Apple iPhone SE Review: A Phone for the Anti-Consumer

Apple has a new, cheaper iPhone in stores on Friday that contains the minimum we need in a smartphone. The latest iPhone SE has a bright screen, zippy processor, quality camera and strong battery life. He also makes phone calls.

Yet for most of us, that is not enough.

Every year, most consumers are drawn to more expensive iPhones ranging from $ 700 to $ 1,100. Even though we get unnecessary features that we rarely use, the phone is more than just a phone for many of us. Instead, it is an investment in how we expect to work, entertain and connect with our loved ones. Some of us are even willing to go into debt for what has become a status symbol.

All of this is to say that Apple’s budget iPhone SE is for a specific type of customer: anti-consumer. If you meet any of these criteria, you’ll probably want this 430 phone:

  • You don’t care about Wiz-Bang features like ultrafast cellular speed.

  • You know right away that smartphone technology has been around for so long that you should pay less for it today.

  • You don’t care what the camera lens or the number of pixels on the screen tells your friends and colleagues about your property.

  • You only upgrade to a new phone when you really feel the need.

In short, the latest iPhone is for people who just want a no-frills phone that works well at a reasonable price. If that’s you, here’s what you need to know about it.

For this budget iPhone, Apple took the best parts of its more expensive iPhones and squeezed them into the shell of an old iPhone with a home button and a small screen.

Let’s start with the highlights.

Like the fancy iPhones, the new iPhone SE includes connectivity with the latest cellular network 5G. In my tests of the device in the San Francisco Bay Area, 5G data speeds were up to 20 percent faster than 4G. It’s not mind blowing, but it’s a great feature as 5G networks are becoming more widespread.

The new iPhone has the same computing processor as the more expensive iPhone 13 models. According to speed-testing app GeekBench, the computing power of a cheap phone was the same as that of the iPhone 13. This means that apps and games open instantly and run smoothly.

The iPhone SE’s battery was another strength. The next generation of phones since 2020 had a subpar battery that runs out around 7pm every evening. I found out that the new model has enough battery life to last till bedtime.

It is just as important to know what the new iPhone lacks compared to the fancy models. Here’s some good news: In my tests, trade-offs were small.

One of the most notable omissions from the iPhone SE was its compatibility with the ultrafast variant of the 5G, known as the “millimeter wave”. This data connection, released by carriers such as Verizon and AT&T, can accelerate so fast that feature-length movies can be downloaded in seconds.

The problem is that 5G millimeter wave technology travels short distances and has difficulty penetrating walls and barriers. As a result, finding connections is also rare. People who buy an iPhone SE may not even know it is missing.

A more significant disadvantage of the latest iPhone is the camera. Fancy camera systems on more expensive iPhones have multiple lenses capable of capturing more light.

In my tests, the iPhone SE took clear and vibrant photos in daylight, but it could not do so well in more challenging lighting conditions. In a photo of my dogs on a shaded path, the iPhone SE has created an image with less details and unnatural colors than the $ 700 iPhone 13 Mini. The iPhone SE camera also lacks the special night mode seen on fancy iPhones for taking photos in the dark. Using Flash is always an option.

The most obvious difference was the screen. The iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen was compact and blurry compared to expensive iPhones with 5.4- to 6.7-inch displays. This was probably the most distinctive factor – if your vision is not good or if you spend a lot of time streaming videos, you will probably choose the big screen.

Some compromises happen when you spend less on a smartphone, the new iPhone offers more than satisfactory results. $ 700-plus iPhones are better, but not 60 percent better.

It is worth noting that the iPhone SE has other strong phone contenders in the price range. That includes Google’s $ 400 Pixel 5A, which has a variety of pros and cons. In my tests, the Google phone has a slightly larger screen and takes better photos in low light. But the Pixel phone wasn’t as fast as the iPhone SE, and it probably won’t last long as Google only guarantees software updates for the device until 2024.

In the end, though, both phones excelled at doing what we need to do – connect to the Internet, make phone calls and take pictures – at a fraction of the cost of their high-end counterparts. In an age where the price of almost everything seems to be skyrocketing, it’s worth celebrating.

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