iPhone SE review: Bigger on the inside

Updated March 31, 2017: Apple has just updated iPhone SE to make it even bigger on the inside: 32 GB and 128 GB big:

iPhone SE, the most powerful phone with a four-inch display, will be available beginning Friday, March 24, in 32GB and 128GB models, doubling the current capacity and replacing 16GB and 64GB models, all at the same starting price of $399 (US) at apple.com and Apple Stores.

iPhone SE packs almost all the power and features of the iPhone 6s into a package as small as — and even more affordable than — the iPhone 5s it replaces. It's something a passionate group of 4-inch iPhone fans have been waiting not-so-patiently for since Apple made the flagships big and bigger in 2014.

So, is iPhone SE everything they've been waiting for?

In keeping with our promise to be faster and better, here's an initial review of iPhone SE, 24-hours into using it full time. I'll be following it up next week with our in-depth review, so stay tuned!

See at Apple (opens in new tab)

iPhone SE video review

Give us just over five minutes and we'll give you the iPhone SE!

Back to the future

I used a 4-inch iPhone from when Apple introduced iPhone 5 in 2012 until the company introduced iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. Since then, I've always kept one handy for testing, and I switched back to it for almost a week earlier this month so I could reacquaint myself with how the size and shape feels, and how the Internet and apps look on that display.

That helped me feel more at home on the 4-inch iPhone SE, which is almost identical to iPhone 5s on the outside. The chamfered edges are matte rather than polished, the 6000 series aluminum has a stainless steel Apple logo inset on the back, iPhone 6s-style, and there's subtle SE branding beneath it. There's also a new rose gold finish to go along with the silver, space gray, and gold. That's about it.

For some, the harder edges might come off as old-fashioned in the age of curvier, more uniform iPhones. For others, though, this design is iconic in the tradition of Leica or Braun. Either way, iPhone SE is as easy to hold and use one-handed as ever. It slots right into my palm — even as my thumb easily arcs from corner to corner.

Pixel-packed

Everything's a compromise. With iPhone SE, what you gain in on-the-go usability, you do lose in display real-estate. Whether that's a good compromise or not depends on what you want from a pocket computer.

At 4-inches, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, 1136x640 resolution, 326 pixels per inch (ppi) display, you can't fit or see anywhere nearly as much content on iPhone SE as you can on the 1334x750 iPhone 6s or the enormous-by-comparison 1920x1080 iPhone 6s Plus. Not as much interface, not as much text, and certainly not the iPhone 6s Plus' two-column view in landscape.

At first, I did feel a little claustrophobic returning to the smaller display; like my window to the internet and apps suddenly shrank way down. The human brain is remarkably elastic, though, and it's getting better. What's nice is not having to juggle, or resort to Reachability Mode — a double touch of the Home button that shifts the entire interface halfway down the display — to use it one-handed. That's especially useful for when I'm walking around, carrying things, or otherwise hurrying about.

I do miss 3D Touch. That's the pressure sensing technology found on Apple's iPhones 6s. It's a disappointing omission, even though iPhone SE is technically a special edition iPhone 5s rather than a shrunken iPhone 6s. I know it won't matter to some, but to others it'll be a dealbreaker, or will, at least, make it a tougher decision for those who really want both.

Phenomenal power — itty bitty box

iPhone SE is powered by Apple's custom A9 system-on-a-chip. It's a screaming fast 1.85 GHz, 64-bit, dual-core processor with an absolutely kick-apps Imagination PowerVR Series 7XT graphics engine and 2 GB of memory. All that silicon behind so few pixels results in what can only be likened to an F1 racecar. Or maybe a Superleggera or 911R… I digress.

Thanks to the integrated M9 coprocessor, you also get all the same low-power motion sensing as you do on the iPhones 6s, as well as "Hey Siri" even while unplugged. That makes it super convenient to control your iPhone SE simply with the power of your voice.

Storage starts at 16 GB, which will no doubt have tech reviewers rolling their collective eyeballs so hard. Entry-level exists to promote upsells and elevate margins and mix. It also satisfies streamers, thin-client bulk buyers, and others who live entirely online. For mainstream consumers, though, the 64 GB model should be the go-to.

Apple claims 14 hours of talk time for iPhone SE, along with up to 13 hours of internet and video playback, 50 hours of audio, and 10 days of standby. It's always hard to test that early on, since a fresh install on a fresh device isn't reflective of longer-term use, and restoring from backup causes significant radio and processor overhead as everything gets re-downloaded and re-indexed.

I'll be keeping an eye on it, though, and will update with my findings. Including whether or not it can keep up with sustained Facebook drain...

