iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s

Ap­ple’s smart­phones go head-to-head iPhone SE: £359, 16GB; £439, 64GB ap­ple.com/uk

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Ap­ple took to the stage at an event in March 2016 to show­case the lat­est ad­di­tions to the iPhone and iPad lineup. While the 9.7in iPad Pro re­ceived a warm wel­come at the press event, it was the 4in iPhone SE (far left) that re­ceived the most ap­plause. Ap­ple fans have wanted a new 4in

iPhone for quite some time, with some even re­fus­ing to up­grade to a larger iPhone. How­ever, due to its sim­i­lar­ity in terms of de­sign with the three-yearold iPhone 5s, peo­ple are won­der­ing what the dif­fer­ences are. Here, we com­pare the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two.


So, what is the dif­fer­ence be­tween the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s in terms of de­sign? Sur­pris­ingly enough, not a lot. Both the SE and 5s adopt the blocky de­sign made fa­mous by the iPhone 5 and is a de­sign that many be­lieve was ahead of its time. In fact, a num­ber of Ap­ple fans claim that they’d be happy if the com­pany was to launch an iPhone 7 with a sim­i­lar build to the iPhone 5/5s. We’re not quite sure whether we agree with them or not, but there is no deny­ing that both the 5s and SE are gor­geous phones.

Just how sim­i­lar are the two mod­els? Amaz­ingly, the iPhone SE and 5s have the ex­act same di­men­sions with both mea­sur­ing in at 123.8x58.6x7.6mm – in fact, the only dif­fer­ence is weight and even that isn’t by much. The SE is a whop­ping 1g lighter than the 5s weigh­ing in at 112g com­pared to 113g. We know, huge dif­fer­ence right?

Both phones are crafted from bead blasted alu­minium for a satin-es­que fin­ish, pro­vid­ing some­thing that’s ex­tremely nice to hold in the hand. And of course, the 4in dis­play of both the SE and 5s mean that they’re a lot eas­ier to hold and use one­handed than their larger 4.7 and 5.5in coun­ter­parts.

Speak­ing of the 4in dis­play, the ex­act same dis­play is used across both mod­els (which also

ex­plains why the front fac­ing cam­era didn’t get an up­grade) boast­ing a res­o­lu­tion of 640x1130, equat­ing to around 326ppi. It’s not the great­est res­o­lu­tion dis­play ever and there are def­i­nitely higher res­o­lu­tion op­tions avail­able on the mar­ket, but for the sake of the com­par­i­son, nei­ther has the up­per hand in terms of dis­play.

The only real dif­fer­ence in de­sign be­tween the two smart­phones are the colours they’re avail­able in. While the iPhone 5s can be found in ei­ther Space Grey, Sil­ver or Gold, the iPhone SE has the same op­tions plus one other – Rose Gold. Rose Gold was first in­tro­duced with the iPhone 6s and has since made its way to both the SE and the 9.7in iPad Pro, giv­ing users one ex­tra rea­son to opt for the newer model.


It’s only when you get down to the fea­tures and spec of the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s that you re­ally start to no­tice the dif­fer­ence be­tween th­ese aes­thet­i­cally sim­i­lar smart­phones. The most ob­vi­ous change be­tween the 2013 iPhone 5s and the 2016 iPhone SE is the pro­ces­sor – the iPhone 5s fea­tures Ap­ple’s own A7 chipset cou­pled with a quad-core Pow­erVR G6430 GPU and 1GB of RAM. While that should be more than enough for a mid-range smart­phone, the iPhone SE brings the pro­cess­ing power more in line with the iPhone 6s range.

The iPhone SE fea­tures Ap­ple’s A9 chipset (the same found in the iPhone 6s) along with a six-core GT7600 GPU and dou­ble the amount of RAM, bring­ing it to 2GB. Ap­ple claims that this boost in specs means that the iPhone SE pro­vides users

with two times the CPU per­for­mance and three times the GPU per­for­mance when com­pared to the iPhone 5s.

