What It's Like Using an iPhone SE in 2019
Apple discontinued the iPhone SE in September when iPhone XS and XR models were released, but in January, Apple started selling off its remaining stock via its clearance site for $249.
Every time Apple restocks the clearance site, available iPhone SE models go quick, suggesting there's still quite a lot of interest in the 4-inch device. We recently picked up an iPhone SE to see just what it's like using one in 2019.
The iPhone SE was Apple's last 4-inch iPhone, and compared to a 5.8-inch iPhone X, a 6.1-inch iPhone XR, or a 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max, it's tiny. Coming from one of these phones to the iPhone SE almost makes the iPhone SE feel like a toy.
On the plus side, it's so small and light that it's easy to use one handed, something you can't necessarily do with Apple's biggest iPhones. With its aluminum backing, the iPhone SE is more durable than Apple's new all-glass smartphones.
The iPhone SE pre-dates Face ID, of course, so it's using a Touch ID Home button, which is great for those who continue to prefer fingerprint sensors to facial recognition.
There's also a headphone jack, which has been eliminated from all current iPhones (and the most recent iPad Pro models), and it has separate volume up and down buttons along with a power button at the top of the device instead of a side button.
Apple released the iPhone SE in 2016, so it's using three-year-old hardware. It has an A9 processor, which was also used in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus back in 2015, along with 2GB RAM (vs. 3 in the XR and 4 in the XS).
You might think it'd be noticeably slower than newer iPhones, but, surprisingly, for built-in apps it's speedy. When using Mail, Messages, Calendar, FaceTime, and other similar built-in apps, the iPhone SE is as speedy as 2018 iPhones.
It's not, however, able to hold up when using apps built for newer iPhones with more modern processors, nor does it have the same augmented reality capabilities. The camera is fine and is the same camera in the iPhone 6s, but it's lacking the improvements made over the last three years.
If you don't care about camera quality, prefer a smaller screen, and don't need to use processor-intensive apps and games, the iPhone SE is a compact, easy-to-hold smartphone that still holds up even in 2019.
Apple's clearance site continues to have iPhone SE models in stock that are unlocked, but ship with Verizon and T-Mobile SIMs. The iPhone SE with 32GB of storage is priced at $249, while the iPhone SE with 128GB of storage is available for $299.
Ahead of when the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR were released, there were some rumors suggesting Apple was working on a second-generation version of the iPhone SE 2.
Some of that information was conflated with iPhone XR rumors, though, and since the 2018 devices launched, we've heard no more about another 4-inch iPhone except for some chatter suggesting Apple has nixed all plans for a new iPhone SE.
At this point in time, it looks like the iPhone SE will continue to be the last 4-inch device available from Apple.
Top Rated Comments
I don't watch video or play games on my phone, so it's the perfect size. No bigger than it needs to be but is still quite capable of everything I need it to do.
Edit: I fully expect this thread to be full of "God I couldn't imagine going back to the iPhone SE!" posts, so here's a premptive response to those: Please don't misinterpret iPhone SE owners' laments about the lack of a followup to the iPhone SE as them asking you to use one. Nobody is asking you to, chill out.
Edit 2: Also, what a bizarre-ass post. MacRumors is acting like this is a phone from a decade ago or something.
"What's it's like using an iPhone SE in 2019?"
...you mean a phone that was available to purchase new at Apple's retail stores not even six months ago and that was last updated in 2017?
Why do I want a smaller phone? Because I don't wanna carry around a dinner plate in my pocket. I wear jeans, I don't want to also have a fanny pack just to hold a phone while I'm on my motorcycle. I don't like having some giant 'tech bling' smacking against me and dragging down my shorts while I'm riding my bicycle. When I go to a bistro for lunch I don't want my phone to take up half the table if I sit it down. I do things where a large phone is annoying. I don't need or want a large phone since 'the phone' is not a lifestyle for me. I just want the tech to 'do it's thing' and then disappear into the background of my life.
I can only speak from personal experience, but it's all about the size for me, not the price point. If Apple offered a variant of the XR hardware in the form factor of the iPhone SE I'd pick one up even at $749.
And, not all of us use phones for email (I have a MBA for that), or reading books (I read actual books) or when consuming media; again, I'm happy to let my MBA handle that.
It is a phone; that is what I chiefly use it for.
I don't want to read books, news, or watch media on my phone, so I don't need a big phone.
I would however like to be able to make phone calls, send text messages, browse the web when necessary, use map applications, take pictures, and other smartphone things, none of which require a tablet-sized display.
I passed along my launch day 5c to my mom when I picked up my SE in 2017 and she still uses it to this day. Does everything she needs to in a phone (and more, really)