It is not unanimous and yet it is the iPhone that you will end up loving. Today, we are testing the iPhone SE, in the 2020 edition.
The first iPhone SE of the name was presented in 2016. At the time, the price of iPhones had soared and Apple therefore had the idea of launching a model that was a little cheaper – and also a little less successful – in order to establish its domination on the market.
The following year, the brand doubled its storage capacity, without changing the rest of its technical sheet.
It was therefore only four years later that she offered him a successor. Successor who accompanied me for a big week and which we are therefore going to put on the test bench.
But first of all, I would like to thank Rhinoshield, who sponsors this test and who offers 10% reduction on the whole site with the code “”. The link to order is right here .
Design & Ergonomics
And we will start directly with the subject that divides the most. We therefore attack with the design and ergonomics of the phone.
In terms of design and as I have often repeated, everything is a matter of trends and current fashion is with large diagonals and borderless screens with notch or punch.
The iPhone SE (2020) does not ride this wave at all and it thus inherits a case similar to that of the iPhone 8. This has earned it many harsh reviews.
But that's not what surprises the most when you take the terminal out of its box. In reality, where the iPhone SE (2020) surprises, it is above all by its dimensions and its weight. Very compact and very light, the terminal is far removed from market codes.
And of course, this directly influences the grip.
And this grip, precisely, is very comfortable. Unlike all the smartphones that have passed through my hands over the past three years, the iPhone SE (2020) can be used with one hand and is extremely comfortable to use.
It's comfortable, because using iPhone SE (2020) doesn't require you to turn away from what you're doing.
Suddenly, we are therefore multitasking again. You can drink your coffee by noting your Twitter or Instagram mentions, reread a document and stop to collect your emails without letting go of your mouse, or even mix the dough of a cake while keeping an eye on your recipe.
It is extremely pleasant to find such flexibility.
And this notion of use is important to me. It's just my way of seeing things, but for me the design, the aesthetics of a product, must make sense.
The look, the power, are not everything. We can also draw a parallel with the Switch. Many expected her to make an oven due to its lack of power, but Nintendo made up for it with ergonomics that make their product completely unique.
Nothing to say about the finishes. The iPhone SE (2020) is well built and it doesn't stain next to an iPhone 11 Pro Max. The ergonomics are for its part unchanged, at least with the exception of one detail: Touch ID.
The terminal is indeed the impasse on Face ID. And just like the iPhone 8, it is therefore equipped with a Touch ID reader placed under its screen. Apple naturally opted for a touch zone instead of a push mechanism, with a modular haptic motor. The user can also choose the level of pressure when pressing.
Still, identification is very effective. The Touch ID reader works wonderfully and I haven't found it faulty once in this week of testing.
Be careful, however, because the return to Touch ID also induces significant changes in navigation within the platform.
The gestures that allowed you to return to the home screen or to access multitasking are no longer in use, nor those that allow you to scroll through the applications.
And inevitably, when you come from an iPhone X, Xs or even 11, it feels a little weird and some adaptation time will therefore be necessary.
The other point on which the iPhone SE (2020) pleasantly surprised me is in terms of sound. The device is of course equipped with two speakers, and they are also of good quality. In reality, they even do better than many flagships, even if they lack a bit of bass.
Rhinoshield, to protect your iPhone SE (2020)
The iPhone SE (2020) is not lacking in charm, and it also wants to be quite resistant since it is IP67 certified. On the other hand, it still has a glass case, a case that it will be preferable to protect to avoid unpleasant surprises.
And there you probably see me coming. The time has of course come to talk about Rhinoshield.
Rhinoshield indeed offers many protections for the iPhone SE.
The SolidSuit and CrashGuard are still there, of course. And they are still just as effective. They will indeed stick as close as possible to the phone in order to be able to protect it in the event of an impact or even a fall.
We also always find the usual protective films. Rhinoshield also offers two: one for the front and one for the back.
And then, of course, there is the famous Mod NX. The advantage of this case is its high degree of customization. Not content with choosing the color of the bumper, you can also change the color of the buttons or even its back.
And when it comes to customization, know that Rhinoshield goes a long way. The firm has even entered into several partnerships with leading groups and companies, such as Ubisoft. The design of several of its hulls has even been approved by NASA.
Screen, Processor & Autonomy
The iPhone SE (2020) is not a low cost iPhone, but it does make some technical concessions.
The Retina HD screen, for starters, does not exceed 4.7 inches and it is limited to a definition of 1334 x 750. It therefore does not reach Full HD, but this is not necessarily a problem given of the diagonal of its slab.
We remain in effect on a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, which will result in a nice feeling of sharpness.
As a bonus, we also have True Tone support and a contrast of 1400: 1. Unsurprisingly, Apple has skipped the OLED, to prefer an IPS type panel.
The quality is there, it is undeniable, but the screen still suffers from a defect: its brightness. It does not exceed 625 nits, ie the brightness of an iPhone 11. Against 800 nits for the 11 Pro. And while it won't necessarily be annoying indoors or on an overcast day, it will be quite different in direct sunlight or with sunglasses.
The technical part is good, but we must also talk about use.
Because casually, on paper, 4.7 inches is not huge.
We saw it earlier, but the small diagonal of the iPhone SE (2020) is clearly an asset in everyday life, for social networks or for consulting websites.
However, I left with a lot of a priori in terms of video and multimedia, but the panel is of good quality and it will be quite conceivable to watch a series or an anime on it, even with the subtitles activated. On the other hand, it will not be as comfortable as with a big diagonal, which will probably not surprise anyone.
