A speedy phone, even on iOS 10. The SE keeps up with iOS 10 very nicely, and feels as fast as most new iPhones. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have a speed edge, but for most instances no one would notice the difference.
The headphone jack is back (and I missed it). The iPhone SE has a headphone jack, unlike the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. To a lot of people -- myself included -- that's a welcome feature. No dongles necessary.
Many iPhone apps feel better on larger screens, though. As much as I love the tiny size of the SE, it's not the ideal canvas for most iPhone apps, which assume you have a larger phone. The more cramped feel of the SE still, amazingly, works, but for all that I do on my phone (mainly photos, editing and some video work) it becomes challenging.
Could be a good choice for runners. Going full-on into Apple's connected wireless universe with an Apple Watch and AirPods, you're more likely to keep that phone in your pocket anyway. This is a phone that you could attach to your arm with a band.
Battery life is best of the current iPhones. The iPhone SE lasted for 12 hours 18 minutes playing a video loop offline. It edges out the iPhone 7 Plus' battery runtime of 12 hours 6 minutes, and the iPhone 7's 10 hours 55 minutes. That alone could be a reason to go SE.
Your main alternatives: Cheaper, bigger Androids or pricier iPhone 6S
While the iPhone SE is Apple's answer to a "budget" phone, it's really more of a midpriced model. There are very good Android alternatives for as little as $250 or less, most notably the($185 with Amazon Prime ads) or the .
If you're looking for something that's more in the price and feature ballpark of the iPhone SE, your two best choices are theor the , which start at $430 and $550, respectively. (See full specs comparison below.)
Small, affordable, fuss-free
If you don't want a small screen, don't go here. If you live your life on your phone screen and need a large canvas, don't go here. If you're on a budget and want an iPhone, go for it. It's still great. Just note those alternatives listed above, especially if you're OK with living on Android.
The iPhone SE is a really good little phone, the sort of phone that I actually miss a bit. "It's nifty," as a colleague said.
But if you're looking for something new, be forewarned: 2017 phones like the newand are making thick bezels a thing of the past. The , expected in September, is sure to follow with similarly radical changes. The SE isn't going to be your ticket to the future. It will, however, be a really nice pocket companion for the present if you're seeking a low-key and affordable iPhone.
iPhone SE vs iPhone 6S and iPhone 7
||iPhone SE||iPhone 6S||iPhone 7|
|Display size, resolution||4.0-inch; 1,136x640 pixels||4.7-inch; 1,334x750 pixels||4.7-inch; 1,334x750 pixels|
|Dimensions (inches)||4.87x2.31x0.3 in||5.44x2.64x0.28 in||5.44x2.64x0.28 in|
|Dimensions (millimeters)||123.8x58.6x7.6 mm||138.3x67.1x7.1 mm||138.3x67.1x7.1 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, grams)||3.99 oz, 113 g||5.04 oz, 143 g||4.87 oz, 138 g|
|Mobile software||iOS 10.3||iOS 10.3||iOS 10.3|
|Video capture||4K (720p front-facing)||4K (720p front-facing)||4K (1080p front-facing)|
|Storage||32GB, 128GB||32GB, 128GB||32GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Battery||1,624 mAh||1,715 mAh||1,960 mAh|
|Fingerprint sensor||Touch ID home button||Touch ID home button||Touch ID solid-state home button|
|Special features||Apple Pay||Apple Pay, 3D Touch||Apple Pay, 3D Touch, water/dust resistant|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$399 (32GB), $499 (128GB)||$549 (32GB), $649 (128GB)||$649 (32GB), $749 (128GB), $849 (256GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£379 (32GB), £479 (128GB)||£499 (32GB), £599 (128GB)||£599 (32GB), £699 (128GB), £799 (256GB)|
|Price (AUD)||AU$679 (32GB), AU$829 (128GB)||AU$929 (32GB), AU$1,079 (128GB)||AU$1,079 (32GB), AU$1,229 (128GB), AU$1,379 (256GB)|