iPhone SE (2020) versus iPhone 7 | What’s the difference?

iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone 7

Thinking of upgrading from iPhone 7 to the new SE? This guide is for you.

  • Apple’s new iPhone SE is similar in design to the 7 and 8 but adds a load of new features
  • It packs the same processor as the more expensive iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models
  • If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 7, the biggest improvements you’ll see are to the camera and overall performance
  • Plus wireless charging, more storage and a new range of colours

This April has seen the highly anticipated release of Apple’s brand new second-generation iPhone SE, which is a significant improvement on their 2016 SE model and comparable to their hugely popular iPhone 11 flagship with a number of key features included in this more affordable model.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your iPhone 7 but not sure if the new SE is for you, we’ve taken a closer look at these two iPhones to find out exactly how they compare.

The iPhone SE comes in at a lower price at launch

The iPhone SE is Apple’s most affordable new iPhone to date, with prices starting at £419 for SIM Free and available on pay monthly price plans from around £25 a month (depending on how much you pay upfront). The price for the iPhone 7, by comparison, started at £449 for the 32GB model but is now on sale after it was discontinued in September 2019.

However, the biggest difference to note with price is how the iPhone SE compares with the top-end iPhone 11 – it’s significantly cheaper.

The outer design of both phones is similar

The iPhone SE and iPhone 7 are very similar in appearance but the colour choices for the SE are slightly fewer (although Apple may add some new colours later). The new SE model is available in black, white or red, while the iPhone 7 has a range of metallic colour choices that include silver, red, black, rose gold and gold.

The iPhone SE basically retains the design and styling of the iPhone 8 rather than the new full screen design seen on the iPhone 11.

If you choose to purchase the red iPhone SE handset, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Apple’s partner charity, Product (Red), to help raise awareness and funds that contribute towards the fight against HIV and AIDS in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  Apple are also currently using the Product (Red) SE to support charities battling the Covid19 pandemic.

Like the iPhone 7 and 8, the iPhone SE is also designed with a home button, but the model is slightly heavier and larger, weighing 148g (5.22 oz) with dimensions of 134.4mm (5.45in) x 67.3mm (2.65in) x 7.3mm (0.29in). The iPhone 7, by comparison, weighs 138g (4.87oz) and has dimensions of 138.3mm (5.44in) x 67.1mm (2.64in) x 7.1mm (0.28in).

iPhone SE in three colours
The iPhone SE comes in black, white or red

The iPhone SE display is the same size as the 7 but has had a tech upgrade

Both the iPhone SE and the iPhone 7 have a 4.7in Retina HD display, but the iPhone SE is designed with the True Tone feature while the iPhone 7 is not.

Apple’s innovative True Tone feature adjusts the brightness and colour of the iPhone’s display depending on the lighting in your surrounding area, which can be useful in reducing eye strain and makes colours look warmer, rather than that blueish tint you see on some screens.

The cameras have the same megapixels but the SE can shoot Portrait Mode pics

The iPhone 7, does not have the ability to take Portrait-style photos (in which the background is blurred to make the subject of the photo stand out) due to its lack of a dual camera, but the iPhone SE camera is able to take photos in Portrait Mode with only one lens thanks to some new tech from Apple that they introduced in the iPhone XR.

The cameras on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone SE are both 12MP with 5x digital zoom and Quad-LED flash but thanks to the software and new hardware, you’re getting a far better camera with the iPhone SE.

When in comes to video, the iPhone SE can shoot at 4K, up to 60 frames per second.  The iPhone 7 can shoot 4K too but at 30 frames per second.  This means video shot on the SE will look smoother when played back.

Round the front, the selfie camera on the SE has also been upgraded with the new Portrait Mode software, unlike the iPhone 7.

iPhone Portrait Mode
Portrait Mode gives your photos those professional looking blurred backgrounds

The SE’s processor is three generations newer than the 7

The iPhone SE’s Apple A13 Bionic with Neural Engine processor is three generations newer than the iPhone 7 Apple A10 Fusion processor and has twice the capacity. The Apple A13 Bionic is the same processor that you’ll find in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.  That’s a truly impressive feat as it means you’re getting one of the most powerful smartphone processors in the world, inside a more affordable iPhone.

This keeps the SE running at a good speed when it comes to running apps, filming and gaming.  Basically, pretty much any app you can throw at it should run fine on the SE.

Other key features to note

One of the key differences between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 7 is that the iPhone SE is equipped with a Haptic Touch feature while the iPhone 7 has a 3D Touch feature.

3D Touch enables users to access a secondary level of controls by pressing down on the screen with more pressure, while Haptic Touch allows users to access these same controls by pressing down on the screen for longer. These secondary controls include access to app shortcuts, dictionary definitions and webpage previews.  Apple have binned 3D Touch now on newer models, preferring the new Haptic Touch.

Unlike the iPhone 7, the iPhone SE offers wireless charging which means if you have a compatible wireless charger, you can use that to charge your SE, rather than plugging it in with a cable.  Sounds like a minor point, but once you start using wireless charging, those valuable few seconds it save you make it hard to go back to using a cable.

Deciding whether to upgrade from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone SE rather than the more expensive iPhone 11, will depend largely on your budget, but if you’re looking for an upgrade at a reasonable price with enhanced functionality, the iPhone SE is a fantastic model to opt for and a worthy upgrade from the now discontinued iPhone 7, and certainly the older iPhone 5/6/6s.

If you’re prepared to spend a bit more per month, then the iPhone XR (about £10 more per month) is your other option, which although it has an older processor (A12 vs A13), should still feel faster than the iPhone 7, has a larger 6.1″ screen, Face ID and a better battery life.

As always, you can call the Chitter Chatter team on 0208 712 6808, find us on Facebook or tweet us on Twitter with any questions.

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