Serious shooter

The other big improvement in this small package is the camera system. iPhone 5s had a cutting-edge camera for its time, but times have changed. We now live in the era of iPhone 6s-style deep trench isolation and Focus Pixels.

The first makes sure that all those megapixels don't bleed into each other and cross-contaminate the image. The second allows for phase-adjust focusing, which just means you can snap sharper shots faster. iPhone SE's updated 12-megapixel iSight camera offers both.

The image signal processor (ISP) in the A9 chipset provides increased intelligence for auto balance, exposure, face detection, dynamic adjustments, and image selection, as well as improved local tone mapping to maintain sharpness and preserve detail in both low and bright lights. In other words, your photos look more like real life and less like oversaturated, level-crushed hyper-life.

There's also 1080p video at 60 frames-per-second (fps) and 4K (2160p) video at 30 fps, making iPhone SE a first class moving-shooting experience.

The front FaceTime camera is still the same sensor as iPhone 5s but benefits from the new ISP and from a Retina Flash. I'm not sure why it didn't get a bump to an iPhone 6s-level 5 megapixels, because selfies really are a thing and really do need the better camera.

Live Photos are also here. They combine an image with a video, so your memories have motion and sound attached. Since there's no 3D Touch, you trigger Live Photos with a long press rather than a deep press. While some may call it a gimmick, anyone with kids, pets, or a sense of flair will get a kick out of it.

They also work even better with iOS 9.3. I'm not sure what Apple has changed, but Live Photos start faster and almost hint at what's about to come, so your brain is prepared for it. Pre-caching my eyes? I put nothing past them...

Small but clear

Cellular and Wi-Fi are closer to iPhone 6 than iPhone 6s.

You get up to 19 bands of LTE Advanced but only up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps). Most will never see those speeds in the real-world, but my carrier is pretty damn fast — I get 100 Mbps down in my living room — so I would have appreciated the extra overhead.

There's also 802.11ac Wi-Fi but no multiple-in, multiple-out support (MIMO) support, which caps you at 433 Mbps. Again, your actual speeds likely won't approach that, but I always want the potential.

Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint identity sensor, is still first generation, but there's an NFC radio now. That enables Apple Pay in any country and any retailer that supports it.

In other words, it's a significant improvement over iPhone 5s, but only half the way to iPhone 6s.

iOS 9.3

Enhancing iPhone SE hardware features is iOS 9.3, the latest update to Apple's iPhone operating system. In addition to everything included in last September's iOS 9 update, there are new features like Night Shift, which gradually changes the color cast of the display from cooler (blue) during the day to warmer (yellow) during the evening. You can set it manually as well, but the idea is Night Shift will help preserve your natural sleep cycles, especially if you use your iPhone before bed.

You can also secure individual notes in the Notes app so any financial, health, or personal data you want to save stays safe. It's a great idea, but I wish it was an option for every app rather than constrained to this one specific use case. For Photos, Messages, Health, and more, it would be a terrific addition to privacy, especially if you ever need to lend out your iPhone to a friend, family member, classmate, or colleague.

Apple News, if you're in one of the few countries that support it, now offers greater personalization. I'd still love to see a unified, system-wide News service that populates the app, Siri suggestions, and integrates with Safari Reading Lists and Shared Links, but that's beyond the scope of a mid-year point update. And, of course, much better international availability.

Health now includes a curated directory of compatible apps right inside the Weight, Workouts, and Sleep categories. Apple Watch activity data is also integrated right into the Health app now, so you can get all your info, all in one place.

Lastly, CarPlay now has Apple Music's New and For You sections and Nearby for Maps, making it easier to find things along the way to where you're going, and enjoy yourself while you're going there.

Get shorty

iPhone SE is available to order starting March 24 and ships starting March 31. The price is lower than ever, getting you 16 GB for $399 and 64 GB for $499. With new payment options, that can be less than a few fancy cups of coffee a month. At least in the U.S.

iPhone SE an coffee

iPhone SE an coffee (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

I'll be ordering the 64 GB rose gold. I don't think I'll be staying at this size for anything more than a few weeks, but I love that it's pretty much the not-at-all secret love child of the 6s and 5s. I'll also be following up this first-look up with a more in-depth review. I suspect for many of you it won't matter, though. Apple had you at A9, 12 megapixels, 4K video, and Apple Pay in a 4-inch iPhone.

If even 10-20% of iPhone owners have been waiting on a smaller iPhone to upgrade, that's tens of millions of now very happy customers.

For Android owners who've developed a distaste for tablet-sized phones and found themselves bereft of great, small choices from the not-Apples of the world, iPhone SE is likely to be a breath of fresh air as well.

