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Here are 6 great iPhone SE alternatives (but none are as compact)

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Here are 6 great iPhone SE alternatives (but none are as compact)

Starting today, the Apple iPhone SE is now up for pre-order in the US and most Western markets.

And it's quite the unique phone: a 4" modern smartphone these days simply does not exist on Android. None.

There is NO 4" Android phone. However, there are some good ones under $400

However, there must be some alternatives? After all, the iPhone SE (where 'SE' stands for 'special edition') is not only small, it's also affordable: with a starting price of just around $400. Under the hood, it also packs top-notch hardware: the Apple A9 chip and Apple's best 12-megapixel iSight camera, all components in the high-end iPhone 6s.

So let us think: what are we looking for when we search for iPhone SE alternatives? We are looking for devices that are both affordable and relatively compact. With our criteria now all clear, it's time to check out the list of available options: Android phones at around $400 with a compact style and modern hardware.

#1: Samsung Galaxy S6



If you're not following the market closely, you'd be surprised how quickly one of last year's best phones, the Galaxy S6, has dropped in price. In fact, it's just a bit more expensive than the iPhone SE now: you can get it for $50 on a contract, while the iPhone SE requires zero dollar down payment. The Galaxy S6 at its base version also provides double the storage with 32GB of internal capacity, a neat wireless charging option, and Samsung Pay that works at many more places than Apple Pay. What's more, the Galaxy S6 has also been updated to the latest version of Android, 6.0 Marshmallow, it sports a very fast system chip and one of the best cameras out there.


#2: LG G4



The LG G4 has dropped in value even further: a year after its launch, you can now get it for free on contract. In fact, if you're shopping for an unlocked version of the phone, the LG G4 is around $50 more affordable than the iPhone SE. It might not be as small, but it's one of the most compact 5.5" phones out there, it comes with the benefit of a very nice, warm-feeling leather back cover, it features one of the best cameras on any smartphone ever, and it features the expandable storage and removable battery options that the Apple iPhone lacks.



#3: Nexus 5X



The Google Nexus 5X might not be super compact, but it checks the bill: it sells for a much more affordable price than the iPhone SE and comes with not only a pure version of Android, but also one that works impressively fast. Yes, while there were some notable issues with the interface and the speed of the camera in the beginning, Google has recently pushed an update that fixes a lot of those, and the Nexus 5X experience is now much faster. Unlike the iPhone SE with its slower, first-gen Touch ID sensor, the Nexus 5X features an impressively quick fingerprint reader on the back of the phone that works like a charm, it's got a very good camera (just make sure to use the HDR+ mode for most shots), and has a front-firing speaker that is a nice extra.



#4: Xiaomi Mi 5



At an official retail price of some $300 in China, the only bad thing about the Xiaomi Mi 5 is that it's not officially available in the United States and Europe. And yes, you can import it, but it's a tedious process, the price usually goes up to around $400, and you won't get many essential 4G LTE bands. Quite the list of disclaimers. Still, we feel the Xiaomi Mi 5 is worth mentioning. It is the cheapest phone with the latest Snapdragon 820 system chip, the only current piece of silicon that truly goes neck-to-neck with the Apple A9 and even beats it in many regards. The Mi 5 has also got an excellent camera with an optical stabilization system that beats most phones, and a very feature-rich MIUI custom interface. If you want to be different than all the rest, the Mi 5 is definitely a good option that is cheaper than the iPhone SE and will fit the bill in terms of performance.



#5: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact



All aforementioned options were not really compact enough to go on an equal footing with the Apple iPhone SE. There is one Android phone that gets closer than the rest, though: the 4.7" Xperia Z5 Compact. If it was a great phone, it would easily be our number one pick here, but problem is that it's not. It has a terribly thick profile that does not feel good in the hand, it is not among the fastest and its cameras is not on par with the best. Still, this is not to say that it is a bad phone. It is just not excellent. If you value compactness, though, you should definitely consider it.



#6: Samsung Galaxy Alpha



Oh, no, PhoneArena, you did not include a two-year old Android phone in this list! How could you do this, PhoneArena?! Well, we did. After all, the iPhone SE is a design that dates back to the iPhone 5 from 2013. The Galaxy Alpha was Samsung's experimental phone in its transition to beautiful designs. It was overpriced at launch, but now you can still get it for around half the price of the iPhone SE. Is it worth it? Hell yes. It's one of our subjectively favorite designs with a very sleek and elegant body, it's got a 20nm processor that is not slow by any means, it has a very good camera and a replaceable battery (the built-in 32GB of storage is also double that in the base iPhone SE, but there's no microSD card slot on the Galaxy Alpha). Sure, it's a bit dated, but it's expected to get the latest Android Marshmallow update in June 2016, so it's still game.


