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PhoneArena authors' thoughts on the Apple iPhone SE

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PhoneArena authors' thoughts on the Apple iPhone SE

What is the best 4-inch phone you can get right now? Several days ago, the answers would have been all over the place, but not the answer is clear - the iPhone SE. It's hard to deny the fact that this device is the most potent mini phone in existence, and the bang for buck it offers is out of outlandish. We are certain that there will be huge demand for the munchkin.

Honestly, the debut of the iPhone SE did not surprise one bit, аbut still, we had enough time to form our own opinions about the phone. We know how the iPhone 6s performs, we know how the 5s feels in the hand, so we can pretty much imagine what the full iPhone SE package will feel like. Anyway, here's what we think about it!

Alan F


The Apple iPhone SE is a great idea as it helps Apple reach new smartphone users and those who don't like a larger screen. By using the specs from the iPhone 6s, Apple has built a powerful small phone that allows them to spread the use of iOS. Apple will also benefit from the use of Apple Pay on the device.

Apple has said that there are a large number of potential buyers who never replaced their 4-inch iPhone. This is where the high-end specs come into play. If you never upgraded your Apple iPhone 4, you are going to be sorely tempted now with the A9 and 12MP rear camera on board the iPhone SE. In the U.S., the iPhone SE is free on contract and that is going to be a hard deal to beat.

Florin T


I'm not a fan of the fact that Apple is continuously recycling iPhone designs, so seeing that the iPhone SE looks just like an iPhone 5/5s from 2012/2013 made me go "meh." Still, I think Apple has a winner here, as it smartly equipped the iPhone SE with its powerful A9 processor and its great 12 MP rear camera. Plus, the iPhone 5 look is certainly not a bad one, and the starting price of the SE is surprisingly low for a new Apple handset (at least in the US).

Right now, I doubt that I'd use a sub-5-inch smartphone as a daily driver, no matter how good that would be. Nevertheless, I assume there are many people who are really excited to get this new 4-inch iPhone, even if it looks like an iPhone 5/5s (actually, perhaps plenty of customers will buy the SE for this exact reason).

PhoneArena authors' thoughts on the Apple iPhone SE

Luis D


I've always been partial to compact smartphones that don't strain your pockets and lend themselves to one-handed use. I also think there is beauty in doing more with less. Hence, I'm happy to give Apple a thumbs-up for bringing back a supercharged version of the classic that is the iPhone 5s. Frankly, I don't believe screen size is an issue, for I have seen people do more on a 3.5-incher than most tend to do with their 5.7-inch phablets.

Maxwell R


My opinion of Apple products is well documented. Love the hardware, loathe the software and everything that is hemmed in as a result. However, for the iPhone SE, I will give props to Apple for bringing back a design that is at least a right-sized form factor for iOS. The static grid of app icons is not much use on larger screens – no matter what, you have to dive into an app to get anything done.

While I agree with many that the iPhone 5/5s/SE design is probably the best looking of the bunch, it concerns me that Apple did not bring full feature parity (like 3D touch) with the iPhone 6s line-up. That is basically an unforced error in my book. It also concerns me that the great minds in Cupertino are recycling old designs and, as such, old ideas. That is not innovation.

Finally, Apple (and everyone else where applicable), in the name of all that is good, please, please, stop it with these 16GB models. $400? iOS takes up half that space. It is the year 2016, and when it comes to that low of a bang for the buck, I would recommend folks to spend their money elsewhere.

Nick T


Releasing the iPhone SE seems like a crazy move for Apple, but it could be crazy enough to work. Finding a phone that's both compact and actually good is now next to impossible, and for the few people who demand such a handset, the iPhone SE would be the ideal (if not only) choice. And the starting price of $400 is more than adequate. Of course, there's no guarantee that this special edition iPhone would be a success. It could be a trend-setter, or it could be a flop. I like to think that it will be the former, altough I don't see the iPhone SE coming even close to the iPhone 6s in popularity.

Paul K


A smartphone so small that many will find it hard to two-thumb a text on it. Still, keep in mind that the iPhone SE is aimed at those who actually prefer their smartphone to be compact and easy to use with one hand as well as tuck away in any pocket. So, a $400 price-tag for a mini handset that rocks Apple's latest SoC and camera improvements? If I were to put myself in the shoes of someone who likes the 4-inch form factor, I'd say it sounds great. Especially considering that all the accessories that iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s users have amassed over the past 3 years will fit on the SE.

