Apple is known for making pretty pricey handsets, but the iPhone SE (2020) is the brand’s most affordable phone to date.
Since the launch of the iPhone 12 range, Apple has lowered the cost, and the major telcos have finally followed suit. This is the iPhone to get if you want great specs without spending a whole lot of cash.
We’ve assessed all the iPhone SE plans from the major Aussie providers, and highlighted our best picks below. If you’d rather, skip ahead with the links below:
Noteworthy iPhone SE deals
Before we get into our plan recommendations, take a look at the great deals currently available on the iPhone SE. These are the offers you need to know about before choosing your phone plan:
Compare iPhone SE plans
Best overall iPhone SE plan
For the best overall plan that’ll suit most people’s needs, we’d recommend opting for Vodafone’s AU$40 Lite plan. Vodafone has cut the cost of the actual handset, keeping with Apple’s price drop, which means you’ll pay AU$68.29 each billing on a 24-month contract. This plan will get you 40GB of data, plus unlimited calls and text to standard numbers in Australia.
Total cost over 24 months is AU$1,638.96View Deal
Best premium iPhone SE plan
The second-gen iPhone SE is the most affordable Apple handset on the market, which gives plenty of wiggle room for high-data users. If you’re looking at the 128GB version of the device, you can pair it with Vodafone’s AU$45 Lite+ plan and pay AU$76.62 each month. The Lite+ plan gets you 80GB of data a month for as long as you stay connected.
Total cost over 24 months is AU$1,838.88View Deal
Cheap iPhone SE plans
The cheapest way to get the iPhone SE is to opt for the 64GB model, and below you’ll find the most affordable options from the big three telcos. Note that the cheapest monthly plan from Optus and Vodafone comes on a 36-month contract, which will ultimately see you pay more in the long run:
More iPhone SE plans
Outright iPhone SE prices
At launch, the iPhone SE 2020 retailed from AU$749 for the 64GB capacity version, but Apple has since dropped the price. You can now get the 64GB model for AU$679, or if you need more storage, you could opt for 128GB for AU$759 or a solid 256GB for AU$929. It’s available in white, black or red colour options.
Purchasing any new iPhone device will also let you redeem one year of Apple TV Plus for free.
As the most affordable handset Apple has to offer, buying outright could be a feasible option for many people. With that in mind, you’ll be in need of a great SIM-only deal to pair with the phone.
iPhone SE review
The iPhone SE 2020 feels more like an upgraded iPhone 8 than an upgraded SE. This is the smartphone for those who want a cheap iPhone, with decent, but not top-end performance. Coming in at AU$679, the second-gen iPhone SE has a spec sheet that many will be pleased with for the price.
There’s enough power with Apple’s A13 Bionic chip – the same processor which powers the iPhone 11 Pro – making it one of the most powerful handsets in the affordable phone space.
It also features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, wireless charging and an IP67 water-resistance rating. While you’ll only find a single camera lens on the new iPhone SE, you’ll be able to record in 4K at 60fps, experiment with portrait mode, HDR and more. And best of all for some, the Touch ID home button makes a comeback.
However, it’s unlike any other Apple device – no Face ID, large top and bottom bezels and a reduced camera size allow this device to receive its lower price tag. Even with the reveal of the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone SE remains one of the best cheap iPhones on the market today.
Read our full iPhone SE review
iPhone SE FAQ
Is the iPhone SE the best cheap iPhone out there?
This is up for debate – while the iPhone SE is the cheapest iPhone (or at least the device with the lowest RRP), it might not necessarily be the best cheap iPhone.
Since the iPhone 12 launched, there are two other handsets competing for this title – the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 has dropped down to AU$999, making it its best value yet.
The iPhone 12 mini is also the most affordable option from Apple’s newest range, though it’ll cost you AU$1,199 outright. The iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 11 get the edge over the iPhone SE in terms of superior specs. Both of these handsets offer you a better display, battery and general performance than the SE can afford.
How does the iPhone SE compare to the iPhone 12 mini?
Other than their smaller-than-average sizes and relatively low cost for an Apple device, these two handsets don’t have a whole lot in common.
Both were released in 2020, but the iPhone 12 mini is by far the most up to date – the iPhone SE is essentially just the iPhone 8 with some new features after all.
If you go for the iPhone 12 mini, you’ll be paying almost double what the iPhone SE costs. However, that additional cost gets you 5G access, a brand-new processor, an extra camera lens and Apple’s new MagSafe feature.
Is the iPhone SE the cheapest Apple handset available?
Yes, and no. The iPhone SE is the cheapest iPhone that Apple currently sells in terms of RRP. It has a lower cost than the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and other devices did when they were first launched.
If you’re looking at the price of those older handsets now though, you’ll notice that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are now much cheaper at the retailers who still stock them, which is admittedly very few.
Is the iPhone SE as powerful as the iPhone 11?
While both handsets use the same A13 Bionic chip, the iPhone 11 is still going to be much more powerful. It has a bigger 6.1-inch display, a larger battery and better cameras.
However, the A13 Bionic chipset makes the iPhone SE still very competitive in 2021, holding up against (and even beating) the latest flagship Android competition in most areas.
Is the iPhone SE worth its price point?
The iPhone SE is one of the few Apple products where its price tag comes way below the specs on offer.
That’s because the SE is essentially the body of an iPhone 8 with some powerful 2020 specs in it. You’ll pay as little as AU$679 for this phone, and that’ll get you features such as the A13 Bionic chip, 4K video recording and more.
In other words, yes, the iPhone SE is certainly worth the price you are going to be paying for it, but if you would prefer something with bleeding-edge specs, the latest iPhone 12 range is the way to go.
How does the iPhone SE 2020 differ from the original 2016 iPhone SE?
Despite the shared name and similar low price, the 2020 device and the original SE are very different. The 2020 handset has a body identical to the iPhone 8, as well as a similar camera lens setup.
On the other hand, the original iPhone SE has a completely different body, style, specs and is very... well, 2016.
The 2020 iPhone SE makes use of features such as a powerful processor and increased battery life to bring it up to speed with the modern day.
Does the iPhone SE have a good camera?
While it can’t compete with the iPhone 12 or other flagship competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S21, the iPhone SE does offer decent camera performance. Though not market-leading, you’re going to get some strong shots with it.
In terms of video, the iPhone SE offers 4K video recording and great image stabilisation, so you’ll be absolutely fine in that department.