The third-generation iPhone SE and iPhone 11 are Apple’s least expensive iPhone options, starting at $429 and $499, respectively. Apple released the iPhone 11 in late 2019, and has since lowered its price to make it more accessible as new iPhone models have been launched. On the other hand, the third generation iPhone SE was launched in early 2022, updating the less expensive iPhone option of the bunch.
With only $70 in between, should you get the new, smaller, entry-level iPhone or the larger and older standard model that has fallen in price over the years? Our guide helps answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhones is best for you.
Comparison between iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 11
The third-generation iPhone SE and iPhone 11 share a number of features, such as a Retina HD LCD display, 12MP rear camera, a polished glass back, and Qi wireless charging. Apple lists these identical features for iPhone SE and iPhone 11:
- Retina HD LCD display with 326 ppi, IPS technology, True Tone, P3 Wide Color, Haptic Touch, up to 625 nits of brightness
- A-series chip with 6-core CPU, including two performance cores, four efficiency cores, and a quad-core GPU
- Wi Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
- Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)
- 12MP wide rear camera, f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization, up to 5x digital zoom, True Tone flash with slow sync, Deep Fusion, Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, Smart HDR for photos
- 4K video recording at up to 60 fps, optical image stabilization, QuickTake video, slow-motion support for 1080p video at 120 fps or 240 fps, time-lapse video with stabilization, stereo recording
- Front Camera, f/2.2, Retina Flash, HDR, Portrait mode, Portrait lighting, 1080p HD video recording at up to 60fps, Cinematic video stabilization, QuickTake video
- Supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG video playback
- Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, barometer
- Front and back glass
- Aerospace grade aluminum
- water resistant
- lightning port
- Qi . wireless charging
- Charge up to 50 percent in 30 minutes
Apple’s analysis shows that iPhones share many notable features, but there are still significant differences between iPhone SE and iPhone 11, such as display sizes, authentication technologies, and chips.
- Smallest form factor, weighs 144 grams
- 4.7 inch Retina HD display
- Home button with Touch ID
- A15 Bionic chip with 16 core neural engine
- 5G connection
- Single rear camera (wide)
- photography styles
- Smart HDR 4 for photos
- 7MP FaceTime HD front camera with 1080p HD video recording and Smart HDR 4
- Battery life up to 15 hours of video playback
- IP67 rated water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
- Midnight, Starlight, and PRODUCT (RED) color options
- 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options
- Larger form factor weighs 194 grams
- 6.1 inch Liquid Retina HD display
- Face ID
- A13 Bionic chip with an octa-core neural engine
- 4G connection
- Dual rear cameras with 2x optical zoom range (Wide and Ultra Wide)
- night mode
- The next generation of Smart HDR for photos
- volume amplification
- 12MP TrueDepth front camera with 4K video recording, next-generation Smart HDR, slow-motion video support, Animoji and Memoji
- Battery life up to 17 hours of video playback
- IP68 rated, water-resistant to a depth of 2 meters for up to 30 minutes
- U1 Ultra Wide Spatial Awareness Chip
- Supports Dolby Atmos audio playback
- Purple, Yellow, Green, Black, White and PRODUCT (RED) color options
- 64GB and 128GB storage options
Overall, the iPhone SE is an excellent choice for the entry-level iPhone for just $429. In many ways, the iPhone SE is better than the iPhone 11 because it’s a much newer device, featuring a faster and more efficient chip, 5G connectivity, photo modes, Smart HDR 4, and a larger 256GB storage option.
For just an extra $70, the iPhone 11 offers a more modern design, a larger screen, Face ID, an ultra-wide camera, night mode, a much better front camera, and longer battery life. There’s also improved water resistance, a U1 chip, Dolby Atmos audio playback, and even additional color options to choose from. This all makes for a fairly big upgrade over the iPhone SE if you value these features and can afford an extra $70.
However, the main drawback to buying an iPhone 11 is its age. Released in late 2019, the iPhone 11 has a much older, less powerful chip, and lacks some of the more modern features like 5G connectivity. Overall, it comes down to whether you value having a newer device that has more of the latest specs, or you can override that for a device with a bigger screen and ‘Face ID’.
If you prefer the iPhone 11’s unique feature set, it’s still a good choice for $499, but overall most users looking for an affordable iPhone should opt for the iPhone SE as it features an A15 chip and 5G connectivity.