Apple has finally unveiled the 4-inch smartphone that has been rumored for some time, branding it the iPhone SE as was largely expected. This new affordable iPhone variant is expected to introduce new consumers to the Apple range in the Western world, while expanding Apple’s already impressive operation in the East Asian marketplace and other emerging countries.
Consumers intending to pick up an Apple mobile are now faced with essentially a three-way decision (although other Apple handsets are still available and usable) Between the iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. These are the three most recent smartphone releases from the market-leading Californian corporation, so how do the three mobiles stack up when compared to one another?
Size, weight and convenience
As would be expected, the iPhone SE is the smallest and lightest of the three smartphones. Apple has manufactured this device with the thrifty end of the market in mind, and the four-inch display included in the handset is the smallest that Apple has plumped for in the last few years, since the iPhone 5c in 2013.
Thus, the 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 in) handset is significantly smaller than the iPhone 6s, which measures 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in), or the older iPhone 6, which is marginally smaller than the 2015 premium iPhone at 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 in).
The iPhone SE is also somewhat less heavy than the iPhone 6, and around 25 percent lighter than the iPhone 6s. Weighing just 0.25 pounds, this is the lightest iPhone in many generations, and will obviously be convenient for people wanting the most easily conveyed handset possible. Neither the iPhone 6 nor iPhone 6s it should be considered weighty and bulky, but it is noticeable that the iPhone 6 scores better in this category.
Although the iPhone 6s from last year is marginally slimmer than the iPhone SE, the lighter and generally smaller nature of the new smartphone makes it the ideal choice for people wishing to utilize the device in one hand only. It will also appeal to those consumers wanting the most compact iPhone handset.
Apple perhaps sprung a bit of a surprise with the iPhone SE, producing a smartphone that essentially shares its design with the last affordable mobile produced by Apple, the iPhone 5c. It was largely anticipated in the media that Apple would take its design cues from last year’s iPhone 6s, but Apple has instead decided to keep its premium range completely separate from the more affordable iPhone on the market.
It is perhaps also surprising that the iPhone SE is marginally thicker than the last generation iPhone 6s, as Apple usually endeavors to ensure that every iPhone release is slimmer than the last. There may have been design challenges for Apple in this department, and also the engineers must cram the usual iPhone features into a significantly smaller device with the iPhone SE.
Nonetheless, the design of the iPhone SE has won plaudits in the short amount of time that it has been in the public domain, but those wanting the most attractive iPhone unit may instead out for last year’s iPhone 6s. The iPhone 6 is not hugely different to the iPhone 6s in design terms, with the release from the last year being viewed as an upgrade to the previous iPhone 6 rather than an entirely new generation, so there are points for comparison between the 2015 and 2016 releases.
Specs and features
The first thing to note about the functionality of the iPhone SE is that Apple has not included the 3D Touch system which debuted last year in the iPhone 6s. This was a major selling point of Apple’s premium smartphone last year, and the fact that it does not feature in the iPhone SE will count against the smartphone in some people’s eyes. However, it is worth noting that the iPhone 6, of course, does not have the 3D Touch system either.
In terms of specs, the iPhone SE is pretty impressive, and in all honesty renders the iPhone 6 rather redundant, at least for new consumers. Featuring a superior camera to the iPhone released in 2014, double the RAM memory, and a superior A9 processor, the iPhone SE is simply a better performer than the iPhone 6.
Apple has also ensured that the iPhone SE will retail in the same 16 and 64GB options that were included by the iPhone 6 when released. This does mean that it does not feature the 128GB premium model that was introduced when the iPhone 6s was released. Additionally, the front-facing camera in the iPhone SE is inferior to the same unit in the iPhone 6s.
Finally, the screen resolution of the iPhone SE is slightly inferior to that of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, but considering the smaller display – four-inches compared to 4.7-inches – the pixels per inch rating of the iPhone SE is actually slightly superior to either of the premium smartphones.
The iPhone SE will retail at an extremely competitive $399, which was less than many analysts predicted. This is obviously significantly less than the iPhone 6s or even at the older iPhone 6, although Apple is likely to slash the price of the latter now that the iPhone SE has been made available.
The iPhone SE would look to be an excellent option for consumers looking to purchase an iPhone unit and not wanting to shell out for the premium iPhone 6s. It will outperform the iPhone 6 from 2014, although the one obvious to selling point of the older release is the fact that it has a larger 4.7-inch screen which will appeal to those who view a lot of media via their smartphone. Aside from that, it seems certain that the iPhone SE will be picking up a lot of customers from the affordable end of the market.
The iPhone 6s still has some premium features, particularly 3D Touch, that the iPhone SE sdoes not include, and this will sway some consumers, as will the premium 128GB version of the smartphone.