Apple iPhone XS Max vs SE (2020)

Here we compared two smartphones: the 6.5-inch Apple iPhone XS Max (with Apple A12 Bionic) that was released on September 12, 2018, against the Apple iPhone SE (2020), which is powered by Apple A13 Bionic and came out 19 months after. On this page, you will find tests, full specs, strengths, and weaknesses of each of the gadgets.

Key differences

An overview of the main advantages of each smartphone
Reasons to consider the Apple iPhone XS Max
  • Has a 1.8 inches larger screen size
  • Comes with 1353 mAh larger battery capacity: 3174 vs 1821 mAh
  • Thinner bezels – 20.01% more screen real estate
  • The rear camera has a 2x optical zoom
  • 40% higher pixel density (456 vs 326 PPI)
  • Waterproof body (IP68 classification)
  • Uses a faster type of memory: LPDDR4X
  • Has 33% more RAM: 4GB versus 3GB
  • OLED display (versus competitor's IPS LCD)
Reasons to consider the Apple iPhone SE (2020)
  • Compatible with the latest Wi-Fi 6 wireless networks
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Better grip in hands – the body is 10.1 mm narrower
  • The phone is 1-year and 7-months newer
  • Weighs 60 grams less
  • 20% faster in single-core GeekBench 5 test: 1342 and 1116 points
We may receive a commission from Amazon for purchases made using the links below, but this has no bearing on our assessment methodology.

Review

Display
Screen quality, color accuracy, brightness
Performance
CPU/GPU performance in apps and games
Battery
Battery life, charging type and speed
Camera
Photo and video recording quality
Connectivity
Networks, ports, data transmission
NanoReview score
Final comparison evaluation

Value for money

You can enter your local price of these phones (in USD or any other currency) and click on the "Calculate" button to see which one has a better value for money.
Price

Tests and specifications

Comparison table of technical specifications and tests

Display

Type OLED IPS LCD
Size 6.5 inches 4.7 inches
Resolution 1242 x 2688 pixels 750 x 1334 pixels
Aspect ratio 19.4:9 16:9
PPI 456 ppi 326 ppi
Refresh rate 60 Hz 60 Hz
Max rated brightness 625 nits 625 nits
HDR support Yes, Dolby Vision Yes, Dolby Vision
Screen protection Tempered glass Tempered glass
Screen-to-body ratio 85.41% 65.4%
Display features - DCI-P3
- Always-On Display
- DCI-P3
Display tests
RGB color space 98.8% 99.9%
PWM 240 Hz Not detected
Response time 11.2 ms 29 ms
Contrast ∞ Infinity 2457:1
Peak brightness test (auto)
658 nits
662 nits
Sources: NotebookCheck [3], [4]

Design and build

Height 157.5 mm (6.2 inches) 138.4 mm (5.45 inches)
Width 77.4 mm (3.05 inches) 67.3 mm (2.65 inches)
Thickness 7.7 mm (0.3 inches) 7.3 mm (0.29 inches)
Weight 208 g (7.34 oz) 148 g (5.22 oz)
Waterproof IP68 IP67
Rear material Glass Glass
Frame material Metal Metal
Colors Silver, Gold, Gray White, Black, Red
Fingerprint scanner No Yes, in home button
Screen-to-body ratio
85.41%

Performance

Tests of Apple iPhone XS Max and Apple iPhone SE (2020) in the benchmarks
SoC
Chipset Apple A12 Bionic Apple A13 Bionic
Max. clock 2490 MHz 2650 MHz
CPU cores 6 (2 + 4) 6 (2 + 4)
Architecture - 4 cores at 1.6 GHz: Tempest
- 2 cores at 2.49 GHz: Vortex
- 4 cores at 1.6 GHz: Thunder
- 2 cores at 2.66 GHz: Lightning
Lithography process 7 nanometers 7 nanometers
Graphics Apple A12 Bionic GPU Apple A13 Bionic GPU
GPU clock 1100 MHz -
FLOPS ~560 GFLOPS ~736 GFLOPS

Benchmarks

Geekbench 5 (Single-Core)
Geekbench 5 (Multi-Core)
AnTuTu Benchmark 9
538212
566322
CPU 145567 140999
GPU 170450 221156
Memory 100025 86770
UX 112820 113507
Total score 538212 566322
3DMark Wild Life Performance
Stability 66% 68%
Graphics test 34 FPS 41 FPS
Graphics score 5726 6924
Sources: 3DMark [3], [4]

Memory

RAM
RAM size 4 GB 3 GB
Memory type LPDDR4X LPDDR4
Channels 2 2
Storage
Storage size 64, 256, 512 GB 64, 128, 256 GB
Storage type NVMe NVMe
Memory card No No

Software

Operating system iOS 12 (Can be upgraded to iOS 16.2) iOS 13 (Can be upgraded to iOS 16.2)
OS size 16 GB 8.4 GB