Even first-time buyers turned off by the idea of a giant phone in their pockets or purses will likely find iPhone SE's more "candy bar" stylings more to their liking.

If any of those scenarios describe you— if you want most of the latest technology and the best experience possible in as small an inexpensive an iPhone as possible — then you want iPhone SE.

See at Apple (opens in new tab)

iPhone buyers guide

If you're looking to get a new iPhone but you're not sure which one, here's everything you need to know!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

162 Comments
  • The triumphant return of the small, high end iPhone. Good to have it back. I'm going with rose gold. Sent from the iMore App
  • Nice!!!
  • Hey Waheed Abdul! What's your take? Leave a comment. Hello sir who is an idot told to the Apple (apple team) that lanch iphone se 16gb in $582 in India what is the mean of whos going to buy dis at dis cost if spend spend few more $ in India they get iphone 6s ($626) most of the people bont lik 4inchs in india if u make an affordble price lik in us($399 & $499) its goes to the big compitition not big defiting compitetion for Android fones but i think google making very big festival by hearing dis news that apple is going to lanch at $582 iphone se by lauch this mobi i also not myself most of the Indians think that they got an affodble price in Apple by this 95% of indians not 95% probly 100% got disspnted by dis price i think its going to be uttter flop model in India if u dont beliv on me then mak an survy u got a truth that ur doig a big mistak sir
  • Hey Waheed Abdul! What's your take? Leave a comment. Hello sir who is an idot told to the Apple (apple team) that lanch iphone se 16gb in $582 in India what is the mean of whos going to buy dis at dis cost if spend spend few more $ in India they get iphone 6s ($626) most of the people bont lik 4inchs in india if u make an affordble price lik in us($399 & $499) its goes to the big compitition not big defiting compitetion for Android fones but i think google making very big festival by hearing dis news that apple is going to lanch at $582 iphone se by lauch this mobi i also not myself most of the Indians think that they got an affodble price in Apple by this 95% of indians not 95% probly 100% got disspnted by dis price i think its going to be uttter flop model in India if u dont beliv on me then mak an survy u got a truth that ur doig a big mistak sir if take my feed back seriously iphone se model get a big hiit model in india
  • I would like to win iPhone SE for free and shipping free
    My contact Number: 00264818730684
  • Good one
  • nice!!!!!!!!!
  • Thanks for the quick review. How have you adjusted to the "slower" Touch ID? Also how's the speaker, similar/comparable to the 5S/6/6S? Thanks!
  • I haven't really noticed it being slower. iPhone 6s just feels faaaaassssst.
  • Thanks Rene for the reviewing it objectively instead of thrashing it for its size. The Rose Gold iPhone SE looks terrific and I will be ordering it online soon. Can't wait to have a faster, lightweight and one handed usability iPhone in my hand. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah, it's a great small phone.
  • Honestly this design is much better than the zero friction design of the 6. Should have kept the design for the 6 or 6s would be a little too much for the plus. Hope the 7 has a little more grip. Sent from the iMore App
  • Absolutely love mine! There's nothing I would change..go for it!
  • Can't work out if that is a massive coffee or a tiny phone...
  • Both.
  • As others have said, I really apperciate the 24 hour review, thank you. It seems like more and more, it will be a great choice for me, and yes me three for rose gold. It's pretty.
  • Rene, why do you think they left out a 128gb storage option? Now my choice is a 6s w/128, or se w/64. Sent from the iMore App
  • Probably left it out to make the more expensive 6s look more appealing.
  • Ordered two this morning (for my wife and I - Grey and Rose Gold 64GBs) and am anxious to see real world battery life reviews. I'm coming from an iPhone 6 Plus, so I am definitely not expecting it to last as long, but hopefully am not going to lose too many hours.
  • I believe I have heard that the battery life will be better than the 5s, and similar to the 6s, if not better, so it should be nice. Probably not as nice as the plus, but nice.
  • Curious about this as well. It's a good start that Apple rated it higher than the 6/6S in a couple of categories.
  • You can read about it here: Seems pretty good http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/03/24/iphone-se-battery-bests-iphone...
  • This post's title reminds me of the song "Pretty on the Inside" by Ceann.
  • I've been so ambivalent about my 6 since I bought it. It's impossible to hold. Could not be more excited for the SE!
  • I've seen a lot of "meh" comments about the SE on twitter, but for me, I think Apple did right by the SE. The phone is a beast in all the ways that really count. So few small phones have really good specs, so props to Apple for doing it here!
  • This is my next phone.
