What it’s like using a 4-inch iPhone SE in 2019

“Apple discontinued the iPhone SE in September when iPhone XS and XR models were released, but in January, Apple started selling off its remaining stock via its clearance site for $249,” Juli Clover writes for MacRumors. “Every time Apple restocks the clearance site, available iPhone SE models go quick, suggesting there’s still quite a lot of interest in the 4-inch device.”

MacDailyNews Take: Or they only have them in batches of 10,000 units. 😉 Point is: We don’t know how “popular” they are without knowing how many of them are for sale. We’d hazard a guess that if 4-inch iPhones were off-the-charts popular, Apple would have a modern X-class iPhone the size of the SE’s case on the market.

“We recently picked up an iPhone SE to see just what it’s like using one in 2019,” Clover writes. “The iPhone SE was Apple’s last 4-inch iPhone, and compared to a 5.8-inch iPhone X, a 6.1-inch iPhone XR, or a 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max, it’s tiny. Coming from one of these phones to the iPhone SE almost makes the iPhone SE feel like a toy.”

Apple's 4-inch iPhone SE
Apple’s 4-inch iPhone SE

 

Clover writes, “If you don’t care about camera quality, prefer a smaller screen, and don’t need to use processor-intensive apps and games, the iPhone SE is a compact, easy-to-hold smartphone that still holds up even in 2019.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s perfect for your mom – if your mom had a twenty-year-old’s eyes.

As we wrote earlier this month: Yes, during these rapid sell-out clearance sales, the SE seems popular, but that’s only when you realize that we have no idea if Apple has 10 million units in stock or 10 thousand.

This is Apple, so you never know. But that can also be good news, too. Hope springs eternal! We’d love to see how an iPhone SE 2 with a edge-to-edge 4.7-inch in a Home button-free body much the same size as the original SE would sell around the world.

SEE ALSO:
Some people really like the iPhone SE, but Apple doesn’t seem to care – February 20, 2019
iPhone SE is back on sale in Apple’s online clearance section starting at $249 – February 19, 2019
Apple needs an ‘iPhone SE 2’ now more than ever – February 12, 2019
Apple iPhone SE 2 with glass back to launch soon? – February 2, 2019
iPhone SE 2: Who wants an iPhone with a tiny 4-inch display? – January 25, 2019
Apple restocks iPhone SE on clearance site, all models available – January 24, 2019

35 Comments

  1. “If you don’t care about camera quality, prefer a smaller screen, and don’t need to use processor-intensive apps and games, the iPhone SE is a compact, easy-to-hold smartphone that still holds up even in 2019.”

    What planet is this guy on?
    Camera quality? My iPhone 5s shoots great photos. This has a two generation newer camera.
    Processor-intensive apps and games? 90% of the public don’t push the CPU at all on their phones.

    Not everyone needs to own the latest bleeding edge phone.

    1. Agreed, the SE is more than adequate for a healthy segment, particularly those who found the 5 to be the performance threshold for that criteria…

      …and the 5’s camera’s been good enough such that I’ve actually used it for the key photo in our Christmas card … ironically because my dSLR was back in the hotel room (“best camera is the one you have with you” paradigm).

      And on processor-intensive apps? Well, any reasonably mature adult knows better than to use one of these on an iPhone because its going to promptly suck your battery dry for the rest of the day.

    2. Well said, @Think.

      Bought the fully loaded SE on launch day March 31, 2016. Typing on it now.

      Many others here have extolled the virtues of the most powerful small form factor phone on planet Earth.

      Time for an upgrade, Apple…

    3. Most importantly:
      1. The iPhone SE fits in my shirt pocket without sticking out.
      2. The iPhone SE has a flipping headphone jack.
      3. Unlike MDN, I like the home button.

  2. MDN, your idiotic hate-on for the SE shows in spades. I shoot no photos on my phone (I own and carry a REAL CAMERA that’s MUCH BETTER than any iOS device, complete with a 30 x OPTICAL zoom). I prefer a smaller screen and smaller device I can use. I’m old enough to be your DAD, and your age-ism related remarks about “your Mom” are insulting and pretty obnoxious. I’m not 12 so don’t play games. I love my 128 SE and hated the 6 it replaced because the 6 was just to effing big (and none of the newer, vastly more expensive devices are smaller than a 6).

