I ditched my iPhone 11 Pro for iPhone SE for a month: What I loved and hated

I ditched my iPhone 11 Pro for iPhone SE for a month: What I loved and hated

iPhone SE vs iPhone 11 Pro

(Image credit: Apple/Tom’s Guide)

I in fact glean pleasure from attempting out the most up-to-date smartphones as segment of my job, however I am also mindful that a focal level on the dwell-pause brands and devices can distract folks from much less pricey phones that might serene swimsuit them successfully while being within budget. It is why I became so drawn to attempting out the not too long ago launched iPhone SE (2020), because it promised the total key parts of the iPhone expertise at a technique more cheap tag.

I’ve been the order of an iPhone 11 Pro since December 2019, and I’ve realized runt or no to whinge about throughout that six months. Which capacity of this fact, I made a decision to swap Apple’s flagship mannequin for the SE for a month and peep if what I in fact valued about the iPhone expertise might moreover very successfully be show masks in a cell phone worth lower than half of the one I had been the order of.

I hoped that I might moreover be succesful to document wait on that the experiences were so same that most folk might moreover without problems set $600 if they wished. Unfortunately, I net not beget the clear slice solution I became attempting to net, however what I learnt will confidently will enable you to out ought to you are not taking a look for ahead to dropping hundreds money onto the most up-to-date Cupertino-designed machine.

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First Impressions

As I unpacked the iPhone SE to prepare for the huge change-over, I became in an instant drawn to the color of my Product:RED edition. It looks a long way more piquant than the sophisticated metallic alternate choices you glean on the iPhone 11 Pro devices, even though it’s worth mentioning that this purple is on hand on the present iPhone 11 alongside a suite of utterly different brighter hues.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Having converted my recordsdata and apps (which is tall easy since it became iPhone to iPhone), I in an instant loved the smaller dimension of the SE. Having the flexibility to fit the cell phone in any of my jean pockets without a 2nd thought is a pleasure I might moreover fully forgotten about after years of the order of enormous phablet phones. In actual fact, generally I forgot the SE became in my pocket at all.

Moving my apps and data from the iPhone 11 Pro to the iPhone SE.

Absorbing my apps and data from the iPhone 11 Pro to the iPhone SE. (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Reuniting with Contact ID

Leaving Face ID in the wait on of for Contact ID in the iPhone SE is odd. I noticed that opening my cell phone now required a conscious action to place my thumb on the Home Button as a change of the cell phone factual unlocking as quickly as I raised it up. Nonetheless, I might moreover now without problems free up the cell phone at any angle and in any light condition.

Dropping gesture controls became odd for a time, however there might be without problems something about having a physical button to press that makes the order of the iPhone SE factual feel better. I can admire why some smartphone customers detest the buttonless structure of up-to-the-minute phones, even supposing I on the complete am a fan of gesture navigation.

Apple makes order of the same Taptic Engine for haptic suggestions in the iPhone SE because it does in the iPhone 11 assortment, and it makes for an fabulous client expertise when navigating by design of the cell phone. No Android cell phone has ever reach shut to matching this from my level of leer, so the true fact you might maybe now glean the same tech on a a lot much less pricey cell phone is one in every of the iPhone SE’s most underappreciated aspects.

The Touch ID/Home button of the iPhone SE.

The Contact ID/Home button of the iPhone SE. (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The characterize is a weakness

I gaze a huge quantity of video on my phones, and the characterize of the iPhone SE is one in every of its veteran points. Its 4.7-poke LCD panel, flanked by two very stout bezels, makes for a dinky and usually black expertise. As my colleague Adam Ismail not too long ago commented in a Tom’s Guide editorial meeting, no utterly different company except for Apple might moreover open a cell phone with such wide bezels in 2020 and glean away with it. He’s fully staunch, and I wish that Apple had been willing to affect some exterior changes to the SE in explain to modernize it a runt.

The iPhone SE serene has stereo speakers even though, that are a rarity at this tag level. Although it sounds a runt quieter and shallower, you serene glean a moderately fat sound when taking note of song or speech without wireless headphones. And this can will beget to be wireless headphones, because there’s serene no headphone jack on the iPhone SE, despite the addition of the three.5mm port being overall on budget phones to yarn for much less pricey audio hardware. (Alternatively, you might maybe moreover order a location of Lightning-equipped headphones or a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter, even though Apple doesn’t even ship the latter with iPhones anymore.)

The rear cameras of the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 Pro.

The rear cameras of the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 Pro. (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

A tight budget digicam, on the opposite hand it’s no Pro

The digicam difference is the place I in fact overlooked the iPhone 11 Pro — not so great the ultrawide sensor or the greater resolution entrance digicam, however the 2x optical zoom sensor that differentiates the iPhone 11 Pro from the iPhone 11. Having the flexibility to glean nearer to the realm of your photograph without dropping ingredient is an fabulous digicam characteristic to beget, on the opposite hand it is a luxurious one. Digital zoom just will not be in actuality a replacement, pondering the average 12MP sensor dimension of the SE’s digicam, however the order of it sparingly can encourage. 

I took the 2 phones to the seaside with me to affect some comparability shots. Trying out the phones’ zoom talents by specializing in this hovering drone is a no-contest. The iPhone 11 Pro’s optical zoom is design better than what the SE might moreover ever hope to adjust, providing clarity the place the SE can simplest assign graininess. This simplest gets worse ought to you zoom in additional, the SE having to explode its pixels a long way more and subsequently producing a long way more noise.