  • I'm really happy to see all the positive comments on the SE. I never wanted to go larger than my 5s, but ended up caving because of the newer technologies, and doubt there would ever be another 4" iPhone again. I could probably get past the first gen Touch ID, but I really like 3D Touch and will wait for a hopefully next gen SE with that. I'm disappointed that the SE wasn't considered among the "flagship" iPhones. All I, and many others, wanted was a smaller 6s.
  • I wonder how many others there are like you. I *nearly* went with a 5s or 6s, but decided to stubbornly hold out (as I was concerned about the future for the 5s, and didn't want to go bigger). I'm really happy to see this, but yes, I wish it had been a true 4" addition to the iPhone line. It's still compromised a bit, but at least it's a pretty workable compromise.
  • I still think my 5S is fast. No reason to upgrade yet. Sent from the iMore App
  • I think so.
    Will keep my 5S.
  • It will really depend on if Apple pulls an iOS 8 with iOS 10. My iPad 2 was fine until Apple released iOS 8. The key is the RAM, mostly. So, this has 2GB, but your 5s has 1GB. Aside from app refresh and more browser tabs, that probably isn't an issue, until Apple makes the OS essentially require more RAM (probably not technically required, but for all practical purposes, required).
  • I pre-ordered my SIM-free 64GB Space Gray IPhone SE today. I'll be selling my iPhone 6s to pay for it. I have never been happy with the 6s size (let's just say I have Donald Trump hands), and I hate having to use a case for it because it is so stinkin' slippery. I'm looking forward to being back on a caseless 4-inch model! Also, I think the 5s was the most beautiful, well-designed smartphone ever made. So I'm actually glad they kept the 5s design instead of shrinking down the 6s design. And kudos to Apple for hitting the $399 price point too!
  • I am actually considering doing this as well. I have a 128GB iPhone 6S but hate how slippery it is without a case. I am about to just pre-order the 64GB Space Grey SE from Verizon and also get 2 FREE GBs. Loved the 5 series without a case.
  • Hi Adam, since you mentioned you ordered a SIM-free iPhone SE, I was wondering what carrier/calling plan you recommend? I'm interested in the new iPhone SE and a no-contract plan, but learned I need to decide if I will choose Sprint or another carrier at the time of purchase because of the 2 different SIM-free versions. I appreciate any advice you may have.
  • Why does the crema on your coffee look red?!
  • #shotonaniphone
  • Or...
    #RaspberryMochaFTW....
  • While I'm a strong Android fan (I like being different :P ), this will be my new recommended phone when people ask for phone advice.
  • How does the SE's screen quality fare in terms of contrast (ratio) and viewing angles compared to the 6 series?
  • WSJ's review (which touted better battery life) said the contrast wasn't as good as the 6/6S. http://www.wsj.com/articles/iphone-se-review-smaller-gets-smarter-with-b...
  • it's probably a 5S panel. Sent from the iMore App
  • Great! One year old hardware(outdated even at launch) and three year old case design.
    Massive margins all around, without them phone could be nice and small.
    It's not "good old" Apple any more. Sent from the iMore App
  • Really? Shut up dude.
  • Yeah, heaven forbid someone post a comment critical of Apple on iMore *eye roll*
  • I could arrange that for you... ;-P
  • Typical fandroid comment. Sent from the iMore App
  • Wow. Clicked on the article expecting first impressions of a rehashed phone; Received an excellent review of the features, additions, and omissions made for this model. Very well done. Sent from the iMore App
  • I really cannot believe I just preordered one of these this morning, but I did. Everything old is new again I guess. :) The 5S really was my favorite phone of all time and after using a Galaxy S7 for the past few days in place of my iPhone 6S+, I think I realized I do enjoy the smaller form factor much more.
  • Eww, why would you use an S7 over a 6s Plus? For me and most people on this thread, the iPhone is way better, and although I'm happy there's a new 4 inch iPhone in the SE, for those that like that form factor, I will never go back to that form factor, it's way too small for now as I love the size of my 6s Plus. Sent from the iMore App
  • Believe it or not, some of us are mature enough to use both iOS and Android without incident. I know that goes against the grain of the usual fanboy nonsense on these boards, but it is possible. I swear.
  • Still if in the unlikely event I used an Android phone again (yes I have used an Android phone before, but never again) I'd rather go with a Nexus. But I know I'll never use And again and I'm happy with iPhone and Apple and see no reason to switch and yes I'm a fanboy and I'm a proud fanboy. Sent from the iMore App
  • Just ordered a space gray 64 gb. Already have the case and screen protector ready. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes, this is pretty much what I've been waiting for... and I'll be getting one (64 GB, probably space gray). I'm a bit disappointed it's not a true 4" equivalent to the rest of the iPhone lineup, but it's far enough there that it will do the job. And, I suppose with a bit lower price, it brings in a few people that might have gone elsewhere. I'm just *SO* thankful they didn't make a 6c! (And, it's stupid they started it at 16GB, but that was expected.)
