Apple iPhone SE 2020 review

Thinking of getting your hands on the latest iPhone? Check out our review of the iPhone SE 2020, on sale with Carphone Warehouse.


Fact checked

The new iPhone SE (2020 model) has finally arrived and is available for pre-order with Carphone Warehouse. Hurrah!

Remarkably, it’s the cheapest and smallest iPhone you can buy from Apple. This, of course, makes it a very tempting purchase, as well its compact design, small screen and a return of the beloved Home button.

  • What models are available? You can purchase the new SE in 64GB, 128GB, 264GB, and in black, white or PRODUCT(RED).
  • Where can you purchase it? Pre-order the iPhone SE 2020 with Carphone Warehouse and check for discount codes here.
  • When can I buy it? Pre-order the phone online now, or buy in-store from 24 April.

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The iPhone SE 2020 looks a lot like the Apple iPhone 8, and if anything, that’s understating matters. It’s the same size, it features the same 4.7-inch 326ppi 1,334 x 750 pixel LCD display and the same TouchID sensor at the base.

There are some key differences, though. The new Apple iPhone SE 2020 drops Apple’s “3D Touch” as found on the iPhone 8 in favour of the newer Haptic Touch system. The iPhone SE 2020 is also dual SIM by way of an eSIM, something you won’t find on the iPhone 8, although it is present on the iPhone 11.

There are also colour differences. If you were a big fan of Apple’s gold-coloured phones, you’ll have to jump all the way up to the iPhone 11 Pro. The gold, grey or silver finishes are absent on the iPhone SE 2020, which comes in black, white or PRODUCT(RED) instead.

The iPhone SE in black, white and red


Apple has for a long time saved its “best” camera arrays for its premium phones, even though its range of “premium” has typically only related to at most two actual handsets.

That’s still true for the iPhone SE 2020, which features a single rear 12MP f/1.8 camera lens that Apple claims is the best found in any single-lens smartphone.

A big call, but at least at a technical level, it’s looking at the same core specifications as the iPhone 8 which also features a 12MP rear f/1.8 lens.

The iPhone SE also features the same array and the same processor as the iPhone 11, which suggests the iPhone SE 2020 could be a bit of a camera bargain if it can turn out the same kind of shots as the iPhone 11.

iPhone SE


But here’s where the iPhone SE 2020 diverges pretty sharply from any other recent iPhone model. The iPhone SE 2020 runs on the Apple A13 Bionic with an amount of RAM.

Apple never officially announces the RAM count for its iPhones. However, we can guess that the SE model will outpace the iPhone 8, but not match up to the iPhone 11 in these terms.

Apple iPhone SE


Apple doesn’t state absolute battery figures for iPhones at any point, but it has claimed the iPhone SE 2020’s battery “lasts about the same as iPhone 8”. Literally, that’s a line that’s on Apple’s spec sheet for its new phone.

Pros and cons


  • Good value for money
  • Return of the home button
  • Compact design


  • Battery life
  • No 5G connectivity

What’s the verdict?

If you’re in the market for a “new” iPhone, the iPhone SE 2020 has a lot going for it compared to its obvious competition.

It’s a lot cheaper than any other iPhone model (even at 256GB) and has a newer processor. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a compact iPhone with a small screen, and one that still has Apple’s iconic Home button with Touch ID.

Where can I buy the iPhone SE 2020?

The iPhone SE 2020 is available for pre-order through Carphone Warehouse. Prices vary depending on whether you’re looking for a pay monthly option or SIM-free.

When it comes to paying monthly, try the 64GB model with 18GB of data for £30 per month, as well as an upfront cost of £29. If you need more data, 72GB for the 64GB model will cost you £35 a month, but with no upfront cost.

If you want to buy the phone outright, the iPhone SE 2020 64GB model will set you back £419, while the 128GB option comes in at £469. Looking for even more storage? The 256GB will be on its way to you for £569.

Apple iPhone SE 64GB (pay monthly)

Apple iPhone SE 64GB (pay monthly) from Carphone Warehouse

18GB of data costs £30 per month, with an upfront cost of £29.

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Apple iPhone SE 64GB (SIM-free)

Apple iPhone SE 64GB (SIM-free) from Carphone Warehouse

costs £419

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Apple iPhone SE 128GB (SIM-free)

Apple iPhone SE 128GB (SIM-free) from Carphone Warehouse

costs £469

View details
Apple iPhone SE 256GB (SIM-free)

Apple iPhone SE 256GB (SIM-free) from Carphone Warehouse

costs £569

View details

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