iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XS: Which Should You Buy?

The iPhone SE (2020) is Apple’s mobile phone that combines the iPhone 8 design with current hardware to compete with cheaper smartphones. The second-generation iPhone SE rivals the iPhone XS because both have common specifications like the 12 MP camera. Check below the differences and similarities in the price and technical specifications of the devices.

The iPhone SE (2020) was launched in April 2020, but can already be found for values in the range of $399. The iPhone XS was launched in September 2018 and can be seen for prices starting from $469.

iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone XS

iPhone SE (2020)iPhone XS
LaunchApril 2020September 2018
Current priceFrom $399$469
Screen4.7 inches5.8 inches
Screen Resolution1334 x 750 pixels2436 x 1152 pixels
ProcessorA13 BionicA12 Bionic
Storage64, 128, and 256 GB64, 256, and 512 GB
Memory cardnono
Main camera12 MPDual camera: 12, and 12 MP
Front Camera7 MP7 MP
Battery1,821 mAh2,658 mAh
Operating systemiOS 13iOS 12
Dimensions and weight138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm; 148g143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm; 177g
Available colorsblack, white, and redspace gray, silver, or golden
Source: Apple

Screen and Design

iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE (2020) design reproduces the appearance of the iPhone 8. Therefore, it features thick edges and the Home button at the bottom of the phone. In the case of the iPhone XS, the smartphone is a breakthrough in the iPhone X, which revolutionized the screen of the devices by initiating a notch. The cutout became very popular as it increased the usable area of the screen and exempted the buttons on the front.

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As it has an older design, the iPhone SE (2020) comes with an LCD panel of 4.7 inches and HD+ resolution (1334 x 720 pixels). The XS screen has 5.8 inches with Full HD+ resolution (2436 x 1152 pixels).

In both cases, the 3D Touch no longer exists. Therefore, the screens do not detect the pressure levels, which were previously configured with fast extra functions. The iPhone SE (2020) is available in black, white, and red. The iPhone XS can be purchased only in space grey, silver, and gold.


iPhone XR

On both iPhones, the camera has 12 Megapixels. The difference is in the number. The XS has a dual camera, an ultra-wide (f/1.8), and a telephoto (f/2.4). Meanwhile, the iPhone SE (2020) has only one wide lens (f/1.8).

Both have a 7 MP front sensor with f/2.2 aperture, but the iPhone XS has TrueDepth technology for facial recognition.

Performance and Storage

iPhone SE 2

The iPhone SE uses Apple’s most current processor, the A13 Bionic, present in the iPhone 11 line. As the iPhone XS was launched before the manufacture of this chip, it left the factory with the A12 Bionic, the previous model. Even with this difference, which is expected to make the iPhone SE processing faster, the iPhone XS can overcome it in RAM, since it comes with 4 GB, while the competitor comes with 3 GB.

They are similar in storage, they come with capacities of 64 GB and 256 GB. However, the iPhone SE still includes 128 GB, while the XS has 512 GB. Both have no input for the microSD card.

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Apple does not disclose the capacity of the components, but specialized sites estimate that the iPhone XS comes with 2,658 mAh, a greater capacity than the iPhone SE (2020), which would have 1,821 mAh. However, the iPhone SE has a fast 18 W charge and is compatible with Qi technology that allows you to recharge the phone wirelessly. The iPhone XS offers similar specifications in this regard, but its charger is 15 W.

iOS Version and Additional Features

The iPhone XS and iPhone SE (2020) can now be upgraded to Apple’s latest iOS 14 system. However, the iPhone XS left the factory with iOS 12 and the iPhone SE (2020) with iOS 13.

The iPhone XS has Face ID biometrics and also comes with an option for two carriers through eSIM. The iPhone SE (2020) does not come with this feature and has the Touch ID, and fingerprint sensor on the Home button. Both phones have NFC, which allows payments for approach by Apple Pay.

Price and Availability

The iPhone SE (2020) can already be found on Amazon for $399. The iPhone XS, as it was top of the line at the time can now be acquired for $469 on Amazon.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


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