    Also, I'm quite happy to see this design return to the 5s look, and kind of wish the iPhone 7 would go there as well. I think it's a more refined, expensive look. The 6/6s look much cheaper in design/construction. Not sure about actual usability, but more on look.
  • I agree about the beautiful look of the 5s and now the 5 SE returning to that design again. But I don't think it would work well for the iPhone Plus versions, it would loose that jewel finish look the smaller iPhone has got.
  • That's a good point... I'd have to think about that more. :)
  • Yeah exactly, on the design front, you cannot imagine the copies of the design of 5S that have been made by other chinese mobile makers. It's selling like hot cakes in the indian market more or so due to the design. Apple did a great job with the 5S, game changer design by Apple. And now in the SE with beefed up hardware. Steve Jobs would be proud. :)
  • Hi, I cannot overstate how much I'm enjoying this whole buzz about the SE. I remember how many pundits along with commentators dissed the iPhone 5, as well as 5s that ensued; what an iconic design that is; it has stayed with us ever since. Too bad that it has taken almost four years for some folks to understand that 2012 was not a bad year for the iPhone. It's amazing to be watching this change of heart & welcoming reception of the refreshed mighty small iPhone. I'm ordering 64G Rose Gold for myself and Space Gray (same storage) for my SO. Cheers!
  • Great quick first 24 hours review Rene. 3D Touch panels are probably too expensive for now, the technology would have probably pushed the price higher than the targeted price point. It does impact negatively to the new UI navigation format with missing 3D Touch but I think it's a minor compromise. Apple should be applauded for getting this tiny beast out the door in this age of giant phone (I love giant 6s Plus make no mistake about it).
  • They should have done 3D touch panels and clawed the money back by using a generic plastic case a la iPhone 5c IMO.
  • Or they could have used it in 128 GB version only for $599
  • The iPhone SE definitely sounds very advanced for a 4in. phone. However, 3D touch missing is a big loss, especially for people like myself looking for an affordable upgrade with advanced technologies and operating systems. Overall though, the iPhone SE will accommodate the needs of many who continue to purchase and keep the iPhone 5s and any other 4in iPhone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple doesn't believe in 3d touch as a destination feature. It's pretty clear.
  • A lot of people were bashing this phone and I don't know why. It's great to have choices. Sent from the iMore App
  • I like how they are going back again to smaller phones with better battery
  • Apple hit the nail on the head by introducing a smaller, much improved, 4 inch iPhone. There is definitely a gap in the marketplace when you hear about the astonishing number of 5s iPhones that sold last year alone. Thumbs up Apple.
  • Apple has did a good job with this decision they made remaking the perfect shape that fits right in users hands iPhone SE is a tough choice when the user wants a big screen and also a small screen packed with these specs I'm going to have to make my decision soon. Sent from the iMore App
  • Rene, Should I downgrade to a SE. I have the 6s but like the smaller screen size Sent from the iMore App
  • It all really depends on your preferences.
    The only thing missing in SE are the Screen Resolution, 3D Touch and Touch ID 2nd Gen.
    If you don't mind giving them a miss, you can surely consider the SE.
    Moreover SE has the same chipset, same processing speeds, same RAM, Same camera, better design.
    And a that price point and with the most popular product design from apple, there's nothing much to complain about.
  • Please give me want to try please please please please Sent from the iMore App
  • But the SE's TouchID has to be faster than the 5s? Please tell me that's true. I got this for my Dad, and he needs the fingerprint to be instantaneous. The 5s sucked! compared to 6 and 6s, and iPad Pro. How can TouchID still be "1st Generation?"
  • Dear Rezwits
    The touch ID is the same as 5S as you pretty well know. The idea of putting that in was because of the touch ID 2 being too fast for some. Many complaints can be found on the net regarding the same. So, a better way to slow it down, is to use the touch ID 1. It gives an additional benefit for the user to not actually use the wake button, each time, you just want to glance the notification to respond to or disregard.
    And as the 5s was the most popular iphone till date, and well iphone 6/6s wasn't as successful, do you think by giving SE everything that 6/6s has, they would risk to further drop the sales of 6/6s.
    All this helps in keeping the price down, answering the customer demands in the best way, giving the phone just the right things to sell & leave people craving still wanting for more that gives apple and people a reason to keep upgrading.
  • Not being funny, but why does he need TouchID to be instantaneous?
