by Jim Lynch

Is the new iPhone SE worth buying?

Mar 21, 2017
Consumer ElectronicsiPhoneMobile

Apple has upgraded the iPhone SEu2019s storage to 32 GB and 128 GB from 16 GB and 64 GB. Is the iPhone SE worth the money?

When Apple first released the iPhone SE, many people scoffed at the idea of an updated 4-inch iPhone. But the iPhone SE proved to be quite popular among iPhone users, and the small phone naysayers were left with egg on their faces.

One of the biggest complaints about the original iPhone SE was that it offered only 16 GB of storage in its cheapest model. Apple has now fixed that problem and buffed the storage up to 32 GB for the entry level model which will sell for $399, and 128 GB for the next model up which will sell for $499.

So is the new iPhone SE worth buying?

The new iPhone SE has larger storage but no other hardware upgrades

Obviously the upgraded storage adds real value to the iPhone SE and makes it much more attractive for many users. Let’s face it 16 GB was a bit of a joke, and it was far too easy to fill that up without even trying very hard. 64 GB was a bit better but even that can be easily filled up with 4K photos, videos, games and various apps.

So the upgraded storage makes the iPhone SE a much better option if storage is your main concern. It’s important to note, however, that the new iPhone SE uses the same A9 processor, the same screen and other hardware as the previous version. Nothing but the storage has been updated.

The lack of other hardware upgrades has clearly disappointed some folks that were hoping Apple would upgrade the iPhone SE’s processor, camera, screen and Touch ID sensor. If you’re one of those users then you’ll have to just sit tight and hope that Apple releases a more significant update to the iPhone SE next year.

Can you live with the new iPhone SE’s 4-inch screen?

If you own a larger iPhone and you are thinking about switching to the new iPhone SE then you should consider carefully the pros and cons of smaller screens. A phone with a smaller screen is lighter and more pocketable, but can also be a disappointment if you are used to a larger screen.

For example, if you play games or watch a lot of video on your phone then you might find a 4-inch screen very cramped or significantly harder to see than the larger screens of other iPhones.

This is particularly noticeable if you are coming from the iPhone 6 Plus, 6s Plus or 7 Plus. A plus sized iPhone offers a much different viewing experience than the iPhone SE, and it can be quite jarring to suddenly go from a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen to a 4-inch screen.

My feeling is that you should step back and examine what you use your phone for each day. If you use it mainly for texting and phone calls, then the 4-inch screen of the iPhone SE might work quite well for you.

But if you use it as more of a pocket computer where you are reading web pages, watching videos, playing games and doing other things that make use of a larger phone screen then you might find the iPhone SE’s screen just too darned small to use for any length of time.

I might switch from a 6s Plus to the new iPhone SE

I’m wrestling with this question myself right now. I have an iPhone 6s Plus which I have generally enjoyed using. However, I am not much of a “phone person.” I tend to spend most of my computing time on my 5K iMac, and when I want to read books I opt for my Kindle Oasis instead of my iPhone.

So I may end up finally dumping my iPhone 6s Plus and getting the new iPhone SE just to lighten the load I have to carry around with me each day. Your mileage may vary, but if you are like me and find that you don’t use your larger screen iPhone for very many things, then the new iPhone SE could be just what the doctor ordered.

One thing is for sure, Apple will sell zillions of the new iPhone SE now that its storage has essentially doubled for the same price.

What people are saying about the new iPhone SE

News about the new iPhone SE quickly hit the Apple subreddit and the folks there were quite…er…vocal in sharing their thoughts about it. I’ll leave you with this selection of comments from the discussion:

Wankeyy: “For a phone that size, the hardware is enough. Throwing in a faster CPU-GPU combo isn’t going to change anything.”

Callu23: “…do you think the phone will last forever with these specs? Also even if the specs could support it (which they very likely won’t) the OS support will be cut off with iOS14/15 instead of 15/16 (depending on how they count half years) since all iOS devices are supported for five years.

And obviously on top of all that is the increasing spec requirements for apps and the OSses themselves, if you buy a phone and want it to last you, you need the latest specs.”

PeekyChew: “It’s more the lower quality screen that puts me off it now. When you compare it side-by-side to a newer ones it’s a really big difference. ”

FBGM: “Really? I was expecting a bigger update tbh something that could match the 7 performance wise, add waterproofing, etc. But now it’s a generation behind :(”

Momskirbyok: “Well being a generation behind doesn’t change this though. I bet it’ll last as long as the 6s, if not longer. The phone has to push less pixels.”

Geoff5093: “Doesn’t change that it has a weaker camera, no water resistance, older touch ID sensor, still a low quality screen, slower LTE performance, etc.”

Saintstryfe: “But it’s a more budget-oriented phone. It’s to be expected.”

RyanBI: “I honestly don’t have any idea what I would do on my SE that would require more power.”

More at Reddit

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