iPhone SE (2020) vs. Samsung Galaxy A51: $400 Phone Throwdown | Digital Trends

Apple and Samsung have introduced their ‘budget’ smartphones for 2020. Apple’s iPhone SE is the second technology of its 2016 cell of the identical title, besides this time it options the highly effective A13 Bionic chip and the bodily dimensions of the iPhone 8. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy A51 is the successor to final 12 months’s Galaxy A50, which offered stunning appears and a flexible digicam for a extra reasonably priced worth than Samsung’s flagship fashions.

Both the brand new iPhone SE (2020) and the Samsung Galaxy A51 are priced at $400, making them direct opponents with one another. However, which one is best? To reply this query, we evaluate the gadgets throughout a spread of key classes, together with specs, show, efficiency, digicam, battery life, software program, and particular options.


iPhone SESamsung Galaxy A51
Size138.Four x 67.three x 7.three mm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches)158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm (6.24 x 2.90 x 0.31 inches)
Weight148 grams (5.22 ounces)172 g (6.07 ounces)
Screen dimension4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD6.5-inch Super AMOLED
Screen decision1,334 x 750 pixels, 16:9 ratio (326 pixels per inch)2,400 x 1,080 pixels, 20:9 ratio (405 ppi)
Operating systemiOS 13Android 10
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB
MicroSD card slotNoYes
Tap-to-pay companiesApple PayGoogle Pay
ProcessorApple A13 BionicExynos 9611
Camera12-megapixel rear, 7MP entrance48-megapixel large, 16MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 5MP depth rear, 32MP entrance
Video4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps4K at 30fps, 1080p at 120fps
Bluetooth model5.05.0
PortsUSB 2.0USB 2.0
Fingerprint sensorYes, front-mounted (on Home button)Yes, in-display
Water resistanceIP67IP68
Fast charging (18W)

Qi wi-fi charging

Fast charging (15W)

App marketApple App StoreGoogle Play Store
Network assistAT&T, T-Mobile, VerizonAT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon
ColorsBlack, white, crimsonPrism Crush Black, white, blue, pink
Prices$400, $520$400, $500
Buy fromApple, AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Walmart, XfinitySamsung, Amazon, Best Buy, T-Mobile, Verizon, Walmart
Review rating4 out of 5 starsNews

Design, show, and sturdiness

Matthew Smith / Digital Trends

The iPhone SE (2020) and the Galaxy A51 take opposing approaches to their aesthetics. Basically, the brand new iPhone SE is an iPhone eight with extra trendy {hardware}. As such, it has the identical dimensions because the older telephone and shares the identical thick bezels, in addition to the bodily Home button. Some folks could also be charmed by what might now be described as a ‘retro’ look, however others will discover it outdated.

By distinction, the looks of the Galaxy A51 is predicated round Samsung’s flagship vary, the Galaxy S20. It incorporates a show that’s interrupted solely by a punch-hole selfie digicam, giving it a really up to date and classy look. The bigger show boasts a bigger 2,400 x 1,080-pixel decision, however even with the larger dimension of its display screen (6.5 inches in comparison with 4.7), this works out at extra pixels per inch, giving the A51 a sharper, extra vibrant show than the SE.

One level within the iPhone SE’s favor is that it’s smaller and feels higher to carry. The A51’s bigger dimensions make it tougher to grip, whereas the comparatively low cost plastic casing on its rear could find yourself being slippery for some (notably if the A50 is something to go by).

As for sturdiness, the iPhone SE comes with an IP67 rating, enabling it to outlive transient drops into water. This is sweet, however the Samsung Galaxy A51 goes one higher, having an IP68 ranking, which signifies that it might probably face up to longer immersions in water.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A51

Performance, battery life, and charging

iPhone SE
Matthew Smith / Digital Trends

Yes, the iPhone SE is a design throwback. However, Apple has packed it with its highly effective A13 Bionic processor, the identical because the iPhone 11 range. So regardless that we haven’t but had sufficient time to completely road-test the brand new SE, you may be virtually sure that it’ll run apps and carry out duties at a excessive stage.

The Samsung Galaxy A51 additionally packs loads of computing energy into its lower-cost case, though another way. It comes with Samsung’s personal Exynos 9611 processor beneath the bonnet. The 9611 isn’t fairly as quick because the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, which is used on Samsung’s present premium fashions. That stated, the A51 comes with 4GB of RAM, which is extra beneficiant than the iPhone SE’s 3GB. However, Android and iOS use RAM differently, so even with the additional 1GB, the A51 may wrestle to maintain up with the SE.

The Galaxy A51 performs higher by way of battery life. While the iPhone SE’s battery has a capability of 1,821mAh, the A51 presents 4,000mAh. As with the A50, this implies it’s more likely to final a day even beneath heavy use, whereas the SE may wrestle to make it via a full day in the event you’re an avid gamer or movie buff.

