Renowned for its impeccable finishes, the iPhone plays in the field of high-end smartphones. And inevitably, that plays on the price… To enter today in the Apple ecosystem, and in particular iOS, the entry ticket is expensive, and even very expensive. Till today. For the first time in years, the Californian firm revealed a new model in the spring of 2020, below the € 500 mark. This is the brand new iPhone SE. A good deal ? One point is essential.
The iPhone SE, a “low-cost” Apple smartphone?
This is not the first time that Apple has offered models that are more accessible to its customers. Remember the iPhone 5C or even the SE of 2016. This latest model had also been a great success in the world, despite its very small screen and its rather dated design. Four years later, in the spring of 2020, a new version of this phone was born, more muscular than ever. Available from € 465 at SFR in its 64 GB version, the 2020 iPhone SE makes some compromises, without offering a discounted experience.
If Apple is venturing into the mid-range, it’s because the competition is fierce! More and more consumers are now turning to inexpensive but powerful Android models with ultra-correct technical characteristics. By remaining on a flagship position, the Californian giant cut itself off from a whole part of the market and left a highway to its rivals … In order to meet the needs of customers with a more limited budget and looking for a smartphone of the best quality / price without frills, the iPhone SE was thus born.
The release of a new iPhone is always experienced as an event. Having been used to keynotes Rich in announcements and innovations, fans always expect to discover the next revolution from Apple. Despite its name full of promises (“Special Edition”), the SE has yet nothing revolutionary here, apart from its price, perhaps, quite surprising. This mid-range device indeed recycles many elements of the past, while offering some cutting-edge technologies and innovations. Two rooms, two atmospheres; discover this multifaceted phone.
A rather “old school” design
IPhone SE is available in 3 colors: white, black and (PRODUCT) RED. Are you familiar with its glass and aluminum design? It’s normal. The new smartphone of the American giant indeed uses the codes of the iPhone 8 released in September 2017, a model already very strongly inspired by the iPhone 6 Plus dating from 2014! From there to saying that the lines of this new iPhone SE are vintage, there is only one step …
In a world where smartphones are today more and more big – like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 or iPhone 11 Pro Max – the “SE” clearly contrasts with the trend of phablets, returning to an experience of yesteryear: a compact phone that’s easy to handle. This trip into the past is confirmed with the large borders on the screen, but also with the famous Touch ID button with haptic feedback, a real Proust madeleine for Apple fans.
Who says small model, says small screen. 4.7 inches exactly, plus Retina HD. Despite its small size, it is not low-cost so far. The LCD panel is indeed faithful to what we can expect from the Californian manufacturer thanks to a beautiful brightness, readability foolproof and rich colors. The iPhone SE also features True Tone technology, which adjusts the color and intensity of the screen according to the ambient light.
A13 Bionic, high performance
According to Apple, the A3 Bionic chip is “simply the fastest chip designed for a smartphone“. Before the arrival of the iPhone 12, at least… This dear chip equips the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro, the 11 Pro Max and now the SE.
Concretely, this high-performance processor makes it possible to juggle between applications, to run very greedy games, to watch numerous videos and even to live experiences of augmented reality, without weakening or slowing down. All with an exemplary fluidity of navigation.
Remarkably fast, this chip is capable of performing five billion tasks per second, and among them, boosting the photo part …
A correct photophone
The photo is now an essential criterion in the purchase of a smartphone. Manufacturers have understood this point well and are offering more and more cameras on their phones. On the side of the iPhone SE, we can forget the quadruple photo module … Here, there is only one 12 megapixel sensor on the back. And another, frontal, of 7 megapixels. Either a technical sheet, on paper, a little light …
Where the iPhone SE really catches up is in the software processing of photos. The photos taken with the smartphone are indeed very well made, when the ideal light conditions are met. The phone from the Cupertino company also offers a rather successful Portrait mode, thanks to an algorithm generating bokeh effects, adjustable in intensity. In addition, it allows the capture of high quality videos in 4K, up to 60 frames per second.
All is not rosy, however. The absence of additional sensors is inevitably felt when it is necessary to zoom a scene. As for the photos taken in the evening, it is even more complicated; the smartphone does not have a night mode and it shows. The quality of the night shots is indeed… questionable.
Autonomy, a real step backwards
“Don’t you have an iPhone charger?“. Until recently, the iPhone hardly shone by its autonomy, more than limited. And for good reason, after a big half-day of listening to music, browsing the web, playing a mini-game or still on the phone, old Apple phones would die out. After a year of use – or worse, after an iOS update – it was not uncommon for the battery to drain even faster. Having suffered from this bad reputation for a long time, the giant has finally rectified the situation with its iPhone 11 series, and in particular with the Pro Max, the most enduring phone ever designed by the apple brand.
With the iPhone SE 2020, we are unfortunately going back. While it is still too early to make any conclusions about battery life after several months, or even years of use, it is already clear. This phone has a 1,821 mAh battery; or 2.6 times less than a Xiaomi Mi 10 released at the same time and offered at a similar price … In fact, the fairly limited autonomy is confirmed daily, and will quickly require a charge during the day if you use extensively. This smartphone is also compatible with fast charging, wired or wireless, but still comes with a classic charger (slow) in its box. To benefit from 50% charge in just 30 minutes, you will have to go back to the cash desk …
Conclusion: should you invest in an iPhone SE?
Despite its small size, the iPhone SE remains a powerful smartphone, thanks to the onboard A13 Bionic chip. There are however two big shadows on the board: a rather limited autonomy and a rather dated design. Despite these compromises, this mid-range phone from Apple remains the best choice today for enjoying the iOS experience, at a lower cost. This terminal is indeed the only iPhone today not to exceed 500 euros, something (very) rare for the Cupertino company …
At SFR, theiPhone SE is even available from 193 euros in its 64 GB version with an 80 GB internet package, for a 24-month commitment. A price more accessible than ever for this compact phone with solid performance …
Bite into the apple; iPhone SE and other Apple smartphones are all available on the SFR store.