Apple iPhone SE assessment: A compelling mixture of old and new


despite the fact that we all knew it changed into coming, Apple’s iPhone SE assertion neverthelesscontrolled to elevate eyebrows … and lots of questions. Is there nonetheless a market for a 4-inch iPhone? Is Apple gambling it safe with its design? Arguably, the solution to both those questions is yes,but after per week of the use of the iPhone SE, i will effectively say that none of that matters. regardless of Apple’s reasons for making this factor, the iPhone SE is a lovely cellphone for iOS learners and small-exceeded users alike.
excellent performance
extremely good battery existence for an iPhone
starts at $399

screen too small for a few
antique front digicam, touch identification sensor
Base model handiest has 16GB of garage
just because the iPhone SE looks as if an antique device does not imply it acts like one. Apple squeezed flagship-level performance and the excellent battery existence we have seen from an iPhone in years into a acquainted (and comparatively less expensive) body. The smartphone lacks some of the 6s’s niceties and its display screen is simply too small for a few, but the iPhone SE is the exceptional compactsmartphone Apple has ever made.
it is an iPhone 6s within the body of an iPhone 5s. increase, performed, see you men later.
Kidding, kidding. still, at the same time as that sentiment is a bit too reductive, it is broadly speaking right.almost all the matters that make an iPhone 6s an iPhone 6s are returned, just squeezed right into a framewe thought we had visible the last of. Apple should have gone the costconscious route and given us an iPhone 6 in a smaller frame, and i’m equal components surprised and pleased they did not. i’ll dig moreinto performance later, but the A9 chipset (with its M9 motiontracking processor) observed inside the SE is clone of the one in Apple’s modern flagship iPhones, from its clock pace to the 2GB of RAM it’s paired with. lengthy story quick, the SE doesn’t experience like a 2delegance gadget.

Gallery: iPhone SE evaluate | 23 photographs
That extends to the se’s design, too. As I stated in my initial hands-on, the iPhone five/5s’s appearancenevertheless stands as my favored, and that i half ofdesire Apple would deliver lower back this greaterangular aesthetic. (hands crossed for September.) The iPhone SE is as mild and well constructed as the 5sbecome years ago, with few physical variations to speak of. In reality, aside from the rose goldcoloration choice that the 5s did not offer, there are just two telltale modifications: the SE emblem at thelower back facet and the matte chamfers that run around the telephone‘s flat edges. in case youappreciated the oldcollege iPhone 5s design, then, you’re going to experience proper at home right here. And if you failed to, well, you weren’t going to shop for this telephone anyway.

there may be a third camp, although: folks who loved the 5s’s design after which embraced a era oflarger screens. If it truly is you, I understand what you’re questioning, and yes, going back to a small iPhone after years with the 6 family is weird. if you peeked interior my Messages app (please do not),you’ll see several texts to pals and co-workers posing variations of the same question: How did we usethese things for goodbye? every week in and i nonetheless can’t bash out textual content messages on that cramped onscreen keyboard as reliably as I used to. Hell, i am every so often frustrated by how littletext i will experiment thru immediately on the smaller display screen.
nonetheless, the scale has its upsides. After months of the use of massive smartphones — the iPhone 6s Plus, Galaxy notice 5 and Nexus 6p, by and large — my right hand is in pretty tough form. It gets sore andworn-out quick, in particular when i am the usage of my pinkie to cradle the lowest of the smartphoneand stretching my thumb throughout the display to faucet some thing inside the nook. i’m 27, but my hand appears like it is 40. the usage of the SE for the week, then, has been like a mini-holiday for my gnarled claw. The small-screen way of life is not for each person, but there may be no denying the iPhone SE is a damned comfy little tool.

