The iPhone 12 may be hoggin all the attention as the newest iPhone you can buy right now, but it certainly isn’t the cheapest. Apple has an incredible lineup of budget phones, and if you are in the market for one, your options may be the iPhone SE 2 (iPhone SE 2020) or the iPhone XR. Both are fantastic devices, but with options comes the tough part of deciding which one of the two to get. So, which is the best iPhone for budget-conscious buyers? Let’s explore what each has to offer below.
iPhone SE 2 VS iPhone XR: Design
While neither of these phones boasts the latest designs in the iPhone lineup, these two phones couldn’t be more different in terms of design. The iPhone XR has the more recent design with a full glass front and a notch, while the iPhone SE 2 has the classic design with a prominent chin and forehead plus a home button in the middle. However, you would have difficulty differentiating them at first glance if you were to look at them from the rear. Both have the same rounded edges, a glass back and a single camera. The only difference, albeit to the keen eye, is the position of the Apple logo. The large bezels on the front of the iPhone SE 2 are reminiscent of the iPhone 8 on which it is based. The iPhone XR, on the other hand, almost looks similar to its parent, the iPhone X, on the front. The screen to body ratio on the iPhone XR dwarfs that of the iPhone SE 2, but both devices don’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. They both use the lightning port for charging and USB file transfer. Likewise, both are iP67 water and dust resistance rating.
iPhone SE 2 VS iPhone XR: Displays
Both the iPhone XR and iPhone SE 2 use an LCD panel. The ‘Liquid’ in Liquid Retina IPS LCD description of the iPhone XR’s display only refers to Apple’s trademark way of curving LCD panels over the edges. That said, the 6.1-inch iPhone XR display dwarfs the 4.7 inches on the iPhone SE 2. Both displays have 326 pixels per inch, and both will also reach 625 nits of peak brightness. The longer display on the iPhone XR means your aspect ratio is stretched to 19.5:9, while the iPhone SE retains a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio (further evidence of a borrowed design for the iPhone XR). The iPhone XR’s display is interrupted by the notch which houses FaceID sensors. FaceID is the primary security on the iPhone XR, while the iPhone SE 2 still retains TouchID from the iPhone 8.
iPhone SE 2 VS iPhone XR: Cameras
The iPhone XR and iPhone SE 2 seemingly have the same camera set up on the surface. The 12 MP f/1.8 camera with phase detection autofocus and OIS is similar. That said, iPhone XR uses a new sensor to capture 1.4µm pixels which are larger than the 1.19µm pixels the iPhone SE 2 is capable of. This means the iPhone XR will capture more depth information without needing a secondary camera. The iPhone SE 2 does the same thing but through computational photography thanks to its superior image signal processor. This means that the iPhone SE 2 is more intelligent in how it captures and calibrates its shots, putting it at par with iPhone XR. Both cameras can shoot 4k video up to 60fps. Both phones have a 7MP front camera, with the iPhone XR adding an extra SL 3d sensor for the FaceID.
iPhone SE 2 VS iPhone XR: Performance
While the iPhone SE 2 may look dated, it has the newer and faster chip of the two phones. The iPhone SE 2 is fitted with the A13 Bionic chip like the iPhone 11 series. Comparatively, the iPhone XR comes fitted with the A12 Bionic chipset. Both devices feature 3GB RAM and have internal storage options ranging from 64GB to 256GB. The iPhone SE 2 offers over 20% faster performance making it more relevant as a long-term device. That said, the iPhone XR will still be fast and breeze through most common tasks, game efficiently and run pretty much every app on the Appstore. Given Apple’s long term support for their devices, you can expect that both phones will enjoy software updates well into the future.
iPhone SE 2 VS iPhone XR: Battery life
The iPhone SE 2 has the smaller battery of the two at 1821mAh compared to 2942mAh on the iPhone XR. However, the iPhone SE 2 allows 18W fast charging, unlike 15W on the iPhone XR. Both support Qi wireless charging.
While both phones are great, you may prefer the iPhone SE 2 for being faster and having TouchID. You might also opt for the iPhone XR for its forward-looking design, FaceID, bigger battery and screen. Either way, there isn’t a great deal to differentiate them, and you will probably be okay with any depending on your needs.