Battery

Specifications
Capacity 3174 mAh 1821 mAh
Charge power 18 W 18 W
Battery type Li-Ion Li-Ion
Replaceable No No
Wireless charging Yes, Qi (10 W) Yes, Qi (7.5 W)
Reverse charging No No
Fast charging Yes (50% in 30 min) Yes (55% in 60 min)
Full charging time 03:29 hr 2:32 hr
Battery life tests
Web browsing 09:13 hr 09:36 hr
Watching video 10:50 hr 07:32 hr
Gaming 04:41 hr 03:09 hr
Standby 80 hr 86 hr
General battery life
25:24 hr
23:56 hr

Camera

Specs and camera test of smartphones
Main camera
Matrix 12 megapixels 12 megapixels
Image resolution 4032 x 3024 4032 x 3024
Zoom Optical, 2x Digital
Flash Quad LED Quad LED
Stabilization Optical Optical
8K video recording No No
4K video recording Up to 60FPS Up to 60FPS
1080p video recording Up to 60FPS Up to 60FPS
Slow motion 240 FPS (1080p) 240 FPS (1080p)
Lenses 2 (12 MP + 12 MP) 1 (12 MP)
Wide (main) lens - 12 MP
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Focal length: 28 mm
- Pixel size: 1.4 micron
- Sensor: 1/2.5", Apple iSight X (CMOS)
- Phase autofocus
- Optical stabilization
- 12 MP
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Focal length: 28 mm
- Pixel size: 1.22 micron
- Sensor: 1/3", Apple iSight Camera (CMOS)
- Phase autofocus
- Optical stabilization
Telephoto lens - 12 MP
- Aperture: f/2.4
- Focal length: 52 mm
- Pixel size: 1 micron
- Sensor: 1/3.4" (CMOS)
- Phase autofocus
- Optical stabilization
-
Camera features - Bokeh mode
- Pro mode
- RAW support
- Bokeh mode
Samples Photo samples of Apple iPhone XS Max from DxOMark Photo samples of Apple iPhone SE (2020) from DxOMark
Selfie camera
Megapixels 7 megapixels 7 megapixels
Image resolution 3088 x 2316 3088 x 2320
Aperture f/2.2 f/2.2
Focal length 32 mm 32 mm
Pixel size - 1 microns
Sensor type BSI CMOS CMOS
Video resolution 1080p (Full HD) at 60 FPS 1080p (Full HD) at 30 FPS

DxOMark camera tests

Photo quality
Video quality
Generic camera score

Connectivity

Wi-Fi standard Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 b/g/n/ac/ax)
Wi-Fi features - Dual Band
- Wi-Fi MiMO
- Wi-Fi Direct
- Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Wi-Fi Display
- Dual Band
- Wi-Fi Hotspot
Bluetooth version 5 5
Bluetooth features SPP, PBAP/PAB, PAN, OPP, MAP, LE, HSP, HFP, HDP, GAP, GAVDP, DIP, AVRCP, A2DP LE, A2DP
USB type No No
USB version 2 2
USB features - Charging
- USB-Storage mode
- OTG
- Charging
- USB-Storage mode
GPS GPS, GLONASS, Galileo GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
NFC* Yes Yes
Infrared port No No
Network
Number of SIM* 1 1
Type of SIM card Nano Nano
Multi SIM mode - Standby
eSIM support* Yes Yes
Hybrid slot No No
LTE Cat* 16 16
5G support No No

Sound

Speakers Stereo Stereo
Headphone audio jack No No
FM radio No No
Dolby Atmos Yes Yes
Speakers test
Max. loudness
77.2 dB
86.4 dB

Other

Category Flagship Mid-range
Announced September 2018 April 2020
Release date September 2018 April 2020
SAR (head) 0.99 W/kg 0.98 W/kg
SAR (body) 0.99 W/kg 0.99 W/kg
Sensors - Barometer
- Proximity sensor
- Gyroscope
- Accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Compass
- Face recognition sensor
- Barometer
- Proximity sensor
- Gyroscope
- Accelerometer
- Ambient light sensor
- Compass
- Fingerprint
*Disclaimer! NFC, GSM network support, and some other specs can be different depending on the country.

Conclusion

If the display, battery life, and design are more important to you, then choose the Apple iPhone XS Max. But if the performance, connectivity, and sound are more of a priority – go for the Apple iPhone SE (2020).

Cast your vote

So, which phone would you choose?
153 (49.2%)
158 (50.8%)
Total votes: 311

User opinions

You can share your opinion or ask a question in the comments below
Avatar
Vano 10 October 2021 23:01
Both are very good phones
0 Reply
Avatar
Adu 03 August 2021 01:03
I didn’t like iPhone se 2020 until I bought one myself and I’m in love the phone…trust me everyone must have a feel of it
+16 Reply