Videos: hands-on with the iPhone SE

By , Mar 21, 2016

iPhone SE big step

Although a good portion of Apple’s customers have migrated over to the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones, it’s just too hard for some people to let go of the tried-and-true 4-inch handset because it fits in their hands so well. As a result of the demand, Apple has breathed new life into the 4-inch iPhone with the new iPhone SE that the company unveiled during Monday’s ‘Let us loop you in’ event.

Because the iPhone SE won’t be available for pre-order until Thursday, March 24th, no one actually has one yet. On the other hand, a few publications have already gone hands-on with the device on Apple’s campus post-event, and we’ll share some of the first reputable videos to hit the internet right here in this post.

Hands-on with the iPhone SE

The Verge notes that Apple has designed the iPhone SE to be “almost identical” to older models of the 4-inch iPhone. Of course, what you get with the iPhone SE is a lot of powerful technology that will be familiar to iPhone 6s users, crammed inside of a design we’re all used to from the days before we all upgraded.

Slashgear says the iPhone SE might give you a “sense of déjà vu” because of its familiarity to the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. In fact, despite looking the same as older devices before it, it houses the power of an iPhone 6s in a design that fits into your pocket more easily without feeling like a ‘phablet’ as some people call them.

Engadget proclaims that the iPhone SE “takes just about everything we liked about the iPhone 6s and stuck it into a body that’s very reminiscent of the iPhone 5s.” Of course, those with smaller hands are going to love this because it puts the same big processing power into a smaller package, despite the lack of a 3D Touch display.

TechnoBuffalo says about the iPhone SE, “essentially what Apple has done is taken the innards of the iPhone 6s and crammed it in a four-inch package.” Of course, this means you can pull out your older iPhone 5s and look cool in public once again, except you won’t be as blazing fast when someone challenges you to a benchmarking competition.

Mashable explains the iPhone SE as “the body of a 5s” with the “guts of a 6s” and they couldn’t be more right. The iPhone SE takes a lot of the same hardware you get in the iPhone 6s and shrinks it down into a four-inch body. Of course, the price of the iPhone SE is definitely a great place to start at just $399; perhaps the cheapest new iPhone launch ever.

PCMag goes on to explain that the iPhone SE is the “smallest, premium, high-powered phone on the market today.” Taking the hardware from the iPhone 6s, which itself is no slouch, and putting into the body of an iPhone known for it’s portability and one-handed usefulness, Apple has created the ultimate smartphone for those with tiny hands or tight pockets.

CNNMoney says “the edge is a little different, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Of course, Apple has removed that chamfered edge that we all know and love from previous 4-inch iPhone models, but they’ve upgraded the hardware to such an extent that it almost doesn’t even matter.

CNET shares “you probably won’t know the difference is you’re showing it to somebody, but the iPhone SE is a fully-revamped phone.” With all the new features in a 4-inch iPhone, like the A9 chip, 12 megapixel camera, and Live Photos, it can be an exciting device. It’ll even fit in any old cases you have for your older iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s.

Wrapping up

It seems to be beating a dead horse to say that the iPhone SE is a bit of re-branded iPhone 6s guts in a smaller iPhone 5s casing, but that seems to be the general consensus between all of the first hands-on looks. What you see is what you get – a powerhouse in a familiar design.

Of course, the upgraded camera and the Live Photo capability are awesome, but because the iPhone SE lacks a 3D Touch display, you won’t get the full effect of a modern iPhone; so consider this if you need a new iPhone. Nevertheless, the $399 price tag looks great compared to $649 as the entry price for the iPhone 6s.

Related: Videos: hands-on with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro

What are your thoughts on the iPhone SE; will you be picking one up? Share in the comments!

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  • Kenrick Fernandes

    the 499$ for 64 gb is a great price tag to start with. i have always maintained that the 4 inch is a great form factor and size. having said that, different strokes for different folks. my eyes were sold the minute i saw the s7 edge(i’m still sold). but over the past 3 years i have come to love my iphone 5 – still going strong btw. but i also realised that i consume this device for alot of reading and social media. the 4 inch is small and just doesn’t do it for me. I need a minimum 5 incher to proceed with life.

  • kickinghorse99

    iPhone RE yah!
    Innovation at its laziness…

    • Harsh Sac

      If you call finally meeting the demands of a third of the company’s customers, ‘lack of innovation’, then you might wanna go outside more…

      • avd98

        Innovation: “Idea or practice that is perceived by the individual or other unit of adoption as new”

        The iPhone SE is not innovative. It only reuses some iPhone 5s parts so it can please Apple’s costumers. The first iPhone was an innovation, the first iPad was an innovation. This? This is a refurbished iPhone 5s with features that are in the market for years. Apple completely lost it’s way

      • Cristian B

        most successful companies do

      • kickinghorse99

        Hey how about iPhone 10 using iphone 6 body will you buy it?

