iPhone SE Review : The New In The Old. But It Works
In perhaps the worst kept secret in the world of Apple, the new iPhone SE was launched on monday with little in terms of surprises. Tim cook may have proclaimed that Apple was “doubling down on secrecy” but somewhere along the line this got missed and for the last few montsh we’ve all head to endure rumour after rumour surrounding a new iPhone. Thankfully mondays Apple event put us out of the rumor cycle and now into the review cycle for the iPhone 5SE.
Strangely for a new iPhone the SE is Apple’s newest iPhone although it’s not necessarily the company’s best new iPhone. On the one hand it’s a really tiny phone that has almost all the features of the flagship iPhone 6s.
On the other hand it’s basically a very improved iPhone 5s which came out in 2013 so you would think maybe in three years these technological advancements might have happened anyway.
So how good is the iPhone SE and who is it for?
I’ll answer that last question first. The iPhone SE is probably not for someone who already has a large phone and likes it. Over the past few days I have found that it feels pretty weird to go back to a smaller smart phone after using big screen phones or even using a normal sized 4.7 inch phone like the iPhone 6s. The iPhone SE is really for people who want to stick with that smaller 4" display size. It’s also the least expensive iPhone that Apple has ever sold at least in terms of starting price which is $399 for a 16 gigabyte phone.
That makes it a good first smart phone for a lot of people who or an easy upgrade for iPhone 4s or 5s hold outs. Of course that cost is still relative because $400 or $500 for a phone is still a lot for a lot of people and it’s still not as cheap as comparable android phones but it’s not as expensive as say a $700 iPhone.
So if you ever had an iPhone 5s or you’ve only seen one of those the iPhone SE is going to look pretty familiar because it is essentially the same smartphone on the outside. It has the same boxy body and chamfered edges, the buttons are all in the same place and of course the 4 inch retina display. Personally I used to really like the way that the smooth aluminum iPhone 5s felt in the hand and also the fact that it fit in my hand and the iPhone SE feels exactly the same but it’s what’s inside the iPhone SE that’s really supposed to make it better.
It has most of the same parts as the 6s but crammed into it's tiny body. The biggest improvement is in its processing power. The iPhone 5s ran on Apple’s A7 chip and had 1 gigabyte of ram, the iPhone SE runs on Apple’s faster A9 processor, the same chip powering the 6s and 6s Plus. Apple hasn’t said how much ram the new phone has but based on my experience so far the SE feels super speedy.
The more efficient processor also impacts battery life and in a good way. Even though they are the exact same size the iPhone SE gets better battery life than the older iPhone 5s. It really takes a few weeks to get to know an iPhone’s battery but in the few days I’ve been testing this it has gotten me through a full day.
The camera is also a lot better than the camera on an older iPhone. It focuses more quickly, the 12 megapixel real camera sensor matches the rear camera in the iPhone 6s and the front facing camera has a retina flash for selfies. The iPhone SE actually captures 4K video and then there is Apple pay.
The iPhone 5s had touch ID, Apple’s authentication system, but it actually didn't have Apple pay. Now the iPhone SE does so you can use this phone to quickly pay for things at stores that accept Apple pay or you know on the flip side hold up the line in places where you're not sure Apple pay works but you sure hope it does.
The iPhone SE is not a huge leap forward
It’s not a tiny little engine of technological advancement it’s todays tech in yesterday’s phone body and it’s primarily a business move on the part of Apple.
How can we get people upgrading to iPhones and not buying $300 or less android smartphones goes the thinking and in truth it’s probably pretty smart thinking because even though the iPhone SE doesn’t have all of the features of the flagship iPhone 6s it has made improvements where it matters.
All of this coupled within the new software for newer iPhones makes the iPhone SE kind of a no brainer for people who are looking for an upgrade or you know for people with really small hands.