Peter K


As I've been using an iPhone 6 Plus for the past year, the iPhone SE will probably feel ridiculously small in my grubby paws. I would love to downshift to such a potent 4-incher, but to my greatest dismay I probably won't. This is the only negative thing I can come up with! The rest that pops in my mind are pure admirations. Come on, it's hard not to like when a company is putting its best hardware to date inside what is considered by many, including myself, Apple's best-designed phone ever

I am definitely a sucker for said iconic design and warm nostalgic emotions flooded me when the iPhone SE was officially announced during the keynote. It's hard to find a better compact phone in the same price range; actually, the iPhone SE faces pretty much zero competition in that market niche. To me, the iPhone SE is one of the best decisions Apple has made in the past few years. 

Now, only if it came in a 4.7-inch variant, too...

PhoneArena authors' thoughts on the Apple iPhone SE

Ray S


There is an obvious market for a small phone that 'just works', and Apple is going to make sure its product is up-to-date. Even though I find the iPhone 6 the right size for my needs, I think the iPhone SE will be appreciated by a lot of users out there, especially now that getting a new iPhone is more affordable than ever.

The design is still beautiful, but I can understand most people wanting to see something new. I, too, would like to see something genuinely new and fresh from Apple's hardware design team, but that will obviously have to wait until iPhone 7 (hopefully it won't disappoint). Until then, the iPhone SE will have to suffice. I actually think it looks more elegant and sophisticated than the iPhone 6s.

So, yeah, it doesn't have 3D Touch, but it's the most affordable entry point to Apple's premium OS and ecosystem, plus it's extremely fast and can take top-quality pictures. I approve this product.

Victor H


Reinvigorating its 4-inch phones with the iPhone SE is a smart move by Apple. Probably the most important thing about it is price rather than size: its affordable enough for many people from developing nations who crave owning an Apple product.

As to the US market, there is a niche group of people that are still loyal to smaller phones, but I don't think that those who have already transitioned to 4.7" or 5.5" iPhones are coming back to a 4" phone.

Personally, the iPhone SE does have an appeal to me: it comes with the promise of a stunning camera at a very low price, which I value. It also has Live Photos that I find pretty cool. The better battery life is a definite plus as well, and with the Apple A9 chip, this phone is bound to get a long lifecycle. The thing that will be the most annoying with the iPhone SE is definitely typing: it's a much better experience on a larger phone. Am I buying one for myself? No, but I would certainly recommend this as a gift for parents or your girlfriend.


56 Comments
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posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:33 17

1. ameran (Posts: 282; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


This shows how stupid PA authors are.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:37 3

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


Not all are stupid.

Where is John Velasco's opinion about iPhone SE? I miss that guy.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:09 2

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


Where is Michael H?

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:39 8

10. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1547; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Stupid and biased are two different things.
They maybe a *little* biased, but definitely NOT stupid.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 12:26 2

43. ameran (Posts: 282; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


NoToFanboys,
Of course being stupid or bias are 2 different topics, but it is important to mention that only low educated and stupid people could become bias. Best

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 15:12

50. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1547; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Yes you could be stupid if you are TOTALLY biased.
The thing is, nobody is perfectly unbiased.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:41 7

13. miket1737 (Posts: 2541; Member since: 17 Mar 2013)


Why? where you expecting "APPLE SUX ASS, TIM COOK IS A POS, garbage same OLD IPHONE"?

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:21

23. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2468; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


How, none of these opinions of the iPhone SE are acually good, serously I can't tell if some of them acually like the phone or just think its a solid upgrade for anyone rocking a 5s or later iPhone.

The good opinions about the S7 and G5 were way better than any opinion in this article can be considered good about the SE.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:32 2

38. Jimrod (Posts: 1359; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


Stupid = Likes an Apple product.

Intelligent = Samsung Fanboy.

Did I summarise that correctly? So many Fandroid sheep on this site...