      • Harsh Sac

        I don’t know if they can make it worse than a 6, but if they manage to do that, and release a phone with updated internals, then I’m sure I would

  • askep3

    “Of course, this means you can pull out your older iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s and look cool in public once again”
    XD well with the 5 only if people are looking a the back, the second they see the front with no Touch ID…

    • Kenrick Fernandes

      pretty much no one is going to go that in depth and look @ the home button..

  • 9to5Slavery

    Heard confirmation of 2GB from anantech. And on another website it is faster than iPhone 6S & 6S+ when antutu benchmarking… which is amazing.. and beats the S7 Edge at 134k vs 120k.

    • Robin

      I sure hope that Anantech is right that it also has the 2GB like in the iPhone 6s (Plus). iMore has in their comparison that it’s only 1GB (like the iPhone 6).

      • 9to5Slavery

        If it is 1GB then I will not buy, can not stand 1GB in iPhone 6 when I had 6S

  • J™

    When iP6+ was launched there were complains that it was too big and people wanted a new but smaller phone.
    Apple listened.
    Now they launch a new and improved iPSE and people are complaining that it Apple have failed and cannot create anything new.

    • Robin

      I’ve heard similar response around me. I think the launch of this iPhone SE is great for quite a few that would like to switch from the 5s to a similar size with better performance. I do hope that it will get the 2GB that the 6s also has. I did hope that it would also get 3D Touch like the 6s.

  • g0didit

    That will be my next phone…. I buy iP6 – too big for me… sell it in 2 days after buy… move back to my iP5… still on that iP5…

    Thanx Apple u make my whole Year (or 2 to next 4″ phone)….

  • Fede777

    The only stuff that’s equal to the 6S is the A9/M9 and the 12MP Camera with 4K and Live Photos.

    All the other stuff is the same as the 5S or 6, No 3D Touch, same Touch ID, same 1.2MP front camera, same screen and same battery which might last a bit more because of newer A9.

  • mrgerbik


  • Jon20

    This isn’t a new move for Apple. They did the same thing with the iPhone 5c. They basically took the insides of the iPhone 5 and crammed them into a “Unapologetic” plastic case. They realized that backfired so they used the aluminum casing to make it look like a premium product only this time they were smart enough to use updated internals to justify the release of the product. My whole thing is that they were able to have live photos without 3D Touch using a long press and they could’ve totally done that with the 6/6+. What’s up with that!!!…

  • 919263

    Yeah, 4″ screen is a sweet spot for the screen size, but this one is a Bummer… The “SE” is supposed to stand for “Special Edition”, nothing special about this phone.. You do get everything 4 yrs old…with just a new name. Apple has shown once again that the Consumers are idiots…specially the consumers of Apple brand..The entire Industry is going in one direction… Water resistant, Wireless charging, shatterproof Screen, higher resolution screens, etc., but Apple is going totally in a different direction… and the thing is Apple FanBitches are following with eyes closed… I looked at all the “Hands-ON” clips here… IT is so freaking stupid of everyone to say that is an awesome device, But it is NOT… Apple has again shown it’s in-NO-vation… and the reason is that Apple thinks, even if it builds CRAP, people will buy in throngs just cause it has an Apple logo on it… Pretty Sad for the people I feel…
    This is what will kill the Phone:
    Screen Resolution

    Also, did anyone notice that this phone can do Live Shots… or Live Pictures even without the 3D Touch… Is that not AMAZING…??? So why could the 6/6+ not do it…??????

    • afra33

      No need to insult Apple did a great thing by updating the 5S! I loved that phone!! It took me a great length to adjust to the size of the iP6! Now I actually am thinking about moving back to the 4inch size and get the SE!! I don’t need 3D Touch! If it functions the same as my old 5S and its just as fast as the 6S hey that sounds like a great deal for me being able to get one starting at 399! A new iPhone starting at 399 is unprecedented!!! I’m impressed by Apple! And i looove the SE!!!

  • afra33

    16GB is a joke! The Government should fine Apple for that move a 16GB smartphone should be illegal!!

  • djluna31

    no one is going to buy it

  • MacGuru96

    Despite having hands that would befit a return to a smaller phone, I’ve come to accept devices that are about 1 inch larger. I loved my iPhones 6 and 6s, dealt with my cumbersome Nexus 5X (which was too large for me and my pockets, IMO) and just recently sold it for a Galaxy S7, which I believe to be just about perfect. People often have this weird perception that better is automatically and intrinsically tied to bigger, which means that smaller versions of items are frequently given little thought, if any at all, as evidenced in the original, non-retina iPad mini and such. I’m sure many will greatly appreciate this!

  • Timothy

    Are there any physical differences at all between the 5S and SE, besides 1 gram more weight?