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posted on 24 Mar 2016, 04:58 20

1. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Those alternatives all destroy iPhone SE.
Hands down!

Especially Galaxy S6 and Xperia Z5 Compact.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:03 3

3. S-R-K (banned) (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Mar 2016)


As well as the Alpha.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:09 12

4. TimePass (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Truth is iphone SE is best compact smartphone ever.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:21 18

13. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


@TimePass

iPhone SE is best iOS compact smartphone ever.

But that isn't a necessity with Android OEMs. If Samsung wanted a 4-inch beast, it can make one.

But we Droiders, we love large screens - 5" to say the least!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:27 5

17. TimePass (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Droiders love large screens - 5" LOL

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:34 1

24. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Yes, Droiders love big large screen phones. 12.7cm to say the very least!

Heck, I personally love phablets.
I rock a 5.9" LG G Pro 2!!!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:33 1

23. Wiencon (Posts: 1762; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


"But we Droiders, we love large screens - 5" to say the least!"

So why the hell are you here if you all, at least you say so, don't give a squat about this phone and any smaller phones

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:40 7

27. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Wiencon

I came here to see the 6 alternatives which I read on this article's title.

Who says I do not give a squat about small phones?

I use a 3.5" phone as a back-up, and I am currently typing this comment with the 3.5" stuff!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 07:32 1

60. Rocket (Posts: 185; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


Your are right after owning the opo (5.5") i upgraded to the s7 but felt so small in my hands and had to exchanged for the beast note 5 :)

So yes most of ( us) android users love phones with big screens.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:31

94. Frank_Underwood (Posts: 30; Member since: 22 Mar 2016)


"we love large screens"- Seriously, dude? Don't generalize, please! You, in no way, represent the entire Android community, for the love of god!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:24

99. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


I'm well talking about the Android Community.
The majority of Android users like Phablets.

http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-android-users-love-big-screen-phones-2013-8

http://flurrymobile.tumblr.com/post/115192868870/the-tides-turn-for-the-phablets-popularity

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:55 3

33. submar (Posts: 350; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)


iPhone isn't a compact phone but with a compact screen size.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 06:06 2

39. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Right! @submar

iPhone SE features a 4-inch screen in a body that can fit in a 4.7-inch one!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 07:13 2

57. TimePass (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


@adreno, please so me a device with 4.7 inch Droid phone with similar body of iphone SE.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 07:35 2

61. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Galaxy Alpha is only slightly bigger than iPhone SE, but packs a significantly bigger display.

LG G3 is even more compact that iPhone 6S Plus, despite both featuring the same 5.5" screen!

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:16 2

97. TimePass (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Are you mad, here we spoke only about iPhone SE, but you compare G3 with 6S.

Please show me device with smaller dimensions then iPhone SE.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:44

100. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


I did not say smaller dimensions than iPhone SE. I said the iPhone SE's dimensions could pack a 4.7" screen, instead of just 4"!

LG G2 Mini has a 4.7" screen in 129 x 66 dimension.
http://m.gsmarena.com/lg_g2_mini-6077.php

iPhone SE with 4" has a meh 123 x 58 dimension.
http://m.gsmarena.com/apple_iphone_se-7969.php

Can you see that G2 mini has similar dimensions to the iPhone SE, despite packing 2cm more screen?

If G2 mini was a 4.3", then it would be way smaller than 4" iPhone SE!

Lmao.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:35 1

95. Frank_Underwood (Posts: 30; Member since: 22 Mar 2016)


So, what's the device with iPhone SE's dimensions with a 4.7 inch screen? All your comments *SCREAMS* !

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:36 1

96. Frank_Underwood (Posts: 30; Member since: 22 Mar 2016)


So, what's the device with iPhone SE's dimensions with a 4.7 inch screen? All your comments *SCREAMS* Fanboyism.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 13:57 1

101. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


LG G2 Mini.

And 4" Galaxy Ace 4 is more compact than 4" iPhone SE.

Fanboyism? More bashing and like name-calling.

