iPhone SE Review
As an iPhone 6S Plus user, I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of getting a free iPhone SE to review. What surprised me was how people react to my admission that I have it, they usually ask me to whip it out and then we compare phones like boys in the locker room comparing sizes. “Oh wow, it’s so small,” they proclaim, this is despite the fact that they own an iPhone 5 or 5s and it’s not that much bigger than the SE. The SE is the first iPhone that doesn’t conform to Apple’s number naming scheme but because it looks so similar to the flagship iPhone 4 it doesn’t seem like much innovation, but instead stagnation.
Lacking New Ideas Without Jobs?
It might seem like a harsh accusation that the iPhone SE lacks originality but let me explain. The iPhone 5 was the last Apple phone that Steve Jobs was hands-on with and yes, that is an important detail. Every phone that Apple has produced since Jobs’ tragic passing has borrowed heavily from previous designs. For instance, the SE borrows heavily from the internal design of the iPhone 5 and the external design of the iPhone 4. It seems like without Steve Jobs, Apple might struggle to keep up with the groundbreaking innovation that we are all used to. Some commentators go as far to claim that the “Apple brand lived and died on Steve Jobs’ every decision.”
No doubt, Apple is a company with many talented designers, engineers, marketers and programmers but it is was Jobs’ magic touch that drove the numerous Apple creating legendary tech innovations and made it become one of the largest companies in the world. It was Jobs who insisted on the iPod’s navigation wheel, added colour to the iMac and refused calls to make a bigger version of the iPhone. Yet it seems that since his passing, Tim Cook has taken all the ideas rejected by Jobs and brought them into fruition, think of the larger sized iPhone phablet the iPhone 6S plus. And this is perhaps the biggest fault with the iPhone SE because it’s not innovation. It takes up the challenge to fulfil Apple’s need to expand it’s product portfolio and take up the type of practical needs that used to be left to other companies like Microsoft and IBM.
The Phone itself
Having said all that, the iPhone SE itself can not be faulted. It is a perfect combination of form and function and if you like a smaller phone you can just slip into your pocket but has all the spec of the more recent iPhone offerings, then this is the phone for you. Especially as the larger phones are almost impossible to be discrete with; they hang out of pockets and don’t fit into small bags.
- Retina display
- 1136×640‑pixel resolution at 326 ppi
- Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
- 4‑inch (diagonal) LED‑backlit widescreen Multi‑Touch display
- 1136×640‑pixel resolution at 326 ppi
- 800:1 contrast ratio
- Fingerprint‑resistant oleophobic coating
- Full sRGB standard
- 500 cd/m2 max brightness
- Improved noise reduction
- 4K video recording (3840×2160) at 30 fps
- Take 8-megapixel still photos while recording 4K video
- 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
- Slo‑mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
- Continuous autofocus video
- x3 zoom
- Face detection
- Playback zoom
- 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
- Fingerprint sensor
- Battery time – up to 14 hours on 3G
- AirPlay Mirroring, photos, audio and video out to Apple TV (2nd generation or later)
Don’t get me wrong, this article is not suggesting that the iPhone SE is an awful phone. In fact far from it. If you are the type of persona that prefers a smaller phone and feel the market is not providing enough high spec phones that aren’t gigantic in size then this is perfect for you. The iPhone is perhaps the best smartphone under 4 inches that is currently available. But how long will this be the case for? Well, it is very likely that Apple will announce the iPhone 7 sometime in September (click here for more details about the iPhone 7) – so the questions remains whether it is even worth getting this installment when it’s going to be out of date within the next 6 months. Unless, of course, Apple decides also update the SE at the same time (which is highly unlikely as Apple are not in the habit of doing six month product cycles). This means that even though you might have what appears to be the fastest small phone on the market it still won’t be top of the range. It is effectively a “budget” offering from Apple and although it is a “good phone”, people buy into the Apple brand because they used to offer something more than that.