The iPhone SE is out now, and it is already being hailed as yet another winner for Apple that defines the budget segment. And with the tricks up its sleeve, it is hard to argue why buyers would gravitate towards the iPhone SE. But what about the iPhone 11? After all, it also sold by bucketloads and is a great device on its own. So, let’s find out the one you should pick with our comparison: iPhone SE vs iPhone 11 – which should you buy?
Design and build
The iPhone SE pays homage to Apple’s previous design choices and looks almost identical to the iPhone 8. If you liked that design, you won’t mind the giant bezels on the iPhone SE. iPhone 11, on the other hand, flaunts Apple’s modern design language that we’ll see on more phones in the future. As for the wide notch, well it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Giant notch vs ginormous bezels? We’ll leave that up to you.
As for the all too important compact form factor debate, there is not much of a difference between the two phones’ size. iPhone SE measures 138.4×67.3×7.3 (mm) and weighs at a much lighter 148 grams, while the iPhone 11’s dimensions are 150.9×75.7×8.3 (mm) and it is quite heavier at 194 grams.
Both phones employ glass and metal, but there is one major difference. iPhone SE is IP67-rated, while the iPhone 11 comes with the more secure IP68 certification. This difference will matter to you if you frequently visit places like a beach or hit the pool while carrying your phone. Needless to say, the iPhone 11 is the safer choice here.
The A13 Bionic processor is at the heart of both the phones, so there won’t be much of a noticeable performance gap between the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE during day-to-day usage. But battery endurance is something that buyers will be interested in knowing before they splurge on either one of the two Apple offerings.
iPhone SE is rated to last 13 hours of video playback, while the iPhone 11 can go up to 17 hours. But that’s about it. Both the devices support 18W charging and are claimed to go from 0 to 50% with just 30 minutes of charging. Plus, you get wireless charging support on both the phones.
This is one area that you should think about thoroughly before making a decision. Is a 4.7-inch display large enough for you to watch videos, play games, and the other gazillion things that you do on your phone? If the answer is yes, there is little to worry about.
Both the phones have a Retina HD display with an identical pixel density of 326ppi, 1,400:1 contrast ratio, and 625 nits max brightness. Display quality conundrum sorted, you’ll again have to choose between the intrusive notch on the iPhone 11 and the large bezels on the iPhone SE.
Now, this is one area that will make or break the iPhone experience for you. If you click a ton of photos and can’t live without a wide-angle camera on your phone, the iPhone 11 is the one you should go for. But if you only need a reliable camera that can take detailed photos and portraits, the iPhone SE will serve you better, aside from saving you a few hundred dollars.
Both the phones feature a 12MP main camera with identical aperture, video recording capabilities, and OIS support. But the iPhone 11’s main camera can provide 2x optical zoom output, which means you can click long-range photos with minimal loss in quality.
You get portrait mode with depth control and six portrait lighting effects on each phone, but there is a key feature that is limited to the iPhone 11, and that is Night Mode. If you’ve been following the tech industry lately, Night Mode has become somewhat of a mandatory feature that you can’t skip even on a budget phone. So, it is quite vexing to see that Apple has skipped it on the iPhone SE.
And if you are into clicking selfies and making a lot of self-shot videos for platforms like TikTok and Instagram, the iPhone 11 again emerges as the better option. The huge gap is not because of the hardware, but also because of the features you’ll miss on the iPhone SE.
iPhone 11 has a 12MP front camera that supports Smart HDR for photos, while the iPhone SE has a 7MP selfie shooter that is stuck with the older Auto HDR tool. Moreover, camera capabilities also differ vastly, as the iPhone 11 can shoot 4K videos at up to 60fps with its front camera, while the iPhone SE can only reach 1080p at 30fps.
Also, the iPhone 11’s front camera offers extended dynamic range for videos shot at 30 fps frame rate, and can also shoot slo-mo 1080p videos at 30fps. Another major difference is that the iPhone 11 supports Animoji and Memoji, but the iPhone SE doesn’t because it lacks the Face ID camera system that brings it to life.
|iPhone SE||iPhone 11|
|4.7-inch Retina HD (1334×750 pixel)||6.1‑inch Liquid Retina HD (1792×828 pixel)|
|1,400:1 contrast ratio||1,400:1 contrast ratio|
|625 nits max brightness||625 nits max brightness|
|IP67 rating |
(Max. depth of 1m up to 30 mins)
|IP68 rating |
(Max. depth of up to 2m up to 30 mins)
|A13 Bionic chip||A13 Bionic chip|
|64GB / 128GB / 256GB storage||64GB / 128GB / 256GB storage|
|Rear Camera||Rear Cameras|
|12MP (f/1.8) wide-angle with OIS||12MP (f/1.8) wide-angle with OIS|
|4K video at 24 fps / 30 fps / 60 fps||4K video at 24 fps / 30 fps / 60 fps|
|–||12MP (f/2.4) ultra-wide angle camera|
|5x digital zoom|
|2x optical zoom |
5x digital zoom
|Front Camera||Front Camera|
|7MP (f/2.2)||12MP (f/2.2)|
|Up to 1080p video at 30 fps||Up to 4K video at 24 fps / 30 fps / 60 fps|
|Up to 13 hours video playback||Up to 17 hours video playback|
|Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 18W adapter||Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 18W adapter|
|Wireless charging (Qi compatible)||Wireless charging (Qi chargers)|
|Dimensions & weight||Dimensions & weight|
|138.4×67.3×7.3 (mm)||150.9×75.7×8.3 (mm)|
|148 grams||194 grams|
|Starts at $399||Starts at $699|
iPhone SE vs iPhone 11: Price
Let’s be honest here. Most people will buy the iPhone SE because it is quite affordable at its $399 starting price, even compared to mid-range Android phone standards. It is compact, powerful, and feature-rich just to the right extent for many users who don’t want too many bells and whistles, and are just looking for a reliable phone. The iPhone SE nails all those requisites, and then some more.
But for users who are looking for a phone with great cameras loaded with a ton of features, the iPhone 11 is a better choice. Also, it has a more modern design, longer battery life, and better protection against liquid damage, so the price premium makes sense.