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 13:21 5

45. ameran (Posts: 282; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


Jimrod,
Your summary doesn't cover the real world. Just let me explain it to you. Being stupid isn't the opposite of being intelligent. People still could be stupid, even with an intelligent brain. Let me go a little further explaining it. I call iSheeps stupid, because they follow a corrupted company blindfolded. You could give them 2 of the same iPhones, telling them one is the newer version. They would start praising the one, which is exactly the same as the old version.

All I am saying is that even intelligent people could act stupid, because they don't educate themselves about what they get in an iPhone or could get on the competitors handsets.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 13:34

46. FrenchGuy (Posts: 108; Member since: 12 Dec 2014)


You said that, not him... There are plenty of brands in the android world... There are so many fanboys on that website anyway...

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 23:35 1

55. nithyakr (Posts: 149; Member since: 20 Jun 2014)


And yet you are here commenting on a Web run by your so called "stupid authors"!!

How stupid are you now?

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:34 1

2. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


In before someone comments iPhonearena or some other sad, pathetic comment like that.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:34 1

3. byazatt (Posts: 269; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


I guess I disagree, once I went big, there ain't going back.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:38 1

7. tedkord (Posts: 11629; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


But there are a lot of folks who don't want big. They're hanging on to their 5/5s because of the size of the 6 and up. If nothing else, I think it's nice to see an iPhone looking so good again. The 6/6s are just ugly, imo.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:37

42. Jimrod (Posts: 1359; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


Yup, and to see one of the comments being "hard to two-thumb a text on it" makes me wonder if I'm doing it wrong - I never "two-thumb text", always use my phone one-handed, probably why I don't like phablets.

There are plenty of people like me (but perhaps with smaller hands) who will love a new 4" phone. Especially one without protruding cameras, a decent battery life and no ugly antenna lines... I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes Apple's biggest seller.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 13:35

47. FrenchGuy (Posts: 108; Member since: 12 Dec 2014)


Aside the decent battery life I agree with everything you said.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:41 1

12. HugoBarraCyanogenmod (limited) (Posts: 1133; Member since: 06 Jul 2014)


Pretty sure some people goes back 4 inch and say, once I went light, there aint going back as well. Barely find a phone that just 110g currently in market

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:12 1

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


I'd take one with 170G. It screams quality and we'll made. Also 1000mah extra in battery.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:35

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


Nick T's opinion is the best.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:11

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


True.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:38

25. ibend (Posts: 4579; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


its the most neutral thought written here

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:35

5. Iodine (Posts: 1330; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Big battery !!!! Looooong battery life !

But will there be an smart battery case for it ???

That I would write if I were an editor...

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:38

8. byazatt (Posts: 269; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


There are many who still prefer small screens, but at that price I can get a very capable last year's flagship. In the android side of course, and then enjoy a real QHD screen and other top notch features.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:38 5

9. refillable (Posts: 1046; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Reading this, G5's similar article and S7/Edge similar article, I know I can't judge Subjective views, but I think there is a strong Apple bias on some of the authors here, the facts are just not on their side to be honest.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:51 2

30. ibend (Posts: 4579; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


9/10 review score confirmed

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:34 3

40. refillable (Posts: 1046; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Probably more...

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:40

11. byazatt (Posts: 269; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Sure, there is market for the small screen no doubt.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:42 1

14. byazatt (Posts: 269; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


The bias is obviously there, but I've learnt to ignore it.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:55

15. bvalde09 (Posts: 181; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


So you guys think the pricepoint is justify? I found way too expensive. I understand the market, but I wouldnt never buy this. I own an Iphone 5 (replacement Phone) and I also have a 4s somewhere when I pick it up it feels way too small for me. 299.99 for 64 GB version sounds like a good deal

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:52

32. ibend (Posts: 4579; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


way too expensive? take a look at pricetag for EU and CA, its higher that that, lol

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 09:56 2

16. Chuck007 (Posts: 1109; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)


Some of you will think I am crazy, but if I really needed a blazing fast secondary phone, the light and easy to carry around iPhone SE is hard to beat.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:13

21. Macready (Posts: 951; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


I always shrug at the pocket argument. Sub 4.6-5 inch phones actually have the tendency to start moving or even rotating around in your regularly sized (not skinny jeans type...) pockets, which can be mighty uncomfortable or annoying. Mind you, not in every type of pockets, as they too vary in size, but I encountered it many times with the S2. Larger phones will stay put (not to be confused with being stuck, they're now thin enough to slide in and out about as easily) and as counter intuitive as this may sound, are actually more comfortable to carry around (again, unless you wear super skinny jeans all the time).

