Apple release new 2nd gen iPhone SE

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Yesterday, Apple announced the new iPhone SE. The new device appears to be really simple: the iPhone 8’s body, the iPhone 11’s processor, and the iPhone XR’s camera system with a few new capabilities. Apple opens up ordering at 1 PM tomorrow and shipping starts one week later on the 24 April. We will obviously wait to review this phone to tell you if it’s any good, but assuming Apple lives up to its usual standards I can tell you something right away:

At $399 in the US and £419, the second-generation iPhone SE is a shockingly good value, especially in the US. Us poor brits have been hit by a Brexit Sterling slide and now have to pay a lot more than our US friends. Thats a rate of 1.05. It used to be a close £ for $. For example iPad Pro £769 and $799 or a rate of 0.96. Thank you Boris.

The most important thing to know about the SE’s value proposition is simply that it has the A13 Bionic processor, which is bar-none the fastest processor you can get on any smartphone at any price, full stop. You could spend £1,449 on a fully maxed-out iPhone 11 Pro Max and it wouldn’t be faster than the iPhone SE. You could spend £1599.99 on a maxed-out Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G and it would be theoretically slower (with the exception of 5G downloads).

This isn’t just a matter of processor megahertz per buck, it’s a matter of the longevity of the phone itself. More than any other phone company, Apple supports its phones for a very long time. Since this iPhone SE has the most modern processor available, it’s quite likely that it will receive software updates for many years to come. Apple even did the right thing with storage: offering a humane 64GB at the base level and making the 128GB model only £50 more.

The SE comes with a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide camera, and uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of A13 Bionic to unlock those computational photography features such as Portrait mode. 

Video gets stereo audio recording and the rear camera captures 4K up to 60fps, while extended dynamic range gets more highlight details up to 30fps.

The design is a familiar aluminium and glass affair and comes with an IP67 rating for water resistance of up to one metre for 30 minutes.

What’s missing apart from screen real estate? There is still no 5G capability, but perhaps most interestingly is the omission of the clever U1 location chip seen in other recent iPhones. 

A buttonless screen is also missing as the new SE has a now quaint Home button with fingerprint ID below that 4.7-inch Retina HD display – LCD, not OLED – which itself has True Tone, Apple’s mechanism for adjusting white balance to match ambient light to save tired eyes, as well as Haptic Touch.

The iPhone SE can charge wirelessly to 50 per cent in 30 minutes, comes with Wi-Fi 6 and has support for dual SIM with eSIM, making it possible to have two phone numbers on a single handset. The battery is good for 13 hours of video playback, as opposed to the 11’s 17 hours and the XR’s 16.

iPhone range

The iPhone 11 is the base model of the most recent range of iPhones, offering a dual camera, aluminium build, six colour options, IP68 water and dust resistance and a processor and battery bump over the older iPhone XR.

The iPhone 11 Pro has the same hardware as the iPhone 11 but it offers a more premium build, a triple rear camera and an OLED display that is mobile HDR compatible. There are a few extra camera features onboard compared to the iPhone 11 too.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the iPhone that has it all. The hardware and features are the same as the iPhone 11 Pro, but it offers everything in a larger package with a 6.5-inch OLED display. This larger package comes at a price though, because the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the most expensive iPhone available.

The iPhone XR is the entry-level model into the Face ID iPhones with an all-screen front design and Face ID over Touch ID. It has the same build quality and waterproofing as the iPhone 8 models, but it comes in a wider colour choice with a more advanced processor, more advanced camera functions and a lot of screen for its footprint. It misses out on a couple of features compared to the iPhone 11 though.

The iPhone 8 is now retired.

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