Which Budget iPhone Is Right for You?

If you’re looking for a new iPhone that won’t break the bank, check out either the iPhone SE or the iPhone 11. A few years ago, Apple only released one version of the iPhone. Nowadays, there’s an entire lineup to choose from. If you’re on a tight budget but want a phone that can handle the latest version of iOS, you could be stuck choosing between the iPhone SE and iPhone 11.

Both phones start with the same 64 GB of storage, have fast processors, and come in at under $500. If you’re deciding between picking up an iPhone SE or an iPhone 11, here’s what you need to consider.

How Big of a Screen Do You Need?

One of the biggest differences between these two devices is their screen size. Is screen size your main priority or is pocket-ability and a retro design more your style?

The iPhone SE’s design can be traced all the way back to the iPhone 6. Just like that phone, the iPhone SE’s screen doesn’t extend to the edges of the phone. Instead there’s a large bezel on both the top and bottom. Because of those bezels taking up space, the iPhone SE only sports a 4.7-inch screen. Although the iPhone SE has a small display for a modern smartphone, it’s more pocketable and easier to use one-handed than the iPhone 11.

The iPhone 11 has an almost bezel-less, 6.1-inch, edge-to-edge display. Having a bigger screen makes the iPhone 11 a much better experience any time you’re consuming content. Whether that’s movies, games, or just scrolling through social media, having that bigger screen is going to give you a much more immersive viewing experience. Even if there is a notch at the top.

Do You Need the Fastest Processor?

Although neither of these phones are a slouch when it comes to power, when it comes to raw speed and performance, the iPhone SE outclasses the older iPhone 11.

The iPhone SE is equipped with Apple’s latest and greatest, the A15 Bionic. That means you’ll be getting the same chip that’s inside the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series.

Like an old-school hot rod, the iPhone SE has a throwback design but features a modern chip with tones of horsepower under the hood. Having the A15 Bionic inside the iPhone SE means it can take on the most demanding of tasks with ease. Whether that’s multitasking, playing graphically intensive games, or whatever else you use your phone for, the iPhone SE can more than keep up.

At the heart of the iPhone 11 is the A13 Bionic processor. While the A13 Bionic was a beast in its day, it’s a few of years old now. Although the A13 Bionic doesn’t have the same power as Apple’s latest mobile chipsets, it’s still got more than enough power for most smartphone tasks, like web browsing and watching videos.

The A13 Bionic can also still handle most mobile games, but if you want to play the most demanding titles, like Genshin Impact, you might experience some slowdown depending on what’s going on on-screen.

5G vs. 4G LTE

Choosing the iPhone SE means you’ll be getting the latest technology when it comes to speed and connectivity. The iPhone SE is fully 5G capable, meaning you’ll be able to take advantage of the global 5G network, which is now well established and is only going to get bigger.

When you’re in a spot without a 5G signal, you always have the option of connecting to the 4G network instead. Having 5G support means you can also access things like cloud gaming, which 4G just doesn’t have the speed for.

Because the iPhone 11 is a few years old, it’s limited to 4G LTE only. While 4G data is no slouch, and most users will have their needs met, it’s still an older technology with much slower data speeds compared to 5G.

4G LTE is more than fast enough for watching HD videos or browsing social media, but when it comes to downloading big apps and files, you’ll notice the difference. Apps and software updates are only getting bigger, and being limited to 4G on the iPhone 11 means you’ll spend more time waiting, and less time doing.

Face ID or Touch ID?

Like most of Apple’s iPhone lineup, the iPhone 11 features Face ID, but If you miss unlocking your phone with your finger, the iPhone SE has got your back.

If you loved Touch ID, you’ll be thrilled to know that the iPhone SE features a good old-fashioned fingerprint scanner. Although Apple has now phased this out on its flagship phones, there are still tones of people who prefer unlocking their phone with their finger instead of their face. And although Face ID has gotten better since it debuted on the iPhone X, most of the time, Touch ID is still faster and more reliable. Meaning you’ll be able to get into your phone with less hassle.

The iPhone 11 is equipped with a Face ID scanner at the top of its display. Face ID is still Apple’s flagship unlocking technology, and it’s featured on all of Apple’s Pro series phones. Although it had its doubters, Face ID has proven itself to be fast and secure. Software updates even mean that Face ID has gotten even better at recognizing faces, even if they’re partially covered, making it easier than ever to unlock your phone.

Which iPhone Is More Future Proof?

Let’s face it, even budget iPhones aren’t cheap. Any time you’re investing hundreds of dollars into a device, you want something that will work well now, and for years to come.

The iPhone SE was designed with iOS 15’s latest features in mind, which means you’ll have access to a full suite of features without any slowdown. Because the iPhone SE has a new processor, it’ll be able to handle future versions of iOS for years to come. And because it’s a newer phone, it’ll likely be supported for longer than the iPhone 11.

Although the iPhone 11 launched back in 2019, it’s still more than capable of running iOS 15. That being said, because it’s a few years older than the iPhone SE, it may not be supported for quite as long. Although you can get iOS 15 running on phones as old as the iPhone 6S, its performance can feel sluggish on those devices. The iPhone 11 probably around the middle of its life cycle, but after a few years, you might start to notice its age.

Ready for Your Next iPhone?

Although they come in at a similar price point, the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE are two very different phones.

If you want a big-screen experience with like Face ID, and are willing to deal with an older processor, the iPhone 11 is right up your alley. But, if you want a more future-proof device and love the classic iPhone design with a physical Home button and Touch ID, the iPhone SE is just what you’ve been looking for.

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