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iPhone SE: Apple's Newest Phone Will Cost Just $399

After months of rumors, Apple has taken the wraps off of the new $400 iPhone SE. The SE is aimed at being the phone of choice for those who want an iPhone, but don’t want to spend the cash on the iPhone 11, which starts at $700. The new device revives the iPhone SE name, and marks the first time that Apple has reused a name for any iPhone model. It also mimics how Apple has named its iPad tablets for some years.

The device looks and feels like the iPhone 8 before it, offering an almost identical design. The 7.3mm-thick chassis is aluminum and is sandwiched between glass. It weighs just 148 grams, and is IP67-rated for water resistance. The rear glass has a seven-layer color process to give it depth and sharpness, and it comes in black, white, or a special (Product) Red edition. On the front, there’s a 4.7-inch display set in a black-only border, with a 1334 x 750 pixel resolution, True Tone colors, and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor under it.

So what makes the new iPhone SE worth buying? Well, it may look a little dated, but it’s far from out of date under the hood. The new device features Apple’s A13 processor, which is the chip found in the current-generation iPhone 11 series. The iPhone 8, which is still available from some retailers, features a two-year-old A11 Bionic chip. In addition to a standard nano-sized SIM card, the iPhone SE 2020 has an eSIM as well, which could be useful for travelers.

The battery life on the device is expected to be the same as the iPhone 8, which Apple says delivers 13 hours of video playback on a single charge. This is helped along by the efficient A13 processor and the modest display resolution. Apple has added wireless charging to the iPhone SE, as well as a fast-charge system that tops it up to 50% in just 30 minutes, provided you buy the separate 18W charging block.

The camera is a single 12-megapixel sensor that comes with a host of software enhancements. It has a portrait mode, despite only having a single lens, plus different lighting effects and a way to control the amount of blur. Apple’s Smart HDR, which is very effective in the iPhone 11 series, is also present, as is optical image stabilization. For video, the iPhone SE 2020 will record 4K resolution video at 60fps, with more dynamic range available at 30fps.

The selfie camera has 7-megapixels and also features an artificial bokeh mode, plus 1080p video recording. Along with the A13 chip, the 2020 iPhone SE features options for either 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. It’s available in three colors — white, black, and red. The red color supports the Product (Red) initiative.

Perhaps the best thing about the phone is how inexpensive it it. The device starts at $400, matching the price of the 2016 iPhone SE.  That makes it an excellent upgrade for those still using devices like the iPhone 6 or iPhone 7, and who might want a device that’s a little more powerful without having to shell out for an iPhone 11.

The phone will be available for pre-order at 5 a.m. PT on April 17, and the 64GB model will cost $400, the 128GB model $450, and the 256GB model $550. Both SIM-free versions and those sold with contracts on AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile will be available.

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