Apple iPhone SE review: still great, a year later – CNET


Editor’s note (April 15, 2020): For 2020 there is a new iPhone SE that will cost $ 399.

My wife needs a new phone. She used an iPhone 4S from the 2011 era for years and it hangs in there – hardly. The battery is slowly getting worse. Browsing speeds are sluggish. she can’t upgrade on iOS 10 or anything later. But she doesn’t want to replace it with something more expensive.

Unless she switches to Android – a definite option that prevents her and me from using iMessage – there is only one iPhone that really comes close to “budget”: the iPhone SE.

A year ago, the iPhone SE came just a few months after iPhone 6S. It was almost the same phone under the hood, just packaged in an old iPhone 5S case. Fast processor? Great camera? Longer battery? Check, check and check.

The iPhone SE is still on sale, with no changes except for expanded storage options at the same price: $ 399 now gives you 32 GB instead of 16 GB (a welcome upgrade), and $ 499 gets 128 GB instead of 64 GB.

But how is it to be compared to that iPhone 7 Plus I have used daily? I started using this iPhone SE to see it for myself. It turns out that Apple’s cheapest phone is still a nice little speed demon and is fully asserting itself against the larger, newer iPhones, especially when it comes to battery life. You just have to be one of the people who really appreciate a small phone on a big screen to appreciate it.

The iPhone SE feels like the cheeky little sibling next to the 7 and 7 Plus.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Size: You will either love it or hate it. The 4-inch screen and the smaller overall size of the SE are an absolute problem. It’s incredibly pocket-friendly. The downside, however, is the tiny display (and tiny on-screen keyboard).

Are you okay with retro? It’s fun that it looks like one iPhone 5s. But it also looks like an iPhone 5S.

It’s a great little spot and camera shoot. The photos and videos on the iPhone 6S level of the SE (including 4K recording) are still very good, especially given the price of the SE. However, the 1.2 megapixel photos of the front camera are not as good as the 5 and 7 megapixel selfies of the 6S and 7, respectively.