Changing to a first-rate sensor shot, there’s a critical difference in color warmth, the 11 Pro being cooler and the SE being warmer. The seaside, sky and hills on this shot earnings otherwise from every approaches, so I am hesitant to name both one better.

There’ll not be any diagram to evaluate ultrawide performance on a cell phone that doesn’t beget the categorical roughly sensor, so our closing test is a portrait mode selfie. There just will not be great setting apart these photos when it involves color and film quality, despite a 5MP discrepancy. In actual fact, I might moreover tell the SE did a nearer job of reducing out my head for the portrait mode, even even though that might moreover very successfully be as a consequence of the windy prerequisites spoiling things for my iPhone 11 Pro shots.

Battery life is the wide decide

Theoretically, any performance variations between the SE and 11 Pro are minimal. Both order Apple’s most up-to-date A13 Bionic chipset, however the SE has 3GB RAM while the 11 Pro has 4GB RAM (as does the present iPhone 11). Both phones also escape on the most up-to-date model of iOS 13, that means they’re in overall equivalent apart from for the gesture adjust/home button difference.

I didn’t beget to trade the diagram I order my cell phone day after day after swapping, which primarily revolves spherical Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube and a couple of utterly different mobile games and education apps. I noticed some slowdown a handful of instances, however I can not issue it would not beget took place on the 11 Pro. Folks who order their phones for intensive responsibilities like video or photograph editing are not going to make order of an iPhone SE exclusively, if at all, on the opposite hand or not it is factual to know that you’re inclined to glean a come-equivalent expertise to a top class iPhone, even even though the smaller characterize might moreover bother you.

The worst segment of the expertise in fact wasn’t the performance, or the digicam or even the minute characterize, even though: it became the battery and charging. First off, the ability of the iPhone SE is reasonably pathetic for a 2020 cell phone, simplest 1,821 mAh based fully on teardowns of the cell phone (Apple doesn’t open legitimate capacities for its phones’ batteries). Even the iPhone 11 Pro, every other cell phone with a particularly small battery, has a 3,046-mAh ability.

Here is made worse by the true fact this archaic-fashioned battery is attached to a up-to-the-minute processor, with a up-to-the-minute appetite for energy. I most incessantly realized the cell phone dipped below 30% after a current day’s order, the place the iPhone 11 Pro would prepare to dwell above 50%. This just will not be serious in an instant since I’m not in actuality going wherever out of doors my home, however this will moreover seemingly lead to a tricky arena if I didn’t beget glean entry to to a charging cable and wanted to beget my cell phone out continuously for navigating or making a assortment of cell phone calls.

Talking of which, it boggles my thoughts that Apple serene thinks or not it is OK to ship all however its most costly phones with 5W charging bricks. Even basically the most current Android phones come up with at least a 15W charger. Admittedly it is not quite so injurious, given the SE has lots much less battery to absorb up, on the opposite hand or not it is serene pitiful.

Nonetheless, the charging expertise just will not be fully injurious. The SE has wireless charging, a rare characteristic on much less pricey phones, which is factual as rapid as the default charging escape. Plus this can rapid worth with Apple’s 18W energy bricks ought to you beget shut one your self, which meant when I veteran it with the charger from my iPhone 11 Pro, it became topped up in practically no time.


So did I miss the 11 Pro? Yes, I did, however not as great as I believed I might moreover. What I overlooked basically the most became the 11 Pro’s brighter, greater-res characterize, its great better battery life and the 2x zoom option and Evening Mode from its cameras. Nonetheless, I’d simplest name the battery arena the valid dealbreaker, and it can maybe moreover very successfully be countered moderately without problems by buying a small energy monetary institution and keeping it and a Lightning cable for your fetch for folks that tear out. 

You are going to moreover very successfully be not going to beget every of those phones on the same record ought to you are going by tag or key aspects. However if worth for money or total aspects were all that became important for you, you would doubtlessly tear for an Android cell phone as a change. There is without problems something odd about the order of an iPhone, and likewise you are going to glean near to all of it on the iPhone SE. You are going to moreover very successfully be not going to fail to see the staunch bits of the expertise — the App Store, the (on the complete) vivid aspects and structure of iOS and an average of 5 years of instrument updates, which is design better than the staunch-case scenario two years you glean with an Android instrument.

So my closing advice is that you’re not going to fail to see the simpler of iPhone life ought to you tear for the cheapest option in plot of basically the costliest. In utterly different phrases, net not scare ought to you can’t manage to pay for a Pro mannequin — the SE will beget you covered. And ought to you are not convinced to drop the total diagram from an 11 Pro to an SE, take note that there are steps between the 2. 

There’s the present iPhone 11 that cuts $300 off the iPhone 11 Pro’s tag however retains a elevated notched characterize, Face ID, the ultrawide digicam, Evening Mode and greater battery. You are going to moreover glean a refurbished iPhone XS, iPhone XR or iPhone X ought to you wished to drop the worth additional while serene inserting onto the come-fullscreen characterize, however then you are taking steps wait on in processor energy and shortening the assortment of years you will receive iOS updates. Follow the SE, current 11 or 11 Pro, relying for your budget, and likewise you shall be chuffed no matter your different.