Smaller vs. Larger Display
The new iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch display.
Both displays are LCDs with 326 pixels per inch, True Tone, 625 nits max brightness, a 1400:1 contrast ratio, and support for the P3 wide color gamut.
A13 Bionic vs. A12 Bionic
The new iPhone SE is powered by the A13 Bionic, which is the same latest-and-greatest chip inside the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. By comparison, the iPhone XR is equipped with the previous-generation A12 Bionic chip.
Bezels vs. Notch
The new iPhone SE has the same design as the iPhone 8, with thicker bezels above and below the display for the front camera and Touch ID home button. By comparison, the iPhone XR drops the home button and instead has a nearly edge to edge display with a notch at the top for the front camera and Face ID sensors.
Touch ID vs. Face ID
The iPhone SE has a Touch ID home button for fingerprint authentication, while the iPhone XR uses Apple’s more advanced Face ID system for facial authentication.
Face ID debuted on the iPhone X in 2017. At the time, Apple said the probability that a random person could unlock someone else’s iPhone X was approximately one in 1,000,000, versus one in 50,000 for Touch ID. However, both forms of authentication are quite safe, so it really comes down to personal preference.
Face ID does not work well with masks, while Touch ID does not work well with wet or sweaty fingers, so neither system is perfect.
Since the new iPhone SE lacks Face ID, it does not support Animoji or Memoji.
While both the new iPhone SE and the iPhone XR are equipped with a single 12-megapixel wide-angle rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture, the iPhone XR has a newer sensor with 1.4µm pixels and larger Focus Pixels, whereas the iPhone SE has the same sensor as the iPhone 8. However, the new iPhone SE benefits from the A13 chip’s improved image signal processor, so the gap between the cameras is likely minimal.
As a physically larger device, the iPhone XR has longer battery life than the new iPhone SE.
Apple says the new iPhone SE can last up to 13 hours for non-streaming video playback and up to 40 hours for audio playback, which is about the same as the iPhone 8. By comparison, Apple says the iPhone XR lasts up to 16 hours for non-streamed video playback and up to 65 hours for audio playback.
The new iPhone SE supports Wi-Fi 6, aka 802.11ax, while the iPhone XR supports Wi-Fi 5 or 802.11ac.
Wi-Fi 6 delivers faster speeds, greater network capacity, improved power efficiency, lower latency, and connectivity improvements in areas with several Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi 6 devices are also required to support WPA3, the latest Wi-Fi security protocol with improved cryptographic strength.
The new iPhone SE supports Gigabit-class LTE, potentially allowing for slightly faster LTE speeds compared to the iPhone XR.
Thickness and Weight
The new iPhone SE is 7.3mm thick and weighs 0.3 pounds, while the iPhone XR is slightly thicker and heavier at 8.3mm and 0.4 pounds.