iPhones XR (black and red)

What changes in the new iPhone SE compared to the old, the 8 and the XR

After weeks of waiting and some unrealized predictions, it finally happened: the new iPhone SE it’s finally among us, with its iPhone 8 body and iPhone 11 internal specifications.

The above sentence already gives a good idea of ​​what buyers can expect from the new device, but they obviously don’t tell the whole story. And that’s exactly what we’re here for: comparing Apple’s new “low cost” smartphone with its body and soul predecessors – the original iPhone SE it’s the iPhone 8.

We also added in the comparative the iPhone XR, which, despite being a different device in almost every way, can also be an interesting alternative for those who intend to buy the new SE – the suggested prices of both, after all, differ by “only” R $ 600 in the entry models (and XR appears on sale with good frequency, it is worth noting).

So let’s take a look at the main features of the new smartphone and compare them to those of its immediate counterparts.


The new SE is the last bastion of Apple with a rectangular screen: like the iPhone 8, it has a LCD panel 4.7 inch 1334 × 750 pixels, enough for a Retina density of 326 dots per inch. Unlike 8, however, the new SE does not have 3D Touch – the technology seems to have been killed by Apple and replaced by the long touch (Haptic Touch).

iPhones XR (black and red)iPhone XR

In relation to the old SE and the XR, the differences are clearer. The new SE is halfway between them: while the original SE had a screen of only 4 ″, the XR already jumps the count to 6.1 ″ and brings the cutout design, without a start button. The three also have features in common, however: they all have LCD panels and none of them have 3D Touch.

As you can see, Apple didn’t launch an “iPhone SE Plus” (with a 5.5 ″ screen) – that is, we only have one successor iPhone 8, none of the iPhone 8 Plus.

Design and size

The original iPhone SE is by far the smallest in the group, with its design similar to that of the iPhone 5 / 5s: it is 12.3cm high, 5.8cm wide and 7.6mm thick, weighing only 113 grams.

IPhone SE Familyoriginal iPhone SE

The new SE and iPhone 8 are, of course, identical. They are 13.8cm high, 6.7cm wide and 7.3mm thick (slightly thinner than the old SE), weighing 148 grams.

The iPhone XR, compared to the crowd, is a giant: it is 15cm tall, 7.5cm wide, 8.3mm thick and weighs 194 grams.

The new iPhone SE will be sold in black, white or red – this one, part of the (PRODUCT) RED campaign -, while the old one had more variations: space gray, silver, gold and pink gold. The iPhones 8/8 Plus, when launched, were sold in space gray, silver and gold.


The new SE is the winner here: it already comes equipped with the chip A13 Bionic, the same that lives in the hearts of the iPhones 11 and 11 Pro [Max]. The iPhone XR comes next, with the A12 Bionic chip (its immediate predecessor, therefore).

The iPhone 8 and the original SE, on the other hand, are further behind: the first has an A11 chip (with 10 nanometer architecture, against 7nm of the newer ones), while the second is equipped with an A9 processor (14nm). According to Apple, the new SE is 1.4x faster than the iPhone 8 and up to 2.4x faster than the old SE.


As usual, Apple did not disclose the amount of RAM in the new SE – this is information that we will obtain only with the first disassembly of the device. If the logic remains, however, the smartphone will certainly come with 3GB or 4GB of memory; the iPhone XR has 3GB, while the iPhone 8 and the old SE come with 2GB.


The new SE has options for 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage, just like the XR and 8 iPhones when they were released (currently, Apple has discontinued the 256GB version of the XR). The original SE, on the other hand, ranged from 16GB (yes, other times) to 128GB.


In a time of two, three, four or more cameras on the back of smartphones, it’s even refreshing to say that the four devices compared here have only one rear sensor. They all have 12MP cameras with wide-angle lens, but the apertures vary: f/2.2 on the old iPhone SE, and f/1.8 on the other three models. The original SE also does not have optical image stabilization, unlike the others.

New iPhone SE

Only the iPhone XR and the new SE bring the Portrait Mode, able to apply the effect bokeh with depth control on photos (but only on people); both also bring the mode Portrait Lighting with some professional lighting effects – the difference is that the new SE has six effects, while the XR brings only three.

HDR also changes: in the new SE, we have the new generation of Smart HDR, while the XR has the first generation of this technology. The iPhone 8 has automatic (but not smart) HDR, while the original SE features manual HDR – the ones you need to activate on your own to use.

