Comparison iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE (2020): differences and opinions

Comparatif iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE (2020)

Among all the iPhones available on the market, two stand out for their popularity: the iPhone 12 and the iPhone SE 2020. Their data sheet is not the same, however, with serious differences on the component side. In turn in this comparative, so we will see what are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. You will thus learn which iPhone SE 2020 or iPhone 12 is right for you.

iPhone SE 2020 64 GB at the best price
Base price: 489 €

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(Almost) a new format for the iPhone 12

Let’s start with the design. The 2020 iPhone SE created a sensation when it was released because it appeals to the same chassis as iPhone 8, itself inspired by the iPhone 6 dating from 2014. No surprise, therefore, but no innovation either. The materials used are the same too: aluminum for the hull and glass in front and behind. The edges around the screen are also particularly wide, since here there is a home button under the panel which is also used to unlock the device thanks to Touch ID. The differences with the iPhone 12, in our comparison, are thus obvious.

iPhone 12 © Apple

Indeed, on the contrary the size / screen ratio the iPhone 12 is much higher (86%). Only downside, the top of the screen of the iPhone 12 is decked out with an imposing notch in which are integrated the sensors that are used to operate Face ID. Another difference; water resistance. Indeed: where the iPhone SE 2020 is certified IP 67, the iPhone 12 is IP68 certified.

Let’s finish our design comparison by specifying that the iPhone 12 uses the guidelines of the fourth generation iPad Pro – themselves inspired by the historic iPhone 4 – with edges much straighter than that of the iPhone SE 2020. To get a clearer idea of ​​what the iPhone SE 2 looks like, don’t hesitate to take a look at the photos of our full test: we were able to take it in hand for two weeks.

Comparative result iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE 2 (design): equality

iPhone SE 2020

iPhone SE 2020 © Apple

Integrated sensors

Obviously, given that the price is drastically different, Apple did not choose to integrate the same sensors in the iPhone SE 2 and in the iPhone 12. The first drawback is that the iPhone SE 2020 has access to 4G but not to 5G, while the iPhone 12 is indeed compatible with the new standard considered capable of reaching speeds of the order of giga per second. Other differences from our comparison, as we said above: the iPhone 12 is entitled to a TrueDepth lens which is used for facial recognition, as well as for MagSafe version 2021. For its part, the iPhone SE 2 uses a fingerprint scanner.

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For the rest, it’s pretty much the same on each side of the scale: the iPhone SE 2020 just like the iPhone 12 are entitled to an accelerometer, a three-axis gyroscope, a barometer, a GPS and an NFC chip. . Obviously the Bluetooth Low Energy is also part of the game as well as Wi-Fi 6 which allows the AirDrop functionality to send documents between the different Apple devices: Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV …

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 © Apple

Finally, note also that the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE of the second generation are equipped with a compass, a light sensor that is used to darken the screen when the night approaches and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when it is in your pocket or when you make a call.

Comparative result iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE 2020 (sensors): iPhone 12, for 5G and Face ID

Screen: iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE 2020

Another major difference between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone SE 2020: their screens. The first thing to know is that the iPhone 12 uses technology OLED, who is more energy efficient and diffuses more vivid colors in the eyes of users, while the iPhone SE 2 has a IPS LCD.

According to most rumors, this would also be the last iPhone to be entitled to this technology, most of the subcontractors having stopped taking orders from the Apple brand with this component. But this feature is probably not the most striking in our comparison dedicated to the screen of the iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 128 GB at the best price
Base price: 959 €

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Indeed, the real difference in terms of screens is already their size: 6.1-inch for iPhone 12 vs 4.7-inch iPhone SE. If you plan to play video games or watch streaming videos, then the iPhone 12 screen will be more suitable because it is larger.

In terms of numbers, we are entitled to a Full HD definition of 1334 x 750 pixels on the iPhone SE against a more appreciable value proposition on the iPhone 12: 1,170 x 2,532 px. Finally, when it comes to brightness, it will be 625 nits everywhere.

iPhone SE 2020

iPhone SE 2020 © Apple

Comparative result iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE 2020 (screen): iPhone 12, for its larger screen and OLED

High-end performance

When it was released, the 2020 iPhone SE had received critical acclaim because it had the advantage of offering roughly the same data sheet as iPhone 11 under the hood, that is to say with particularly swift scores and this in a compact format. A great first for Apple. We are talking about a processor Apple A13 Bionic engraved in seven nanometers and able to reach a maximum frequency of 2.65 GHz with its pair of Lightning cores or 1.8 GHz with four Thunder cores. The comparison with the iPhone 12 is in order: here, the chip is more recent with an A14 Bionic engraved in 5 nm.