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 13:20

107. TimePass (Posts: 42; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Iphone SE is the only compact device with flagship spec and finger print sensor.

You can't compare this with other basic device which don't have finger print sensor.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:11 5

6. aesthetics (Posts: 128; Member since: 02 Oct 2014)


These 5"+ phones arent even alternatives....except for z5 compact and Alpha... SE is better than both to be honest..but also more expensive

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:16 1

9. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


@aesthetics

They are all alternatives as far as one-hand usability goes, because they feature a Mini View mode which shinks the display downwards to 3.7"

But as far as portability goes, yeah they aren't alternatives.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:34 4

25. Wiencon (Posts: 1762; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


Do those phone shrink down in pocket when I enable this mini view?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:45

29. nodes (Posts: 681; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


it will once it gets the update to Android N.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 06:01

37. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Wiencon!

I said they feature a Mini View mode which shrinks the DISPLAY... Not the phone.

Ok, let me say: The UI is srinked down to 3.7" for one-hand operations.

You get it, yet?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 06:38

53. Wiencon (Posts: 1762; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


I can't even now

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 07:36

62. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


http://m.androidcentral.com/lg-mini-view

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:23 4

15. HugoBarraCyanogenmod (Posts: 1005; Member since: 06 Jul 2014)


If you're going to judge solely on CPU and GPU performance then Mi5 is the only one that can stand up. The rest are simply a years old performance and I don't see a reason they can convinced the buyer over the iPhone se

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:28 1

19. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


"I can't see a reason they can convice the bhyer over the iphone se"

You mean the buyer who is a fan of Apple or who is already invested in the iOS ecosystem.

I too can't see a reason why iPhone SE can convince an Android buyer over those 6 alternatives.

Lel.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:31 1

71. Mercedes-Benz (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 Jan 2015)


Why not when the SE is smoother , has better performance and camera ?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:48

81. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Huh? "the SE is smoother, has better performance and camera"

Your opinion is 100% subjective.

One man's food can be another man's poison.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:27

18. obedchuni (Posts: 159; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)


really, I think you are delusional

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:29 5

21. Frank_Underwood (Posts: 30; Member since: 22 Mar 2016)


I was using a S6 for the past 6 months (now, Nexus 6P) and trust me when I say this, S6 is not so smooth after all. Multi-tasking is absolutely painful. The one truly great thing about S6 is the camera - pure awesomeness. But other features, not so much.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:52

73. yoosufmuneer (Posts: 1491; Member since: 14 Feb 2015)


Did you update to Marshmallow?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:27

93. Frank_Underwood (Posts: 30; Member since: 22 Mar 2016)


Unfortunately, I didn't get the update and I don't think the update is available in my region even now. But I saw almost all the videos reviews about marshmallow on S6. And yes, the improvement was clearly visible. But the point is, a nexus 5X with much lesser RAM will kick S6 with comparatively more RAM, any day of the week. Poor ram management. Don't mistake, I like TouchWiz. And I like Samsung devices. But memory management is not at on par with other flagship devices, say, a Nexus. When u pay a premium price for a device, there shouldn't be any exucuses for this kinda issues. Period.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 06:27 1

47. AppleVersusAndroid (unregistered)


The only issue is that there isn't a comparable alternative. The only comparison is price in the case of these devices because they are all significantly larger and the SE aims to please those that thought the iPhone 5/5S were optimal. Therefore if the Note 5 was priced at 400 dollars, this article would consider it an alternative, but would someone looking for an SE want a larger phone such as the Note 5 instead of the smaller 4 inches?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 07:20

58. saif2711 (Posts: 69; Member since: 22 Feb 2016)


their year old flagships are being compared with the mini version of the iphone..lolol

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 08:02

65. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


What they are comparing iPhone SE with the Galaxy S6 is the actual retail price, not the performance or features.

Try harder.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 08:34

67. saif2711 (Posts: 69; Member since: 22 Feb 2016)


Next year it'll be iphone se with the s7...why their prices fall with each passing day?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:52

82. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


saif2711!!!

There is fierce competition in the Android market.

With many Android OEMs offering similar hardware and specs, they only way to survive in sales is to offer a cheaper price.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:31

70. Mercedes-Benz (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 Jan 2015)


Bulls**t
The only one on the list that destroy it is the mi5 , go take your hatred somewhere else

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:55

83. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


It's not about raw specs alone.