  • IT's just that he has difficulty using the TouchID on his 5s, it just doesn't read his fingers that well. I put mine on my iPhone and I am in. He doesn't have the touch for one, and I figured the newer one would work better for him when he goes to put his finger down. Like he'll put his finger on the 5s and nothing, then he get's frustrated and wiggles it and then sometimes he is in. I just wanted him to be able to put is his finger down and BLAM IN, not messing or wiggling his finger....
  • Rene, being a Retro 51 pen collector, I love the Retro 51 Tornado Apple pen next to the phone..... How did you obtain yours?
  • it is good phone if video is true
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FgohG_jnmM
  • My 6s plus is up on eBay, I can't wIt to go back to the 4" size. I can't stand going places with that huge monster of a phone.
  • Disappointed at the lack of 3D touch. Dealbreaker. Good option otherwise though.
  • It's really cool device, with the upgarde it's faster than ever.
    I have been a fan of 5s, and using since past 2 years.
    Great to see an SE to upgrade.
    6s actually spoiled the line up to be fair. This is so awesome. :) Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Awsome! The best phone with latest processor and Camera as well as increased ram. Totally awsome Iphone.
  • 4 inches was and still is the perfect form factor for me. Now sporting a 6s will will be handing it down shortly once the SE becomes available here.
  • "Bigger on the inside!" So, it's a Tardis?
    I already have mine ordered and my 6s sold. I'll have to somehow survive the week with my old 5. Battery drains about 10% an hour when in standby with low power mode on. This will be a fun week.
  • Good review, and a good phone, but funnily enough, the reason I'm not going to buy it is because of it's external resemblance to the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 was great in it's day but it just looks old and clunky to me now. I don't think the design has aged well. IMO it's not a "classic," at least not from an aesthetic view point. If they had done the exact same phone, but put it in the iPhone 5c plastic case I would have bought it and it could even have been a hundred bucks cheaper again as a result. The plastic iPhone 5c still looks "futuristic," but the iPhone 5 just looks like the past.
  • I think it is great that Apple gave people to use the best technology available in now matter what size or design. Still I didn't decide what works better for me since I really do a lot of reading on my iPhone 6 and I guess it'd be weird to go back to an iPhone 5-ish product again. I'll have to try! Sent from the iMore App
  • Is it really different the quality of the front camera comparing to iPhone 6S? Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm happy apple made this phone, but very disappointed with the storage. Why wouldn't they offer 128?
    This is a deal breaker Sent from the iMore App
  • Hey, Although I somewhat share the sentiment, it's pretty clear why they chose not to; it's their entry-level iPhone now, or they'd like you to think that; in this context, if you want extra storage, opt for the "premium" line of devices i.e., the 6s. I'm using used quotations symbols because I personally detest artificial product segmentation. To me, an iPhone is an iPhone ;)
  • Any chances Apple will make cases for this phone in the same colors they made for the 6S?
  • I hope so. At the moment you can only get two leather cases (black and midnight blue) I hope this will change. I love the new marine blue iPhone 6s leather case and would want the same color for the SE! Additionally, the silicone cases would be highly appreciated, too! Sent from the iMore App
  • Good phone and the most powerful 4 inch phone on the market. Sent from the iMore App
  • Love thissssss.
  • RR, could you go back to this phone full time, and be happy? after having both a 6 and 6S+
    I am buying one. going from 6S+ to SE.
  • I'm glad Apple is listening to their customers. Sent from the iMore App
  • I own ip6 and it seems a little too big for my hands. Reachability helps a lot but for my next model I consider SE.
    Well, I'll see when it comes to Europe and play with it in the store first but it looks promising :) Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm pretty sure it doesn't have OIS for the camera like my 6S Plus has... Amiright? My GF is wanting this phone as an upgrade from her 5S, but I'm telling her she should go with the 6S. Doesn't the 6S have a better FFC?
  • Yes, 6S has a better FFC. And you're correct, true OIS only exists on the 6+ and 6S+, though it makes very little difference most of the time.
  • Yes, because HD selfies are the most import aspect of the phone.
  • I'm an Android guy, but after smashing my 5" Nexus 5 I loaned an iPhone 5S until I got my current Galaxy S6. Was quite pleased with iOS, worked really well, but I couldn't stand that 4" size, way too small for anything but calls & text in my opinion but hey, to each there own.
  • I'm an iOS and iPhone guy through and through but even I wouldn't buy the iPhone SE, it's just too small now, but it's great for people who love that size. I have a 6s+ and love everything about it and the screen size. Sent from the iMore App
