Apple has added yet other S-monikered device to its smartphone line-up after announcing the iPhone SE, which serves to be a smaller, more affordable version of its iPhone 6s in the shell of 2013's iPhone 5s, which the SE replaces. Apple's calling it "the most powerful four-inch smartphone ever created".
That said, Apple has had to make a couple of sacrifices in order to keep costs down. Most notable of these is the omission of 3D Touch, which was introduced in the iPhone 6s and made the device's screen pressure-sensitive. The front-facing camera has also been downgraded on the iPhone SE to just 1.2MP , compared to the 6s's 5MP lens.
Here's a side-by-side glance at how the latest iPhone stacks up against its predecessors in terms of price, technical specs and features.
|Specifications||iPhone SE||iPhone 5s||iPhone 6s|
|Display||4in 640 X 1136 LCD, 326ppi||4in 640 x 1136 LCD, 326ppi||4.7in 750 x 1334 LCD, 326ppi|
|CPU||64-bit dual-core Apple A9, 1.84GHz||Dual-core Apple A7, 1.3GHz||64 bit dual-core Apple A9, 1.84GHz|
|GPU||Six-core PowerVR GT7600||Quad-core PowerVR G6430||Six-core PowerVR GT7600|
|Camera||Primary: 12MP F/2.2, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash|
|Primary: 8MP F/2.2, autofocus, dual LED flash|
|Primary: 12MP F/2.2, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash|
|Features||Touch ID fingerprint, Apple Pay||Touch ID fingerprint||Touch ID fingerprint, Apple Pay, 3D Touch|
|Battery||Estimated up to 13 hours LTE talk time||1560mAh||1715mAh|
|Price new||From £359/ $399||From £379/ $450||From £539/ $649|
As expected, the iPhone SE looks identical to the iPhone 5s but for some very, very minor refinements to the logo on the back of the device and the finish on the handset's edges, which are now matte. Nevertheless, you're still looking at a carbon copy of the Apple's 2013 flagship in terms of aesthetics, with the device measuring a palm-friendly 123.8 x 58.5 x 7.6mm. The iPhone SE tips the scales at 113g, making it smaller and considerably lighter than the iPhone 6s.
The iPhone SE shares exactly the same screen as the iPhone 5s, measuring 4in and packing a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels. Both of these share the same pixel density as the 4.7in iPhone 6s at 326ppi.
Power and storage
Inside the iPhone SE is where we start to see the similarities to the iPhone 6s. Both handsets contain the same 64-bit Apple A9 dual-core CPU clocked at 1.84GHz, powered by 2GB RAM. The iPhone 5s also contains a 64-bit chip (it was in fact one of the first to do so), however this comes in the form of the older Apple A7 chip and has just 1GB of RAM to power it.
The iPhone 5s and 6s offer the widest range of storage options with 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models available. With Apple's iPhone SE, you get either 16GB or 64GB depending on your budget.
The iPhone 6s came with one of the most impressive smartphone cameras on the market, so it's good to see Apple has stuck with the same 12MP iSight camera with two-tone flash and 4K video support for the iPhone SE. By comparison, the iPhone 5s only has an 8MP lens and tops out at 1080p video.
Apple has cut corners on the secondary camera, however. Where the iPhone 6s comes with a 5MP front-facing lens, the SE gets a measly 1.2MP sensor round the front, putting it in the same leagues as the iPhone 5s.
Apple made a big show of its 3D Touch technology in the iPhone 6s, so we were mildly surprised to see it missing from the SE. That said, the most likely reason for its omission was to keep costs down. Plus, if Apple simply lifted the display from the iPhone 5s and stuck it into the SE, it makes sense that 3D Touch isn't there.
Touch ID does make a return in the iPhone SE, however, which can amongst other things be used to authorise payments on the built-in Apple Pay.
The iPhone SE is the most affordable smartphone Apple has put out to date, with prices starting at £359 ($399, €460) for the 16GB model. By comparison the iPhone 5s– which is no longer available on the Apple store – cost around £379 ($540, €480) when last we checked.
The iPhone 6s, which sits firmly at the top-end of Apple's smartphone line up, carries a £539 ($649, €699) price tag for the entry-level model. The iPhone 5s opens for pre-orders on 24 March and will be released a week later on 31 March.