iPhone SE vs. iPhone 11 Pro: Is a cost disproportion reflected in performance?


  • iPhone SE 2020

  • iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro is positively a aristocrat of Apple’s iPhone lineup interjection to a 3 behind cameras, all-day battery life and high-resolution OLED screen. But it commands a high price, starting during $999 (£1,049, AU$1,749). With so many new iPhones out there, including a $699 iPhone 11 and a $399 iPhone SE, we might be wondering that one to choose. we wanted to examination Apple’s flagship to a bill iPhone to see what disproportion that $600 makes.

Realistically, if we wish a top-of-the-range iPhone (and it fits within your budget) we substantially won’t even cruise a iPhone SE. But as we found out after regulating both a 11 Pro and SE for a few weeks, we don’t feel like we missed out on all that many when we switched over to a reduction costly iPhone.

Read more: How a $399 iPhone SE compares to a $699 iPhone 11

Angela Lang/CNET

While a iPhone SE might demeanour like an comparison iPhone on a outside, don’t be fooled. Paired with a same A13 Bionic chip found on a iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, it offers good opening and a unequivocally means camera for an entry-level cost of $399. The battery won’t final as prolonged as a some-more costly phone, yet Apple has done some intelligent trade-offs to keep a cost low.

Read a Apple iPhone SE (2020) review.

Angela Lang/CNET

With a neat stainless-steel chassis, good battery life and a high-resolution OLED display, a iPhone 11 Pro unequivocally does feel honourable of a “Pro” label. It’s a many strong iPhone we can buy and has 3 behind cameras that give we coherence from ultrawide by to telephoto. There’s also a choice of bumping adult a shade distance from 5.8 inches to 6.5 if we select a iPhone 11 Pro Max, and we also get a incomparable 512GB storage choice during a tip end, since a iPhone SE taps out during 256GB.

Read a Apple iPhone 11 Pro review.

iPhone SE is a many compact, while a 11 Pro is intensely durable

With a 4.7-inch screen, a iPhone SE shares a same altogether pattern as a iPhone 8. That means a home symbol is back! Or, it never went divided if you’re upgrading from something like a iPhone 6 or 7. The iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch shade and sports a newer iPhone pattern yet a home button.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

The iPhone SE has an aluminum frame, while a iPhone 11 Pro is done of immaculate steel. All of Apple’s phones are lonesome in tradition potion on a front and back, done by Corning, and Apple claims a iPhone 11 Pro has a many durable potion of all. I’ve forsaken a iPhone 11 Pro large times (both in a formal dump test and when regulating it for a past 6 months) and it hasn’t postulated any poignant damage. 

Even so, we still suggest putting a box on your phone usually to be safe, as not all drops are combined equal. We haven’t nonetheless conducted a continuance exam on a iPhone SE, yet would pattern it to perform likewise to a iPhone 8 given it’s a same design. (The iPhone 8 suffered a burst shade when it was forsaken from 5 feet.)

Both phones also offer H2O resistance, nonetheless to somewhat opposite degrees: a iPhone SE is rated IP67, that means it can strech a limit abyss of 1 scale (3 feet) for adult to 30 minutes, while a iPhone 11 Pro is IP68, or 4 meters (13 feet) for a same time. But in my extreme H2O test, we found a iPhone 11 Pro survived much deeper H2O than Apple claims, so we wouldn’t be astounded if a iPhone SE also outlived a rating. Regardless, H2O repairs is not lonesome underneath guaranty for possibly phone so don’t go crazy perplexing to exam a boundary of your phone (leave that to me!).

Winner: The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro hits a distance honeyed mark for me, even yet a iPhone SE is easier for one-handed use.

The iPhone 11 Pro has that beautiful OLED display

The iPhone SE has an LCD glass retina display, while a 11 Pro has an OLED Super Retina XDR display. There’s no doubt that a 11 Pro’s shade looks beautiful interjection to a contrariety ratio of 2,000,000:1 and HDR support. Its OLED tech is means to furnish deeper black levels than a LCD on a iPhone SE.

That said, we wasn’t unhappy when we switched over to a iPhone SE. Colors demeanour accurate and a shade is easy to review in bright, outside light. To my eyes, examination a film looked improved on a iPhone 11 Pro interjection to a shade being physically bigger.

