Daring Fireball’s Gruber reviews iPhone SE: ‘Feels the best in hand’

“Feel matters. And to me, the classic 4-inch display form factor shared by the iPhones 5, 5S, and now SE feels the best in hand,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “This is obviously highly subjective, but in my mind it’s not even a close call. There are obvious reasons to prefer the larger 4.7- and 5.5-inch models, but how they feel in your hand isn’t one of them.”

“I prefer the flat sides. (It stands up!) I prefer the small circular volume buttons. I prefer the power button at the top, rather than directly opposite the volume-up button,” Gruber writes. “I absolutely loathe the camera bump on the 6/6S; the lack of said bump on the SE feels downright luxurious in contrast.”

“In my real-world use, the iPhone SE is very much exactly what I was hoping it would be: a 4-inch iPhone with iPhone 6S performance and camera quality,” Gruber writes. “The SE is easier to pocket, easier to hold, and easier to use one-handed. The 6S displays more content, and is better for two-handed use — particularly when it comes to thumb-typing. Judging between these two devices, with no consideration for future devices, I personally am completely torn. But I lean toward the SE.”

Much more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Jony Ive must curse that effing camera bump in his sleep.

If you use an iPhone 6/6s or 6 Plus/6s Plus and still have an older 4-inch iPhone 5 or 5S stuck in a drawer, pull it out. It just feels great, doesn’t it? The design and build quality are exquisite. It’s like a piece of fine jewelry. The slippery iPhone 6/s series just cannot compare.

As for the design of iPhone 7:

Put the Sleep/Wake button back on the top where it belongs. We’re sick and tired of changing the volume when trying to sleep or sleeping when trying to change the volume. Sheesh! — MacDailyNews, February 2, 2016

Can we have an edge-to-edge display, pretty please, Apple? After all, it is 2016. — MacDailyNews, March 1, 2016

Macworld reviews iPhone SE: ‘It’s a pocket-size powerhouse’ – March 31, 2016
TIME reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: ‘The perfect smaller smartphone’ – March 30, 2016
Mossberg: Understanding Apple’s iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro – March 30, 2016
Wired reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: You’ll use it differently – March 29, 2016
USA Today’s Baig: Apple’s iPhone SE is like a cute, adorable baby – March 24, 2016
The Daily Mail reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: The ‘perfect first time iPhone’ – March 24, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple’s iPhone SE: ‘Smaller gets smarter with better battery life to boot’ – March 24, 2016
Apple tries to stimulate growth with the powerful 4‑inch iPhone SE – March 23, 2016
Why the tiny 4-inch iPhone SE will be a gigantic hit for Apple – March 22, 2016
Apple just put a Mac mini in your pocket (with keyboard and screen) – March 22, 2016
Apple’s got millions of reasons to make the smaller iPhone SE – March 22, 2016
The new iPhone SE finally makes a small phone feel powerful – March 21, 2016
Apple unveils iPhone SE, the most powerful phone with a four-inch display – March 21, 2016


    1. Have a 6s and love it. Put in a clear case that does not get in the way, is not as slippery, and protects the screen when sitting face down. Ps. What camera bump? The case makes it disappear.

      To each their own. Cool. But these old eyes like the larger print and screen.

  1. I find these positive reviews amazing to read. Who would’ve thought that Apple could pull this off so well?

    Each day, I’m being convinced that the SE is my next phone, even though the price is still too high for me (in Canadian dollars). It’s a price I could accept knowing that the phone will last me 4-5 years.

  2. Just picked up my 64gb SE today. Slick. Waited for the SE since I didn’t want the 6/6s or plus.

    Thank you, APPLE, for listening to that segment of the market that prefers something easy to pocket with good speed, a better battery and a much better camera than the 5/5s.

    I’m happy. (and for extra good measure you lowered the price! Yeoow, what a bonus. Keep up the great work. When I add the trade in for my old 5 and the money the carrier gave me for switching from one carrier to the next, the phone was damn-near free. Well, not quite, but it was cheap.)

  3. I have a 6s as my primary phone, but I use my old 5s as a backup and basically like an iPod. I picked up a new SE 64GB today and I can easily see using it as my primary phone. It’s just as fast as the 6s but it does feel better and fit better in things. The screen isn’t as nice, but the performance and form factor are excellent.

    Since I use my watch most of the time anyway, I could replace my 6s with this and be perfectly fine. Now just have to find a saddle brown case to match my watch band like the 6s has.

  4. I think Apple came out with giant phones in order to get analysts, bloggers, and other inveterate snivellers to STFU about Apple “needing” a larger screen size, about leaving money on the table, about ignoring consumer choice, etc. At the time, it seemed a gamble, but they went ahead and joined in with the phablet craze.

    When they did, and their giant phones were a hit, sending Samsung and the rest into retail swampland, there was a momentary pause in the P.R. carpet bombing, as the Axis waited to see what would come next. If nothing new came, the “lack of innovation” mantra could be revived.

    The rumours of Apple recycling a ho-hum design with the iPhone SE should have been sweet music to the locusts’ ears, but impressive China pre-orders, enthusiastic reviews, and Apple’s disclosure of a huge pool of active 4/4s/5/5c/5s owners on the cusp of upgrading all made a retro, small, non-innovative phone design suddenly not the despicable failure that detractors had expected, but a sign of Apple’s market intelligence and its aloofness from the chatter.

    I still think Apple has a STFU component to its maneuvers (Steve Jobs always had a fuze burning), but it’s displayed in the most exquisitely subtle ways. It reminds me of Leonard Cohen, who exults in dismembering judgmental critics in song, and likes to mention to his live audiences that he has outlived most of them. As has Apple.

  5. Nothing has been as comfortable in hand since the iPhone 3GS. Curved backs just make a lot of sense. Of course, that was when relatively few people used cases. With the brick, almost everyone uses a case.

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