Apple has finally taken the wraps off its long-awaited 4-inch iPhone SE, and it’s an impressive bit of kit: you get just about the same specs as the iPhone 6S, but inside a shell that looks a lot like a 2013 edition iPhone 5S. Here’s everything you need to know.
With all of the major mobile operators carrying the phone in the UK, there’s plenty of choice if you want to take the contract option. Pre-orders for the new phone open on Thursday 24 March and it goes on sale a week later, Thursday 31 March.
1. It suits smaller hands
Large swathes of the smartphone-buying public have lamented the industry trend towards bigger and bigger handsets. Sure, they’re fine for watching Netflix, but what about when you need to send a message and you only have one hand free? If the 4.7-inch iPhone 6S is too large for your palms then the iPhone SE could be just what you need.
2. It’s a big upgrade over the iPhone 5S
Up until the arrival of the iPhone SE, Apple already sold a 4-inch iPhone in the form of the iPhone 5S (launched in 2013): but of course the new handset looks a lot nicer and is far more powerful, having the innards of a 2015 iPhone 6S. Apple is finally developing a dedicated lower-end device rather than using an older iPhone to fill the same gap.
3. It’s (relatively) inexpensive
Usually, Apple kit doesn’t come cheap, so when they sell something towards the budget end of the market it’s worth jumping in to take advantage. With a starting price of £359 (US$399 or AU$679) for the 16GB model it’s well worth weighing up as your next smartphone, especially considering all the processing power you get under the hood
4. You get all the best iPhone goodies
Touch ID, iOS, Live Photos, and Apple Pay are all ready and available on the new iPhone SE, so all you’re really losing out on by not buying one of the top-end iPhones is a bit more screen space. As we’ve already mentioned, that’s really going to depend on your personal preference, the size of your hands and what you actually use your phone for.
5. It’s built to last
iPhones have a decent reputation for longevity (remember you can usually get iOS updates on an older iPhone for a couple of years or more) and if you buy an iPhone SE now you know it’s going to last you well into the future, thanks to those top-end CPU and GPU components that Apple has managed to stuff inside a smaller smartphone frame.
6. You don’t really need 3D Touch anyway
One of the few differences in specs between the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and the new iPhone SE is the absence of 3D Touch in the display – but at this stage the pressure-sensitive technology is very much an optional extra for apps for the foreseeable future (it’s not in the latest iPads either), and you can easily live without it.
7. It’s a perfect introduction to the iPhone
During its media event in Cupertino Apple was keen to point out that a lot of the 30 million 4-inch iPhones it sold during 2015 were to people buying their very first iPhone and moving to the world of iOS. Well, for those of you who’ve yet to make the jump to Apple’s mobile ecosystem, the brand new iPhone SE is just about the perfect introduction.
8. Better battery life… probably
You know what they say about smaller smartphone screens? Better battery life. With the iPhone SE’s battery having just a 4-inch screen to illuminate, it should go for longer before charges, something that’s on the wish list of just about every smartphone buyer out there. Apple claims it’ll last a little longer than its bigger siblings, but we’ll have to wait and see.
9. The excellent camera
With a 12MP snapper and 4K video recording, the camera inside the iPhone SE should be able to hold its own against any flagship smartphone as far as image quality goes – and remember that’s a big factor for most people choosing a new mobile. You don’t get extras like Optical Image Stabilisation (as seen on the iPhone 6S) but it’s still very impressive.
10. It’s an iPhone
The iPhone has been the runaway success of the smartphone era so far, helping to redefine what a smartphone should be when it launched, and stealing the lion’s share of the industry’s profits ever since. You get all the kudos of having the world’s most famous mobile phone in your pocket, but you don’t have to spend quite as much to get hold of it.