  • Hard pass on this one. Sent from the iMore App
  • Rene - thanks for the review. I am sure I will love this phone and have no problem with screen size since I will be coming from a borrowed iPhone 3 for the last two years and before that my beloved flip phone. It is time to upgrade since the 3 has been blacking out lately while in the middle of reading emails etc. I wasn't sure what to do finding a similar size to the 3 and I didn't really want to go to the 5 and definitely not the 6! I hate shopping for electronics - so this makes it easy!
  • The SE is the iPhone 5s with better guts. The screen is only slightly larger than
    the screen on the 3 series. The 3 has a 3.5inch display while the 5 family 5,5c,5s
    and now the SE have 4inch displays. It's also a retina display which means it's
    much sharper and easier to read.
  • I'm confused. Other than a slightly better screen, better cameras,WiFi/LTE radios
    and processors the SE doesn't really have anything the iPhone 5s didn't.
    64bit processor, check.
    16 and 64 gig configurations, check.
    Touch ID, check.
    Motion co-processor, check.
    NFC radio, check.
    Secure enclave chip, check.
    Actually, the screen is the same resolution as the 5s so other than
    the retina flash which is software controlled anyway, that's not much
    of an upgrade either. What am I missing? Of course you don't get Hey Siri while unplugged on the 5s/6/6plus
    but how many people actually use Siri often enough that it matters?
  • If you have a newer 5S then it's probably not as big of a change (though battery life appears to be a significant bump). But if you have a 5 or a 5S that's 2+ years old (i.e. it's showing its wear, especially with the battery), then this could be a nice upgrade if you want to stick with the same form factor.
  • The 5S can't do apple pay. it does not have NFC.
    The Processor and graphics are TWICE as fast. Don't downplay that like its a non feature.
    It has twice the Ram for better everything.
    Much better rear camera.
    True Tone front flash.
    Whats so hard to understand its a 6S without 3D touch, 5MP front cam, and has a gen 1 FP reader.
    Guess the 6S is basically a non upgrade vs the 5S. Your toyota Yaris hatchback:
    has 4 tires? check
    has a front seat? check The Audi A8:
    has 4 tires: check
    has a front seat: check I would bet the audi might be a better car......
  • Apple's done it again.... whatever that means! ;-P
  • The new iPhone SE looks really pretty - lots like the old iPhone 5s, but the Rose Gold version is gorgeous! This new phone looks very promising! Great review :)
  • I find it really difficult to change preference since I started using Apple products. Although I'm not really wow-ed with the improvements on this one, I'm still glad that the power of 6S is now on a smaller-sized iPhone which I actually prefer. I'm still using a 5 now, so I guess it's a good time to get an upgrade.
  • So great! and Yes, I hope I win in your Iphone SE giveaway contest. I really need this! Thank you for this wonderful review<3
  • No thanks, I will stick with my iPhone 6s Plus and will get 7 Plus in six moths.
  • Getting rid of my s6 edge and going back to small form factor which i really like. Been using back my 5s and lately till i get my hands on 5se Sent from the iMore App
  • I would have much rather Apple charged $50 more dollars and made a true 6s mini, same design, touch ID, and front camera.
  • I currently have an iPhone 6s, but I've never liked the design. The SE is a perfect replacement. Yes, the screen is smaller, but most of the internals are 6s, so I won't be losing much. So, I've pre-ordered the space grey SE. I can easily sell my 6s for the same price (I got the $399.00 model). Can't wait for Thursday!
  • The 4k video recording is the main reason I love this phone. I'm just curious how much space a single minute video takes up when recorded in 4k.
  • Hello. Do the loudspeakers retain the punchy output of the 5S? Or are they more sonorous like the 6/6s given the upgraded internals.
  • It looks like the camera is flush! is that true? I cringed and cursed the heavens when Apple joined Samsung and the others with their protruding camera on the 6.
  • Yes - the body is literally identical to the 5S...
  • IPHONE 5SE ROSE GOLD 64GB
  • IPHONE 6S SPACE GRAY 64 GB
  • I wouldn't change my 6s because I like big screen, but 6SE looks great, by the way, anybody know the name of that game (minute 2:17), thanks
  • Last year's specs inside a 4 year old body. That's how to save money.
  • Awesome features. Looking Great. But there is no variation of the design.
  • It's supposed to be a cheaper model, so they used the same design to save on money
  • This will be the phone I recommend to my mom if she complains about her iPhone 4S...
  • I don't mind they made this phone look like the older ones but at least it performs like the 6s plus it is cheaper! https://versus.com/en/apple-iphone-se-vs-apple-iphone-5s
