Apple's $400 iPhone SE and $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro are 2 extremes in Apple's lineup — if neither work for you, there's another great iPhone to consider


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  • The iPhone SE for 2020 couldn’t be more different from Apple’s current high-end flagships, the iPhone 11 Pro series.
  • Just about everything about these two iPhones is different, save for one key feature: the A13 Bionic mobile processor. It means the $400 iPhone SE runs the iOS operating system and your apps just as well as the $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro.
  • With that said, the iPhone SE’s small screen, classic design, and single-lens camera isn’t for everyone. And, the iPhone 11 Pro series isn’t necessarily the best alternative. The $700 iPhone 11 is the perfect “in-the-middle” option, even if it is still quite pricey. 

Apple recently released the iPhone SE — just about the very opposite of the company’s top flagship iPhone 11 Pro series.

Among several differences, the iPhone SE’s design is on the older side, it has a small screen, there’s no Face ID, it has just a single camera, and it’s $600 cheaper than the base iPhone 11 Pro. 

Almost everything is different, save for one important thing: the A13 Bionic mobile chip that runs the iOS operating system, as well as your apps. That’s a pretty huge deal, especially considering the iPhone SE’s price tag. Still, just because the iPhone SE poses immense value doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

Check out the key differences between iPhone SE vs iPhone 11 Pro series in more detail:

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Pro series: Specs

The key thing that I keep referring to is that all these iPhones run on the same A13 Bionic mobile chip. That means the $400 iPhone SE will run the iOS operating system and apps just as fast and reliably as the $1,100 iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The only minor difference is in the memory (RAM). The iPhone SE supposedly has 3GB of RAM, while the iPhone 11 series has 4GB of RAM, according to GSM Arena.

RAM is like your iPhone’s back pocket where it keeps all the apps you’ve opened running in the background. The only time you’d notice a difference between the two phones is when you open an app you haven’t used in a while — it might take a little longer on the iPhone SE.

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Pro series: Design

The iPhone SE’s design is “classic”. That’s to say it’s on the older side — inspired by the iPhone 6 from 2014 — but it still holds up. Still, its large top and bottom bezels would be a significant aesthetic downgrade for anyone who owns an iPhone X-style smartphone.

But, then again, the iPhone SE’s $400 price tag can’t be ignored. Whether you like the design or not, the iPhone SE’s classic look likely plays a huge role in the phone’s great $400 price tag.

The iPhone 11 Pro series’ design is Apple’s latest, but it’s not exactly super-fresh, either, seeing as it looks nearly identical to 2017’s iPhone X. Plus, Apple hasn’t done anything about the divisive notch. Still, the narrow bezels gives the iPhone 11 Pro series a sleeker look — it’s the best-looking design available to iPhone fans. 


iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Pro series: Cameras

Apart from size and design, the main difference you’re going to see between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11 Pro series is in the cameras. The iPhone SE has a single-lens camera, and the 11 Pro series have triple-lens cameras. 

The two extra cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro series include an ultra-wide and a zoomed lens. As for the standard wide camera that’s common to both iPhones, it’s not totally clear whether they share the same photo quality.

Still, the iPhone SE’s camera gets some welcome features to have, like portrait mode, Smart HDR, and depth control (which adjusts background blur after a photo is taken).

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Pro series: The bottom line

The iPhone SE is the best value iPhone in Apple’s iPhone lineup, and it comes down to the A13 Bionic chip, which gives you the same performance on iOS and running your apps as the $1,000-plus iPhone 11 Pro series.

At the same time, the iPhone SE isn’t for everyone. Its small screen, single camera, and classic design means the iPhone SE is for people who actively seek, or tolerate, those aforementioned facets.

Really, the iPhone SE is for iPhone users on a tighter budget, or those who “just need an iPhone” and don’t really care very much about bells and whistles.

And, if the iPhone SE isn’t for you because it’s too small, or you want the cool ultra-wide camera, the iPhone 11 Pro series isn’t necessarily for you, either. Indeed, the iPhone 11 Pro series is the no-compromise option for iPhone fans, but there’s another option that isn’t quite as expensive. 

For those who like larger screens, or want a more high-end iPhone than the iPhone SE without spending as much as $1,000, the $600 iPhone XR and the $700 iPhone 11 are excellent alternatives to the iPhone 11 Pro series.

Going one step ahead, if you’re willing to spend $600 on the iPhone XR, I would spend the extra $100 on the iPhone 11 for its newer specs and ultra-wide camera.