FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
Story image
Hands-on review: Apple iPhone SE 2020
Tue, 26th May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Apple is known for releasing fancy, luxurious, innovative phones - and all Apple fans know that Apple's luxury comes with a hefty price tag. This year, Apple released the second-ever SE iPhone that is a budget model phone with a cheap price tag. How much did Apple compromise with this phone? Is it still a good phone to own in 2020?


The iPhone SE has a very familiar design – if you're reminded of the iPhone 8, you'd be right. Apple has used the same iPhone 8 design and revamped the interior. The phone has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display and is still rocking the Touch ID.

If you are used to the size of the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro Max, you will be shocked by the size of this phone because it is significantly smaller. Somewhere between the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 11, we all got used to bigger phones.

With that being said, I liked the small screen. It is comfortable to hold and it finally fits in my pocket. It made me miss the simpler days when phones were smaller. The screen is good for a phone of that size and price tag.

The iPhone SE doesn't have Face ID. Instead, it still relies on Touch ID for an easy alternative to passcodes. If you've used Face ID a lot in the past, its absence on the iPhone SE will take a day or two to adjust to. But for people who will probably be updating from their iPhone 6,7 or 8, This will feel natural and just as reliable.

I found myself staring at the phone, wondering why it didn't automatically enter my password. I then remembered that I actually have to touch the Touch ID button.

The iPhone SE has an aluminium band that is colour-matched to the back glass. This makes for a beautiful cohesive finish. It has an all-black font unlike the iPhone 8 that had an all-white front. The all-black makes for a nice front as it makes the bezels feel smaller. The back of the iPhone SE has a centred Apple logo, mirroring the iPhone 11 design. The phone is available in black, white and Product-Red.

The processor

When this phone was announced, I couldn't believe that Apple put the A13 Bionic Chip in a budget model! This essentially makes this phone faster than the flagship products of competitor companies. The A13 Chip, accompanied by Apple's 6-core CPU, guarantees a smooth experience for any task. From gaming to video editing and even AR, this phone will be able to handle it all.

The camera
In 2020, Cameras are one of the selling features of all smartphones. We are now all used to such a high standard. Apple's 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have 3 cameras on them.

Unfortunately, this was one of the areas where they had to cut costs with the iPhone SE. It has only one 12MP wide camera on the back. With that being said, an average consumer is actually not sacrificing much. When you factor in the Neural engine of the A13 Bionic chip, the camera experience becomes decent.

The camera has Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Smart HDR. It produces amazing lifelike photos. The camera even has the capabilities to shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second.


The phone allows for a Dual SIM, which is perfect for international roaming. It supports 4G LTE Advanced which ensures faster download speeds. The phone even supports Wi-Fi 6, which is 2.7 times faster than Wi-Fi.

The verdict

It is important to know that if you're a fan who runs out to buy Apple's latest and greatest phones, this one is not for you. It doesn't have Apple's most advanced technologies, and that's okay because it also doesn't cost a full fortnight's paycheck.

For the starting price of AUD $749 and NZD $799, the iPhone SE is a great entry-level device for anyone who is new to Apple, or for anyone who needs a long-lasting, affordable, and reliable phone. I have already recommended this phone to a lot of people, and I expect it will be my Christmas gift to more than one family member.