back to article SE's baaaack: Apple flings out iPhone SE 2020, priced at £419

You have to give Apple credit for timing. It just announced the iPhone SE 2020. Priced at £419, it's the company's cheapest phone in years and lands at a time when nobody has any money, thanks to everyone's least favourite pathogen: Coronavirus. And honestly? The iPhone SE 2020 - first rumoured in 2017 - was so heavily leaked …

  1. anothercynic Silver badge

    Only took Apple 2 years...

    ... To realise that not everyone wants to spaff a month's salary (or half for the better well-off) on a phone. £419 for a 64GB model is decent. A little less than the current iPhone 8 but with nicer hardware (to a point). It's a decent trade-off. I'd buy it if I was in the market for one.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

      £419 for a 64GB model is decent.

      Not sure if the rest of the market will see the price and think it's good value. The phone probably appeal to existing I-Phone owners who for various (money, form factor, etc.) reasons haven't already splashed out a grand or so on new I-Phone. But Xiaomi et al. offer a whole lot more for quite a lot less so I think this might go the way of the coloured I-Phones — anyone remember those?

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

        Compared to any other Apple iPhones it is a decent price. Remember that iPhone owners tend to not want to switch to Android (or any of the... *ahem* "tainted" *ahem* Chinese brands) after they've wedded themselves to the cult of Apple. I know of several well-known figures online who bemoaned the fact that Apple yanked the first SE off the market in 2018 because they liked having a small cut-price model rather than the all-singing-all-dancing-even-slicing-your-toast kind of phones Apple's espoused. Several have already cheered the re-appearance of the new SE (but are disappointed by the lack of a headphone jack). :-)

        If this phone had made its appearance in November last year at the same time as the 11, I would've pounced on it. Instead, I bit the bullet to replace my 6s with an 8 for around £450 (plus some accessories).

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

          If this phone had made its appearance in November last year at the same time as the 11, I would've pounced on it. Instead, I bit the bullet to replace my 6s with an 8 for around £450 (plus some accessories).

          I think that might be the case for many who held off. Sure, a lot of people with I-Phones will be loathe to pick up an Android. Though, if they ever do, they might be surprised at how little difference there is between a lot of the phones nowadays but the timing is likely to be an issue and they might be worried about their investments in Apple's walled garden (or anyone else's for that matter).

        2. Shadow Systems

          @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

          Thank you for that observation. I was going to ask if it included one since TFA didn't bother to say yes or no, so your comment answered that for me. Enjoy a pint with my gratitude.

          I might have been interested in an updated SE, but the lack of the jack makes it a non-starter.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

            A pair of cheap Tronsmart Wireless headphones solves that, not so much of an issue now.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

              I'm not buying because it doesn't have optical-out!!

              Even in Asda I've seen wireless earbuds for around the 7 quid mark. Seems to a solution to some 'But I must charge as I listen!' scenarios - the other being a charge and listen dongle. No 3.5mm port an inconvenience in niche scenarios. Myurrent pair of semi-disposable (I don't like waste, but sooner or later I'll break or lose earbuds) 10 quid Sony earbuds likely sounds much better than cheap Bluetooth earbuds but I curse every time the cable catches on something and they're rudely yanked from my ears.

              There's no ideal solution. Top noise isolation comes from Sony or Bose headphones but they are pricey and are incompatible with my hat. Xiaomi make some earbuds with very impressive active noise cancellation - -35db but they are 3.5mm wired. They make USB Cable wired earbuds with ANC but for some reason the ANC doesn't work as wel - -19db - l as the 3.5mm version. Bluetooth earbuds allow me to work moving around a noisy area whilst listening to podcasts and charging my phone. Blitzwolf Bluetooth ANC earbuds are good value, but only last for four hours and can't be used whilst charging them.

              And something about the 12v system of a VW means that I hear noise related to engine speed if I'm using the 3.5mm output of my phone whilst charging in the van. Sheiit, at least my Minidisc player had optical-out!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

                Try the new Nura Loops -

                I've been using their cans for quite some time and they are majestic. I would expect the same or better sound quality from the Loop

                Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Nura

            2. Shadow Systems

              @ the AC, re: wireless headphones.

              By your logic a car manufacturer that sold you a car without a steering wheel & told you to go buy an aftermarket, third party, may or may not be compatable with your specific model of car, not covered by your car warranty, expensive part would not only be of no concern, you'd merrily tell everyone else to stop whinging & go pick up a cheap (used?) one from Ebay.

              I vote with my wallet. My wallet can see the problem inherent in the situation. It chooses not to reward such idiotic manufacturers of intentionally defective tat.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: @ the AC, re: wireless headphones.