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:47 2

28. ibend (Posts: 4579; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


agree with that.. 5.5inch is the biggest screensize I can confortably keep inside my front pocket (except iPhone # plus of course), phone smaller than 5inch tend to rotate and end up on horizontal position, which is totally annoying since I need to fix its position

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:14 1

22. darkkjedii (Posts: 21204; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Very solid phone, and a great move by Apple to take hold of the 4 inch market.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 19:18

53. gaming64 (Posts: 234; Member since: 22 Mar 2016)


They've been doing that since the 5s. Taking hold of the 4-inch market has been happening for a long time now.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:37 2

24. sissy246 (Posts: 994; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)


PAGET a big Apple check for this article.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:39

26. cleatglitch (Posts: 70; Member since: 25 May 2013)


did you not see free on contract...iphone has always been cheaper than android...thats how they sell so many...i remember getting the evo for two fifty and the iphone was one ninety nine...it always been this way...they will sell alot

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:48

29. ibend (Posts: 4579; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


yes... on US

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:39

27. sissy246 (Posts: 994; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)


PA not PAGET LOL

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 10:51

31. PhoneCritic (Posts: 691; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


Apple now has a phone in every size segment as all the other OEMs (Sony, Samsung,Moto HTC etc.) However, the only real other oem that packs the same internals that the flagship has is SONY so this is a good move and I think it will force others to counter. Samsung seems to be already planning a S7 mini ( along side the S7 active) release , LG will probably consider a G5 mini ( what is good about this is that the mini(s) will not be strip down versions of the flagship but will be flagships in sub 4.7 inc sizes - which is good for the consumer.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:00

33. drahcir02 (Posts: 65; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)


z5c ftw!

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:03 1

34. manutd (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)


Smaller body, high spec? Sony have been doing that for a while. Live photos? Anyone remember htc zoe? I used to dislike Samsung for their lack of originality and plastic design... now I'm rocking an s6 edge plus. Hopefully they actually come up with something innovative with the 7

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:28

37. drahcir02 (Posts: 65; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)


They already released the 7

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:33 1

39. refillable (Posts: 1046; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Not sure if trolling or what but that was very weird.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:36

41. drahcir02 (Posts: 65; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)


Very weird +1. Ads, articles and commercials are everywhere about the 7

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 21:36

54. BobbyDigital (Posts: 1926; Member since: 29 May 2014)


When he said 7 he meant the iPhone 7. Not the Galaxy S7.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 12:34

57. drahcir02 (Posts: 65; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)


My bad

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 11:28

35. Macflyer (Posts: 11; Member since: 23 Mar 2016)


I think the SE is a good and smart move. Basically it will be a $299 iPhone around the holiday season with carriers and BB running special deals.

If not, it is still a great phone for people who just want compact and fast. The camera def. is its best asset. Better go with the 64 GB version though.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 12:30

44. 0kax0el0 (Posts: 165; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)


I think reusing the 5s desing is a mistake. People that weren't interested in upgrade to a 5s will hardly be interested in the SE, because by looking at it "is the same old phone". I'm not saying that it will be a flop, but I think it would have been better it they used, at least, the iPhone 6/6s desing.

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 14:20

48. muji_789 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 Aug 2015)


Isnt the z5 compact a good rival for it?

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 15:59

51. drahcir02 (Posts: 65; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)


z5c all the way

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 14:20

49. muji_789 (Posts: 28; Member since: 19 Aug 2015)


Isnt the z5 compact a good rival for it?

posted on 23 Mar 2016, 17:32

52. jeroome86 (Posts: 1124; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


A beast in a small package.

posted on 24 Mar 2016, 08:48 1

56. k4ever (Posts: 180; Member since: 08 Oct 2014)


If this had been Samsung, LG, or HTC, PA's staff would have been super-critical and a lot more "honest" about the prospects of a 4 inch (16GB base) phone in the year 2016. Instead, this is Apple and all we get from PA's staff is their biased out-of-touch views and Apple worship.

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