Apple released its 2020 budget iPhone, the iPhone SE
(2020), back in April for a starting price of $399. On the surface, it looks like an iPhone 8 – it is light and compact, it is made of glass and metal, and it has an old-fashioned Touch ID fingerprint reader below its LCD screen. But under the hood beats the powerful Apple A13 SoC which, together with Apple's great software update support, ensures that the iPhone SE will serve you well for years.
However, the iPhone SE has its dowsides. As we pointed out in our iPhone SE review
, its battery life is disappointing. Also, while the single camera at the back takes great photos, portraits, and 4K video, it lacks extras like Night Mode or a secondary super wide-angle lens. And the design, while cute, looks outdated at this point in time. That's why we made a list of the best iPhone SE 2020 alternatives you can buy today.
Here are the best iPhone SE (2020) alternatives:
Samsung Galaxy S10
If you want an affordable and powerful smartphone like the iPhone SE but featuring a more modern design, check out the Samsung Galaxy S10. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is one of Samsung’s flagship models for 2019. It features a beautiful AMOLED screen and a great triple camera system, consisting of a 12 MP main camera, a 16 MP ultra-wide camera and a 12 MP telephoto camera. The starting price for its 128GB model is currently at $499. Despite the difference in the numbers, 4.7 vs 6.1 inches, the physical difference in size between the two is not so shocking, because the S10 has thinner bezels.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is not smaller than the iPhone SE 2020, but it is more compact than the Galaxy S10. Its price is currently at $599, but you can get a good deal if you have a Galaxy smartphone to trade in. The S10e features a premium glass-and-metal construction, complemented by a gorgeous 5.8-inch AMOLED display.
We reviewed the Galaxy S10e and found its Snapdragon 855 chip provided lightning fast performance. In the camera department, the S10e features a 12MP main camera and 16MP wide-angle camera. In our review, we concluded that the camera performance on the Samsung Galaxy S10e is similar to that of the S10 and the S10+. Therefore, the smartphone is perfectly capable of taking good-looking photos. The battery life is good enough to comfortably last you a full day.
Google Pixel 3a
If you are looking for an iPhone SE (2020) alternative that's compact, powerful and budget-friendly, maybe you will be interested in the Google Pixel 3a. The Google Pixel 3a is a budget-friendly device that offers a great user experience for a starting price of $399. It’s 5.6-inch display qualifies it as a compact phone by today’s standards. Despite its plastic, not glass, back, we believe the Pixel 3a looks and feels solidly constructed. The AMOLED display of the phone guarantees gorgeous-looking colors and deep blacks.
The Pixel 3a is powered by the Snapdragon 670 chip and comes with 4GB of RAM, while in comparison, the iPhone SE (2020) comes with 3GB of RAM. Storage-wise, the Pixel 3a offers one single option with 64GB storage and no micro SD card slot if you wish to expand it, but so does the iPhone SE.
The Pixel 3a comes with a pretty capable one camera system that offers features such as portrait effects, HDR+ and Google Lens integration. The Pixel 3a’s camera system has one feature the iPhone SE 2020 misses ‒ Night mode, or, as Google is calling it, Night Sight.
It's important to note that we expect Google to release its Google Pixel 4a soon, probably in the fall of 2020, so if you’re not in a hurry, you might want to wait for a bit to see what the Pixel 4a is going to offer.
Check out our full Google Pixel 3a Review
Apple iPhone 11
In case you prefer iOS and you are looking for an iPhone SE 2020 alternative, last-year’s Apple iPhone 11 is definitely worth checking out for its relatively compact size. It’s a bit on the expensive side though ‒
it’s base 64GB model is priced at $699. However, if you decide you want to pay some $100-$200 extra in order to get the best iPhone for your needs, the iPhone 11 will not disappoint you. It has a modern-looking design, compared to the SE, and also offers a wider array of colors for the back to pick from.
The iPhone 11 comes with a dual-camera system, a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display, but also features Apple’s powerful A13 Bionic chip and 4GB of RAM. While reviewing it, we found the iPhone 11’s camera system delivers great, well-exposed and detailed images. The iPhone 11 has a 12MP ultra-wide camera, while its main camera is also a 12MP shooter, and it offers features such as Night mode and Portrait mode. The iPhone 11 has a better battery life in comparison to the iPhone SE 2020 and is able to get you through one day with moderate use.
Apple iPhone XR
The iPhone XR was released by Apple in October of 2018, but it’s worth considering as an iPhone SE 2020 alternative because of its price and great performance. Its base 64GB storage option comes at $599, so it's $100 less than the iPhone 11, while still offering great performance and an entry into the Apple ecosystem. The design is pretty similar to the iPhone 11, although it has only one camera ‒ a 12MP one.
The iPhone XR is bigger than the iPhone SE but is just as big as the iPhone 11 with a 6.1-inch display. It has an IP67 rating, so it's water and dust resistant; however, keep in mind, it is not water-proof and water damage is not covered by Apple’s warranty.
Please note that, according to rumors, the iPhone 12, supposed to be announced this fall, is going to start at the $649 price point. If you’re willing to wait, you might be better off waiting until the fall to get the newest budget iPhone Apple has to offer. Reportedly, it will feature a 5.4-inch gorgeous OLED display. The iPhone 12 will reportedly be pretty compact, compared to other models from the upcoming iPhone 12 series.
The OnePlus 7T from last year is a great alternative to the iPhone SE (2020) because it delivers very powerful performance for a budget-friendly price. It’s price is currently at $499 for 8GB of RAM coupled with 128GB of storage, 90Hz display refresh rate for smooth scrolling, and a triple-camera setup. Its AMOLED display is on the bigger side at 6.55 inches, so if the only reason for considering the iPhone SE 2020 is its size, the 7T may not be for you.
However, the OnePlus 7T features last year’s flagship-grade processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, which assures a great, fast and powerful performance. The OnePlus 7T comes with three cameras in the back: the main sensor is 48MP, the wide-angle sensor is 16MP, and the telephoto camera is 12MP. While reviewing it, we concluded that the OnePlus 7T produces good photos, with a slight pink tint on people's skin which we found unfortunate. Additionally, the OnePlus 7T has a low-light feature called Nightscape which, again, the iPhone SE 2020 does not offer.
The OnePlus 7T comes with excellent battery life, beating the iPhone 11 in video playback by almost one hour and thirty minutes in our tests.
Moto G Stylus
Okay, enough with the higher-priced iPhone SE alternatives. Maybe the iPhone SE's $399 price is the maximum you want to spend on a new smartphone. Well, in this case, you may be interested in Motorola’s Moto G Stylus. It’s a 2020 Android phone that costs only $299 and comes with Android 10 out of the box.
The Moto G Stylus is not exactly compact as it's display is 6.4 inches, but it has a stylus so it could be more fun to use than other 6.4-inchers. The smartphone has three cameras and a laser autofocus sensor. The Moto G Stylus is powered by a solid mid-range Snapdragon 665 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM. Its 128 GB of storage can be expanded by a microSD card. You can use the pen to comfortably take hand-written notes on the display and navigate around the interface, but unfortunately, the Moto G Stylus’s pen does not offer a camera trigger feature like Samsung’s S Pen. Buy the Moto G Stylus from Motorola