The iPhone SE (2020) shares a lot in common with the iPhone 8, but there is still one point on which it goes further than its esteemed comrade: the power.
The device is indeed powered by an A13 Bionic chip, and therefore by the same chip as that present on board the iPhone 11.
Concretely, this means that the iPhone SE (2020) is one of the most powerful smartphones on the market. The A13 has nothing to be ashamed of against its competitors.
Nothing will resist it, therefore, and this is especially true for headlines like Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG Mobile, Fortnite and others. They will run wonderfully on the terminal, even with maximum detail and on very busy Maps.
And contrary to what I feared, the 4.7-inch screen is not as crippling as one might think. The handling is even rather good thanks to the weight contained in the terminal.
But it's not just in gaming that the iPhone SE (2020) excels. Thanks to his A13, he can also taste the joys of augmented reality and is therefore able to run all the applications and games available on the AppStore.
So he has a lot of resources, this little iPhone SE (2020). Now, if there is one thing it lacks, it's autonomy.
On its site, Apple announces 13 hours of battery life in video playback, 8 hours in video streaming and 40 hours in audio playback. In fact, and for fairly light use based on social networks, photos and a little video, the new generation iPhone SE has never lasted more than a day.
This is clearly its weak point, now the device still has the good idea to be compatible with 18W fast charging and wireless charging. Which compensates a little bit.
Photo & Video
Apple has always taken great care in photos and videos. Is the same for the iPhone SE (2020)?
Technically speaking, Apple was not sought after noon to two o'clock and its iPhone thus embeds a single sensor of 12 million pixels of definition. It comes with wide-angle optics, of course, with an aperture at f / 1.8.
The optic is stabilized, and it consists of 6 elements. Focusing is based on a Focus Pixel system and the optics are protected by sapphire crystal.
A single sensor, therefore, which also means that the iPhone SE (2020) skips the ultra wide angle or the telephoto lens. And if it offers a zoom, with a 5x magnification, the latter remains digital.
Now the terminal has another trump card. As I said a little earlier, it is powered by an A13 Bionic chip and the latter allows it to go quite far in terms of software processing.
The iPhone SE (2020) thus offers a portrait mode with realistic lighting effects, all generated using the third generation Neural Engine.
By day, the small iPhone SE (2020) is capable of big things. Sharp images, beautiful colorimetry, interesting dynamics, super fast focusing, it really hits the nail on the head and it will even be able to generate soft and silky background blurs thanks to neural networks.
So of course, for lack of additional focal length, the camera forces us to stay on the wide angle, but the result is there.
If there is another area where he amazed me a lot, it is in the portraits. Once again, when the light is on, very good results can be obtained. Results equivalent to those of the iPhone 11 Pro.
Once again, the device manages to generate sharp images with beautiful dynamics, natural colorimetry and very nice bokeh.
If the iPhone SE (2020) can also perform well indoors or in the evening, it is ultimately the night that it lacks the most.
And this is not surprising, because it just skips the night shooting mode. Why ? The whole question is there. For me, this is not a technical constraint since the A13 is perfectly capable of managing the fusion of several photos taken with different exposures. It would therefore seem that this limitation is imposed by Apple, probably so as not to cannibalize the iPhone 11.
So inevitably, it leaves a little bitter taste in the mouth and I really hope that the brand will reconsider its decision when deploying iOS 14.
On the video side, the iPhone SE (2020) offers all the usual modes and it will even allow us to shoot in 4K at 60 frames per second. This will then allow us to create beautiful slow motion in post production.
Stabilization is still as effective as ever. Especially since the iPhone Se (2020) is smaller, lighter and therefore easier to maintain in the same position.
In the end and even if we lose a bit in versatility, this iPhone SE (2020) remains a good surprise. It does less stuff than an iPhone 11, it's true, but it at least does them well and that's ultimately what matters.
And in the end, I find that quite interesting, because the iPhone SE proves once again that software processing also has a lot to do with photos.
The iPhone SE (2020) is a surprising product in many ways.
I'll be frank, before testing it, I was not particularly excited. Like many people, the slightly aging design of the phone left me a little wary. The same goes for the format, by the way. Used to large slabs, I was afraid of feeling a little cramped on a screen that was only 4.7 inches.
And in the end, I liked this little phone enough. Because if its design is a bit dated, it marks a break with current phones.
It is also quite paradoxical to note that a phone with an old-fashioned look manages to give an impression of freshness in terms of ergonomics. And in a way, it proves what everyone already knows, which is that the smartphone market has homogenized enormously over the past few years.
But after that, there is another element to take into consideration: the ecosystem. I had already said it in my handling, but if the iPhone is a great product, it is especially when used in conjunction with other products of the brand that it reveals its full potential.
And there, in this case, even if the selling price remains quite high, it allows to take a first step towards this famous ecosystem. From a strategic point of view, it is very interesting.
However, when we know the commercial success of the iPhone Xr, we think that the iPhone SE (2020) has a good chance of being sold by entire pallets. And in the end, even if it's not perfect, it may end up becoming the iPhone that everyone will end up loving… and using.
The video is therefore coming to an end, and I would once again like to thank Rhinoshield for their support. Remember, with the code "" you can get 10% off your order.
This test is sponsored by Rhinoshield, who paid us to take over from their new collection of cases, while leaving us all our editorial freedom.
iPhone SE (2020)
7.0 / 10
Design & Ergonomics
7.0 / 10
Power & autonomy
8.0 / 10
Photo & Video
8.0 / 10
9.0 / 10
- A smartphone that can be used with one hand
- The speed of Touch ID
- The power of the A13 chip
- A look out of time
- Ah, and Autonomy