Review Roundup: iPhone SE

The iPhone SE was recently announced as the new 4.0inch iPhone and known as “The Most Powerful 4-inch Phone ever”.

With the launch coming in just under a weeks time, reviews are starting to appear online.

Listed below are reviews from each source, embedded video or article link, along with pros and cons about what the reviewer thinks about the device.

This blog post will be continuously updated over the next few weeks as more reviews go live.

The Verge:

Pros:

  • For people who want the smaller screen size.
  • Lowest costing iPhone to date for pricing.
  • Likes how it feels and works in one hand.
  • A9 Chip.
  • Battery is better than the 5s thanks to the more energy efficient processor.
  • 12MP camera with 4K Video Recording.
  • Retina Flash for Selfies.
  • Apple Pay.

Cons:

  • Not for someone who wants a larger phone.
  • Does not have all of the flagship features of the iPhone 6s (3D Touch, FaceTime 5MP camera, larger screen etc.)

Conclusion:

iPhone SE is not a huge leap forward. Today’s tech in yesterday’s body. Thinking of getting people to spend US$400-$500 on an iPhone instead of <US$300 on an Android phone.

Good for people who want an upgrade or have really small hands.

iMore:

Pros:

  • Iconic design.
  • Easy to use one handed.
  • No need to use Reachability.
  • A9 Chip.
  • Always on “Hey Siri” support.
  • 1st class movie shooting experience with 4K Video Camera.
  • Apple Pay support.

Cons:

  • 4.0inch’s cannot display as much content as on the iPhone 6/s or iPhone 6/s Plus.
  • No 3D Touch support.
  • 16GB is no good and 64GB should be the go to for storage.
  • FaceTime HD Camera is only 1.2MP’s like on the iPhone 5/5c/5s.
  • Touch ID sensor is only 1st generation.

Conclusion:

Will be buying the 64GB Rose Gold model but does not see it as a long-term investment, especially when iPhone 7 is out later this year.

If you are waiting to upgrade to a small iPhone or switch from Android, then you’ll want the iPhone SE.

CNET:

Written Article: http://www.cnet.com/products/apple-iphone-se/

Score: 8.5/10.

Pros:

  • A9 Processor.
  • Great Camera.
  • Apple Pay.
  • Always On Siri.
  • Smaller and more affordable 4-inch iPhone.

Cons:

  • FaceTime HD Camera not 5MP’s.
  • No 3D Touch.
  • Older design, while still good-looking, is exactly like the older iPhone 5s.
  • Getting this now is a mid-year release with a new iPhone out in September this year.

Conclusion:

While the rest of us wait for the iPhone 7 later this year, the iPhone SE is a great choice for small phone fans looking for an ‘iPhone 6s Mini.’

Engadget:

Pros:

  • Feels like a first class device and ideal for a first smartphone.
  • A9 Processor.
  • 12MP Rear Camera provides really nice and detailed images.
  • Colours are nicely saturated etc. on the display.
  • Apple Pay.
  • Touch ID is faster than the one on the 5s but not the same as the 6s (meaning iPhone 6/Plus sensor).
  • Price at US$399 for 16GB.

Cons:

  • 1.2MP Front Facing Camera.
  • No 3D Touch, despite not using them on the 6s that much.
  • 16GB as a base storage option.

Conclusion:

Going from large iPhone to smaller iPhone does not make a lot of sense, but if you are looking for a first smartphone or like the design of it, the iPhone SE is definitely worth looking at.

Austin Evans:

Pros:

  • Solid grip in the phone compared to iPhone 6/s/Plus.
  • Better back design compared to iPhone 6/s/Plus.
  • SE does not have a camera bump.
  • One of the fastest phones out there.
  • Great gaming performance and slightly better than iPhone 6s but small screen to play games on.
  • Upgraded LTE and Wi-Fi.
  • Better slow-mo camera compared to the 5s.
  • $400 starting price.
  • Retina Flash.
  • Solid battery which is better than the 6s and should last the whole day, thanks to the small screen.

