Tuesday, 26 April 2016

iPhone SE

Time to separate the Apples from the Oranges (Android, duh!). Apple is back with a new 4” phone after ages which Steve Jobs always wanted to stick to. Let’s see if this new little baby in the world of large screen phones survives the competition!

Design, Display & Hardware

Pull the phone out of the box and you won’t be able to identify it from the 2013 iPhone 5S, thanks to the missing antenna lines and similar design language to the 5S.On the left it has the iconic mute and volume buttons. The top edge has the lock/power button while the bottom edge has the 3.5mm jack and Lightning charging port surrounded by speaker grills. The SIM slot again like all iPhones is on the right edge. On the front you have the 1.2MP camera at the top and the fingerprint reader (touch ID)/home button at the bottom, which is one of the most efficient readers in the market right now. Unlocking is smooth and matches the Samsung Note 5 in terms of speed. Let me remind you how horrible it was on the Note 4 etc. When you hide to swipe your finger then on the scanner..aarrgh! At the back you have the 12MP camera with dual tone flash.

The 4 “ screen is the USP on this phone in a world dominated by 5” or more screens. It’s a lowly 326 ppi and not even full HD, but when you use the phone it looks pretty sharp. The phone weighs in at 113 gms & is 7.6 mm thick, all exactly similar to the iPhone 5S.The only difference is in the innards which match the iPhone 6S from last year. Apple’s A9 processor (dual core 1.8 ghz) paired with Power VR GT7600 GPU , 2GB RAM and 16/64 GB ROM.Obviously no memory card slot and supporting only a Nano SIM card slot. The SE has Apple Pay support but missing the  FM Radio and no infrared ports. Battery is slightly higher  @ 1624 mAh (14Hrs claimed talk time) from the 1560 mAh on the 5S. Color options available are Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and Space Gray.


iOS 9.3 out of the box is the smoothest , least buggiest iOS till date. Sad , the iPhone SE doesn’t support 3D touch so no Peak and Pop for emails and no Quick actions . Live photo thankfully still exists which is a great trick up it’s sleeve. As mentioned earlier, Apple pay on this one is a good option to future proof your device once the service becomes even more popular. The software again takes up most of your storage and gives you only 10GB odd total which sucks. I don’t understand why there’s no 32GB version!  


The rear camera is a 12MP iSight camera with f/2.4 and dual tone flash that takes stunning pictures esp. in daylight. Perhaps the best mobile phone camera and only the Samsung S7 is a real competition. Low light pictures are still above average but could’ve been better. It supports 4k video recording and editing in the iMovie app & can capture Slow motion videos as well (240fps @720p and 120fps @1080p . 5S could only do 120fps @ 720p) . Normal videos can be recorded in 4K @30fps , 1080p@ 60fps, and 720p @120fps. Camera modes like burst, HDR , manual , macro etc. are available for those who like to experiment. The most disappointing thing in this phone is the 1.2MP f/2.4 front face time camera that supports Retina flash like the 6S but it was a 5MP camera. Understandably the SE doesn’t take good quality selfie.

Gaming & Multimedia

Asphalt 8 on this phone looked amazing , thanks to the small screen! There was no lag and switching between apps was crash free. It’s got a great video editor and Apple Music sounding great thanks to a good quality speaker and earphones. Apple devices are usually great for multimedia and gaming . The battery lasted almost 10hrs on heavy usage of wi-fi , face time, Youtube and gaming which is exceptional ; the 5S would’ve lasted only 8 and the 6S maybe 9 hrs max.


It isn’t a new generation device by any means but if you love the iOS and iPhone but never bought them since the onslaught of bigger screens , this is your go to phone if you ignore the lowly front camera ! If the price isn’t a concern this is one of the best small screen phones in the market. For the price conscious look at getting the iPhone 6S by paying a little extra and getting a better overall phone.  For Android lovers, keep loving your droids there are plethora of options at this flagship price point and almost double the specs!

I’d rate the iPhone SE 4/5.


Pritesh Khilnani

iPhone SE at CeX

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