Apple iPhone SE: A Personal User Review

INTRODUCTION

I have been on the lookout for a smartphone since my old iPhone 5s started giving up on me and my old Blackberry Q10 has coughed up its last battery life. I’ve always been comfortable using iOS so I decided I’d buy a new Apple phone. The problem with the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus was that it’s too big for my small hands. When leaks of the iPhone SE came out, I fell in love with the finish, the specifications (the same as the iPhone 6) and that it fits my hands! It’s also a cheap smartphone in Apple pricing standards!

When it came out in March 2016, I head on out to the mall and went inside all the electronics shops, but it seemed that the iPhone SE was out of stock. At the last store, I managed to go to, they had the SE and was finally able to buy the rose gold iPhone SE.

BATTERY LIFE & CHARGING

I usually charge my iPhone SE every day. For every 100% charge, it lasts me up to 12h. I mainly use my phone for phone calls, emails and instant messaging. During my short breaks, I browse Reddit, read an e-book or browse social media.

However, when I use camera-based and video based apps, my battery drains quickly in just 2 to 4 hours of using the camera with my data turned on.

Fully charging the iPhone SE takes me from 1 hour to 1.5 hours. Charging it for 30 minutes give me up to 40% charge if I charge at 10% battery juice remaining.

PERFORMANCE & DESIGN

The main reason why I bought the SE is because it fits my small hands perfectly. The device size is only 4.87 inches x 2.31 inches. It is 0.30 inch thick and it does not feel heavy at all at 3.99 ounces.

The iOS never lags when playing a game with heavy graphics such as Need for Speed. Video calls via Skype, IMO and FB Messenger works properly.

I have mainly used it for communicating while I’m working remotely via the Slack app and Blue Jeans app and I am happy with how the apps and the phone never lag at all.

STRENGTH & DURABILITY

When I got the iPhone SE last year, the first thing I did was to install a tempered glass screen protector and put it in a Speck case. It has bounced off a couple of times across the carpet at the office where I worked at but because of the case, there are still no scratches on my iPhone.

This phone fell once with the screen smacking into the floor and because of the force of impact, a bit of the tempered glass was chipped off. Still no scratch on my phone’s screen though. I have been very careful of this phone since then and it has never fallen off from a high place for the past three months or so.

FEATURES I LIKED THE MOST

I have always liked the iPhone’s Touch ID features. It helps a lot in locking and unlocking the phone without putting in a bunch of number codes. All I have to do is to put my thumb on top of the home button and the phone recognises my fingerprint!

The new features of the iOS 10.3.1 give users the new find my air pods feature together with a few neat features. While the old Apple file system called HFS+ has been removed entirely and now, all updated devices have the new Apple file system.

Both the camera and video features of the iPhone SE has features that I love. Such as the auto image stabiliser, burst mode and live photos when you’re using the camera. While the video features a few features such as the time lapse video with stabilisation and when I’m recording, I can use the front camera to take photos.

When I’m taking photos, the burst mode photo feature allows me to take photos in a quick succession which gives me a lot of photos to choose from in just one press of a button. Candid shots are easy to take when taking photos using burst shots.

Another camera feature I like is the live photos features. This feature allows users to see the photos being taken with the sound and movements did prior to getting the photo taken.

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THE FEATURES I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

While the iPhone SE has a 12-megapixel camera, it’s front camera packs only a measly 1.2-megapixel camera making video calls very grainy and dark when done at night.

Selfies using the front camera does not always produce the best looking photos because of the camera quality.

Another thing I hate is the screen lock code is six digits. It used to be 4 digits only so it is a bit annoying that I have to type in 6 digits when the Touch ID sometimes refuse to recognise my fingerprint.

One of the few things that I hate in the new iOS 10.3.1 update is that they brought out the Apple ID menu on top of the settings menu. So now, when you open it, you see your photo and your Apple ID. It’s perfectly fine as it is when you’re alone opening your settings menu but when you’re in a public place, when you open that up, a stranger beside you may see your complete details and your ID details. Not cool, for someone so private.

One other thing that I like about the iPhone is that I can delete photos and if I change my mind within the day, I can still retrieve the photo I deleted. It is also one of the worse things. Because if I really want to delete a photo, I still need to go to the deleted folder and delete photos permanently. I wish that they can think of an option wherein, after choosing delete, a dialogue will come up where you get asked if you want to delete this photo permanently or put it in the deleted photos folder. I usually know which photos I want to delete immediately and which ones I am on a fence deleting.

iPhone SE in its official colours

OVERALL REVIEW

Apple’s iPhone SE was reviled when it was launched in March 2016. People say, “but it looks like an iPhone 5S. There’s nothing new about it” and all that.

There are people like myself who are looking for an iPhone that does not slip off my hand, that fits perfectly and is light but packs a punch on its specifications. Why change a winning combination when all you need to do is change the internal technology to make sure that the phone can keep up with the ever-changing software technology nowadays?

A year later, the iPhone SE is celebrated as one of the best smartphones
to come out. Compared to its predecessor the iPhone 6 and to its¬†competitor the Samsung S7, it’s also one of the best and cheapest smartphones. It can beat an iPhone 7 when pegged against all the specifications of the latest Apple flagship smartphone. A phone without a headset jack sucks for people who are perfectly happy with 3.5 mm cable earphones. Not everyone is about wireless technology. I am one of those people.

I can say that everyone who sees my iPhone SE loves the rose gold colour of it and that it has iPhone 6s hardware helps me a lot in running apps that may lag or hang if I use an older iPhone. I love this phone and I don’t see myself upgrading to an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 in the near future. I hope Apple knows that there are consumers like me who just wants the normal sized phones with the new hardware in it.

OVERALL RATING  8/10

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