besides. My assessment unit was rose gold (due to route it changed into!) and got here with 64GB ofinner storage (asking charge: $499). properly, approximately 64 gigs, besides: once you thing in thearea iOS nine.three takes up, you’re left with 55.7GB of usable garage. That the accessdegree $399model comes with simplest 16GB of storage is not sudden, but right here‘s hoping that is the last time Apple ships an iPhone with so little space to play with. it’s just one of the compromises you may be makingwhilst you pass for this shape aspect at this rate. Neither model has three-D touch. The contact idsensors within the domestic buttons are first-era fashions, that’s to mention it’s no longer as speedy asthe one within the 6s. And the the frontfacing cameras are a 1.2-megapixel throwback to the times of the iPhone five.
For all intents, the iPhone SE has the exact equal display as the one within the iPhone 5s. which means itnonetheless runs at a decision of one,136 x 640, which also means the mathematics nevertheless works out to a pixel density of 326ppi (identical because the iPhone 6s). look past the numbers, although, and you’ll see that this throwback of a display screen is as vibrant and well satuincredibled as in the antiquedays. That said, the show would possibly take a bit being used to if you‘re coming from a 6s. Thescreen‘s a tad much less bright than that of both the 6s or 6s Plus, and the coloration temperature is a little warmer, too. If anything, the biggest distinction here is the lack of 3-D contact, which some willsense extra acutely than others. i’ll admit, i used to be very bullish about 3-D touch gestures when the 6s first got here out, but now I not often use them. modern iPhone customers may not miss them, whilefreshmen may not even word their absence.
meanwhile, the single speaker tucked into the se’s bottom side is punchier than I anticipated, speciallywith highs and mids. you may nonetheless need a pair of headphones for any form of longtime periodlistening, however there’s enough electricity here to give YouTube films and the Hamilton soundtrack a few wished oomph.

software program
The iPhone SE ships with iOS 9.3, which does not add an awful lot within the way of whiz-bang functions. If whatever, the maximum first rate addition is night Shift, a function that could mechanically heat up thedisplay‘s color temperature to ease eyestrain at night time. it’s no longer exactly a brand new concept — apps like f.lux had been doing this for years at the computing devicebut a hotter display does indeedmake night analyzing easier than a everyday white one. instead of set up a particular night Shiftagenda, you may manually adjust how heat the screen is. Theoretically, cranking up screen warmth to the max should help ease your screwy sleep cycle, but you’re left with a jarringly orange show as a result. None of this helped me crash faster at night time, but with any luck it does someone available a fewproper.

you may now additionally lock unique entries inside the Notes app; starting them calls for either a password or placing your finger on the touch id sensor. At closing, my listing of “Definitive Karaoke Jams”gets the protection it deserves! additionally, in case you‘re a Verizon character, you may finally beginWiFi-calling your pals as of this replace (the alternative huge 3 companies have had this for a while).meanwhile, the health app now highlights software that pipes in movement and nutrition records, that isespecially high-quality at the SE; its smaller length makes it a extra pleasant exercise friend.

Oh, and Apple information has gotten slightly higher at figuring out what types of stories I definitelyneed to examine. (It still overestimates how plenty Donald Trump information I need, but that is in all likelihood a symptom of a bigger problem.) There are also a host of latest 3D touch app behaviors in iOS9.three, but glaringly none of them work here. C’est l. a. vie.

surprisingly enough, I bumped into some weird Siri hiccups after putting in place the “hiya Siri” voice activation. even as listening to an audiobook in Audible, sure passages — ones with phrases that don’tsound a element like “hi there Siri” — would carry my virtual assistant to life and puzzle her with random bitsof debate. I performed the same book on an iPhone 6s to try to replicate the difficulty, with out asuccess. Ditto for simply setting the telephones subsequent to each other; after all, the equal soundought to cause Siri on each, proper? Nope, it simplest occurred at the SE. It stopped after some time,but I nevertheless cannot determine out what become occurring there.

Spoiler alert in case you have not but read our iPhone 6s assessment: The digicam is amazing. And way to the Transitive belongings of aspect Transplantation (it will become a issue, just watch), the iPhone se’scamera is tremendous, too. actually, it’s higher than the 6s’s camera in one subtle way: since the iPhone SE is a slightly thicker cellphone, it does not have the awkward camera nub visible on members of the iPhone 6 circle of relatives. See? there’s a controversy to be made for thicker telephones.

besides, I could cross on about how Apple’s “deep trench isolation” continues mild from spilling intoadjoining photodiodes, but it is now not actually necessary. All you really want to know is that the iPhone SE is able to shooting a few remarkably unique, well colored snap shots. wonder, surprise. i’ve beenshooting with both the SE and an iPhone 6s Plus for the past week, and the outcomes they positioned out are nearly identical. (The 6s Plus pulls ahead with regards to motion photographs and occasionallightconditions, because it has optical image stabilization.)
speaking of low light, the iPhone SE does a decent activity preserving noise to a minimum in dim settings,although i’d commonly deliver the nod to the Galaxy S7 because the higher smartphone digital camera. The iPhone SE additionally shoots 4K video, which commonly looks clean and evenly uncovered, even when tracking moving topics. it is first-class to have, positive, however if you‘ve got a 16GB SE — anda lot of you’llyou’ll probably never want to shoot videos at one of these high decision.

