iPhone SE, is it worth it in 2018?

When iPhone SE was announced back in 2016 I was surprised.

The only not flagship iPhone that came out was the iPhone 5c (as for color). Presented together with the iPhone 5s it had the one year old A6 chip and no Touch ID. It was a flop, bad design, lousy specs at a excessive price.

The SE instead is basically an iPhone 6s enclosed in an iPhone 5 body.

The design is almost identical to the 5 but the edges are not diamond-finished; they’re matte and not glossy. They look exactly like the rest of the metal back. I prefer the shiny edges that creates a nice contrast with their almost mirror finish, although it was a very scratch friendly.

Two years later the SE is still an amazing phone. I use it everyday together with my main one, an iPhone 8 (read the iPhone 8 review here). When I need something small that can be operated with one hand while I’m busy with other tasks it is perfect. With all the frying pans that come out nowadays it is always a surprise to see how it fits nicely in every pocket, slim fit pants included.

The bezels are thick for what we’re used to now, but in the Apple world iPhone X (read the iPhone X review here) came out in 2017 and many users like me opted for the 8/8 Plus. So it’s not a big deal. And it was after the iPhone X that many of us started to dream about a bezelless phone with the same dimensions, resulting in the same usability but with much more real estate for the screen. I am not a fan of the Face ID so I won’t be so happy about it.

iOS 11 has been a pretty disappointing release. I haven’t had almost any problem but, performance wise, everything is a bit slower. That’s why I didn’t upgrade and stayed with the awesome 10.3.3. Having the same processor with less pixels to operate means it’s snappier than the 6s though.

But good news for those who upgraded. iOS 12 will be a performance oriented release. Not many new functions but a lot of under the hood optimization that will noticeably improve the responsiveness of the operations.

Talking about hardware it has the A9 64 bit processor and a 12 megapixel camera capable of 4k videos. It lacks the 3D Touch function of the 6s and it still features the first generation Touch ID, which is pretty disappointing given that the second gen one is blazing fast and once you get used to it there’s no coming back. Battery life is good and will allow you to complete a full day. The Retina display is lackluster, it’s not OLED like the X and it’s not even Retina HD like the 8. Nothing fancy.

All considered, the iPhone SE at the discounted current street price is the perfect fit for users that desire a fast, small and iOS device. It may not feature the latest innovations but it’s a solid choice.

PROS AND CONS AT A GLANCE

PROS

  • Wonderful ageless design
  • Fits in every pocket
  • Only modern smartphone usable with one hand
  • Still very fast and responsive
  • iOS updates for many years to come (2021 at least)
  • Good battery life

CONS

  • First gen Touch ID
  • Lackluster Retina display
  • No 3D Touch

WISH LIST

I think it’s almost impossible Apple will release a “small iPhone X”, but I will be very happy to see a new SE with slightly smaller bezels, the iPhone 8 processor, camera, Retina HD display and a second generation Touch ID sensor…at the same price.


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