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Apple iPhone SE is here: top hardware in small package

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Do you find modern smartphones clunky, overly large, too cumbersome to carry around and use? Do you look back on the times when handsets could easily fit into the pockets of the skinniest of jeans, and didn't require advanced finger gymnastics to operate? What do you know, Apple seems to have been doing the same, as it has just announced a brand new 4" smartphone – the iPhone SE. In case you're wondering, the SE stands for 'Special Edition'. Fair enough.

ALSO READ: 9.7-inch iPad Pro is official – Pro-grade performance, familiar in size

Excuse me, I think we've met before


In what might be seen as a shocking contrast to today's trends of increasingly massive smartphone displays, the key selling point of the Apple iPhone SE is its super-compact, 4" display. To put things into perspective, the regular iPhone 6s has a significantly bigger, 4.7" display, and the still-larger iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 5.5" screen. Of course, the small panel means the iPhone SE itself is extremely pocketable by today's standards: the handset is basically the same shape and size as the 2013 iPhone 5s.

As a matter of fact, the SE looks almost identical to the iPhone 5s, with the only visual difference being the smoother frame edges, which were sharper and shinier in the 5s. Hopefully, this would make the iPhone SE feel a bit softer in the hand, compared to its predecessor. Aside from the tweaked edges, Apple has also added the new rose gold color option. The compact, 4" iPhone SE looks stunningly elegant in pretty much all of its color variants, and especially gentle in gold and rose gold.

Apple iPhone SE
Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

3.99 oz (113 g)

Apple iPhone 5s
Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

3.95 oz (112 g)

Apple iPhone 6s
Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Apple iPhone SE
Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

3.99 oz (113 g)

Apple iPhone 5s
Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

Weight

3.95 oz (112 g)

Apple iPhone 6s
Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.77 oz (192 g)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.

DON'T MISS: Here's how small the 4-inch munchkin is compared to its rivals

The big changes start under the hood of this super-mini


The much bigger upgrades start with what's inside the Apple iPhone SE. Technically, the familiar munchkin is actually an all-new phone! It's practically an iPhone 6s, sans the 3D touch pressure-sensitive display. Which is a bummer, but probably not exactly a deal-breaker. Still, all of the other powerful components are on board, such as the extremely speedy A9 chipset with M9 companion co-processor, powerful 12 MP camera with Live Photos, better front-facing shooter with selfie/screen flash, and, of course, all the new radios with much improved LTE bands support and speeds, faster Wi-Fi, and the Apple Pay mobile payments system.

With the new A9 chip, featuring the dual-core Apple Twister CPU and the top-shelf PowerVR GT7600 GPU, the iPhone SE is promised to deliver around 2x the CPU performance of the iPhone 5s, and around 3x its graphics performance.


Price and Release date


Now, hold on to your seats, because we're about to talk pricing. The Apple iPhone SE is going to cost... how much do you think? $499? $449? Initial speculation pointed at $449 as the most probable price tag. Well, we can honestly say something unexpected has happened today, as the iPhone SE will officially be available for just $399, which is easily the cheapest price for a brand new iPhone model we've seen. This makes the SE a great entry point into the iOS world for users considering Apple's ecosystem, but not quite ready to break the bank yet. Anyway, in standard Apple fashion, the base $399 iPhone SE will come with 16 GB of internal memory. Should you need more storage space, a 64 GB version will be available at $499. For those willing to go the lease plan way, the starting price will hover around $13 to $17 per month for 2 years. In Europe, the iPhone SE price is sadly expected to be higher, starting at EUR 490, but Apple's devices are generally more expensive there, so Europeans are probably used to it. 

Waiting can be painful, so what about the iPhone SE release date? When is it going to be available? That's one area where we've always loved the typical Apple approach, which is to basically minimize the delay between announcement and actual release. The iPhone SE will not be an exception – pre-orders will be open starting as early as March 24, and the official iPhone SE release date itself will be a week later, on March 31 – so definitely sooner rather than later.

IN DEPTH: How is the iPhone SE better than my trusty iPhone 5s?



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