The new iPhone SE 2020 is here, and it has all the ingredients to become one of the best phones for the money — especially if you prefer a smaller phone.
Starting at $399, the new iPhone SE packs a fast A13 Bionic chip, a 4.7-inch Retina display, a Touch ID sensor and wireless charging. And while there’s only one camera on the front and back, they get a boost from Apple’s machine learning tricks to capture portraits.
The iPhone SE 2020 involves some trade-offs, which you’d expect for this price. There’s no Face ID, no fast charging in the box and you can only use the camera’s portrait mode with people. But overall the new iPhone SE looks like a winner and one of the best cheap phones yet. Here’s everything you need to know.
iPhone SE 2020 price and release date
The iPhone SE costs $399 and will be available for pre-order April 17 starting at 8 am ET. The release date is April 24. The iPhone SE starts with 64GB of storage for $399, but you’ll be able to upgrade to 128GB of storage for $449 and to 256GB for $549.
Customers can also get iPhone SE for $9.54 a month or $229 with trade-in from Apple.com. We will add carrier pricing and availability as soon as that becomes available.
iPhone SE 2020 design and colors
The new iPhone SE should look familiar, as it’s based on the iPhone 8 and it’s 4.7-inch display. In fact, the new iPhone SE is replacing the iPhone 8 in Apple’s lineup. The device is made of aluminum and glass, and there’s a familiar Touch ID button underneath the screen for unlocking the device, authorizing app downloads and using Apple Pay.
The iPhone SE 2020 is available in three simple colors: black, white and (Product) Red. Apple says it uses a seven-layer color process in order to achieve a precise hue, and the aluminum band is color matched.
One thing that’s nice to see at this price is that the iPhone SE is IP67-rated for water resistance. That means the phone can withstand being submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.
iPhone SE 2020 display
The iPhone SE 2020 features a 4.7-inch Retina Display with a wide color gamut True Tone technology, which means it can adjust the white balance to match the ambient light. The resolution is the same as the iPhone though, at 1334 x 750 pixels, so this is not a full HD panel. Still, you get Dolby Vision and HDR 10 support.
There’s no 3D Touch here as there was on the iPhone 8. Instead the iPhone SE supports Haptic Touch for performing various Quick Actions. This includes previewing messages and rearranging apps, as well as moving the cursor around in text fields.
iPhone SE 2020 cameras
This is not just some recycled camera experience. The new iPhone SE features a 12MP camera with a f/1.8 aperture, which is similar to the iPhone 8, but Apple says that this is its best single-camera system ever. That’s because the iPhone SE leverages the image signal processor and Neural Engine in the A13 bionic chip to offer computational photography benefits the iPhone 8 — and even iPhone XR — can’t match.
For example, you get Portrait Mode along with six portrait lighting effects, and you can adjust the depth control. Apple can do this without two lenses because of semantic rendering. You’ll also get other advanced camera features, including Smart HDR, which can render clear faces even with bright backgrounds, optical image stabilization, auto-white balance and auto focus up to 3x faster in low light versus the previous iPhone SE.
The front 7MP camera can take portraits with bokeh effects as well, thanks to a technology called monocular depth estimation. Last but not least, the iPhone SE can record 4K video at 60 fps, and it offers cinematic stabilization for smoother looking footage.
The only major camera bummer on the new iPhone SE is the lack of a Night Mode; for that you’ll have to step up to the iPhone 11.
iPhone SE 2020 A13 Bionic
The A13 Bionic processor in the new iPhone SE has plenty more benefits than just boosting the camera. Apple claims that this chip offers 2.4x faster performance than the A9 processor in the original iPhone SE, and it’s 40 percent faster than the chip in the iPhone 8’s A11 Bionic.
Graphics should also see a dramatic improvement, as the iPhone SE is rated for up to 4 times the graphics might as the iPhone SE and twice the performance of the iPhone 8. All of the above should result in faster app launching, smoother scrolling through apps and better gameplay. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a wide range of iPhone augmented reality apps.
iPhone SE 2020 battery life and charging
The iPhone SE should offer the same long battery life as the iPhone 8, which was rated for 12 hours of Internet usage. But we’ll have to see how long the device lasts on our own battery test, which involves continuous web surfing on 4G LTE, to see if the new iPhone SE can make our best phone battery life list.
The good news is that the iPhone SE 2020 supports fast 18W charging, but you’ll need to spring for the adapter, as the in-box charger supports only 5W. The iPhone SE also supports Qi wireless charging, and there’s plenty of great options on our best wireless chargers list.
iPhone SE 2020 outlook
Whether you’re getting your first iPhone for a teenager or you simply prefer smaller phones, the iPhone SE 2020 should have what most people need for a very affordable price. The A13 Bionic chip means you won’t have to worry about this phone slowing down, and it should be able to run the upcoming iOS 14 just fine. And between its Portrait Mode and Smart HDR support, the single rear camera should deliver the performance you need.
The $699 iPhone 11 is a better option for those who want a bigger display and the versatility that an ultra-wide angle camera provides. And the Portrait Mode works for all sorts of subjects beyond people. But if you’re on a budget the new iPhone SE should satisfy.
This article originally appeared on tomsguide.com.