An­other dif­fer­ence be­tween the two smart­phones is with re­gards to ca­pac­ity – while the iPhone 5s is avail­able in ei­ther 16-, 32- or 64GB, the iPhone SE is avail­able only in ei­ther 16- or 64GB. The 32GB model gave users that used more than 16GB of stor­age but less than 64GB (a huge jump) a third op­tion – in fact, many ar­gue that Ap­ple should scrap the 16GB op­tion in favour of the more use­ful 32GB vari­a­tion, but that’s an­other story al­to­gether.

In­ter­est­ingly, even though the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s are the ex­act same in terms of di­men­sions, the SE has a larger bat­tery than its three-year-old coun­ter­part. The iPhone 5s has a re­spectable 1560mAh bat­tery in­side, but this is beaten (nar­rowly ad­mit­tedly) by the iPhone SE boast­ing a slightly larger 1624mAh bat­tery. The iPhone SE also has Ap­ple Pay sup­port while the iPhone 5s doesn’t, thanks to the omis­sion of an NFC chip. Both smart­phones use first gen­er­a­tion Touch ID tech­nol­ogy even though the iPhone SE launched months af­ter faster Touch ID tech­nol­ogy be­came avail­able with the iPhone 6s.

The other no­tice­able dif­fer­ence be­tween the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s is with re­gards to the cam­era. The 5s boasts a rear-fac­ing 8Mp cam­era boast­ing f/2.2 and a 1/3in sen­sor cou­pled with 1.5μm pix­els ca­pa­ble of record­ing 1080p video at 30 frames per sec­ond. While that should be fine for most ca­sual users, the iPhone SE boasts an up­graded 12Mp rear-fac­ing cam­era with f/2.2,

slightly smaller 1.22μm pix­els and bet­ter video record­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties (1080p at 30/60/120fps, 720p at 240fps or 4K at 30fps) – the same cam­era found on the iPhone 6s.

The front fac­ing cam­era of both the iPhone SE and 5s is the same due to Ap­ple us­ing the same dis­play panel across both de­vices as men­tioned ear­lier. This means that both smart­phones boast a fairly stan­dard 1.2Mp front-fac­ing cam­era ca­pa­ble of record­ing 720p HD video but not much else.


Both the iPhone SE and iPhone 5s are ca­pa­ble of run­ning Ap­ple’s lat­est op­er­at­ing sys­tem, iOS 9. Even though both smart­phones run the same soft­ware, there are a cou­ple of small dif­fer­ences be­tween the two. The iPhone 5s sup­ports many of the main fea­tures of iOS 9 in­clud­ing Night Shift mode, pass­word-pro­tected notes and Ap­ple News, but the SE of­fers some­thing more.

The iPhone SE can take ‘Live Photos’ – photos that, when ac­ti­vated, will play a lit­tle snip­pet of the mo­ment be­fore and af­ter tak­ing the photo (along with au­dio) in GIF form, which aims to trans­port you back to the mo­ment you took the photo. It’s great for nos­tal­gia, and up un­til now was a fea­ture unique to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It’s not the only 6s soft­ware fea­ture that the iPhone SE has bor­rowed ei­ther, as the SE also sup­ports al­ways-on Siri. Al­ways-on Siri en­ables the user to ac­ti­vate Siri with­out need­ing to hold the Home but­ton, in­stead, they need only say “Hey Siri” and the vir­tual as­sis­tant will be ac­ti­vated.

iPad & iPhone User’s buy­ing ad­vice

Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone SE are ca­pa­ble smart­phones boast­ing the same de­sign and 4in dis­play that Ap­ple fans love. Ap­ple has of­fi­cially dis­con­tin­ued the iPhone 5s, but there are plenty of places to buy it on­line – and for rel­a­tively cheap too. How­ever, the smart­phone is three years old now and will likely stop re­ceiv­ing iOS up­dates within the next cou­ple of years while the iPhone SE will (we imag­ine) be sup­ported for the fore­see­able fu­ture. That, cou­pled with the up­graded in­ter­nals of the iPhone SE make it our smart­phone of choice – how­ever when we’ve spent a bit more time with Ap­ple’s lat­est smart­phone, we’ll up­date this ver­dict so make sure you check back soon.

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