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).

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...

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.

Related phones

iPhone SE
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A9 APL0898, Dual-core, 1840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1624 mAh(14h 3G talk time)



1. ameran

Posts: 344; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

This shows how stupid PA authors are.

6. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Not all are stupid. Where is John Velasco's opinion about iPhone SE? I miss that guy.

17. S-R-K

Posts: 304; Member since: Mar 15, 2016

Where is Michael H?

10. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

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

43. ameran

Posts: 344; Member since: Dec 04, 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

50. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

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

23. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 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.

38. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Stupid = Likes an Apple product. Intelligent = Samsung Fanboy. Did I summarise that correctly? So many Fandroid sheep on this site...

45. ameran

Posts: 344; Member since: Dec 04, 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.

46. FrenchGuy

Posts: 134; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

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

55. nithyakr

Posts: 161; Member since: Jun 20, 2014

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

2. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

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

3. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

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

7. tedkord

Posts: 17410; Member since: Jun 17, 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.

42. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 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.

47. FrenchGuy

Posts: 134; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

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

12. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 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

20. S-R-K

Posts: 304; Member since: Mar 15, 2016

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

4. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Nick T's opinion is the best.

19. S-R-K

Posts: 304; Member since: Mar 15, 2016


25. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

its the most neutral thought written here

5. Iodine

Posts: 1493; Member since: Jun 19, 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...

8. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

9. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 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.

30. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

9/10 review score confirmed

40. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Probably more...

11. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

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

14. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

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

15. bvalde09

Posts: 191; Member since: Nov 22, 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

32. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

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

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