iPhone SE Reviews Are Out. Verdict: Low-Cost Blockbuster
iPhone SE reviews are finally available from various publications. The common verdict from all of them can be summed up with this line: great phone at a great price. For $399, you get a powerful phone, with good battery life, amazing performance, and a great camera, which make for amazing value for its price. Here is a round-up of some of the best reviews for iPhone SE to help you make a purchase decision.
The Verge's review gave iPhone SE 8.5/10 and praised it for good battery life, years of software updates, and good camera performance. The issues highlighted were its old design, bad low-light performance, and small screen.
The review sums up iPhone SE's cost comparison in the simplest way possible:
If I were buying the iPhone SE, I’d seriously consider spending the extra $50 to upgrade the storage to 128GB, just in case I’d want it three or five years down the road. That timespan is the reason the iPhone SE is a big deal. No other phone that costs less than $500 can claim to be this good, nor last that long.
Dieter Bohn's video review is also really nicely done, and highlights the pros and cons of the smartphone. Perhaps the best thing out of the video is that the $399 is not just about the cost of the phone, it's about how long will the $399 last. Going by the 4-5 years of software updates that an A13 based iPhone SE would get, along with its reliability, that's less than $100/year.
YouTuber MKBHD also reviewed the iPhone SE and complained about its display with low-brightness and missing 'tap-to-wake' screen capability. He praised its A13 performance and RAM bump which make the phone zip through any app you can through at it. The battery life was also good enough for a day, despite its tiny size. MKBHD also praised the camera as being "way above-average" for its price, specially its video capture, which is one of the best features of the phone. He concludes by saying that it ticks all the checkboxes, and suggested spending an additional $50 to get the 128GB model.
Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch called the iPhone SE "cheap and cheerful" and called it a hit. Matthew also noted that it's the first iPhone since Apple's focus shift to services. It goes perfectly with the company's policy of making iPhones that last longer. The longer they are in use, the more average spend on services per user increases.
In a time of severe market disruption, where big consumer purchases may take a back seat, Apple has timed the iPhone SE perfectly to serve a real need. The barrier to entry is lower and customers know that they will be served by this purchase for 2-5 years with full backing of Apple’s software support and far better security and privacy track record than the rest of the field. Right now, as we’re all isolated, these pocket machines make us more connected to one another and provide us a lifeline of information about the best way to stay healthy and safe.
Engadget gave the iPhone SE 90/100. The review praises its price, performance, camera, and promise of future software updates, while criticizing its dated design, just 'ok' battery life and missing night mode in camera.
Building a $400 phone is an exercise in compromise, and the iPhone SE certainly has its share. Despite that, Apple's smallest, cheapest smartphone offers tremendous performance for the price. It won't make sense for everyone, but people who value power and practicality over everything else won't find this kind of bang for the buck anywhere else.
iPhone SE is available for pre-order right now, with shipping dates already slipping to May. Despite its small battery, single-lens camera, missing headphone jack and 3.5mm adapter, it has a good performing camera, Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit LTE, A13 SoC, IP67 water resistance, wireless charging, Dual-SIM support, and a commitment of years of new features and security updates.
This phone not only gives tough competition to mid-range Android phones, but it may also get people to re-think their purchase decisions for $1,000 flagship smartphones.