Life Tech Apple’s iPhone SE gets the balance just right
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Apple’s iPhone SE gets the balance just right

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Unveiled this week at Apple’s latest Keynote address, the iPhone SE sports all the best features of the company’s flagship smartphone, iPhone 6s, with a price that’s easy on the bank account.

No matter how you think of it – an update of iPhone 5s or the iPhone 6s on a diet – this handset is a lot of phone for a lower price.

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Borrowing the form factor of the iPhone 5, of which Apple sold over 30 million in 2015, the SE is slim, svelte and very easy on the eye – the new matt metallic finishes (Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold) add a prestige feel lacking in Apple’s previous attempt at a ‘budget’ handset, iPhone 5c.

For anyone who rocked the iPhone 5 before moving onto a larger handset, or perhaps still uses a 5, the new iPhone SE feels like coming home.

First impressions

We’ve spent so many years watching smartphones get larger and larger that it should be odd to pick up a smaller smartphone, but it isn’t.

The small handset size rests easily in the palm of your hand; using it one-handed is not something you can do with many of today’s handsets.

What is instantly noticeable, especially for anyone who previously owned an iPhone 5/5s/5c, is the speed of the phone. Apps respond instantly and quick-fire functions (camera shutter) are without lag.

Thanks to Apple’s latest mobile processor, the A9 – a 64-bit 1.85Ghz chip designed to be fast with low power consumption – this smartphone’s level of performance is up there with the best.

Say cheese!

As the world is slowly catching on that more pixels do not necessarily mean an improvement in image quality, iPhone’s camera tech over the last few updates has been acknowledged as a superior standard.

With iPhone SE you get the same camera found in iPhone 6s; a 12-megapixel sensor that also supports 4K-video capture.

Colours and skin tone are wonderfully recreated, with detail lifting from the depth in shadows. It’s the premium camera you know, in a smaller package.

The SE is also one of the smallest and most powerful 4K video recording devices available. Shooting endless hours of slo-mo and time-lapse video in ultra-high definition is a lot of fun.

That said, the front facing FaceTime camera leaves a little to be desired. Coming in at 1.2 megapixels (the same as iPhone 6), it will give a generation of people powering social media with selfies pause for thought before buying.

From bottom to top: the iPhone 6S plus, 6S and SE. Photo: AP
From bottom to top: the iPhone 6S plus, 6S and SE. Photo: AP

Small in size – and memory

Unfortunately, as with the dimensions, the SE’s two memory size options are also small, coming in at 16GB and 64GB – there’s no 128GB option.

Considering the size required for high-definition audio and video, the iPhone SE has the potential to fill up faster than you can say ‘Oh no, my storage is full’.

Price

At $679 for the 16GB handset and $829 for 64GB, iPhone SE is not the cheapest smartphone Apple has ever sold. Yes, there are also many brands with phones half this price and then some. The simple fact is there aren’t many with the same quality of construction or hardware features.

iPhone SE is a lot of Apple smartphone for a lesser price than its bigger siblings.

It’s a familiar companion for those reluctant to go larger just for the sake of power and features, and will likely prove a reason for many to upgrade.

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