Mi5's features are way inferior to the Galaxy S6.

And no, I wasn't hating.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:01 1

2. Planterz (Posts: 2012; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


It's unfortunate that there's no real Android alternative. The Sony Xperia 5C costs too damn much for what you get. The Xoeria 3C is really the best option. The hardware might be a bit dated, but you can be assured that there's nothing this phone can't do that you'd want or expect it to for at least a few years or until the battery craps out on you.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:56 1

75. sgodsell (Posts: 3224; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


The Xperia Z5 compact has LTE cat 6 (300mbps) whereas the iPhone SE has cat 4 (150 Mbps). The Z5 comes with a 23 mp rear camera and a 5 mp front facing camera. The iPhone SE comes with a 12 mp rear camera and a 1.2 mp front facing camera. Not to mention the Z5 comes standard with 32 gb of expandable storage, and iphone SE comes with 16 gb of non expandable storage. If you want more storage then you have to pay Apple an additional $100. So now the iPhone SE is a lot more. In Europe the iPhone SE starts at 499 for only 16 gb. But the best part is the Z5 comes with a HD display, the iPhone SE has a tiny NON HD display. I wouldn't waste my time or money on the iPhone SE.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 11:01

85. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


I too wil not waste money on iPhone SE. I can only buy it for a loved one, but I will buy it for myself. It's just not worth the asking price.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 11:04

87. Planterz (Posts: 2012; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Whuh?

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 11:04

86. Planterz (Posts: 2012; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


I can't tell if you're arguing or agreeing with me. I'm absolutely not advocating the iPhone SE. I'm saying that the Z3c is a better choice than the Z5c, because it's available for a significantly lower cost and apart from the fingerprint scanner (not available in the US), the Z5c offers no real advantage over the Z3c

posted on 28 Mar 2016, 01:32

111. NFSHesham (Posts: 257; Member since: 04 Feb 2014)


500 $ will get you the 64 GB not the 16
The 16 is for 400

posted on 25 Mar 2016, 09:17

106. ColinW (Posts: 128; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)


All iPhones you can buy today cost far too much for what you get.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:10 1

5. nodes (Posts: 681; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


that's what you call alternatives?
you gotta be kidding..

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:11 1

7. NoAllegiance (Posts: 137; Member since: 21 Mar 2016)


The Meizu Pro 6 Mini will soon join

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:14

8. sumpil (Posts: 42; Member since: 02 Feb 2016)


Every time i look at the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact i think it was made from melted crayons that have hardened. especially the coral colour.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:16

10. xperiaZlover (Posts: 188; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)


Z5/Z3 compact are the best Android alternatives to iphone SE.
Since it has on-screen navigation bars the usable screen would be similar to iphoneSE.

I don't think a phone with screen less than Z compact is suitable. Since on-screen navigation bars eat up a considetable large portion of the display.
4 inch Sony high-end would only have 3.5 inches of usable screen.
A Samsung 4 inch high-end device is okay since it has physical buttons.
Best sweat spot is 4.5 inch.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:17 1

11. kambuto (Posts: 62; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


These are all Handroids...which means a big NO:)

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:20

12. Jimrod (Posts: 980; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


"Samsung Pay that works at many more places than Apple Pay" Really? You mean America and Korea because I sure as s**t can't use it in Europe.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 05:59

36. ibend (Posts: 3507; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


did apple pay work in EU? no...
it only work in UK, also u can use samsung pay on UK

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 06:09

42. Jimrod (Posts: 980; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


Yes Apple Pay works for me anywhere in Europe with a contactless terminal, Samsung pay does not work in the UK. Pretty straightforward really.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 08:09

66. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Samsung Pay does not work in the UK? Then why is Samsung going to launch it where it doesn't work?

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/mobile-phones/1403754/samsung-pay-is-coming-to-the-uk-in-2016-heres-everything-you-need-to-know

Smh.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 09:05

69. Jimrod (Posts: 980; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


SMFH. Do you really need me to explain something you've just explained perfectly?

Samsung Pay does NOT WORK in the UK, go into a shop now and try it. Does it work? No.

Samsung is GOING TO LAUNCH it. So right now, and for the last year or so many of us have happily been using Apple Pay but have not been able to use Samsung Pay. We may be able to use it one day, after it's launched, but right now and up until this point we can't so it DOES NOT WORK.

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