iPhone SE 2 or iPhone XR? SE 2 is $399 but now Apple's refurbished XR costs just $100 more

Apple's new iPhone SE with 4.7-inch screen starts at $399 but a refurbished iPhone XR with 6.1-inch screen is $499.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple recently launched the iPhone SE second generation for those after a cheaper iPhone. But now bargain hunters can choose from a range of Apple-certified refurbished iPhone XR models that come with a bigger screen and an as-new one-year warranty. 

As spotted by MacRumors, Apple started selling refurbished iPhone XR models for the first time in the US on Thursday, and they cost between $100 and $120 below the price of a new iPhone XR. 

Apple launched the iPhone XR in 2018 with the A12 chip and a 6.1-inch Retina HD display. It quickly became its best-selling iPhone of 2018, in part because it offered consumers a cheaper option than the $1,000-plus OLED display iPhone XS but still with Face ID unlock.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Apple macOS Catalina (free PDF)

A new iPhone XR today costs $599 for the 64GB model and $649 for the 128GB model, while the 256GB option has been discontinued. 

The refurbished line includes a black iPhone XR with 256GB storage for $629, or $120 less than it costs new. The iPhone XR with 128GB storage costs $539, while the refurbished 64GB iPhone XR costs $499. That's about a 14% difference between refurbished and brand-new devices.

The refurbished iPhone XR devices are available in black, coral, white and yellow but only the black iPhone XR is available with 256GB storage. 

Apple-certified refurbished iPhones come with an as-new one-year warranty, all manuals and accessories, a new battery and outer shell, and a new white box. 

The new battery is a valuable addition, given constraints that Apple puts on the performance of iPhones with chemically aged batteries. It costs $69 to replace the battery in an iPhone XR that's out of warranty.   

The company can feed its supply of refurbished iPhones through its iPhone trade-in program for customers who are upgrading to a newer model. Apple currently offers up to $300 for an iPhone XR in good condition.  

The introduction of refurbished iPhone XR devices adds another option for consumers looking at cheaper iPhones such as the iPhone SE, but the 'brand-new, second-hand' choice comes with a set of trade-offs. 

The iPhone XR has a much bigger 6.1-inch screen than the 4.7-inch screen on the iPhone SE 2, but the SE 2 is powered by Apple's latest A13 chip. 

The iPhone SE has Touch ID while iPhone XR has Face ID. Both feature single 12-megapixel main cameras, LCD displays, and are water-resistant up to a depth of one meter. And, as mentioned, both have a one-year warranty. And of course, the iPhone XR refurbished is second-hand. 

SEE: Apple iPhone XR review: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

So, the prospective iPhone buyer can get the refurbished iPhone XR with a larger screen but slightly older chip for about $100 more than a brand-new iPhone SE 2 across each storage variant. 

Of course, switching to Android isn't a big deal these days, either. Samsung has released a slew of mid-range Galaxy A-series phones that could be appealing to people as recession looms across the globe thanks to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. 

In April, Samsung began selling the top mid-range Galaxy A51 in the US from $399, which features a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Display, a 48MP rear camera in a four-lens setup, a 32MP front-facing camera, a 4,000mAh battery, 128GB of storage, and a microSD slot. 

The refurbished iPhone XR models are also available in Europe with the similar price differences to new models.  

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