iPhone SE: a $399 phone with iPhone 11 Pro's processing power

iPhone SE: a $399 phone with iPhone 11 Pro's processing power
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has officially announced the new iPhone SE – a pocket-friendly, pocket-sized handset that places the raw power of the iPhone 11 Pro processor in the chic chassis of the iPhone 8, with an attractive $399 / £415 / AU$749 starting price. 

The unannounced Wednesday afternoon launch in the middle of a global crisis meant that the iPhone SE received relatively little fanfare, but there's plenty to shout about with this nifty little number – which might just be the best camera phone (opens in new tab) with a single camera, as well as one of the best budget camera phones (opens in new tab).  

As had been heavily rumored, the iPhone SE (a non-numbered successor to the 2016 iPhone SE, which featured iPhone 6 technology in the body of an iPhone 5) features iPhone 11 Pro (opens in new tab) tech in the form factor of the iPhone 8. This means that, while the iPhone SE only has one rear camera, it benefits from Apple's cutting edge software-driven imaging technology. 

That rear camera is a 12-megapixel, 28mm f/1.8 wide-angle (with a 7MP selfie camera on the front), and uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of Apple's A13 Bionic to perform the manufacturer's signature computational photography. That includes Portrait mode, all six Portrait Lighting effects, Depth Control and the new Smart HDR.

The iPhone SE is available in black, white and red (Image credit: Apple)
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In terms of video capability the iPhone SE boasts optical stabilization on the front and rear cameras, with the latter capable of recording 4K at up to 60 frames per second. In addition, extended dynamic range is available up to 30fps and the new video editing tools (the same as those for photo editing) are also available. 

In terms of the phone's other tech and features, it has a 4.7-inch Retina HD screen – making it, true to the SE lineage, the most compact of the lineup, with a smaller display than the iPhone 11's 5.8-inch screen (though nowhere near as small as the original SE's 4-inch screen).

The new SE also sticks with Touch ID, and a haptic home button, instead of the Face ID of recent iPhones. It also boasts Qi wireless charging, but ditches the headphone jack – a tragic departure from the previous SE.

The iPhone SE comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options, and in three colorways: black, white and "(PRODUCT)RED". It will be available from 17 April in the US and 24 April in the UK.

Read more: 

The best iPhone for photography (opens in new tab) in 2020: from the iPhone 7 Plus to 11 Pro
The best lenses for iPhone (opens in new tab) and Android phones in 2020: add on phone lenses
Best iPhone 11 cases (opens in new tab): protect your phone from accidental drops and scratches

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.