iPhone SE Review

iPhone SE – 4 inch displayIn the year 2010, the iPhone 4 was a revolutionary device. It reshaped the way the world communicated. But in 2016, the iPhone 4 is obsolete – no longer supported by Apple. I needed a new phone. I skipped the 4S, 5, 5S, 6 and 6S models. That’s five generations of upgrades. It wasn’t until 5 1/2 years later, with the launch of the iPhone SE, that I felt there was a worthy successor. So how is the new phone? It’s nice! :)

It’s been an annual occurrence. Apple would announce a new phone in September and the world would freak out about it. The iPhone SE is not that type of phone. Quite frankly, when Apple officially announce the iPhone SE, the event was a total snoozefest. When the iPhone SE was finally available in stores, more people were lining up to preorder a Tesla Model 3. While I didn’t pre-order a Tesla, I did preorder the iPhone SE. It was an insta-buy. I knew that this was the phone that I was waiting for. It’s not revolutionary, it’s not big, it’s not anything that the media can go nuts over – it’s just a solid phone.

The iPhone SE is also a tremendous value. Starting at $399, it’s shocking that Apple wasn’t cheap. 12 megapixels camera, 4K video, 2GB of RAM and same processor as the iPhone 6S / 6S plus. This phone is powerful. Yet, it’s not cumbersome. I like mobile phones because they’re mobile. I didn’t like the size of the iPhone 6 line. It’s just too big for me. The slightly larger size is surprisingly cumbersome. And with the rounded edges, I felt like I would drop it. I was always trying to reach for a button that was just too far away.

With the iPhone SE, I feel brave enough to use it without a case. And since the camera doesn’t protrude out of the body, I can rest the iPhone SE flat on the table. There’s no wobbling while quickly checking messages.

Sure, there are some areas where Apple cut corners. The iPhone SE doesn’t include a barometer or 3D-touch. While these features might be nice, I don’t consider them essential. The front-facing camera, with only 1.2 megapixels, is also a bit underpowered. I consider this a fair tradeoff for such affordability and portability.

Apple remained stingy with 16GB as the standard amount of storage space, which is surprisingly low for a phone in 2016. The original iPhone 4 launched with that much storage space. Yet, I splurged the $100 for the iPhone SE with 64GB of storage. I know this is almost pure markup for Apple, as the difference in hardware is nowhere near $100. But even at $499, the iPhone SEΒ is still hundreds of dollars cheaper than a new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus with 64GB of storage space.

The iPhone SE has that classic iPhone look. I like it. It just feels right. It’s fast, the battery life is great and it’s nice to enjoy many of the features that I was missing. The Health app tells me how many steps I walked, I could use the interactive examples in A Book About Hype and I could catch up with current events with the News app. I had gone too long with an old phone. My day feels happier and less frustrating with modern technology.

The iPhone SE is basically an iPhone 5S with many of the components from the newer 6S. If you’re in the market for a new iPhone, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the iPhone SE is nice balance of features and affordability. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest iPhone, so you can brag about how awesome you are to your friends, then you might want to wait for the iPhone 7 – it should launch later this year.