2020 iPhone SE vs iPhone 8: Should You Upgrade?

Upgrade from iPhone 8 to iPhone SE

In many ways, the 2020 iPhone SE could be called an iPhone 8s. It is clear that the second-generation iPhone SE is a slightly updated version of the iPhone 8 and its just a spiritual successor of the original iPhone SE. So, if you already own the iPhone 8, should you update to the 2020 iPhone SE? Or is it better to hold on to your device for another year? Read our comparison to find out.

The iPhone 2020 iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 are very similar in a lot of aspects, with the former only bringing minor improvements in some areas. At $399, the 2020 iPhone SE’s price tag might seem like an attractive upgrade proposition for many iPhone 8 owners, but that might not be worth it actually. Read the comparison below to find out.

Check out our other 2020 iPhone SE guides:

iPhone 7 vs 2020 iPhone SE: Should You Upgrade?

Which 2020 iPhone SE Storage Capacity Should You Buy — 64GB, 128GB or 256GB?

iPhone SE vs 2020 iPhone SE: Here’s Why You Should Upgrade

iPhone 8 to 2020 iPhone SE – Upgrade or Not?

Design

  • 2020 iPhone SE – 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm, 148gms, IP67 certified, 2nd gen. Touch ID
  • iPhone 8 – 138.3 x 67.3 x 7.3mm, 148gms, IP67 certified, 2nd gen. Touch ID

In terms of design and dimensions, the 2020 iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 are the exact same. They both feature 2nd gen. Touch ID, carry an IP67 certification and miss out on the headphone jack. From a design perspective, the only difference between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 is that the Apple logo sits at the center on the rear of the SE. Since both phones have the same design, cases meant for the iPhone 8 are also compatible with the 2020 iPhone SE.

iPhone 8 Plus Touch ID button

Display

  • 2020 iPhone SE – 4.7-inch Retina HD, 1334 x 750 resolution, 326 ppi, Haptic Touch
  • iPhone 8 – 4.7-inch Retina display, 1334 x 750 resolution, 326 ppi, 3D Touch

Another area where the 2020 iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 are the exact same. Apple is likely using the same display panel on the 2020 iPhone SE as it did on the iPhone 8. The displays on both devices are of the same size, same resolution, they have the same contrast levels and the same peak brightness of 625 nits. While the panel itself might be small, there’s no doubting its quality.

iPhone 8 vs iPhone SE

Chipset

  • 2020 iPhone SE – A13 Bionic, Third-generation Neural engine
  • iPhone 8 – A11 Bionic, First-gen Neural engine

This is an area where the 2020 iPhone SE brings a sizeable upgrade over the iPhone 8. While the A11 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 8 is still plenty fast and can handle most of the heavy apps and games with relative ease, the A13 Bionic chip inside the iPhone SE is in a different league altogether. It is noticeably more powerful while also being more power-efficient at the same time. It is also faster in computing AI tasks thanks to a more powerful Neural engine.

Despite the A13 Bionic being more powerful, the A11 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 8 is good enough for this day and age. You are unlikely to notice a radical jump in performance when upgrading from the iPhone 8 to iPhone SE solely from a performance viewpoint.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 Apple Arcade Gaming

Storage and RAM

  • 2020 iPhone SE – 3GB RAM | 64GB, 128GB, 256GB storage variants
  • iPhone 8 – 2GB RAM | 64GB, 128GB storage variants

The iPhone SE comes with a gigabyte more RAM than the iPhone 8. 3GB RAM might not seem like much in this day and age for a smartphone, but it will still help offer a superior multitasking experience on the iPhone SE. While the iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 both feature the same amount of base storage (64GB), Apple offers the iPhone SE in 128GB and 256GB storage variants as well. The iPhone 8, for comparison, was only available in one additional storage variant: 128GB.

Connectivity

  • 2020 iPhone SE – Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi 6, eSIM, Dual-SIM, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with reader mode
  • iPhone 8 – LTE-A, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with reader mode

Connectivity is an area where you are going to see the biggest jump when switching from the iPhone 8 to the 2020 iPhone SE. The latter will offer faster LTE download speeds, better network connectivity, and faster speeds over Wi-Fi as well. The iPhone SE also has dual-SIM connectivity with eSIM support so you can be active on two numbers at the same time. This is also a great feature to have if you travel a lot internationally as you can simply activate a secondary eSIM on your device for data instead of taking out your primary SIM.

Camera

  • 2020 iPhone SE – 12MP, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, Portrait Lightning, Stereo recording, 4K 60fps video recording, 7MP f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
  • iPhone 8 – 12MP f/1.8, OIS, 4K 60fps video recording, 7MP f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera

On paper, the 2020 iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 have the same camera specs. The former does offer Portrait Lighting for the front and rear camera which is missing from the iPhone 8. However, despite similar specs, the 2020 iPhone SE should be able to take better photos than the iPhone 8 since it uses the more powerful ISP of the A13 Bionic chip and features an improved image processing algorithm. The new iPhone is also better at video recording since it is capable of recording 4K 30fps videos with extended dynamic range. Plus, it can also record stereo sound.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 Black White Colors

Battery Life and Charging

  • 2020 iPhone SE – 1821mAh, Fast wired charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging, 5W power adapter bundled
  • iPhone 8 – 1821mAh, Fast wired charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging, 5W power adapter bundled

In the battery life and charging department, both devices are the same in every possible aspect: battery capacity, fast charging, and wireless charging support.

Upgrade from iPhone 8 to 2020 iPhone SE?

In many ways, you will not be upgrading from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone SE. If anything, this would be more like a switch since the improvements you are going get are minor, to say the least. Perhaps the only reason one could consider switching to the iPhone SE from the iPhone 8 is if they love the 4.7-inch form factor of the device and prefer Touch ID over Face ID. Even then though, my recommendation would be to continue using your iPhone 8 and only switch to the iPhone SE when the former stops working completely.

If you decide to buy the new iPhone SE, then check out our post for the best iPhone SE deals. We would also love to know why did you decide to buy or not buy iPhone SE, so please also share your thoughts in the comments below.