                Do you mean a car without speakers?

                Steering wheel is a silly analogy, because it’s essential for the primary purpose of the car.

                Apple supply earphones in the box. Some folk prefer aftermarket audio kit. For phones and for cars.

                1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                  Re: @ the AC, re: wireless headphones.

                  For some people, lack of 3.5mm is minor inconvenience - they'll just use the converter included the box.

                  For a smaller number of people, whose usage patterns mean they often want to use earbuds whilst charging the phone AND don't want to use Bluetooth AND don't want to buy a 3rd party Charge+Listen dongle, the inconvenience is greater.

                  Now, anyone considering using this phone will weigh up this potential inconvenience against other factors. Switching to Android is inconvenient if you're used to iOS, and buying to a bigger, more expensive iPhone is inconvenient if you want a compact phone and not spend too much. In this case, we can actually put numbers in here: iPhone SE 2020 is £420, iPhone SE 2020 plus two Charge+Listen dongles (one for work, one for home) is £435. So, substantially mitigating this inconvenience costs £15.

                  Pragmatically, one would assume that this extra cost will only cause someone to buy a different phone if there was already a close contender on their shortlist. Since we're talking a phone used for many things and not an MP3 player dedicated to this one task, there will be many other factors for them to consider. Thus the sentiment 'No 3.5mm no sale' appears overly dogmatic unless you're considering two otherwise very similar phones.

                  1. JDX Gold badge

                    Re: @ the AC, re: wireless headphones.

                    As someone who was really aghast at losing 3.5mm, I bought the 1+6 deliberately as their last model to have this feature and stave off losing it for a couple years.

                    As it turns out, when I got some wireless ones I preferred them and now I don't use wired on my phone at all. I still dislike people telling me how to use my device but in reality it's OK.

          2. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: @AnotherCynic, re: headphone jack.

            To be fair, Apple has a 3.5mm-to-Lightning jack, so you can get around the problem, but with BT and BLE being the tech du jour, I'm ok to use wireless headphones. :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

        There is now no small Android phone since Sony ended its Compact line, so anyone who has small hands and dislikes large phones has really only one place to go.

        When my wife's Sony compact dies, it looks like it's going to be an iPhone.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

          There are a few, but they're not necessarily what you want. For example, the Unihertz Atom XL was reviewed here not that long ago and has a small screen. However, you would then be dealing with a relatively unknown manufacturer, so there are provisos if you decided to buy it. It seems the general public has decided that they don't need to fit their phone anywhere and will take massive screen real estate over compactness; I don't understand why either, but somehow the majority has decided against us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

            The Atom XL is actually far too big for her. Too thick and heavy.

        2. Piro Silver badge

          Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

          Yeah, the market is a wasteland for people that want a normal sized phone.

          So much so that I bought an extra xiaomi redmi 4x just because nothing else appeals to me. Now that's rough.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

      Still x2 overpriced.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

        Considering that it will probably be supported by Apple for 5+years then it doesn't look too bad compared to a noname £200 Android with zero updates.

        (says somebody with a £50 jailbroken Lineageos with updates)

        1. Captain Scarlet

          Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

          Or you can get a branded android for £150 and get at least 2 years support for the OS, majority of everything else such as browser store updated by Google.

          As most heavy smartphone users will likely need to replace their battery after 3 years, you should add the cost of an official Apple battery replacement to the cost :P

          1. ICL1900-G3

            Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

            Agreed. £419 for a phone? No thanks.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

      It is good news for us. We are supposed to use iPhones for company phones, but with T-Mobile no longer selling the 8 (officially), we were stuck with no iPhone that fell within the allowance limit. This will change things around.

    4. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Only took Apple 2 years...

      Apple has made about a trillionty dollars out of expensive phones, I don't think they realised this at all.

      I agree though it's a good price-point if you want Apple but not to pay a fortune. Especially if you don't WANT a giant phone.

  2. doublelayer Silver badge


    "The budget blower is also rated IP76, therefore providing solid water- and dust-proofing."

    Sorry, but that's not correct. The first digit in the IP rating number is about dust protection, and it only goes from 0 to 6. Looks like the value is IP67, or protection from immersion in water less than a meter deep for thirty minutes. Alright, pedantry completed, back to normal discussion.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: IP76

      Well, it's important pedantry. It is water resistant, not water proof. It's like resisting arrest - you still end up in a cell, it just takes a bit longer for the coppers to get you there. Proof is an absolute - it either or is or isn't.