On the opposite hand, the brand new iPhone SE presents 18W quick charging, versus the A51’s 15W quick charging. It additionally permits wi-fi charging, which compensates for the shorter battery life.

Winner: iPhone SE


The Galaxy A50 had a surprisingly sturdy triple-camera system for a less expensive smartphone. The A51 goes one additional, including a 5-megapixel macro digicam to an improved 48-megapixel large lens, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. Basically, the macro digicam helps you are taking extra detailed and vivid close-up images, whereas the extra highly effective large and ultra-wide lenses will enhance the readability and vividness of your regular footage.

The iPhone SE sports activities solely a single 12-megapixel rear digicam. This may not sound like a lot on paper, however the SE comes with optical picture stabilization, portrait mode, panorama mode, and the A13 Bionic’s Neural Engine, which all assist to squeeze all 12-megapixels for every part they’re value. However, it nonetheless doesn’t fairly evaluate with the A51’s four-lensed system, notably in the event you purpose to take increased high quality or extra inventive images.

Still, the iPhone SE does allow you to report 4K video at 60 frames per second, whereas the very best the A51 can muster is 4K at 30 fps. Nonetheless, provided that most individuals are normally extra considering taking photographs than taking pictures movie, we’re going to provide this spherical to the Galaxy A51.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A51

Software and updates

iPhone SE
Matthew Smith / Digital Trends

The normal Android vs. iOS competitors is difficult right here just a little by the Galaxy A51’s tweaked working system. It runs Samsung’s One UI 2 interface, which is constructed on Android 10. As we discovered with the A50, it’s top-of-the-line Android skins in the marketplace, providing a easy consumer expertise. Having stated that, One UI 2 doesn’t introduce any important adjustments so far as we’ve seen.

The new iPhone SE (2020) runs on iOS 13, which for the primary time brings a darkish mode, in addition to efficiency and privateness enhancements. This doesn’t essentially make it higher than One UI 2, nevertheless it does present that the SE’s software program presents extra new issues in comparison with its predecessor.

One factor that’s higher with the iPhone SE in comparison with the Galaxy 51 is the updates. Apple delivers updates to its working programs at a speedy click on, whereas Samsung has usually been sluggish to ship Android updates, infamously taking virtually half a 12 months to carry Android 9.0 Pie to the Galaxy S9 sequence. For this motive, now we have to say that the iPhone SE is nearly higher in the case of software program.

Winner: iPhone SE

Special options

Verizon 5G node
Verizon 5G node Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Neither the iPhone SE nor the Samsung Galaxy A51 supply any important particular options. Basically, they’re each reasonably priced variations of extra premium fashions, which signifies that they principally strip out a few of the extra distinctive options of their pricier stablemates.

For instance, the iPhone SE eliminates the iPhone 11’s TrueDepth selfie digicam and Face ID. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A51 lacks the 120Hz refresh fee of the Galaxy S20 and in addition the latter’s spectacular 563 pixel-per-inch display screen.

However, one trick the Galaxy A51 does have up its sleeve is that it additionally comes as a 5G model (not but launched). To be truthful, 5G networks aren’t notably intensive for the time being, however the possibility so as to add 5G (for an extra $100) future proofs the telephone in a means unavailable to the iPhone SE.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A51

Price and availability

The iPhone SE (2020) is at the moment out there and prices $400 for the 128GB model, whereas the 256GB mannequin will set you again $550. It’s out there from a spread of main retailers, together with AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Walmart, and Xfinity Mobile.

Likewise, the Samsung Galaxy A51 begins from $400, however if you’d like the 5G model, you’ll need to pay $500, though it hasn’t been launched but. The customary model is being bought via Amazon, AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, Verizon, and Walmart.

Overall winner: iPhone SE

Despite their completely different strengths and weaknesses, the iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A51 are evenly matched. The Galaxy A51 appears higher, has a greater display screen, and a extra highly effective digicam. On the opposite hand, the iPhone SE has a superbly serviceable show and digicam, but additionally presents superior computing efficiency and barely higher software program (a minimum of by way of updates). It’s an in depth match, however for us, the iPhone SE’s stronger processor and speedy and lengthy replace schedule make it the marginally higher of the 2 for the budget-conscious.

However, it’s not a transparent win. If you’re an Android fan, it’s clear which it is best to choose. Also, in the event you evaluate the Galaxy A51 5G model with the iPhone SE, then you definately’d have a stronger case for concluding that the A51 is barely higher than Apple’s funds telephone. We haven’t had the chance to have a look at the 5G model, which isn’t even out there but, however the superior speeds of 5G would make the A51 a noticeably higher machine for browsing the net whereas on the transfer.

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