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iPhone SE (2022) vs. iPhone 11: Evaluating Apple’s most cost-effective iPhones

Picture: Apple

The iPhone SE is Apple’s newest miniature-sized handset, priced for potential adopters on a funds. Beginning at $429, the 5G-enabled, A15 Bionic-powered handset is Apple’s most inexpensive iPhone but. However at simply $70 extra is the older, however bigger, iPhone 11 — additionally accessible for buy through the Apple Retailer. 

Whether or not you are eyeing a brand new iPhone for a member of the family, vital different, or your self, there is no query that each the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 ship exceptionally good worth cell experiences. That will help you greatest resolve which of the 2 sub-$500 smartphones it is best to spend your hard-earned cash on, we have in contrast the design, efficiency, cameras, and total worth of each beneath.


iPhone SE (2022)

iPhone 11


4.7-inch Retina HD

6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD


144 grams

194 grams


TouchID (fingerprint unlock)

FaceID (face unlock)


Midnight, Starlight, Product Pink

Purple, Yellow, Inexperienced, Black, White, Product Pink

Digital camera

Single 12-megapixel digicam

Twin 12-megapixel cameras

IP ranking

IP67 (one meter deep for 30 minutes)

IP68 (two meters deep for 30 minutes)

One of many main crossroads that you will encounter when deciding between the iPhone SE (2022) and the iPhone 11 is design. Whereas the previous was launched in early 2022, its {hardware} is virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone SE (2020), which shared the identical design because the iPhone eight of 2017. That is to not say that this yr’s iteration falls quick on the efficiency facet of issues. Simply do not count on the near-bezeless determine that modern-day iPhones have embraced and, as an alternative, look ahead to the nostalgia that’s 4.7-inch iPhones with bodily dwelling buttons.

Likewise, the iPhone 11 affords a recycled design of its predecessor, the iPhone XR. (Apple clearly likes to recycle issues.) However in contrast to the SE, the iPhone 11 has a way more screen-dominant look, with a notch on the heart for FaceID (face unlock) as an alternative of the outdated and dependable fingerprint sensor. It is also considerably bigger than the SE, with a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina show. For leisure lovers who want the perfect viewing expertise, the bigger iPhone could also be of larger use than the SE.

Extra: Finest iPhones


The iPhone 11 in White.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Each iPhones are geared up with a 12-megapixel extensive digicam on the again, however the 11 takes it a step additional by tossing in a 12MP ultra-wide lens for these head-turning panorama pictures. How the 2 carry out essentially can be damaged down within the digicam part in a while.

The iPhone SE sports activities an IP67 ranking, which certifies it as waterproof of as much as one meter deep for 30 minutes. Comparably, the iPhone 11 has an IP68 ranking, defending it from a swim of as much as two meters deep on the similar time. Each gadgets ought to maintain up within the rain or shine within the grand scheme of issues.

By way of shade choices, the iPhone SE is available in Midnight (black), Starlight (white), and Product Pink. The iPhone 11 may be bought in Purple, Yellow, Inexperienced, Black, White, and Product Pink, although availability will fluctuate, given it is a three-year-old gadget.

Placing the iPhones facet by facet, design alone could also be sufficient to sway you to at least one over the opposite. The iPhone 11 is the cellphone of selection for a extra trendy really feel and end. However should you lengthy for the acquainted, compact, and dependable iPhone eight design, then the SE will do you no unsuitable.


iPhone SE (2022)

iPhone 11


A15 Bionic (6-core)

A13 Bionic (6-core)





64GB, 128GB, 256GB

64GB, 128GB


5G (sub-6 GHz)



As much as 15 hours of video playback

As much as 17 hours of video playback

For a way a lot smaller and cheaper it’s, the iPhone SE packs sufficient firepower to rival that of Apple’s flagships. That is largely because of the A15 Bionic chip — the identical processor discovered within the iPhone 13 Professional — underneath the hood. When ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani benchmarked the iPhone SE, it scored 1,731 and 4,316 on the only and multi-core assessments, respectively, doubling that of Google’s highest-end Pixel 6 Professional. From a real-world perspective, that mainly means the iPhone SE can run apps and video games, and multitask with little to no stutter.

Apple March 8 iPhone SE same glass as iPhone 13

iPhone SE (2022) brings the bodily dwelling button again.

