The SE is loaded with features (Apple Pay, Live Photos, fingerprint unlocking, 4K video recording, hands-free “Hey Siri” voice commands, and more), but not a single one of them is new in the SE.
It actually lacks one modern feature of the iPhone 6s: It doesn’t have 3D Touch, which makes shortcut menus pop up when you apply additional pressure to the iPhone 6s’s screen. (Compared with the 6s, the SE screen isn’t quite as colorful, the front camera not quite as good, and the fingerprint reader isn’t quite as fast, either.)
In other words, a review of the iPhone SE would, for all intents and purposes, be a re-review of the iPhone 6s. Therefore, to save us both time and effort, here’s what I said about the 6s, in lightly updated form. After all: If Apple can recycle its finest ideas, why can’t I? (You can skip to the final paragraph for my final thoughts on the new phone.)
Things you’ll appreciate all day long
The biggest new thing is speed.
The processor inside: Apple says it’s “up to 70 percent” faster than the iPhone 6. Opening apps, switching apps, processing things — it all happens faster.
Apple also says that it has tuned both its Wi-Fi and its cellular (LTE) antennas to make them faster. This, too, is screamingly obvious when you call up websites side-by-side on the old and new phones. Who doesn’t like faster Internet?
Things you’ll appreciate occasionally
Apple makes much of the iPhone’s new camera. It takes 12-megapixel photos, up from 8. And it can capture 4K video (that is, four times the resolution of high definition).
But as Apple itself has pointed out many times, having more megapixels does not mean you take better photos. More megapixels can be useful when you want to crop a wide photo down to a smaller subject and still have enough resolution for a print. Otherwise, more megapixels just means bigger files — and your phone will fill up faster.
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