Introducing the brand new iPhone SE, an iPhone for individuals who hate new iPhones.*
*At $399, it’s priced proper for a pandemic.
It’s for folks like reader Carol Morton with a cracked, four-year-old iPhone 6s. Or Daniel Ford, whose historical iPhone Four miraculously nonetheless works however doesn’t obtain the most recent apps anymore. Or Cherine Trombley, proprietor of a first-generation iPhone SE from 2016. It’s even for Paul Fenton, whose children need him to lastly eliminate his Jitterbug flip cellphone.
Calling the iPhone SE “new” is like calling final week’s meatloaf “new” after making use of some contemporary ketchup. Take the iPhone 8 body, combine in the iPhone XR’s camera and the iPhone 11 processor and—poof!—it’s an iPhone SE.
However that’s precisely what makes the cellphone so interesting to those that nonetheless like their older fashions and don’t wish to mortgage their house for a cellphone the dimensions of Nebraska.
In contrast to the starting-at-$699 iPhone 11 fashions, the SE is the one remaining iPhone with the once-beloved house button and a small (effectively, smaller) 4.7-inch display screen. But it nonetheless has the efficiency and among the digicam methods of these higher-end telephones.
To check the SE over the previous week, I went deep into my Museum of Historic iPhones—and deep into my e-mail inbox—to give attention to the hundreds of questions that owners of older iPhones have written to me with since my iPhone 11 evaluate final 12 months.
Irrespective of which cellphone you’re coming from, you’ll discover the SE to be one in every of Apple’s greatest values in years, particularly as all of us attempt to tighten our belts within the coronavirus world. It’s even good for speaking to folks, now that we’re doing that again. Only one drawback: Once we lastly can cease sheltering in place, we’re going to need higher battery life.
The best way to play iPhone solitaire: Shuffle an iPhone 6, 7, eight and new SE, line them up face up and attempt to guess every mannequin with out flipping it over. From the wide-screen body to the rounded edges, the SE appears precisely like these older fashions. The glass again, which it shares with the iPhone eight that it replaces, actually must be coated in a case. It slipped off my desk onto the wooden flooring and acquired nicked.
Some appear deeply angered concerning the “giant” dimension of the brand new SE. Certainly, the brand new iPhone SE feels big after holding the unique iPhone SE with the 4-inch display screen. However maintain the brand new SE after holding a 6.1-inch iPhone 11, and it feels teeny tiny. It’s all relative.
The Contact ID fingerprint sensor is in its normal spot inside the house button. Nevertheless, in case you’re coming from an unique iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or earlier, you’ll observe that the button not presses down. As a substitute, you’re feeling somewhat bump of suggestions if you press it. The nicest factor about Contact ID? Unlike Face ID on the new iPhones, it works when you have a mask on. Very helpful for utilizing Apple Pay on the drugstore.
In case you’re coming from an iPhone 6s or older, excellent news: Your new cellphone is waterproof sufficient to outlive a fall into the bathroom. Dangerous information: Your new cellphone doesn’t have a headphone jack. Nevertheless, it comes with earbuds that plug straight into the Lightning charging port. You may additionally buy adapters—or even AirPods.
Efficiency and Digital camera
There have been just a few issues I missed about my iPhone 11 throughout my week of testing. Efficiency wasn’t amongst them. Powered by the identical A13 Bionic processor, the SE was simply as snappy to launch apps and deal with video games. Scrolling by lengthy paperwork—superb, you bought me, scrolling by Instagram—was very easy.
An up-to-date processor additionally means iOS updates for the foreseeable future. Final 12 months, Apple reduce off the iPhone 6 from new iOS updates; the iPhone 6s and unique SE are probably subsequent on the chopping block. iOS updates don’t solely imply new options however essential safety and privateness fixes.
The processor additionally unlocks some images methods, together with the good portrait mode, which blurs the background behind a topic for a classier shot. After I in contrast portrait photographs taken with the $999 iPhone 11 Professional to these from the iPhone SE, I used to be hard-pressed to determine which of them seemed higher. In actual fact, in a single setting, the iPhone SE did a greater job than the 11 Professional at determining the place my head ended and the tree behind me began. (And sure, portrait mode additionally works on the SE’s front-facing selfie cam.)
However I’d have a tough time giving up my iPhone 11 due to my award-winning pictures of my canine. The SE’s portrait mode solely acknowledges human faces. I additionally missed my 11’s evening mode—and its huge angle lens when making an attempt to seize my son along with his kite approach up within the air.
Tips apart, you’ll want to review pictures aspect by aspect to identify the variations in picture high quality, at the least in first rate outside lighting, in case you’re coming from an iPhone 6 or 6s, or the unique iPhone SE. I may see just a few enhancements within the new SE: Lighting on faces is smoother and fewer shiny, low-light pictures are higher and photographs of transferring objects (like children or canine) are much less blurry.
In case you are coming from an outdated iPhone with an aged battery, you’ll discover the SE’s new battery to be a giant enchancment. No extra sudden drops from 20% to 1%; no extra residing in low-power mode. (Though you can all the time look to upgrade the battery in an older phone.)
However this isn’t an iPhone that meets my 2020 battery-life requirements. After days of reasonable use—e-mail, texting, just a few cellphone calls, an excessive amount of Twitter —I landed in 15% territory by 6 p.m. My iPhone 11 doesn’t hit that till previous 11 p.m.
In my battery run-down assessments, the higher-end iPhones utterly decimated the SE. The iPhone SE streamed video on YouTube for eight hours. The iPhone 11 and 11 Professional went for round 13 hours. In fact, these have bigger or thicker our bodies with room for greater batteries.
On the plus aspect, the iPhone SE helps wi-fi charging so you can preserve the cellphone on a charger, like this $30 Anker PowerWave Charger Stand, when you’re working at your desk. It additionally helps quick charging through Lightning cable, although you’ll want to purchase a higher-wattage wall adapter for that (or borrow your iPad’s charging brick, in case you have one). The SE nonetheless comes with Apple’s gradual, dinky 5W charger. If lengthy battery life is on the prime of your must-have record however you don’t wish to spend $1,000, the $599 iPhone XR and $699 iPhone 11 final a strong day.
The SE makes you surprise what good purpose there’s to pay $1,000—and even $699—for an iPhone in any respect. Within the subsequent huge iPhone launch, Apple will attempt to promote frequent upgraders on 5G connectivity, in keeping with reviews, however 5G won’t be mainstream for a long time. Yep, time is in your aspect, SE consumers.
When the following SE turns up, in about 4 years, we’ll hopefully be capable of depart the home, and people 5G networks would possibly lastly be as dependable as 4G. Simply put together to bid a remaining farewell to the one you love house button.