      On a practical note, the operative word is water. Salt water, chlorinated water and water with detergents in can affect moisture ingres.

      At least the IPx7 rating means that the common phone dropped incident in toilet is unlikely to harm it, it can used to listen to a podcast whilst relaxing in the bath, and it can be wiped clean with a wet cloth.

    2. James Ashton

      Re: IP76

      What about liquid water?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: IP76

        Liquid water tends to be the one that causes damage. Ice doesn't find its way inside. Steam does, but not in large quantities ( it'll likely find its way out again as the phone heats up through or being kept in pocket) and the resulting condensed water will be non conductive until it picks up some impurities. Indeed many phones contain a swatch of tape that changes colour if it comes into contact with liquid water but not with water vapour.

  3. IGotOut Silver badge

    Ahhh Tech Jurno's

    " looks a bit dated in 2020, thanks to its small 4.7-inch display and chunky bezels."

    Oh no, something that isn't the size of a TV and doesn't shatter on the tiniest dink to a corner.

    Next they'll be complaints it's 2 microns thicker than a rival phone, the camera is only 400gigapixels and you can't you can't use it when deep sea diving.

    I.e. it's a phone for the majority.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahhh Tech Jurno's

      Have to agree, for someone that really tries to look after their phone, my latest 'flagship' Android phone has just acquired a hairline crack in the rear glass housing.

      Looking at it under the light, there's a tiny 3mm horizontal line under the glass, which (from tear down videos) appears to be the corner of the battery, forming the source of curvature of the crack. The phone itself is fairly new, unmarked, otherwise.

      It looks like a swelling battery/battery up against the glass has caused it, because I haven't dropped it, it's sat pretty much in one place with lockdown.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh Tech Jurno's

      Oh no, something that isn't the size of a TV and doesn't shatter on the tiniest dink to a corner

      It will shatter if you drop it from waist height onto a hard surface.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh Tech Jurno's

        Well, you could use a more plastic or malleable material instead of glass, but then that deformation would allowsl internal components to be stressed. The result is a non working phone (or worse, a damaged battery that could cause a fire) instead of largely cosmetic damage.

        Most buyers will have had several smartphones by now, and will know themselves and their environment enough to make an informed decision on whether to buy a case (and glass screen protector) or not.

        Engineers can't break the laws of physics. All design is compromise. If you want tougher then you need to add deformable material to the outside. Let the user decide.

  4. Piro Silver badge

    Way too muct

    I mis-read it as 149, and thought it might be interesting. 419? Nope.

    1. bpfh

      Re: Way too muct

      Same comment. I’m annoyed. At 149, I’d equip the family...

    2. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: Way too muct

      £419 "budget" phone? Lol

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love my SE!

    I bought an unlocked SE at BestBuy last year for $199.00 + tax.

    I had to ask an employee to bring it out from a locked cabinet because they only display the (much more) expensive iPhones.

    It runs the latest OS and gets regular updates but on a much smaller frame similar to the old iPhone 5.

    It is a little hard to view a website on Safari unless you're holding the phone in landscape mode but it fits nicely in a pocket.

    The only phone I enjoyed more was my 2014 MOTO E that I flashed with Lineage OS but it got tiresome having to compile the OS each month for the security patches as it is no longer an "official" Lineage port and also because the Moto uses CDMA I had to flash to the original stock OS whenever Sprint updates.

    1. Cave-Homme

      Re: I love my SE!

      Me too, but security updates will stop at some point this year.

  6. Lorribot

    "Punters can also shoot 4K at 60MP."

    Assume you mean 60FPS?

    1. Semtex451

      actually its only 30fps

  7. sanmigueelbeer

    Apple could help support healthcare workers by paying more corporation taxes

    Apple paying the correct taxes in the countries they operate in? A snowball's-chance-in-hell that'll be.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      In the meantime, Apple are shipping millions of face shields to healthcare workers. It's no Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation type effort, but better than nothing.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Correct as in legally required... yes, they do. Campaign for better laws, don't expect companies to toss money away they aren't required to.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They did pay $10+ Billion in 2019, so there is that.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    all this shows is how overpriced apple kit is. it's 90% of the top-line model for half the price.

    apple can trim a lot of price before they bump up against the margins of the competition.

    any yeah, no headphone port? at least they put back fingerprint recognition. I guess they figured that facemasks are the new fashion statement so facial recognition isn't as chic as reading fingerprints.

    I'll be using my Pixel 3a XL for as long as I get a signal.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: meh

      I think you need to look at the bill of materials again if you think the SE is 80% of its pricier siblings. For example, the new SE uses an LCD screen, whereas the bigger ones use expensive OLED panels, a fair chunk of the cost. Also, developing things such as the SoC costs money too - it's just plain inaccurate to ignore that when proclaiming something as overpriced.