Cons:

  • Design is same as the nearly 4 year old iPhone 5 but that’s not a bad thing.
  • Speaker is mediocre.
  • Harder to use smaller screen phone if you are use to using a larger smartphone.
  • Display is great but not as solid as latest flagship Samsung AMOLED displays.
  • Same Touch ID sensor as the iPhone 5s.
  • No 3D Touch.
  • 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera is not brilliant.
  • Base model starts at 16GB. Worth getting 64GB unless you rely a lot on cloud services.

Conclusion:

If you like a smaller screen, the iPhone SE is one of the better options out there, and if you want a budget iPhone, you are not really giving up that much but you have to be committed to the smaller size.

Marques Brownlee (MKBHD):

Pros:

  • iPhone 5s design which he really likes with the flat sides for grip etc. First iPhone that MKBHD had was iPhone 5s.
  • Easier for people with small hands to reach all the top left and right corners of the screen.
  • Lighter in weight vs. larger iPhones.
  • Easier to hold when making phone calls.
  • Easier to put in your pocket.
  • Performance is not an issue at all.
  • Has the best camera in a small smartphone.
  • Battery life is really good thanks to A9 chip.

Cons:

  • Screen is not even 720p quality.
  • No Optical Image Stabilization.
  • 1.2MP FaceTime HD Camera.
  • Touch ID is the same as the iPhone 5s.
  • No 3D Touch.

Conclusion:

Should you buy it? This phone is not for everyone and don’t get 16GB, but if you want to pay US$500 for it with 64GBs, then you really will want to have a small phone.

For reachability reasons he gets why it exists, but can’t see using it long term personally.

Pocketnow:

Pros:

  • Cases from the 5/5s fit on the SE perfectly.
  • A9 Processor with M9 Co-Processor.
  • No camera bump.
  • Easily to reach the controls including back buttons in the top left corner with one hand and not changing a grip.
  • Night Shift in iOS 9.3.
  • Very fluid frame rate when playing games etc. but not an ideal device for gaming.
  • Speaker is one of the better ones tested for a bottom facing speaker.
  • Headphone technology for output volume is significantly better than the S7.
  • Camera is a solid all-rounder.
  • Battery is impressive. 7hrs of standby overnight = 2% drop in battery which is nothing.
  • Video Test with 30mins of video over Wi-Fi at 50% brightness = 3% drop in battery (best tested). iPhone 6s was 6% with same conditions.
  • Battery is fast to charge. 30% boost after 30mins plugged in.

Cons:

  • Design is dated, but is the best design to recycle.
  • Number of usual downsides to iOS etc.
  • Camera not so good in low-light.
  • Front facing camera is pretty dull.

Conclusion:

Most fun he has had with an iPhone in a couple of years. Serious performance features to the mid-range smartphone market. No lag etc.

Not a great option for people who play games, watch films, split screen etc.

But people that send SMS, tweets, look up directions, read email or play music, no denying how snappy this phone is.

This is something kind of special. Significantly better mid-range focused phone over the 5c and might cannibalise a lot of iPhone 7 sales from later this year.

If buying any iOS device today, the SE would be it.

TechnoBuffalo:

Pros:

  • Small screen for small hands is great.
  • Easy to reach the top navigation bar without reachability required.
  • One of the best cameras on a smartphone.
  • Feels great in the hand.
  • Apple Pay support.

Cons:

  • Touch ID not 2nd generation but is fast.
  • Lower Resolution (sub-par 720p).
  • No great to use while wearing polarised sunglasses.
  • Very little content is shown on the smaller screen compared to larger phones. Means more scrolling.
  • Lots of battery drain from the camera.
  • 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera.

Conclusion:

Hard to love. Lack of battery life and the lower resolution screen makes it hard to like.

Gets a “Not Buy!” from Jon Rettinger himself but if you like what you are seeing from a US$400 phone then it’s worth considering.

PhoneDog:

Pros:

  • 12MP Camera with 4K Video Recording.
  • Great for people that like small phones.
  • Performance is very snappy and sometimes better than iPhone 6s due to lower resolution screen.
  • Accessing all corners of the screen with one hand.
  • 3.5hours of screen on time for battery which is similar to the iPhone 6s.

