a 10W charger in the box but both are capable of fast charging at 18W with a third-party USB-PD certified charger.

Apple iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XR: Camera

Both the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE (2020) have single-lens setups at the back for imaging. There’s a single 12MP sensor in both phones with the iPhone XR getting a wider 26mm lens while the iPhone SE (2020) sports a 28mm wide lens. They both have the same f/1.8 aperture and supports Apple’s Smart HDR and portrait mode that only works on people and not pets. The cameras are also capable of recording 4K videos at 60 FPS.

On the front, however, the iPhone XR gets the TrueDepth camera that also aids in FaceID while the iPhone SE (2020) gets a basic 7MP f/2.2 selfie camera with portrait mode support.

Who is the iPhone SE (2020) meant for?

Considering how the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone XR share a lot of similarities, it’s the primary differences that will decide which is the best fit. The iPhone SE (2020) is certainly the more compact iPhone that will outlast the iPhone XR by at least one generation. It does sport an aged design but it’s a design that has worked brilliantly for Apple before and it might just work for it once more. The iPhone XR looks more modern and offers a larger screen, making it perfect for watching movies on the go. The higher battery capacity also means the iPhone XR will manage to stay on for longer on a single charge. As for the camera though, it looks the same on paper but only after comparing the camera output from the two smartphones will we be able to tell which is better. But overall, the iPhone SE (2020) seems to be for someone preferring a no-nonsense compact flagship while the iPhone XR is for the more tech-savvy curious about the latest designs.

Apple iPhone XR Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 26 Oct 2018
Variant: 64GB , 128GB , 256GB
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
    6.1" (828 x 1792)
  • Camera Camera
    12 | 7 MP
  • Memory Memory
    64 GB/3 GB
  • Battery Battery
    2942 mAh
Subhrojit Mallick

Eats smartphones for breakfast.

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