iPhone SE Deals
The announcement of Apple's latest handset the iPhone SE was initially met with a touch of bemusement. Packing a smaller screen at a mere 4 inches, and also reverting to a somewhat retro chunkier design, it seemed like something of a backward step in the face of an industry moving ever forwards into bigger, slicker and faster devices. However, the new smartphone is in no way the budget, low-grade experience many expected – it has a feature list that competes well, and not just on its own terms. Compare iPhone SE deals below.
The compact screen size is, as mentioned, one of the most immediately striking aspects of the SE. It is to all intents and purposes a return to the exact same display as found on the iPhone 5s, featuring a resolution of 1,136 x 640 pixels across a diminutive 4 inches, which in effect works out at the same pixel density as the 6s albeit with less real estate. Moving back to this size of display may take some getting used to for 6s owners, but this is perhaps not the target market – there are plenty of phone buyers who eschew ever-larger screens in favour of a more comfortable size in the hand and the pocket, and the SE comes up trumps here. The display remains bright and warm, with excellent responsive touch (but no 3D), all packed into a more convenient space. Whether this trade off makes sense or not will come down to personal preference.
The SE comes with iOS 9.3 which will be familiar to users of relatively modern Apple devices. There are few surprising new features to note compared to earlier versions, consisting mainly of small tweaks to include the usability and function of both the system and the included apps. All in all, you'll get exactly what you'd expect – a slick and snappy experience that feels modern even with the throwback screen and case design, running well on the dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister CPU, backed up by the six-core PowerVR GT7600 graphics processor and 2GB of RAM.
The primary camera is another SE facility that's not been given the retro treatment, being a fully up-to-date 12MP device featuring the latest Transitive Property of Component Transplantation software (quick translation – nice pictures), alongside a secondary 1.2MP snapshotter.
Depending on the model chosen, the SE comes with between 16GB and 64GB of onboard storage. While the upper amount is reasonably generous, bear in mind that the iOS installation takes around 8GB of this space, and with no option for memory expansion, the budget model is therefore pretty limited when it comes to provision for your own apps or media.
Despite its small screen size and deceivingly retro case, under the hood the iPhone SE is a powerful beast running thoroughly modern hardware, and that of course comes at a price when you consider battery life. Nonetheless, from the official Apple specs the SE seems to be well equipped, with the non-removable Li-Po 1642 mAh battery providing up to 240 hours stand by, 14 hours talk time, and 20 hours music playing. In practice, this would seem to translate into a perfectly respectable ability to be kept busy all day with plenty in reserve, which is in reality enough for most real-world usage whatever the numbers say.
The SE comes with the full range of sensors you'd expect, from fingerprint through proximity to compass, while communications are well serviced with the collection of 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi including hotspot capability, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC, although there is no radio facility (does anyone miss that in these days of 3/4G streaming?). Physical connectivity is limited to the necessities of a reversible USB v2.0 connector and a standard 3.5mm audio jack to compliment the built in loudspeaker, which although it delivers an acceptable enough sound for low usage is always going to come off second best to decent headphones for media playing.
Apple may have a reputation for selling the latest and greatest must-have devices at a premium price, but the SE takes a slightly different approach, cutting a few corners to provide a still-powerful and desirable handset at a much reduced cost. If you're looking to upgrade from an older Apple without paying for cutting edge style, then this phone could make a great choice, but if you're a dedicated Apple fan looking for a game changer then it may be better to keep saving the pennies for the next major handset release.