2020 iPhone SE: Apple’s small phone is a big deal

Despite big-screen smartphones being the new normal these days, there is still a pocket of people who prefer smaller, more affordable phones. This “pocket” of people is a substantial market it seems. Big enough for Apple to introduce the iPhone SE in 2016. On Wednesday, following various leaks and speculations, Apple launched the successor to its cheap and powerful device—the 2020 iPhone SE.

[UPDATE] Added more details on pricing from telcos and Apple authorised resellers.

The original iPhone SE was certainly an oddball in the iPhone line-up. It shared the same size and design with the iPhone 5s (which is nice) but offered punchy internals from the iPhone 6s. This while being offered at an attractive USD399 price point. Catering to the stubborn lot who still loved their 4-inch screens, the iPhone SE proved surprisingly popular. It found success especially in growth markets and price-sensitive regions such as Asia.

With the introduction of the 2018 iPhone line-up comprising the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Plus, and the entry-level iPhone XR, Apple finally hit the nail on the coffin for the iPhone SE along with the live-wire iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the revolutionary iPhone X. While not quite at the same low price point of the iPhone SE, the iPhone XR became the new entry-level model in the iPhone line-up.

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2020 iPhone SE: Apple’s pocket rocket

Previously rumoured to take on the name iPhone 9, the 2020 iPhone SE is basically an iPhone 11 wrapped in iPhone 8 clothing. As leaked previously, the deceiving 4.7-inch wallet-friendly device packs beefy 2020 internals which includes Apple’s top silicon—the A13 Bionic chip that also powers the current flagship iPhone 11 series. This powerful chip is, in fact, the fastest chip in a smartphone, as Apple silicon proves itself again to be years ahead of the competition.

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Alongside a familiar aluminium-glass design, the 2020 iPhone SE also retains the haptic physical home button with Touch ID and a single 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle shooter lifted from the iPhone XR.

2020 iPhone SE
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It’s offered in black, white and (PRODUCT)RED, with the rear glass finish made using a seven-layer colour process coupled. with a colour-matched aluminium band. What’s cool is that, for the first time on the SE, the body boasts IP67 dust- and water-resistance (up to 1m for 30 minutes).

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The familiar 4.7-inch Retina HD display, while still an LCD panel, comes with True Tone and offers incredible colour accuracy and a wide colour gamut. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 playback.

There’s Haptic Touch for various interactions including calling up contextual menus.

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True to the spirit of the iPhone SE, Apple does not skim on the internals of the device. The A13 Bionic is undisputed in terms of performance. And this means it’s great for computational photography like Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, gaming and augmented reality applications.

Performance is one thing, the A13 Bionic is also power-efficient, enabling great battery life for the iPhone SE. Apple claims battery life as good as the iPhone 8/iPhone 7. It is also wireless-charging capable with Qi-certified chargers. It supports fast-charging although Apple only supplies a 5W slow charger in the box. With a fast-charger though, you can get up to 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

Being based on the iPhone 11 means it also features Wi-fi 6 and Gigabit-class LTE.3 with dual-SIM support and eSIM.

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In 2018, the iPhone XR was declared the best single-camera smartphone by DXOMark Mobile and while you should always take benchmark results with a grain of salt, you can expect similar exceptional camera performance from the new iPhone SE.

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Thanks to the image signal processor and Neural Engine of the A13 Bionic, the iPhone SE gains all the benefits of computational photography including Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting effects and Depth Control of the iPhone 11. The front camera also gains from the chip, resulting in stunning Portrait mode selfies.

You’ll also get stereo audio recording, cinematic video stabilisation on both front and rear cameras. The rear can capture high-quality video at 4K@60 with extended dynamic range for more detail up to 30fps. The handy QuickTake video feature is available for both front and rear cameras, as well.

Overall, it’s a neat, no-compromise package for an attractive price, making the iPhone SE a compelling buy indeed.

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Pricing and availability

The iPhone SE is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, in White, Black, and PRODUCT(RED). You can order the new device starting Friday, 17 April 2020 and devices will begin arriving to customers the following Friday, 24 April. The device launches in the US and more than 40 other countries and regions.

[UPDATE] Malaysian pricing and availability

Official Malaysian pricing is as follows:

  • 64GB – MYR1,999
  • 128GB – MYR2,199
  • 256GB – MYR2,699

Telco offerings

Celcom offers all three models and you can buy one through its EasyPhone Own device ownership programme. This is bundled with a Celcom Mega plan based on a 24-month contract. All-in monthly prices start from as low as MYR164 per month. More details here.

Digi offers device bundles via its PhoneFreedom 365 device instalment plan. Based on a 24-month contract, you can pick the iPhone SE up from as low as MYR158 per month all-in. Devices are covered by Digi Shield, a phone protection programme against accidental damage and theft. More details here.

U Mobile offers two options for ownership–a standard contract or UPackage device instalment. With a standard contract bundled with either the Unlimited Hero P99 or P139 postpaid plan, you can take home the iPhone SE from as low as MYR499. With the UPackage plan, you can own the iPhone SE from as low as MYR153 all-in monthly. More details here.

Apple Authorised Resellers

Apple resellers Machines, Switch, and Maccity offer the full range of iPhone SE models.

Buy online

You can also pick up the iPhone SE from the Apple Official Store on Lazada. Purchase links as below:

Lazada is offering zero per cent instalment and you can also pick up AirPods Pro for just MYR988 as a purchase-in-purchase offer.

Free Apple TV+

Apple TV+ comes free with the iPhone SE (one-year subscription). Otherwise, it is MYR19.90 per month.

Purchases from the Apple online store will enjoy free no-contact home delivery.

A portion of proceeds for the iPhone SE (PRODUCT)RED purchases are channelled directly to the Global Fund’s newly-established COVID-19 Response initiative.

For more information, head to

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By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.