With iPhone SE 2020, Apple Has Killed the Value of Most Android Phones

Imran Hussain
2020 iPhone SE official specs features pricing availability

Apple has done what every Android OEM dreams of but cannot deliver: ship flagship internals in a smartphone that costs $400, in the form of iPhone SE.

Before I get called out for writing an article that was "sponsored by Apple" (I wish!), let me explain why I used this title for this piece. The cheapest Android smartphone that you can buy in the United States with a Snapdragon 865 costs more than $500. The phone will likely have an OLED display, but not having an OLED display never stopped iPhone XR or iPhone 11 from selling like hotcakes. In fact, iPhone XR was the most popular smartphone in the world in 2019, with iPhone 11 in number 2 spot.

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Lets take a look at iPhone XR's specifications:

  • A12 Bionic chip
  • LCD display
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Single-lens camera with almost all the features that Apple shows off from its phones with multiple lens cameras, dual-SIM capability, and the latest iOS updates.

Now, here are iPhone SE's specifications:

  • A13 Bionic chip
  • LCD display (but not as fancy as iPhone XR's)
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Single-lens camera with all modern features that iPhone 11 Pro has.

Since iPhone SE is newer than the old iPhone XR, it even has support for Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit LTE.

For $399, you can buy the Pixel 3a in the United States, which ships with the following specs:

  • Snapdragon 670
  • OLED display
  • Average battery life
  • Single-lens camera

Note that Snapdragon 670 is not comparable at all to A13, or even the older A12 chip.

Apple has basically repeated its old successful formula, at an even lower price. The balance it has made by using an older design, LCD display and skipping on Face ID, while going for the fastest CPU and GPU that it could put in a smartphone, along with modern camera tech, might be what the market was waiting for.

The major selling feature of iPhone SE will be the A13 Bionic chip. In raw benchmark numbers, A13 is faster than Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865, Samsung's Exynos 990 and Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC. This means that not only can users get the best performance out of any app or game they use, the phone will last longer and get more software updates because of a flagship SoC. In Android smartphones, mid-range phones are the first ones that stop getting software updates.

An important thing to note is that iPhone SE has no support for 5G networking. If you buy an Android smartphone right now, with a Snapdragon 865 processor, it will likely have support for 5G. That does put a question mark on the smartphones value over competing devices. However, there are two counter-arguments to this: 5G is not available in most parts of the world and a 5G phone will cost much more than just $400.

Apple has also been fortunate to announce a budget iPhone during a time when the whole world is looking for cost-effective purchases. For customers, this means that for $400, they get access to iOS, with the same performance as the more expensive $750 and $1000 iPhone 11 series. The camera should also get the job done, specially when it comes to video recording at 4K 60fps with extended dynamic range and stereo audio. Combined with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit LTE, IP67 rating, wireless charging, fast charging, and a 4.7-inch display with True Tone and wide color support, iPhone SE is a no-brainer. Let's not forget, you will also get 1 year of Apple TV+ and software updates for 4-5 years with this phone.

It's not just us, even most Android websites are saying so:

iPhone SE has not only rewritten the mid-range smartphone category rules, it also poses an important question: do you really need to buy that iPhone 11, Galaxy S20 or OnePlus 8 instead of iPhone SE?

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