The iPhone SE's 2020 version is here, and so if you are in the market for a new iPhone, it is time to sit up and take notice. It is only natural for consumers to draw comparison between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 8. After all, the SE is 'replacing' the iPhone 8 in Apple's range.

Whether you are an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 user who is considering upgrading to an iPhone SE, or are weighing up whether you should buy an iPhone 8 or iPhone SE - in this article, we pit the two smartphones against each other, and explain their differences.

Want the quick answer on which one you should choose? It's the iPhone SE.

Design | Nearly identical

You will find that the new iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 have exactly the same size and shape. They both have dimensions of 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm, and weigh 148g. Not much to separate them so far! There are more design similarities - they both have a vertically aligned flash and single rear view camera. But on closer inspection, we can see that the Apple logo is lower down the rear of the SE than the iPhone 8.

Display and screen size | Similar but not quite

These two phones have a similar display, sharing characteristics such as, wide colour, True Tone, 625 nits max brightness, and a 4.7-inch Retina HD 1334 x 750 resolution. Where they differ is the pressure sensitive 3D touch, which you won't get with the iPhone SE, but you can enjoy with the good old iPhone 8. However, this is a feature that Apple have scrapped in new iPhone models such as the iPhone 11, instead the SE offers Haptic Touch, which senses how long, rather than how hard, you press on the touch screen.

Camera | The iPhone SE has some extra features

If you are looking for a new smartphone, it seems likely that you'll want to know how good the handset is for taking photos. So how do the iPhone SE and iPhone 8 stack up? They both have a single, 1.8 aperture 12MP camera, which provides a 5x digital zoom. The SE is certainly the better snapper however, and Apple has heralded it as the brand's best camera in a smartphone yet. That's because it offers useful features such as portrait lighting, portrait mode, QuickTake video, Smart HDR and a crystal lens cover. The iPhone 8 cannot boast these attributes, but like the SE, it can record 4K video.

Processor | The big difference

So, what's 'under the bonnet'? The iPhone SE includes the new A13 Bionic chip - Apple's newest at the time of writing and the same processor found in the top-of-the-range iPhone 11 Pro. The iPhone 8 has a slightly less advanced power, with the two year old A11 Bionic chip. A13 is far from just a code, it means that we can expect the SE to outperform the iPhone 8, being faster and more user-friendly with a third-generation Neural Engine. According to reports, the iPhone SE has 3GB of RAM compared to the iPhone 8's 2GB, but Apple does not usually officially disclose this information.

Battery | The SE introduces wireless charging

This is another element which is yet to be made official at the time of writing, but it is expected that the iPhone SE will offer similar battery capabilities to the iPhone 8 - namely, a 1,821mAh battery - that should equate to about 12 hours of internet time on your phone. Both handsets are compatible with 'fast chargers', that is, adaptors of 18W and more. You will also be able to wirelessly charge the iPhone SE, like you can the iPhone 8.

What else is different?

You will be able to purchase the iPhone SE and iPhone 8 in a 64GB and 128GB version, but the iPhone SE will go further, offering a 256GB tier. You can expect dust and water resistance with an IP67 rating for both handsets. When it comes to sound, there is scope for making a considerable racket with the stereo speakers that both phones carry, as well as connect to external speakers via Bluetooth 5. You can also take advantage of AppleCare protection in the UK.

The verdict

While there are many similarities, there are enough differences in performance (the same prociessor as an iPhone 11 Pro!) and camera capabilities to mark the iPhone SE out as a significant improvement on the older iPhone 8. If you were, or are, the owner of an original iPhone SE from a few years back, you might be initially perturbed by the new version's larger screen size - up from 4" to 4.7" - or you may find it more appealing and pocket-friendly than the larger screen found on the iPhone XR and iPhone 11. But the relatively low price at which the new SE enters the market at, allied with the Apple advancements that are packed into the handset, mean that if you are looking for a compact, powerful phone at the lower end of the Apple price range, the iPhone SE makes a lot of sense.

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