iPhone SE ReviewLast Updated: April 7, 2021
Intended successor to the iPhone 5S, today we will be reviewing the iPhone SE, a stylish little iPhone to suit all your needs.
The iPhone SE was released on March 31st 2016 serving as a successor to the iPhone 5s. Interestingly enough, chronologically the iPhone SE was actually released after the iPhone 6. Featuring a largely identical design to the 5S, we carried out an assessment of this product to see how it fits into the Apple iPhone series.
For this iPhone SE review, we looked at how it improved upon its predecessors accomplishments in order to provide you with all the details you need to know about this device. Of course, you will also be looking for one of the best iPhone SE case options to ensure your SE stands the test of time, but for now, read on to find out more detail about the device itself in our review.
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The iPhone SE is similar to the iPhone 5S in many ways. At launch, the SE was heralded as both the ‘most powerful 4-inch phone ever’ and the cheapest ever iPhone (at launch).
Our team put together this brief review to provide you with the information you need to distinguish the difference between the 5S and the SE. Check it out below.
iPhone SE Review – Design
Similar to the 5S, the aim behind the SE was to ‘Take a beloved design and refine it further’. Coming in ‘Space grey, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold’, the iPhone SE looks incredible. Matte beveled edges, and a bead blasted aluminium back compliment the device’s small size.
Fitting comfortably in the palm of the user, the iPhone SE exudes refinement. It’s clear at a glance that this product has been extensively thought-out by the designers at Apple. In fact, our only issue with the iPhone SE is that it looks a little too much like the iPhone 5S. This is not necessarily a negative aspect of the SE, as the 5S was undoubtedly a beautiful smartphone, and a personal favourite of some for its elegance. However, the we would have preferred if Apple were slightly more creative with the SE’s design.
iPhone SE Review – Comparisons with iPhone 5S
The SE and 5S are relatively indistinguishable in appearance. Both sharing the exact same dimensions (123.8 X 58.6 X 7.6 mm) with rounded edges. The two phones also have a 4-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD touchscreen, with resolutions of 640 X 1136 pixels. Both devices have the same fingerprint sensor.
One could easily argue that the only design difference to be noticed at first sight is the varying range of colour options available to each phone. There is a minimal weight difference in that the SE is 1g heavier, however this is such a small difference that it is practically irrelevant.
There is also next to no difference in the ‘selfie’ camera between these two models, with both sharing the exact same 1.2MP Facetime camera.
Admittedly, there are few actual differences between these two models. There are improvements on the SE’s rear camera however, with the SE sharing the same 12MP iSight camera with Focus Pixel as the iPhone 6s.
The SE also avails of the Live Photos feature, and is capable of shooting 4K videos. This is a handy addition for those who would like to avail of the features of the iPhone 6s, without having to pay the full price.
iPhone SE Review – Specifications
- Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 (mm)
- Weight: 113g
- Operating System: iOS 10
- System on chip: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture / Embedded M9 motion compressor
- Capacity: 16GB / 32GB/ 64GB / 128GB
- Location Services: Assisted GPS and GLONASS / Digital compass/ Wi-Fi / Cellular / iBeacon microlocation
- Display: Retina display / 4-inch LED-Backlit widescreen / Multi-Touch / 1136-by-640 pixel resolution at 326 ppi
- Camera: 12 MP / Photo geotagging /Face detection / Live Photos with stabilisation / True tone flash / Auto focus / Tap to focus /ƒ/2.2 aperture
- Colour Choice(s): Silver, Gold, Space Grey, Rose Gold
iPhone SE Review – Verdict
As far as improving upon the 5S is concerned, the iPhone SE doesn’t particularly improve many aspects of its predecessor. However, there are a few added features that are noticeable. Essentially, the SE is more akin to the 6s, except smaller.
For the record, as we mentioned above, both the iPhone SE and the iPhone 5S are beautiful designed products, and so it must be said that although they may look slightly too similar, this is nothing to complain about.
With the few actual adjustments made with the iPhone SE, it may be hard to tell them apart. While the SE is undoubtedly the better phone, the price-tag is higher than the 5S. Thus, the decision of which phone is “better” depends largely on how highly you value the photography capabilities of your smartphone.