different matters are well worth mentioning. First, the iPhone SE supports capturing stay photographs,transferring pictures that upload a bit aptitude and context in your photographs. considering there may be no 3-d contact here, a long press on a live photo will make it spring into motion. the opposite aspectis that your selfies just do not turn out as quality as they do with the 6s. Apple didn’t bother upgrading the 1.2-megapixel frontgoing through digicam that sits atop the screen, despite the fact that the five-megapixel sensor in the 6s would not absorb much extra area. The end result is muddier pics that, whilstcompletely great for Instagram, lack the liveliness the bigger sensor is capable of. at the least the SE has its Retina Flash, which lights up the display to add a few more brightness.

performance and battery life

The iPhone SE is a long way extra effective than its antiqueschool appears propose. The aggregate of Apple’s modern-day-gen A9 chipset with 2GB of RAM is enough to keep things running easily, from swiping via home monitors to switching among apps to firing up graphically in depth games. The ultimatetime Apple released a feeconscious 4-inch devicethe second oneelegance citizen that changed intothe iPhone 5c — it felt dated from the get-move. For Apple to squeeze the maximum important componentsof its flagship mobile into a small, $399 iPhone is clean. For the primary time in years, you could purchasea four-inch iPhone with out feeling like you’ve needed to sacrifice overall performance for size.

just to drive the factor domestic, check out the benchmarks underneath. they may be more or lessidentical to the most pricey iPhone you could buy.

3DMark unlimited IS 27,729 24,601 27,542 sixteen,689
Geekbench three (multi-thread) 4,440 four,427 four,289 2,885
Basemark OS II 2,378 2,354 2,428 1,441
SunSpider (ms) 227 230 220 351
SunSpider: lower ratings are higher
when Apple refused to talk about the capacity of the battery inside the iPhone SE, i was extra than a littleworried. I should not were. it will likely be a little whilst yet before the inevitable teardown exhibits the battery’s size, however you can rest easy understanding the iPhone SE gets you through a full day after which some. (if you‘ve study my past opinions, you will recognise a regular day for me involves firing off lots of emails and Slack messages, taking calls, paying attention to podcasts and gambling video games within the toilet.) After pulling the SE off its charger at about 9 within the morning, it might make itthru 11-hour days with between 30 and forty percentage of its charge left. i have automatically had thephone go over 24 hours with no need a charge (though, in fairness, i was asleep for that last stretch). Suffice to say, i’m very, very pleased.

Turning to our video rundown check (looping an HD video with WiFi on and the display screen brightness set to 50 percent), the iPhone SE hung round for thirteen hours and 40 minutes. whilst that’s no longer quiteas exact as the 50 percent development Apple has claimed, the iPhone SE nevertheless has the excellentbattery life of any iPhone we’ve tested in the beyond years. that’s a whole lot of strength packed into one of these tiny package deal.

The competition

The iPhone search engines aggregate of price and power — the 16GB model is the cheapest new iPhone Apple has ever releasedapproach it occupies a form of charmed space in the business enterprise‘smobile lineup. there’s officially no cause to shop for an iPhone 5s from a provider, so the most important question is whether or not could-be iPhone owners should purchase an SE or a 6s. (One may want to cross for an iPhone 6, I guess, but the 6s is only $100 more with out a contract. Why settle?) Asi’ve referred to ad nauseam, the 6s shares the iPhone se’s horsepower and packs a more spacious four.7-inch screen that’s stresstouchy in addition. That bigger length is still quite cozy to use, though you will lose out at the search engines long-lasting battery inside the manner.

in case you‘re trying to spend approximately $four hundred on a smartphone and aren’t tied to Apple,consider LG and Google’s Nexus 5X. It, too, gives good overall performance at an affordable rate,however its plastic body doesn’t maintain a candle to the iPhone  build. on the plus aspect, though, there’s masses of electricity to be wrung out of its Snapdragon 808 chipset, and we already understand it will run Google’s forthcomingAndroid N (complete with splitdisplay multitasking!).


it’s clean that the iPhone SE isn’t always for people like me: people who have embraced the arrival ofextra spacious screens in spite of the bizarre bulges they shape in our collective denims pockets. whilst you examine the SE as a newcomer’s iPhone, though, all of it type of makes experience. it is quitereasonably-pricedan attractive proposition for human beings finally ditching their flip phones. Its smallsize will even enchantment to folks who stopped upgrading their iPhones after they started out getting too huge. And maximum critical, it’s effective. Apple fanatics itching for extra of a sport changer need tosit tight until September; this element was by no means intended for you. however if you‘re seeking outa  smartphone that won’t break the bank — or your hand — the iPhone SE deserves a gap in your shortlist.