Apple’s iPhone 8 vs. iPhone SE – Is Upgrading Worth It?

iPhone SE vs iPhone 8 Should You Upgrade Credit: Foxartbox / Shutterstock
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Probably the biggest and most-anticipated update to Apple’s lineup this year is the second-generation iPhone SE. Apple decided to bring back the classic design of the iPhone 8, but upgrade its internals with the A13 Bionic Chip, the same chip featured in the iPhone 11.

Apple elected to appease fans who like pocketable devices, allowing them to upgrade to the company’s smallest iPhone without losing performance. So, if you’re still rocking the first iPhone SE, this year is definitively the best time to make an upgrade.

But, what if you have the iPhone 8? It’s not a bad iPhone by any means, and it’ll still get future iOS updates for a least a few more years. Should you make an upgrade? After all, both iPhones look the same on the outside.

If you want to know if the updated iPhone SE is worth it for you, here’s everything you need to take into account before you make a decision.

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone SE: Design

One of the best parts of getting a new smartphone is that brand new look and feel. Unfortunately, you won’t get that feeling with the 2020 iPhone SE.

The iPhone SE is practically identical to the iPhone 8. The only way you can distinguish one for the other is by looking at the Apple logo on the back. Like with the iPhone 11, Apple shifted the Apple logo on the iPhone SE to the center for a more symmetrical look.

Other than that, both iPhones look identical, they both have the same 4.7-inch display, the same camera, and even the same 1,821 mAh battery. Although, regarding battery life, the iPhone SE’s might last longer due to its more efficient SoC.

It’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone 8 still has 3D touch, which is a feature that lets the screen know how hard you pressed it. The iPhone SE and the other latest iPhones now utilize Haptic Touch, which accomplishes the same thing, but it’s really not the same.

Both phones also have the same 12-megapixel camera on the back. Although, the pictures the iPhone SE takes are better thanks to the A13 Bionic chip and its advanced camera software. See our iPhone SE camera review, here.

Overall, the iPhone SE feels like an older iPhone on the outside. If you want to have a more modern looking iPhone, then the SE is not what you’re looking for.

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone SE: Performance

The biggest reason to go from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone SE is the performance of the latter. As mentioned before, Apple decided to use the same A13 Bionic chip from the iPhone 11 lineup on the iPhone SE. This makes it one of the most powerful smartphones available, and it even outperforms some of the best Android smartphones. But, that doesn’t mean the iPhone 8’s performance is bad.

Most of the time, you’d only notice that the iPhone 8 is slower when comparing it to a more recent iPhone side-by-side. However, you might notice some issues if you’re playing a demanding video game or you’re editing 4K video.

If you only use your iPhone to browse the internet or social media, your current iPhone 8 is more than powerful enough. Even if you feel like it’s slowing down, there are things you can do to make it faster.

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone SE: Software

Another thing to keep in mind is software. As of right now, both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone SE are running the latest versions iOS 13. And while we don’t know exactly how much time Apple will keep updating the iPhone 8’s OS, we have previous models as reference.

For instance, the iPhone 6s, which came out in 2015, still supports iOS 13. That’s basically five years worth of updates. Based on this example, it’s safe to expect the iPhone 8 will be up to date with iOS updates until around 2022. Meaning, you can still wait a while before upgrading your iPhone 8.

That doesn’t mean your iPhone 8 will be capable of supporting the full versions of new software. Even if you have the latest iOS version available, the hardware on the iPhone 8 won’t support every feature Apple adds in the future. Animoji is a perfect example. The iPhone 8 doesn’t have a TrueDepth camera to create Animoji, and neither does the SE. No software update will change that.

The iPhone SE, on the other hand, still is a brand new iPhone. Its hardware is capable of supporting any update Apple releases in the future, for at least the next few years.

Should You Upgrade to the iPhone SE from an iPhone 8?

While the iPhone SE has some great improvements when compared to the iPhone 8, it’s not enough of a reason to upgrade. Sure, you’d get a more up-to-date iPhone, with a better camera and better performance, but if your iPhone 8 is still working correctly, you should wait a while longer before you get a new iPhone.

In the end, it’ll depend on your iPhone 8’s condition. If your iPhone 8 already has problems with its battery or is experiencing any other major issue, you’ll want to consider the SE. After all, the iPhone SE combines the best of both worlds, with powerful internal specs in a small form factor at an incredible price.

  1. Shop iPhone SE at Verizon.
  2. Shop iPhone SE at AT&T.
Read iPhone 8 Overview
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