The iPhone 12 is without a doubt better, but the price difference with the iPhone SE is huge. In this iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE comparison, we put the two devices against each other.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE
The iPhone choice in 2020 is huge. Apple sells no fewer than seven models: the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, iPhone SE, iPhone 11 and iPhone XR. We regularly compare two devices to guide you through the packed iPhone landscape. This time it is the turn of the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE
- 1. Screen
- 2. Design and housing
- 3. Security and battery
- 4. Camera
- 5. Hardware
- 6. Price
- 7. Purchase advice
1. Screen: LCD vs OLED
Do you regularly watch movies on your phone? Or do you like to play games? Then you should go for the iPhone 12. The entire series, including the entry-level model and the iPhone 12 mini, is equipped with an OLED panel. Oled is superior in all aspects with regard to LCD, the screen technology used by the iPhone SE.
You will notice this especially when playing games and watching movies. Oled has, among other things, a wider color range, so that dark scenes in series, for example, also look really black, and it is much better at displaying contrasts.
An additional advantage is that the screen of the iPhone 12 is much larger than that of the SE: 6.1 inches versus 4.7 inches. Moreover, this larger screen does not come at the expense of resolution. The PPI of the iPhone 12, which indicates the number of pixels per inch, is much higher than that of the SE.
- iPhone 12 screen: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel with a resolution of 2532 by 1170 pixels (PPI of 460)
- iPhone SE screen: 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display with a resolution of 1334 by 750 pixels (PPI of 326)
2. Design and housing
Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE have a retro design but are certainly not identical. With its flat screen, angular edges and metal frame, the former can best be described as a combination of the iPhone 5S from 2013 and the recent iPad Pro.
The iPhone SE, on the other hand, resembles the iPhone 8 from 2017 like two drops of water. This is because housing is practically the same. In 2020, the iPhone SE, therefore, looks quite dated. That kite does not apply to the iPhone 12. Although it has a design that is inspired by previous Apple products, it has moved with the times in terms of screen ratio: after all, almost the entire front consists of a display and the screen edges are very thin.
This is evident from the dimensions. In terms of size, the iPhone 12 is only slightly larger than the SE but has a much larger screen. This is because the front of the former is much more efficient and consists largely of a display. In addition, the screen of the iPhone 12 is equipped with a ceramic shield and therefore, according to Apple, up to 4 times better protected in the event of falls.
- IPhone 12 dimensions : 146.7mm (height) x 71.5mm (width) x 7.4mm (thickness)
- IPhone SE dimensions : 138.4mm (height) x 67.3mm (width) x 7.3mm (thickness)
3. Security and battery
The iPhone 12 has a Face ID scanner. This allows you to unlock the device by simply looking at it. This option is missing on the iPhone SE. With this device, you are bound by Touch ID or a fingerprint scanner. Which way of unlocking you prefer is very personal.
What is not personal is battery life. In this area, the iPhone 12 has its affairs a lot better for each other. According to Apple, the device can play videos continuously for up to 17 hours: the iPhone SE lasts for 13 hours. As soon as the iPhone 12 is empty, you can also charge it with a MagSafe charger, Apple’s wireless technology that has been revived. Both iPhones support fast charging and wireless charging.
→ Read more about MagSafe
The camera differences between the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE are significant. The successor to the iPhone 11 is equipped with two lenses (ultra-wide-angle and wide-angle) on the back, the SE sticks to a single wide-angle lens. This allows the iPhone 12 to take much wider shots. This option is completely missing on the iPhone SE.
Furthermore, the iPhone 12 has some other camera functions, including the possibility to record HDR videos at 30 frames per second (fps). The new entry-level model also has a Night Mode, to take good photos in low light, and Deep Fusion, for example, a smart technique that automatically processes photos.
The front cameras also differ. The iPhone SE has a 7-megapixel selfie camera, the iPhone 12 sticks 5 megapixels to it. Self-portraits, therefore, have more detail. Furthermore, the selfie camera of the iPhone 12 has, for example, a Night mode and you can record videos in 4K resolution (with 24, 30 or 60 fps).
- iPhone 12 camera: Ultra wide-angle lens and wide-angle lens on the back, selfie camera in the front (all 12 megapixels)
- iPhone SE camera: 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, 7-megapixel selfie camera
The iPhone 12 series is powered by the A14 processor, the iPhone SE by its predecessor: the A13 chip. Both deliver excellent performance, making both the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE very fast, but of course, the A14 is slightly better. The successor to the A13 chip is not only more powerful but also more energy-efficient.
An additional advantage of the A14 chip is that the entire iPhone 12 series can handle 5G. That’s nice because in the coming period the successor to 4G will roll out more and more nationally in the Netherlands. The real speed gain, by the way, is still waiting. 5G will not become really fast until 2022. You can see why this is so in the video below:
Also not unimportant: the price. Since the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE 2020 are aimed at completely different target groups, this is mainly comparing apples with pears. The iPhone SE starts at 489 euros while the iPhone 12 has a suggested retail price of 909 euros. It is therefore considerably cheaper than the iPhone 12.
It’s actually unfair to compare the iPhone 12 to the iPhone SE. The two Apple phones are far too different for that. The purchase advice is therefore simple. Do you want a very good iPhone, but do you think the iPhone 12 Pro is just a bit too expensive? Then the iPhone 12 (or mini) is the phone for you.
Apple’s latest phone has improved considerably and thanks to the A14 chip, super-fast in daily use, it has a nice OLED screen and with 5G support, you can use it for years to come.
The iPhone SE, on the other hand, is for people who do want an iPhone but do not want to pay the main price. The device can last for years based on hardware and software, but you sacrifice design, among other things. 5G support is also lacking and you only have two cameras at your disposal.
When it comes to the size above all, the iPhone 12 mini is also worth considering. This can do everything the normal iPhone 12 can, but it is more compact. The mini has a 5.4-inch screen and is slightly smaller than the iPhone SE in terms of dimensions. The small iPhone 12 starts at 809 euros.