  • Always funny when someone says something against apple here. I loved my gold iPhone 5s. But somehow the time stopped with Apple. We are three years later and still have the same resolution. Why? Battery life or just cheaper? What about life pictures? Because now we see that it is just a selling feature because apple has no problem to bring it to other devices and not only the 6s. At least now we see how apple marketing works and not sure why bringing the iPhone 5s back to life.
  • Apple playing mixed bag.... with exception of the battery, and camera, since i believe these use different connections. iFix did good one this tear-down too.. I guess u can swap most from the iPhone 5s if needed since they share the same.
  • So glad they went smaller, I use my watch for most things, so my phone is just used as the anchor for it in the bottom of my purse or for picture taking.
  • I got the Spacegray! It's absolutely perfect. It's so nice to have the smaller palm-sized iphone back.
  • perfect replacement for my iphone5
  • when iPhone SE will be available in Brazil..?
  • A local provider is trying to get rid of its iPhone5S stock, offering $0 plus a 2 year plan. I reckon that you can get the same deal on Black Friday for the same offer but you will get a SE instead of a 5S.
  • Wow thanks for this quick but comprehensive review. I think it will be a great give for my niece.
  • Thanks for t he review, it looks like iPhone 5s a lot.
  • The SE is exactly like the 5s BUT with 6s innards. It is a great phone. I wouldn't change it for anything else.
  • I'm a long-time Android user who likes small phones. I now have an SE. This is my first iPhone--we'll see how it goes. I got tired of being forced into larger phones.
  • Hi :) Please pick me as your winner. it's really my big dream to have an iPhone SE :) Please choose me :(
  • What winner? This isn't a contest, it's a review.
  • Hey Rene, hopefully you see this update a month later.. Tell me about your pen in that picture. Is that just a pen that happens to be Rose Gold, or is it some sort of combo stylus/pen thing?
  • iPhone SE will support Apple Pay and matches exactly with the iPhone 6s.
  • I think it's a really great phone.
  • In terms of some features...it is almost like iPhone 6s (wantITbuyIT,com).
  • The SE iPhone is a nice clean phone with new color of gold and A9 processor and I really like it. The only problem is that I only see them at the store and mess with them there not at my house because I do not have one. on the other hand I do enjoy seeing them at the stores:)
  • Hey, I have in life desired stuff like cameras, and phones, and great fashion clothes and nice things, but you know something, once you have it, there is a dissapointing feeling of i didnt really need that gadget, Your comment is good in fact its great that you are in a good head state. .... You see you like but you dont need to consume. you are a happy person. good luck and remain free.
  • Love my gold SE and my wife loves her rose gold SE. Both are great phones. Thank you Apple!
  • It's even better with IOS 10!!! Woo Hoo!!!
  • Congrats, guys.
  • I love the new Iphone SE <3
  • is it worth buying??????????
  • Yes. It is like a 6s in a 5 body i need to get it and you do too.
  • SE is the most glorious phone in all the land.
  • What is the brand and model of the pen in the photo under the heading 'Get Shorty'?
  • It looks very nice with its color matching the iPhone, although I'd prefer it in 'space gray'...
  • Good to get the knowlege of the iphoneSE. Perhaps going for silver one~
  • noi chung dt IPhone thi khoi che vao Dấu DC. nhung thích la một chuyện co tiền mua la chuyện gì khác..? Anh em nao so hữu iphon la hanh phúc roi
  • I just need to make a phone call can I buy just phone minutes on a pre paid card like I-Tunes
  • It's disappointing that the refresh of the iPhone SE on March 21 does not come with the updated processor and camera to go along with it's 128 gig storage bump. This phone is now a year old and no update. Sent from the iMore App
  • Might be a year old, but it's still a very nice phone(for a 4in)..but your right, they should updated at least the processor. Sent from the iMore App
  • Why? It's certainly not a flagship model and to be frank for the price its specs are still better than comparable priced Androids other than its size. And to being honest, those who will truly be attracted to this handset are probably not into specs in the first place. I don't get you smartphone people, a year old is not old at all. I mean, my 2012 Mac Pro is still faster and more powerful than the currently available Macs except for some upgraded 2013 Mac Pros.
  • If Apple would've updated the internals and the camera to match the iPhone 7, I would've purchased the new SE in a heartbeat. But the fact that they kept two year old technology in it turns me off.
  • Paging Lory Gil, Paging Lory Gil- Your iphone SE is now available!
  • Why in the blue f**k is the iPhone SE 128GB $499 on the US store but $829 on the Australian store? So bloody annoying.
  • Have the iPhone 7 with 256gb of internal-storage, my SE has 64gb, going to upgrade to the 128. The old style iPhone is such a beautiful phone. I'll always keep the small phone to have. The iPhone SE is such a comfortable phone to carry & use. Just figured I'd throw that out. It would have been nice if Apple added the latest processor, what a screamer it would be then. Maybe next year.