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Second generation Apple iPhone SE
Second generation Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SE review: Dependability over specs

  • A size comparison with nearly any phone today will make the iPhone SE seem smaller, but that’s only because we’re used to big phones
  • The hardware inside allows the company to enable software features like Smart HDR and portrait lighting, which enhances this SE’s camera as compared to the older one

NEW DELHI: Is it the smaller iPhone? Is it the cheaper iPhone? We would argue it’s neither. The Apple iPhone SE is another iPhone, sure, but it’s small because other phones are too big and it’s cheap because other iPhones are too expensive. With that in mind, it’s also worth saying that the iPhone SE is perhaps the best iPhone in terms of value right now. Here’s why.

The mathematics are actually quite simple. You just have to consider the fact that this phone has the newest processor Apple makes and is priced at less than half of what the top offerings from the company are. What that means is that while you will compromise on some of Apple’s best features, you’re covered for what the company is known for best — longevity.

The iPhone SE is fast and it has the newest Apple software. Given the company’s track record, it will get updates for three more years and hence keep you up to date with almost anything that Apple and associated developers do in the years to come. Few Android phones, even in the same price range, can make that promise.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a compact device, this isn’t it. A size comparison with nearly any phone today will make the iPhone SE seem smaller, but that’s only because we’re used to big phones. The new SE’s form factor isn’t particularly suited to single handed usage as much as its predecessor’s was. At least for those with not so big hands.

The display is also decidedly inferior as compared to Apple’s best or against phones like the OnePlus 8 and more. Apple still brings balanced colour reproduction to this phone, but the zippy and vibrant nature of its OLED displays are missing. If you’ve seen the iPhone 11’s Liquid Retina display, you can imagine that but without the ability to curve at the edges.

It’s really all about the hardware here. Apple’s multi-camera setups on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro etc. are noticeably better. However, the hardware inside allows the company to enable software features like Smart HDR and portrait lighting, which enhances this SE’s camera as compared to the older one. You will see better performance when shooting photos at night or in tougher light conditions, like in a bar. It also shoots great photos in natural light. It may look like the iPhone 8, but it shoots better photos than that phone.

While that might be good in the US at a $400 price point, in India, phones like the OnePlus 8 and some others can outdo the iPhone SE often.

It’s battery life is also improved as compared to the predecessor. We got about 12 hours battery life on each charge, which is standard for a phone like this. It will diminish over time, but it should definitely last a work day for the first year of usage. The phone supports wireless charging now, which should make it easier to keep it juiced up regularly.

To sum it up, the iPhone SE is an excellent phone. But you don’t buy it because it’s a compact phone, nor do you buy it because it’s cheap. You buy it because it’s dependable. It doesn’t give you the best Apple can, nor is it the best smartphone out there. But it has something for everyone, and considering that iPhones are never going to be particularly cheap, this is the best value for money iPhone today.

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