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Tom’s Guide Review: Apple iPhone SE (2020) – The Best Cheap Phone Ever

The iPhone SE 2020 is an outstanding phone for under $400, delivering fast performance and very good cameras in a compact design.

Our Verdict
The new iPhone SE is an outstanding phone for under $400, delivering fast performance and very good cameras in a compact design. The only thing missing is Night Mode.


  • Affordable price
  • Fast A13 Bionic performance
  • Very good cameras
  • Compact design
  • Supports wireless charging


  • Big bezels
  • No Night mode
  • Shorter battery life than other iPhones

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the in-depth review found on Tom’s Guide. Click here to read the rest of the review

The iPhone SE 2020 could have easily been called the iPhone 11 mini. This $399 smartphone gives you Apple’s blazing A13 Bionic processor for $300 less than its popular flagship, delivering not just the fastest performance around but also camera capabilities you’d expect from a picier phone.

Replacing the iPhone 8, the new iPhone SE also features a lot of premium features you won’t find on budget Android phones — ranging from a metal-and-glass design and wireless charging to water resistance. Some old-school features are along for the rider here, too, such as Touch ID.

As I wrote this iPhone SE review, I wished Apple trimmed the bezels on its new phone and offered a bigger screen. You also don’t get the Night mode found on the iPhone 11’s cameras or a fast charger in the box. Overall, though, the new iPhone SE 2020 is a tremendous value and is easily one of the best phones you can buy for the money.

iPhone SE 2020 price and release date

The iPhone SE costs $399/£419 and is currently available for pre-order; the phone arrives on April 24. The iPhone SE starts with 64GB of storage for $399, but you can upgrade to 128GB of storage for $449/£469 and to 256GB for $549/£569.

Customers can also get iPhone SE for $9.54 a month or $229 with trade-in from The iPhone SE is available through all of the major carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as other carriers including Xfinity Mobile and Visible.

iPhone SE review: Design, colors and water resistance

I generally like the iPhone SE’s design — with one exception. On the plus side, it’s a very well made handset with the same sturdy glass-and-aluminum design of the iPhone 8. There are three color options for the iPhone SE: black, white and (Product)Red. I like how the aluminum band is color matched with the back of the device.

iPhone SE review(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

I tried out the black model, which looks and feels sleek but did pick up smudges despite the oleophobic coating. You’ll probably want to opt for white if you want to hide fingerprints.

iPhone SE review(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Another plus to the iPhone SE: The whole design is almost comically compact compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s the difference between barely noticing a phone is in your front pocket and having it bulge out. I also didn’t feel any discomfort when gaming for over 30 minutes at a time; I can’t say that about my iPhone 11 Pro Max.

iPhone SE review(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The iPhone SE measures 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches and weighs 5.22 ounces, which is smaller and narrower than the Google Pixel 3a but about the same weight. The Pixel 3a has a bigger 5.6-inch display but a cheaper plastic design.The iPhone SE 2020’s design also has IP67 water resistance, which means it can be submerged in 1 meter of weather for up to 30 minutes. You also shouldn’t have to worry about coffee or soda spills with this phone.

iPhone SE review(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Unfortunately, the bezels around the iPhone SE’s screen look big and dated for a 2020 smartphone. I kept trying to zoom in on videos to no avail. I would have liked Apple to fit a larger display in the same size chassis.

To read the full in-depth review, click here to visit Tom’s Guide.

See also: iPhone SE 2020 Unveiled: iPhone 11 Pro Power And Great Camera For $399