It is worth noting that none of the devices, nor the new SE, has the Night Mode of the iPhones 11. You can still take photos in the dark, but they certainly will not have that special processing to be clearer and more presentable.

In terms of the front camera, only the original iPhone SE is left behind with its meager 1.2MP sensor; all other three devices have 7MP cameras. On the other hand, only the new SE and XR feature Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting on the front camera.

Oh, and if you’re interested, of the four devices, only the iPhone XR supports Animojis and Memojis – that’s because it is the only one with the TrueDepth camera, which “scans” the user’s face and is also responsible for Face ID (more on that below).


All devices are capable of recording video 4K, but the old SE is limited to 30 frames per second – the other three models also offer the option of 24fps or 60fps. 1080p recording is the same for all four (30fps or 60fps), and all offer up to 3x digital zoom.

The four smartphones are capable of capturing in slow motion at 1080p resolution, but the iPhone 8 and the old SE are limited to 120fps (to reach 240fps, it is necessary to reduce the resolution to 720p); in the new SE and XR, it is possible to record at 240fps in Full HD.

Only the new SE and iPhone XR have stereo audio recording, and only the new SE brings the mode QuickTake to capture videos quickly (we’ll talk more about it here).


Here, the clear champion is the iPhone XR, with a battery of 2,942mAh. Apple did not disclose the battery capacity of the new SE – other information that will appear as soon as the device hits the market and is properly disassembled – but claims that it has the same duration as the iPhone 8, which has a cell 1.821mAh. The original SE comes with a 1.624mAh battery.

Charging options and speeds also vary between devices. The original iPhone SE has no fast charging technology; the 8 and XR can be recharged at 15W and the new SE up to 18W. In all three cases, Apple says the device’s battery can reach 50% charge in just 30 minutes at the outlet; on the other hand, none of them come with the quick charger – you’ll need to use another power adapter, like the one that comes with the iPhone 11 Pro [Max].

Of the four devices, only the original SE does not support wireless charging; all other three can be rested on wireless chargers to have your battery completed.


Only the new iPhone SE comes with network support Wi-Fi 6 (aka IEEE 802.11ax), supporting much higher speeds (which will depend on your internet plan and your router, of course). In terms of Bluetooth, they all support the version 5.0 of the protocol – except the original SE, which was in version 4.2. None of the devices support the 5G, as you would imagine, but the new SE gains support for Gigabit LTE with MIMO 2 × 2.

In terms of physical connections, only the original iPhone SE has a 3.5mm headphone output – it is, after all, the only device launched by Apple before the company decided to kill the ubiquitous connector. Because of this, the old SE brings, in the box, EarPods with traditional plug; the other models come with headphones with Lightning connection.

Dual SIM

iPhone XS Max with Dual SIM in Brazil

Only the new iPhone SE and XR support the technology Dual SIM – that, in the case of Apple (except in China), it always happens through a physical Nano-SIM and a virtual eSIM. The old SE and iPhone 8 support only one chip (also Nano-SIM).


Due to the different design, without a start button, only the iPhone XR brings the Face ID, for authentication through facial recognition.

The three other devices bring the Touch ID, authenticated by means of its fingerprint; the difference is that the new SE and iPhone 8 come with the second generation technology, which is considerably faster.

Water resistance

Only the original SE does not have any liquid protection. The other devices are certified IP67 and can be submerged in up to 1 meter of fresh water for a maximum of 30 minutes.


Here, it is up to the comparison between the new iPhone SE and the XR, which are the devices currently in the Apple catalog. Obviously, you can still find the original iPhone 8 and SE for sale at retailers, for prices significantly lower than those of the two most recent devices, but as these values ​​are not tabulated, it is not possible to draw a concrete comparison.

Anyway, to the numbers:

New iPhone SE

  • 64GB: R $ 3,700
  • 128GB: R $ 4,000
  • 256GB: R $ 4,500

iPhone XR

  • 64GB: R $ 4,300
  • 128GB: R $ 4,600

It is worth noting that these iPhone XR values ​​are Apple’s official figures; as it is a device launched more than a year and a half ago, it is possible to find it cheaper at authorized dealers – just as an example, at the time of writing this article, Fast Shop sells the 64GB model for R $ 3,200 in cash at Bank slip. That is, the choice is less simple than you think.

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Now that we basically cover all the differences between the devices, we want to know your opinion: what is the best cost / benefit of the four? Who would prefer to keep the old model in their hands and who will invest in the new SE?

Leave your impressions below.