Cons:

  • Hard to tell apart the design from other iPhones.
  • Less PPI compared to the iPhone Plus models.
  • Hard to type on it, if you are coming from a large phone.
  • No 3D Touch.
  • Touch ID 1st Generation.
  • Only 1.2MP FaceTime HD Camera.
  • Cannot recommend the 16GB option.

Conclusion:

Not the right product to announce. They should of re-engineered the device with a new design etc., but this it will sell well.

Ty Moss:

Pros:

  • Feels better and more natural with just one hand.
  • Can do all operations with one thumb.
  • Being so small it’s easier to use in bed and not drop on your face.
  • Easier to put in your pocket.
  • Camera is really good.
  • 4k Video is one of the best on a smartphone.
  • Performance is just as fast and just as snappy.
  • Has a great design.

Cons:

  • Does not have optical image stabilization compared to the iPhone Plus models.

Conclusion:

Would definitely pick the iPhone 6s Plus over the SE but can recommend it if you want the smaller phone or if you’re not sure, recommends to get the iPhone 6s.

Austin Nwachukwu:

Pros:

  • Great for people who want a smaller screen.
  • Performance is exactly the same as the iPhone 6s/Plus and is really good.
  • 2GB of RAM.
  • Rose Gold option.
  • No camera hump.
  • Updated 12MP camera with 4K Video Recording.

Cons:

  • Hard to use the keyboard if coming from a larger screened phone.
  • 16GB for the base model.
  • Charging US$100 to go from 16GB to 64GB is a complete rip-off.
  • 1.2MP Front Facing camera is garbage.

Conclusion:

Its for people who want a smaller or cheaper phone. If you are in either of these mindsets, should you buy it? Yes.

Dom Esposito:

Pros:

  • No compromises are made for the sake of portability. Around 34% of users are using a smaller smartphone.
  • 12MP camera takes great photos.
  • Hey Siri.
  • Apple Pay.

Cons:

  • Design is a bit dated but can easily be fixed with a case etc.
  • You can buy an arguably better Android smartphone than this for half the price.
  • May be difficult to type with the keyboard at first if coming from a larger phone.
  • FaceTime HD camera is not good.
  • Touch ID sensor is still the 1st generation.

Conclusion:

A lot of people do not want a large phone. It may not be for him or you, but there are people out there that would appreciate this phone.

LinusTechTips:

Pros:

  • NFC Radio for Apple Pay support.
  • Camera opens and focuses quickly.
  • Live Photos mode works well.
  • Battery is better on normal days than the iPhone 6s but not as good for heavy usage days.
  • Better for single handed use.

Cons:

  • Storage speed is downgraded but not likely to bother anyone.
  • Slower LTE and MIMO Wi-Fi.
  • Touch ID 1st generation in use but not that big of an issue.
  • Lack of 3D Touch.
  • 16GB of storage for US$400, essentially means you have to spend US$100 more to get the 64GB to theoretically use the camera.
  • Camera app just sucks.
  • Annoying how little space there is on screen when using a keyboard.
  • Would rather use a tablet to watch video then on this.

Conclusion:

Seems like Apple is turning into more of an accounting based business and not so much a design and product focused business.

Great option to stay or move into the Apple ecosystem. Only major thing it has is that it is cheaper than the 6s.

Conclusion:

Overall it seems like the reviews are mainly positive for the iPhone SE, despite the fact that everyone is hitting on it for not being a larger phone.

The point of the SE is to be a better iPhone 5s and from what I’m reading, it seems like it will do that. And this leads me to the question for today:

“Will you upgrade to the iPhone SE? And if so, what from?”

I personally like what I see with the iPhone SE being an iPhone 5s user, but I would still want to put the money towards I’d spend on an iPhone SE and invest in a larger iPhone as I’d like to go for a decent upgrade.

Leave your comment below, I’ve love to hear what you have to say and if you enjoyed this roundup please give it a like and follow my blog for more posts like this in the future.

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