Chip-Monks  ⁄  iOS  ⁄  Apple iPhone SE
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Released: Mar, 2016
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  • Display : 4 inches, IPS LCD, Retina display
  • Max OS : iOS 11
  • Storage : 16 GB
  • RAM : 2 GB
  • Body Material : Aluminium
  • Cameras : Rear: 12 MP, Front: 1.2 MP
  • Dimensions (L, B, W) : 4.87, 2.31, 0.3 in.
  • Connectivity : 4G, VoLTE

Launched in a low-key event in March 2016, the iPhone SE (where ‘SE’ stands for special edition), is Apple’s second attempt at providing an iPhone to those folks who don’t want or need big phones that test their hands’ dexterity. Yet, its not a mid-range phone either. It is very much a premium-tier phone, just in a more compact, and manageable size. But… its something else too.

It’s clearly an attempt to plug a gaping hole in Apple’s market reach – where Samsung, Google, HTC, Motorola and Microsoft thrive (and have so far trumped Apple – simply because it wasn’t catering to that particular market so far).

So what exactly is this mysterious device? Is it any good, is it a trivial case of scaling down specs – an attempt by Apple to lure people to go for a cheaper iPhone, something like the iPhone 5c? Let’s find out!

Well, first off, the iPhone SE defies the norm of “large screen phones” by going back to basics with a ‘smaller’ screen size of 4 inches. In terms of design, it looks and feels drastically similar to the iPhone 5s, which was released 3 years ago. It has the same aluminium body, the same 4-inch Retina display, the same placement of the round volume buttons on the side, and chamfered edges. In fact when you see an iPhone SE out there in the wild, you’ll never be able to differentiate it from the 5S, unless you turn it over and look for the discrete changes to the antennae lines and the little glass panels at the top and bottom of the back panel!
And, lets put another myth to rest – the iPhone SE is by no means an iPhone 6s trapped inside the body of an iPhone 5s; there are several feature differences between Apple’s flagship device and the SE.

The iPhone SE features a 4 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display with 326 pixels per inch – which is exactly what you saw on the iPhone 5s three years back which is not to say its bad or archaic. Obviously Apple believes in the capabilities of this screen – they sold millions of iPhone 5s’ with this screen . Text appears sharp and colours look vivid. Viewing angles are pretty good, but not as good as what you get on a bigger screen.
Sunlight legibility is praiseworthy. I was easily able to use this phone outdoors with brightness set to about 50%.

What has changed on the iPhone SE then, you ask? For starters, it comes packed with Apple’s latest mobile OS offering: iOS 9.3. This includes new features like Night Shift, which slaps a yellowish tint on a normally cool display. What’s brilliant is that iOS 9.3, which was ideally designed for the flagship devices which boast of a bigger screen size, works smoothly on a screen this small. One drawback, however, is that you have to scroll a bit more on the SE while trying to get some things done.

While the iPhone 5s boasted of an Apple A7 chipset and 1 GB of RAM, the iPhone SE bests it easily. The contemporary Apples A9 chip (the same used on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus) comes as standard equipment along with a very-sufficient 2 GB of RAM. In fact, the processor set up on the iPhone SE is faster than those on the iPhone 6s (with CPU Clockspeed at 1.8 GHz vs. 1.5 Ghz)!
The iPhone SE also supports modern WiFi standards, and faster LTE. It opens apps, loads web pages, and switches tasks in a snap. Simply put, the iPhone SE is blazing fast and comes with the latest iOS offering, accounting for a smooth user experience. The only major difference with its brethren is the small screen size.

This device comes in two memory variants: 16 GB and 64 GB. As always, there is no microSD card slot for memory expansion. There’s a nano-SIM slot on the right hand side, no dual-SIM support, people!

You also get support for Apple Pay on this device, though the service itself not yet available in India.

The home button comes inbuilt with the now-standard Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which I found to be very accurate. Keep in mind though, its the first-gen Touch ID (as found on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus), not the Touch ID 2.0 thats found on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (those are blazingly fast), so its a tad slower to unlock the iPhone SE.

The camera technology on the iPhone SE will most certainly be an influential factor for people looking to upgrade from the iPhone 4s or the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone SE comes with a 12 megapixel rear camera with an f/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash – which is exactly what you got on the iPhone 6s’ camera set up.

Features such as geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 8 megapixel image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection and HDR are also present on the new iPhone.

At the front is a 1.2 megapixel iSight camera with an f/2.4 aperture, face detection, HDR and FaceTime over WiFi/Cellular.

The new iPhone is available in the following colours: Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold.

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