iPhone SE (2020) vs OnePlus 8 – Which Is The Better Value Proposition For Indians?

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Apple launching a spec-heavy phone that goes head to head with OnePlus in terms of pricing? Yeah, I’m finding it hard to believe this isn’t some sort of Utopian vision and rather the reality of today’s times. The tables have turned, and how! The iPhone SE 2020 launched recently at a starting price of 42,500 INR, putting it smack dab in the center of OnePlus’s usual pricing enclosure. It’s quite a paradox that the OnePlus 8 has a lower launch price here in India (41,999 INR) as compared to the rest of the world whilst the iPhone SE boasts of the same in an albeit reversed fashion (prices in the USA start at 399 USD). This brings me to the confusion that has probably been plaguing the Indian smartphone buyer’s mind. “Should I buy the OnePlus 8 or strongly consider the iPhone SE?”. Well, maybe TechQuila can help you with that my liege.

Design and Swagger?

Apple New iPhone SE
Apple’s new iPhone SE (2020)

There’s no denying it. Whichever generation of the coveted Apple iPhone you carry, the allure the logo carries is something OnePlus can never hope to compete with (more about this here). Sure, for geeks like us functionality and diversity is the name of the game which thrusts us towards the 8. The OnePlus 8 is definitely the better-designed phone of the two with its textured matte glass back and curvaceous frame. It sure is flashy, but there is a niche of consumers out there that prefer a nondescript and understated industrial design that the iPhone SE offers with aplomb. Moreover, the iPhone has much better proportions leading to the ease of one-hand use with the average palm size. I’d personally gravitate to the iPhone in this scenario given that it wouldn’t stand out like a brick inside my slim-fit pants.

Svelte albeit large design.

Display

Smaller bezel constraints and high refresh rate AMOLED goodness on the OnePlus 8

The OnePlus 8’s 90 Hz AMOLED panel is hands down the better option here. No comparison. No arguments. OnePlus 8’s higher resolution, punchier colors, and smaller bezels quite easily walk away with the crown in comparison to the iPhone’s rather humble small IPS panel (which is by no means a bad display). Sure, the iPhone seems to tout a display that isn’t even Full-HD, but Apple’s optimizations and the Truetone technology do make up for its shortcomings in a somewhat stale manner.

The iPhone SE’s modest IPS panel seems tame in comparison.

Performance, SoC and Software

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The Snapdragon 865 underpinnings along with faster memory constraints in the OnePlus 8 does make it a breeze to use (with 5G support being the icing). But wait a minute, what’s the use in a market that barely supports consistent 4G speeds? Overkill. Apple’s latest flagship chip – the A13 Bionic is the iPhone SE’s biggest trump card. Sharing its hardware with the maxed-out iPhone 11 Pro, the SE is a beast in terms of performance.

Apple A13 Bionic Chip
Apple’s latest SoC.

Boasting Apple’s legendary software optimization with a crazy powerful chip underneath its hood, the iPhone SE is definitely better suited for everyday bouts. Add to that the fact that the iPhone SE will be supported by software updates for at least the next 5 years given Apple’s track record, the SE is a no brainer for the practical consumer. Sure, the geeks out there will gravitate to the Android option in this scenario given that it offers the user more control over system processes, but the average consumer isn’t going to miss out on too much with iOS 13 being more open than its predecessors.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm made a questionable decision to compulsorily bundle an expensive 5G modem with the 865.

Cameras

Diversity or consistency? That’s all it boils down to. The multiple lens camera system on the OnePlus 8 offers you the choice to shoot wide-angle and telephoto shots albeit not having the best output. However, the iPhone SE with its stellar image processing (thanks to the A13 and Smart HDR) takes the cake in almost all scenarios. Night-mode or rather its absence is a sour loss on the SE, but it’s something I can surely live with since the output in almost all other scenarios is excellent to boot. 4K 60FPS video on the SE with its improved dynamic range one ups the OnePlus here as well going by recent samples.

Diversity is the name of the game with the multi-camera system on the OnePlus 8.

The Verdict?

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Obviously all this is all just in theory. Only when these two phones are tested side by side in-depth can we ascertain the true winner. As of now, the iPhone SE seems more well rounded with the only drawback being its exaggerated Indian pricing (thanks to the newly increased GST). The silver lining however is the fact that once Apple starts production of the SE in its Indian Foxconn unit, you can expect prices to drop to levels that are even cheaper than the USA’s post-tax bill amount similar to the iPhone XR. Till we get our hands on these phones to give you a full comparison be sure to stay bookmarked on TechQuila for the latest updates!

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Siddharth Balajee
A doctor in the making who's an avid tech enthusiast. If this isn't a paradox I don't know what is.

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