Winner: It’s tough to contest with a iPhone 11 Pro’s OLED display.

Touch ID vs. Face ID: Home symbol or facial recognition?

After regulating a new iPhone SE for several weeks, we count myself among a many people who cite regulating a fingerprint to clear their phone. Face ID is solid, yet has stipulations notwithstanding apropos some-more manageable as time goes on. Touch ID usually works improved for me in a lot of situations. Face ID struggles to commend me initial thing in a morning after we hurl out of bed — maybe we demeanour drastically opposite in a a.m., yet we overtly don’t consider we do. (It’s also incompatible with face masks.) Switching to a iPhone SE and regulating my fingerprint to clear my phone always works.

On a iPhone SE, we do scapegoat shade genuine estate to accommodate a home symbol and we beheld a bezels a lot on a SE compared to a roughly edge-to-edge shade on a iPhone 11 Pro (even yet there’s a nick for a TrueDepth camera).

Winner: iPhone SE for seamless Touch ID.

The iPhone 11 Pro has 3 behind cameras, yet do we need them?

There are 3 behind cameras on a iPhone 11 Pro: ultrawide-angle, far-reaching and 2x telephoto. The iPhone SE has a single, far-reaching behind camera. But as we found when looking during photos from both side-by-side, a disproportion was not as thespian as we was expecting.

The categorical cameras on both phones use Smart HDR to even out shade and prominence detail. The iPhone 11 Pro constructed images with larger energetic operation in severe lighting conditions, yet on some shots, it was tough to tell them detached in terms of tone and altogether processing. The iPhone 11 Pro has Apple’s Deep Fusion processing, that helps to furnish crook shots in medium-lighting conditions (think indoors). Read some-more on how Deep Fusion works in my co-worker Patrick Holland’s good explainer.

You can see a disproportion Deep Fusion creates when looking during a same print on a SE and 11 Pro during full magnification — see a print of a orchid below.


Take a demeanour during a 100% stand (inset) display a outcome of Deep Fusion on a iPhone 11 Pro compared to a iPhone SE, that has no Deep Fusion.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Naturally, a iPhone 11 Pro offers larger coherence when component your shots interjection to a ultrawide and telephoto lenses. we adore a ultrawide viewpoint and it’s a biggest thing we skip when regulating a iPhone SE.

Also, that camera on a iPhone 11 Pro means we get some-more coherence with selfies, like creation Animoji and Memoji that impersonate your facial expressions, and filming in 4K.

The biggest disproportion between these dual cameras is night mode — a iPhone 11 Pro has it while a iPhone SE does not. Photos from a 11 Pro demeanour approach improved in low light than those taken on a SE as night mode helps irradiate a stage and broach a clearer, brighter shot. Stay tuned for my full camera comparison between these dual phones entrance soon, where I’ll also cover video recording and a selfie cameras.

Winner: iPhone 11 Pro if we wish opposite cameras and night mode.

The A13 Bionic chip creates both iPhones blisteringly fast

It’s no tip that these phones share a same processor and as a result, we didn’t notice poignant differences in opening when regulating them both side by side. we ran a few benchmarks on both phones and a formula were close, with a 11 Pro pulling forward for multicore opening on Geekbench.

In a genuine world, both installed apps quick and didn’t have any conspicuous loiter when pleat down a 4K video. In fact, a cheaper SE was a hair faster in my anecdotal test. 

Apple doesn’t divulge central battery ability for any of a phones, yet we do know a iPhone SE has a identical battery to a iPhone 8. The iPhone 11 Pro, meanwhile, has a aloft ability battery than a cheaper phone. (Unofficial third-party teardowns suggested a 11 Pro has a 3,046mAh battery and a 11 Pro Max 3,969mAh.)


Angela Lang/CNET

There’s no doubt a battery life differs significantly in day-to-day use. The 11 Pro simply got me by a day, infrequently to a day and a half of sincerely complicated use while a iPhone SE lasted a full day with lighter use. If we was examination video or regulating a camera utterly a bit, we reached for a iPhone SE’s horse to be means to make it by an whole day. Both phones also support wireless charging and quick charging, yet usually a iPhone 11 Pro ships with an 18-watt quick horse in a box.

Winner: Overall opening feels like a tie, yet a iPhone 11 Pro pulls forward for battery.

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