      I agree that Apple do have big margins and big profits, and due to their buying power ( due to large number of units and largely accurate forecasts to their suppliers) they can buy sceens, camera modules etc for less than their rivals can.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Seems pretty good to me. Cheaper than OnePlus (quite a lot cheaper).

    And let's not forget, lots of people don't really want a giant phone as screens get larger and larger. For many, this is probably a preferred form factor.

  11. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    iPhone SE is junk

    I have an iPhone SE, and it is crap.

    I can't get anything on it or off it without having to go through Apple's tooling, meaning they get a copy of *everything* I want. Bastards.

    They have broken the bluetooth so I can't use that. Cunts.

    And they charge an arm and a leg for tat like this. Twats.

    I don't like Apple. I want my Samsung Galaxy S3 back which was perfect, because I had lineageos on there.

    1. Worthington

      Re: iPhone SE is junk

      Presumably Getting anything on or of it" means files, images and so on. Just use Airdrop and send direct, or Bluetooth file transfer. Bluetooth works fine on mine.

      I take it you don't like Apple so why did you buy one in the first place? Personally the last phone I'd want would be a Samsung.

  12. ColonelClaw

    If I'm understanding benchmarks correctly, you're getting the best phone CPU and GPU currently available for just over 400 quid. That's genuinely good value, and completely bizarre that it's coming from Apple.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Well I guess their previous phones have paid off the R&D bill for the SoC, it doesn't have the expensive Samsung-made OLED screens of its bigger brothers, and being the size it is means it won't canabalise many sales from Apple's pricier offerings.

      Time was, developers on a budget used to buy iPod Touchs to test iOS apps. It was available for around a third of what an iPhone cost, but was near enough identical save for the cellular modem and the camera.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      And frustratingly for Android phone makers the fastest Qualcomm SoC is only available with a 5G modem, which pushes up the phone price yet further for a feature that not everyone can yet use - or need even if it's available where they live. Meanwhile, Samsung has decided that its own range of Exonys chips is uncompetitive with Snapdragon and so is winding down development.

      Still, there's no current task I ask of my phone (Samsung Exonys) that would benefit from a faster processor, save for the (sideloaded) Google Camera algorithms (which on Pixel phones are hardware accelerated with specifically design silicon, as is the Apple equivalent).

      I have a vague idea that people with bigger- screened phones will have greater desire for faster chips - for gaming at higher resolutions and frame rates - but I can't make a convincing case for it.

  13. Rob Davis


    Looks great - powerful flagship hardware under-the-bonnet.

    However, doesn't seem to have support for 5G.

    For less than 419 pounds, at 399, one could buy a Samsung A90 5G, with 128Gb and microSD card support.

    From an owner of an iPhone 7 Plus and Android phones.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: 5G?

      5G offers benefits to some users more than others. If you live in an area where 4G more than answers your needs, why bother with the extra expense and battery drain?

      As I understand it, the chief benefit of 5G for phone users is that single cell towers can support far more connected devices. So, you might see the benefit of you live in a city or are attending a busy sporting match or festival (ha ha bloody ha), but someone in a smaller town won't miss 5G.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: 5G?

      No 5G is a definite bonus

  14. Worthington

    The main problem is that it's too flipping big. Just like Apple abandoning small iPods, now they have made their phones larger than I want to keep in my pocket.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      I'm sure we can fix that Sir. Leave the phone behind with our cellular watch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dick Tracy

        Does it do video calls?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iphone upgrade

    I am sure it will come as a surprise to many here, that many people use their phones for talking. Not necessarily telco connections, but also OTT apps. For many, this means that iPhone 4 level devices perform adequately. Even for people who have a fair amount of app usage, an iPhone6 is completely adequate - living with the time cost of switching an app to memory aside, performance is quite adequate for most things.

    Personally, I put a new battery in my iPhone6 recently and that has upped the performance as it had been running in degraded mode for a while. I can see this phone being a monster seller as the folks who don't buy a new phone every year or two finally make the jump to newer tech. The A13 latest and greatest means that they will be able to count on about 5 years of software support more or less, and that'll be what'll push them to buy. Maybe I'll bin my 6 as well, depending on what deal my telco is offering.

    Assuming a 5 year life, it's 90 quid a year and that's pocket money.

    1. eionmac

      Re: iphone upgrade

      GBP £90 pe ryear pocket money? UMMN! No on a state pension.

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