iPhone SE vs iPhone 8 – direct comparison

Although Apple launched the iPhone SE 2020 this year, there are retailers that are still selling the iPhone 8 despite Apple discontinuing the device that is 3 years old already. Our advice is to go for the iPhone SE instead of the iPhone 8. Read more below for a technical comparison review between iPhone SE vs iPhone 8 to decide which one suits better for you.

Apple’s original iPhone SE was a big hit when it was launched. The small iPhone had high sales not just because of its affordable price tag. It was preferred also for its pocketable size.

For years, Apple users were expecting an iPhone SE successor. But after the iPhone 7, the following iPhones kept getting bigger and costly.
For a while, it seemed like Apple had removed their plans for launching a new iPhone SE model but thankfully that wasn’t the case. Now we have the 2020 iPhone SE  and it comes with it the feeling of the iPhone 8 and the gear of the iPhone 11.

Although it shares many key technical specs, the new iPhone SE 2020 still has a few upgrades that make it considerably better than the iPhone 8. That includes the A13 Bionic CPU, dual-SIM capabilities, and camera upgrades. (Neither phone has a headphone jack, in case you prefer it for your headphones.) If you’re looking to buy an affordable new iPhone from a reliable retailer with up-to-date support, the iPhone SE is your best buy, iPhone SE 2020.

iPhone 8 – Already pretty old

iPhone 8

If you already use a functional iPhone 8, there’s no reason to upgrade to a new iPhone SE 2020. If you are interested to buy a new iPhone, instead of choosing the iPhone 8 we believe that you should choose the iPhone SE 2020 that is a newer device. Read our Apple iPhone 8 review here.

Design iPhone SE 2020 vs iPhone 8

Both devices look very similar. The majority of its technical specifications are also the same as the iPhone 8. The iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 8 features a 4.7 inches Retina HD display, with the same resolution and the same pixel density.

Both devices have the Touch ID button for unlocking the phone, authorizing digital payments, etc. Both are rated IP67 for water protection.

The new iPhone SE 2020 comes in the same compact form as the iPhone 8.

The differences between the two models are minor. The iPhone 8 has the 3D Touch function. Apple added for the first time the 3D Touch function in 2015 with the iPhone 6S model. It allows you to access an additional menu by hard-pressing your finger against the screen. Apple removed the 3D Touch starting from 2018 and it is absent from the new iPhones. In fact, it was replaced with the Haptic Touch function. The difference between Haptic Touch and 3D Touch is that instead of having to press down harder for the 3D Touch, you have to press longer for the Haptic Touch function. The Haptic Touch function is on the iPhone SE 2020.

The iPhone 8 came out in black, white, and gold colors. The iPhone SE 2020 comes in black, white, and red colors.

Camera – iPhone SE 2020 camera gear was improved

Both the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 8 have a 12MP main camera and a 7MP selfie camera. The main camera on both devices has f/1.8 aperture while the selfie camera has f/2.2 aperture sensor. On the surface, it looks as if there’s no difference between the two phones’ cameras. However, Apple added some useful camera upgrades under the hood on the new iPhone SE 2020. These include:

  • Portrait Mode and Depth Control – for better-looking bokeh photos;
  • Smart HDR mode – this improves highlights and shadows;
  • Quicktake – lets you quickly record videos without leaving the Photo mode;
  • Red-eye correction;
  • Video improvements – Extended dynamic range for 30fps, 3x digital zoom (the iPhone 8 has only 2x digital zoom), video stabilization for 4K videos (the iPhone 8 has only up to Full HD only);
  • Portrait mode video stabilization up to 1080p.

Overall the iPhone SE 2020 captures better photos and videos than the iPhone 8. Read more details about iPhone SE 2020 camera in our review.

Processor & RAM – iPhone SE 2 has A13 Bionic chip and 3GB Ram

We’ve tested the A13 Bionic CPU and the results are impressive, read here more details regarding iPhone SE 2020 benchmark.

The winner is the iPhone SE 2020 as it has the latest CPU, the A13 Bionic. Apple used the same CPU on its flagships iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. The iPhone 8 has the older version, A11 Bionic CPU. Under the hood, the SE comes with 3GB while the iPhone 8 has only 2GB but we believe this is not really an issue.


As you already know, Apple never discloses its iPhones’ battery capacities. Apple said that the battery from the new iPhone SE 2020 is the same used on the iPhone 8.

We’ve did a battery tests and the iPhone SE lasted longer than the iPhone 8, so it is better optimised.

Other tech specs

The iPhone SE features a nano-SIM and an e-SIM. It allows you to add two phone numbers on the same phone. Having dual-SIM capabilities is helpful if you travel a lot and need a phone abroad. It is useful also when you have two phones for personal and business use and would like to combine it in one device to avoid carrying two phones.

Both phones have 64GB and 256GB memory options. However, the new iPhone SE allows you to choose also a 128GB version. We recommend you to go for the 128GB or 256GB as 4K recordings may not fit in the 64GB version.

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