iPhone SE: Hands On Mini Review

I take a hands on look at the new ‘budget’ 4” special edition iPhone.

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Apple have been causing a storm in the phone world with its return to a smaller handset with the launch of the iPhone SE. I recently wrote about my initial thoughts, but now I have one in my hand I take a proper look.

Before I start it has been officially confirmed that the SE stands for ‘Special Edition’, just to clear that up.

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My wife finished her contract a few weeks and the low price point of this new iPhone made it a no brainer for her to upgrade. She was also not too keen on the larger iPhones.

In The Hand

She was tempted by the new Rose Gold version, but with the longer waiting list and the girly feel to it she decided to go for the Space Grey version.

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iPhone SE Space Grey with glass screen protector on it.

There isn’t a lot to say about it. Visually it is identical to the iPhone 5s with the exception of the inscription on the back.

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iPhone SE Space Grey back inscription.

It would feel very odd to upgrade from an iPhone 5s to an identical looking handset, luckily she went from a White Gold to a Space Grey so at least it looks a little different.

Under The Hood

It might look like an iPhone 5s, but under the hood it is a mini iPhone 6s. A 1.85Ghz A9 processor, M9 coprocessor and 2GB of RAM – this really is a vast improvement over the iPhone 5s.

It has the 1.2mpx front camera from the iPhone 5s, but includes the 12 mpx back camera from the iPhone 6s, although keeping it flush rather than sticking out. It has no Force Touch but does include NFC for Apple Pay and the retina flash for improved selfies.

Performance

There is nothing shoddy about performance of the iPhone SE. Using the Antutu benchmark tool, the iPhone SE comes in at 124,004 which is double that of the iPhone 5s at 62,731 and four times the power of my iPhone 5 at 31,023.

You can certainly feel the power. Everything zooms around and nothing lags.

The iPhone 6 and upwards came with increased power than the iPhone 5s and larger screens – so it seems odd to have all that extreme power inside such a small handset of the iPhone SE.

Existing Accessories

An added bonus of it sharing the exact build of the iPhone 5/5s is all your existing accessories should fit. My wife used a Mophie Juice Pack Helium on her iPhone 5s and it is now on her iPhone SE fitting perfectly.

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iPhone SE Space Grey in a Mophie Juice Pack Helium

Final Verdict

Unless you want a larger screen than 4” – then there really is no reason to buy the larger screened iPhone 6s/6s Plus. While a lot of people scoff at the ‘small’ 4″ screen it seems the iPhone SE is already a massive hit offering extreme power at a reasonable price.

This might feature a small screen, but the iPhone SE packs a huge punch.


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