Apple iPhone SE Review 2016 – Budget Apple Smartphone

Apple iPhone SE Review: Released in 2016, the iPhone SE was a spin-off of the iPhone series. The core brand was somewhere between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 at this point. But in March it was decided that a new version would be released which focused on the price tag. This wasn’t exactly the first handset from Apple with an eye on the price: the Apple iPhone 5C could be said to have been a cut-down version of the phone. But that made a point of focusing on different coloured handsets.

No such things for the new iPhone SE. For a start, its colours were available in the Apple standard Space Grey, Silver, Gold and Rose. Whilst the phone itself was presented as a budget option, this was only in comparison to other Apple products. By phone standards, it was still a great handset very much at the higher end of the market, and still at a large price.

Modelled on the iPhone 5S, the phone was notable for its 4.0 inch screen. This would have been regarded large five years before, but the trend for larger screens was unrelenting. As such the SE may be pitched at people that did not need all that real estate. Up with this was a dual-core A9 processor, 12MP camera with flash and 4K video recording as well as 2GB RAM. High enough, but just a tad behind the flagship models. For those light users of phones this was not likely to be perceptible.

Full specifications here.

The SE sold in large numbers, as with all Apple phones. Notably though the series carried on without it. The next iteration of the SE was released in 2020. This too was a cheaper alternative to the main series but upgraded on this phone in almost all aspects, including a much larger 4.7in screen.

Apple iPhone SE Review Pros: 

  • The phone came with superb design. The iPhone 5S was probably one of the best designs with a high quality metallic finish. The smaller screen translated into much thinner phone dimensions and suitable for those who did not want a large screen.
  • The phone features the same Apple A9 chip as the previously premium iPhone 6S – allowing for the most demanding applications to be used.
  • Although a smaller screen, the very sharp 640 x 1136 was among the best on the market for resolution and dots per inch.
  • The same high quality camera as on the 6S was shipped on the phone – a 12MP sensor and 4K video shooting.

Apple iPhone SE Review Cons: 

  • Common to all iPhones there was no expandable memory. Although this model now started at 16GB, adding more memory was relatively expensive.
  • The 4.0in screen size may be too small for some, which appears quite small next to 5 inch phones.
  • Whilst the rear camera had parity with the 6S, the front facing one did not and dropped to 1.2MP – a large drop.
  • This phone was cheap relative to other iPhones, but still expensive to many other Android phones offering the same spec.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects: 

Amazingly this phone will still have some demand in 2021. The phone is still supported by Apple and runs the latest operating systems. It was also the only 4-inch model that does support it, with the rest having being retired a long while back. Although eclipsed by the 2020 edition of the SE, good condition ones can pick up surprisingly high prices considering the age of the phone.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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