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iPhone SE vs iPhone 6 (2021): How To Choose Between The Two

Apple took a sidestep when they released the iPhone SE, since they packaged the newer processor and cameras of the iPhone 6s into the body of the smaller 4-inch iPhone 5s. At a time when the 4.7-inch display of the iPhone 6 has become the standard, the iPhone SE presented a compact choice that packs more power. Fast forward a few years later and they’re now both great options if you’re looking for a budget iPhone — here’s a comparison that should help you choose the better one for you.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6 Comparison Chart

ModeliPhone SE 64GB (GSM Unlocked)iPhone 6 64GB (GSM Unlocked)

Display4″ Retina4.7″ Retina HD
Resolution640 x 1136 pixels750 x 1334 pixels
Pixel Density326 ppi326 ppi
Screen-to-Body Ratio60.66%66.14%
Height4.87 inches5.44 inches
Width2.31 inches2.64 inches
Thickness0.30 inches0.27 inches
Weight3.99 oz4.55 oz
System ChipApple A9Apple A8
ProcessorDual-core 1.84 GHzDual-core 1.4 GHz
Internal Storage16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Front Camera1.2MP1.2MP
Rear Camera12MP8MP
Video4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 30/60/120 fps, 720p at 240 fps1080p at 30/60 fps
ColorsSpace Gray, Gold, Rose Gold, SilverSpace Gray, Gold, Silver
Battery Capacity1642 mAh1810 mAh
Battery LifeUp to 14 hoursUp to 14 hours
ReleasedMarch 2016September 2014


The iPhone 6 is larger and slimmer.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6 Design
Notice the flat edges of the iPhone SE (left) vs the rounded curves of the iPhone 6 (right).

You’ll immediately notice how different the designs on these iPhones are. Aside from the smaller length, the iPhone SE has flat edges with a matte finish that give it a more metallic look even though both are cased in aluminum and glass. It’s essentially a refresh of the popular design of the iPhone 5 and 5s — same body, new hardware. In comparison, the iPhone 6 has rounded curves all throughout, so it feels much slimmer despite being bigger.

The bezels on the iPhone 6 are also noticeably thinner than on the iPhone SE. It has a bit better screen-to-body ratio of 66.14% against the 60.66% of the SE. Lastly, you can get either in Gold, Space Gray, or Silver, but the iPhone SE has an additional Rose Gold option.


The iPhone 6 has a bigger display.

iPhone 6 Display
Apple once called the iPhone 6 “bigger than bigger.”

In addition to their builds being completely different, the iPhone SE has a 4-inch screen while it’s 4.7″ on the iPhone 6. On paper, the iPhone 6’s screen looks better, but it’s not easy to notice the difference given they still have the same 326 pixel density. Details will appear just as sharp and bright on the smaller SE. With its bigger size you get a higher resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels on the iPhone 6, the same one that the next two generations will keep, so you can see a little bit more on the nice Retina HD display. One feature it does have that the SE doesn’t is dual-domain pixels, which let you view the display from wider angles.

Depending on your preferences, you should already have an idea of which iPhone appeals more to you. If you like a compact phone that feels solid in your hand, the iPhone SE will feel comfortable to use. However, if you just really want a bigger screen, the iPhone 6 will deliver.


The iPhone SE is a lot faster than the iPhone 6.

iPhone SE Performance
Benchmark tests show that the iPhone SE can be twice as fast as the iPhone 6.

Apple wanted to offer the power of its then-most advanced chip into a smaller frame that some undoubtedly prefer. What this means is the iPhone SE is more powerful in every way than the iPhone 6. It uses the dual-core A9 clocked at 1.84 GHz with an M9 coprocessor, the same that can be found on the iPhone 6s, in addition to 2GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 still has the older A8 chip clocked at 1.4 GHz with M8 coprocessor, and just 1GB of RAM.

Benchmark tests illustrate the difference in performance. AnTuTu shows that the iPhone 6 scored 73618 while the iPhone SE got 121726. On Geekbench 4, the iPhone 6 received 1388 and the SE got 2409 on the single-core test, while they scored 2363 and 4169, respectively, on the multi-core test.

That’s how big of a difference double the RAM, as well as a newer Apple chip, makes. Moreover, though both of them have dual-core processors, the one on the SE is clocked a little higher. The more recent M9 motion coprocessor also enables Siri to respond to voice prompts faster, and it enhances the SE’s fitness tracking capabilities as it’s connected to the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.


The iPhone SE has a better rear camera.

iPhone SE Cameras
The iPhone SE has more advanced cameras than the iPhone 6.

Camera-wise, the main one on the iPhone 6 isn’t bad but it’s not amazing either. The rear camera on the SE is simply better, not just because it has a bigger megapixel count than the iPhone 6, at 12 vs 8 MP, but also because it can shoot 4K videos. If you like recording videos, the iPhone SE is the clear choice as it also shoots in 240 fps super slow-motion. Furthermore, with a beefier processor, you’ll be able to edit those videos faster on the SE as well.

They do have the same front camera megapixel count at 1.2 MP, although the iPhone SE has a new Live Photos feature which lets you view the moments before and after a still photo, essentially turning it into a mini-video. Finally, its Retina display can act as a flash for the Facetime HD camera in low light conditions.

Battery and Other Features

The iPhone SE lasts slightly longer.

iPhone SE Battery
The iPhone SE’s smaller screen requires less power.

Normally, you’d assume that the bigger phone will have a longer runtime due to its bigger battery, but that’s not the case here. The smaller screen and more advanced processor of the iPhone SE consumes less power, so you can use it longer on average. Internal storage options are the same at 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB tiers. Both also have all the connectivity features you’d expect in modern smartphones.


Get the iPhone 6 if you want a bigger screen; get the iPhone SE if you want a faster phone.

Overall, the only real decision you have to make here is determining whether size or performance is more important to you. If you can get over the smaller size of the iPhone SE, you’ll be happy with how much faster it is than the iPhone 6. But if you want a bigger screen with wider viewing angles, the iPhone 6 will serve you well. Perhaps a third consideration should be placed on the cameras, as the iPhone SE has the more advanced pair. This simply places the iPhone SE the better smartphone in our eyes, though as we mentioned, your preferences are what matter.

Alternatively, if you want to have the best of both worlds, consider the iPhone 6s, as it combines the big display of the iPhone 6 with the hardware capabilities of the iPhone SE.

Last update on 2020-12-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.