The new iPhone SE has been praised by many as the best phone under $400, thanks to its excellent performance, good camera, and other features. But while some of the components in the device are clearly modern, iFixit’s new teardown highlights that others are slightly dated — which is one of the ways that Apple cuts down on costs.
The newer components in the handset are pretty obvious. Perhaps the most interesting is the Apple A13 Bionic chip, which is the same chip that can be found in the Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s a whole lot more powerful than previous-generations — and ensures that the iPhone SE is the most powerful in its price range.
Most of the rest of the phone is sourced from the iPhone 8, which helps allow Apple to cut down on costs for the device. The iPhone SE has the same body, same 4.7-inch display, and even the same 12-megapixel rear-facing and 7-megapixel front-facing cameras.
“[The] iPhone SE’s cameras, SIM tray, taptic engine, and display assembly (including the microphone and proximity sensor) are all swappable with iPhone 8 parts,” says iFixit in its teardown. “And that screen should be cheaper to replace than any new iPhone we’ve seen in years.”
The fact that Apple reuses many of its parts also plays into how repairable the phone is. As iFixit notes, replacement parts should be relatively easy to find for those who are inclined to repair the phone themselves, and the fact that parts are reused makes for less electronic waste.
Not all the components are interchangeable with iPhone 8 parts. As noted by iFixit, the iPhone SE logic board has some different connectors than the iPhone 8 — so parts like the Touch ID home button are specific to the iPhone SE, and can’t necessarily be sourced from other phones. That also true of the battery. According to iFixit, while the battery looks identical to the iPhone 8 battery, swapping the battery out for one from the iPhone 8 will result in a message telling users that their device doesn’t have a “genuine” Apple battery.
While the device reuses the iPhone 8’s camera sensors, actual photos may end up being better than those taken with the iPhone 8. That’s because Apple’s camera processing tech has improved over the years, and according to Apple, the A13 chip allows for better processing than previous-generation chips.