Picture: Apple

Nonetheless, the iPhone 11 treads intently behind, with its A13 Bionic processor being simply as dependable for social media looking, film streaming, and capturing 4K video. The older iPhone can be geared up with 4GB of RAM, and by working on the identical variations of iOS, all of the software program perks of 1 iPhone are ever so current on the opposite. It’s price noting, nevertheless, that Apple usually honors between 5 to seven-year software program updates. Given the three-year hole between the 11 and new SE, you possibly can count on the latter to obtain longer help if bought as we speak.

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To 5G or to not 5G? You may should reply one other query when deciding between the 2 iPhones. To simplify the method, the brand new iPhone SE solely helps sub-6 GHz, not the significantly sooner mmWave 5G. So not solely is the distinction in networking velocity much less noticeable, however you will should decide right into a 5G information plan along with your provider of selection to be able to take full benefit of the fifth-gen know-how.

Each iPhones begin at 64GB storage sizes, upgradeable to 128GB for an additional $50. The iPhone SE takes it a step additional by providing a 256GB variant for many who search further house. In an excellent world, 128GB can be the bottom configuration of all iPhones, however should you’re tight on funds, there are many free, high-quality cloud providers price contemplating.

Apple claims that the brand new iPhone SE can present an extra two hours of use in comparison with its predecessor. From our testing and full assessment, the SE obtained “over three hours of screen-on time throughout a typical day” earlier than needing a cost. As ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani factors out, “If you happen to contemplate your self an influence person, you will doubtless discover the iPhone SE’s battery life missing.” 

The identical can’t be stated in regards to the iPhone 11, which garnered shut to 5 hours of screen-on time once we first examined the gadget. Whereas Apple stays secretive about battery capacities, it would not come as a shock to discover a bigger measurement housed within the iPhone 11 than the SE. The 11 is the clear winner if battery life and endurance is one among your primary priorities.

Digital camera

For informal {and professional} use, each the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 do an distinctive job at capturing photographs and movies within the day or evening. The identical 12MP extensive lens may be discovered on the bottom of the 2 gadgets and permits for 4K video recording, optical picture stabilization, and all of Apple’s computational chaps — together with Deep Fusion, Sensible HDR, and Evening Mode.

The most important distinction comes within the type of the iPhone 11’s 12MP ultra-wide lens. With a 120-degree subject of view, the iPhone 11 can seize a wider vary of topics and supply extra context than the default digicam. The ultra-wide lens additionally permits for macro pictures — or close-up pictures — due to the smaller focal size. Typically, the iPhone 11 affords extra flexibility along with your image and video-taking.

James Martin/CNET

On the digicam entrance (actually), the iPhone SE homes a 7MP FaceTime digicam for selfies and 1080p video, however nothing extra. The front-facing digicam doesn’t help FaceID and, due to this fact, can’t be used to create Animojis, Memojis, and different facial-driven options. Like a lot of its different {hardware} limitations, that is primarily as a result of the SE makes use of the older iPhone eight design.

Comparatively talking, the iPhone 11 fields a 12MP TrueDepth digicam for sharper video recording of as much as 4K, FaceID, and the identical image capabilities because the SE. It additionally helps Apple’s slow-motion selfies, or “slofies,” for what that is price.

Extra: iOS 15.Four permits you to use FaceID with a masks

Typically, you possibly can’t go unsuitable with both digicam system, however should you spend an excellent period of time capturing footage and video along with your smartphone, the iPhone 11 will be the higher of the 2. Not solely does it provide you with extra flexibility along with your pictures, but it surely has a longer-lasting battery to maintain the digicam rolling.


Whereas the iPhone 11 debuted with a $699 price ticket, the cellphone has since dropped to simply $499 on the Apple retailer. That places it inside arms attain of the newly-released iPhone SE, which begins at $429

The iPhone 11 is the higher purchase should you want a large-screen cellphone, dependable battery life, an uncompromising digicam system, and might do with out 5G. The iPhone SE will get our suggestion for customers in quest of a compact smartphone that does not maintain again in efficiency and velocity. It is also a future-proofed funding that ought to fare properly 5 or 6 years down the street. 

Options to think about

If you happen to’re open to different smartphone prospects, contemplate these ZDNet-tested choices:

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