2020 iPhone SE battery tests show even for medium usage, it’s ‘not going to cut it’

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An iPhone SE test shows it might not have the battery life you expect.
Photo: Mrwhosetheboss

A side-by-side battery comparison by a popular YouTube channel concludes that for consumers wanting a long-lasting smartphone, the second-generation iPhone SE might not be the best answer.

YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss released a test video Monday putting the new 2020 iPhone SE against the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 to judge overall battery life.

The test on all five devices ran a series of identical apps, videos and games simultaneously to gauge real-world functionality. All phones were set to the same level of brightness and speaker volume, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and location services on. 

The test shows that battery size matters. The 2020 iPhone SE comes with a relatively small 1,821 mAh battery. By comparison, here’s how the other phones stack up: The iPhone has a 11 3,110 mAh battery, iPhone 11 Pro has 3,046 mAh, the Galaxy S20 has 4,000 mAh and the OnePlus8 has 4,300 mAh.

iPhone SE battery test vs. high-end phones

A batter with a larger power capacity will obviously last longer, but the results from this test may surprise you. In  the end, the five phones lasted between almost four hours and eight hours before shutting down.

  1. OnePlus 8: 7 hours and 55 mins
  2. iPhone 11 Pro: 6 hours and 56 mins
  3. Galaxy S20: 6 hours and 31 mins
  4. iPhone 11: 5 hours
  5. iPhone SE (2020): 3 hours and 46 mins

Thoughts and expectations

After conducting the head-to-head battery comparison, Arun Maini of Mrwhostheboss concluded that despite the fact most users of the new iPhone SE will not continuously operate their mobile phone like in the test, consumers should expect to get at least five hours of continuous usage a day and not “have to worry about battery lost on standby in between uses, which tests like these can’t really factor in,” he said.

“The iPhone SE is the cheapest phone [among the five], so obviously it’s [specifications] won’t completely match up [side by side] to the other phones, but we’re looking at the question of is it good enough,” Maini said. “Even though in a day-to-day scenario when you’re not using it for three hours of continuous screen [time], … I can’t get behind actively recommending you buy a phone with endurance like this. Even if you’re not even a power user even with medium usage, this is probably not going to cut it.”

iPhone SE: Appealing to Android switchers

Maini reminded viewers that Apple is entering the sub-$400 range after years of competitors exiting the space to take advantage of consumers willing to pay higher prices for beefier, stronger, feature-rich mobiles. “There aren’t many viable competitors [to the 2020 iPhone SE] out there,” he said.

Maini thinks that while the second-generation iPhone SE might not be for everyone, its price point and features are “a great way of turning loads of potential Android users into Apple users.” That could translate into new iPhone owners who “will use Apple’s App store their Apple Music, their Apple Maps, and all sorts of Apple services, which is great for the company.”