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Now let’s move on to RAM. We are entitled to 3 GB of RAM on the iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone 12 to 4 GB. It is therefore possible that if you are looking to complete tasks quickly by having many applications open at the same time, the results will be displayed faster on the iPhone 12 than on the iPhone SE 2. Likewise, if you are rather gamer, then a subscription to Apple Arcade requested daily will be better supported by the iPhone 12 than by the iPhone SE, at least in the long term.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 © Apple

We can all the same qualify to conclude the comparison of the performances: indeed, iOS 14 is particularly optimized to work with proprietary Apple processors because both – software and component – are designed by the same company and therefore one is improved on the other and vice versa.

Comparative result iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE 2020 (power): iPhone 12, for its more recent processor

IPhone SE 2 and iPhone 12 battery

If you are planning to go on a trip, having an iPhone that lasts the day is very important. Our comparison will therefore now focus on the autonomy of our two adversaries. Here, no surprise: the iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 12 are able to last twenty-four hours. There is nevertheless a small difference since the endurance announced by Apple for its iPhone 12 is 15 hours in video streaming against only 13 hours for the iPhone SE 2020. But other parameters come into play: the screen of the second generation iPhone SE, for example, is smaller and therefore requires less energy in terms of surface area. On the contrary, the iPhone 12 with OLED technology is more energy efficient.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 © Apple

If we look at the figures communicated by resellers now, we learn that the iPhone SE has a battery of 1,821 mAh only against 2,815 mAh for the iPhone 12, that is to say nearly 1000 mAh of difference. Admittedly enough, but you will probably have to choose an external battery if you have an Apple Watch or are planning a long plane trip.

Comparative result iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE 2020 (battery): equal, with an optimization of iOS 14 that fixes everything

iPhone SE 2020 64 GB at the best price
Base price: 489 €

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Photo comparison

We come to the photo part, where again our iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone 12 comparison will be illuminated by some serious differences. Starting with the number of cameras, since there is one more at the rear of the newer model. The iPhone 12 is thus equipped with a first 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with f / 2.4 aperture, itself coupled to a 12 MPx wide-angle for an f / 1.6 aperture.

Add to this a quadruple LED flash, and even shots in the middle of the night will be successful. Note also that this duo is able to film with a definition 4K, and this being stabilized automatically. Slow motion is even available, up to 240 frames per second.

iPhone SE 2020

iPhone SE 2020 © Apple

The 2020 iPhone SE, meanwhile, only uses a single lens on the back. This one does twelve megapixels and was designed by Sony, with a wide-angle aperture as well. 4K is limited to sixty frames per second. What about the front camera? Good question.

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Here there is also a size difference for our comparison iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone 12 since the latter is entitled to twelve megapixels against only seven for the iPhone SE 2. In addition, the iPhone 12 can also shoot in 4K on the front while the iPhone SE, although it is also entitled to many software filters, is limited to Full HD here.

Comparative result iPhone SE 2 vs iPhone 12 (battery): best sensors with the iPhone 12

What prices for what storage options?

Now let’s compare the official prices of the second-generation iPhone SE and iPhone 12. Get ready, there is one hell of a difference:

  • 489 euros for the iPhone SE with 64 GB of internal storage
  • 539 euros for the iPhone SE with 128 GB of internal storage
  • 659 euros for the iPhone SE with 256 GB of internal storage

Now here are the prices of the iPhone 12:

  • 909 euros for the iPhone 12 with 64 GB of internal storage
  • 959 euros for the iPhone 12 with 128 GB of internal storage
  • 1,079 euros for the iPhone 12 with 256 GB of internal storage

Comparative result iPhone SE 2 vs iPhone 12 (battery): iPhone SE is about half the price of iPhone 12

Our opinion: iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone 12

Now is the time to share with you our conclusions for this comparison iPhone SE vs iPhone 12. You got it, so here we are entitled to two excellent mid-range smartphones at particularly worked design, ideal for those who appreciate this kind of small format. With iOS 14 inside and a majority of their similar specs, the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 12 are actually the best deals at Apple so far.

iPhone SE 2020 64 GB at the best price
Base price: 489 €

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Nevertheless, it must be said, the iPhone 12 has something to seduce more than the second generation iPhone SE since its screen is larger, it is entitled to Face ID and 5G and, on paper, it performs better. Not to mention that it can also take better photos. But despite everything, at more than 800 euros, its price is way too expensive. In comparison, the iPhone SE 2020 and its 489 euros therefore serve as serious contenders for the throne of our comparison. It is therefore him that we recommend to you. If, however, you absolutely want to be up to date, then opt for an iPhone 12 mini or an iPhone 12 Pro Max. There, you will really be entitled to much more powerful devices or at a more reasonable price.

iPhone SE (2020)


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