    1. Indeed, because when Samsung went big, this is the same MDN that defended the SE’s form factor tooth & nail when it was all that Apple sold.

      And from an ergonomic design standpoint, a big honking phone is incompatible with the anthropometric hand dimensions of a large segment of the population … not only is there the segment of American adult females who are below the 50th percentile, but there’s also all of the teen market as well as many ROW nations where the average adult isn’t anthropometrically as large as Americans. So…figure a good ~60% of the world population. There’s a reason why Steve chose it.

      1. As do many others, I like and prefer the convenient size of my SE, it slips easily into damn near any available pocket – save for the coin pocket on my Levi’s – and can be operated with one hand. What’s not to like about that?

        And as to the issue of camera quality, my little SE “that could” has taken any number of excellent quality photographs under lighting conditions that were Not particularly good – so no complaints in that department.

        As for ergonomic design, as much as I like this old phone, I have to say that my favorite was my first – the venerable 3GS – with its rounded contours and fuller back that was so easily cradled in the hand. Just imagine a return to a similar, deeper form factor and the improved battery life it could bring in the bargain, with today’s battery advancements.

        These SE’s are great little phones and it seems to me a quite viable entry level i phone for people of modest or limited means, not to mention overseas in countries like India where there are lots, and lots and lots of people who want and would like to possess an iPhone but cannot currently afford current models.

        Besides the more new people you introduce into the apple ecosystem the more mr, apple earns over the long term. There is nothing wrong with making premium quality products for everyday customers at readily affordable prices – just in case mr apple hasn’t noticed there are way more of those kinds of people in this world than any others.

        Step aside from your elitist perspective and reach out to everyone. You make the best phones, and the SE is a great way to put apple products into more peoples hands.

        1. I agree with dr.’s comments 100% despite having an iPhone X Max and an X. There are times (including foreign travel) when a lightweight, easily pocketed phone is a delight to use.

      2. I loved my iPhone 4, and had no interest in a larger display.

        I did eventually switch (to the 6, now an X) and with that, my habits changed. I use my phone for more email than I used to, and I often read books on it. I stopped using my iPad, and while travelling for business now rarely take out my MacBook.

        The one thing I hate about the iPhone X is the bulk. With a case, it’s too chunky. I’m with MDN. An edge-to-edge display on a 4/SE style case would be much-appreciated.

    2. I agree with RyderDA; I find MDM’s cutting remarks about seniors to be condescending. I replaced a 6+ with the SE because I couldn’t carry my phone in my shirt pocket and it was uncomfortable in my front pants pocket. I don’t spend much time using my phone: I prefer enjoying reality instead of watching my experiences thru the camera display. And I don’t walk while having my eyes buried in my phone so I can get out of the way of those that do.

      1. Gee Rick, you needn’t be so “seeeeeennnsiiitive” about the “cutting remarks” regarding seniors. I’m 72 years old, have used Apple products since 1982 and have met Steve twice (he was charming and polite). I use an iPhone X MAX BECAUSE my vision is no longer that great and consider it a normal part of life. Why are you so bothered? I still like the tiny form factor phone for occasional convenience but reading articles on in is no longer very rewarding.

    3. That is exactly what the problem with this site and the comments are.
      This site’s participants are heavly skewed towrds the older age group, who are set in their ways and dont like change.( just human nature for the most part)
      But that is not where Apples primery mission is.
      Apple is on a journy forward, not backward or stagnation.
      ‘Most’ complaints are steming from the inability to adapt to the next and the new and blaming Apple for the path they are on.

      That is not to say there are no issues.. there are!… but
      embrace the new and you wont have as many compliments.
      Yet most in the older age group wont , since their mind set is of ‘i have lived a long time, i know best, and the ways i am accustomed to are the right way’ Accustomed the key word!
      Its not a new phenomenon, every generation has had this issue with cultural, social and tecnological, etc change.

      Now go ahead and click on the one star rating…. its expected.

      1. “That is exactly what the problem with this site and the comments are.
        This site’s participants are heavly skewed towrds the older age group, who are set in their ways and dont like change.( just human nature for the most part)”

        No problems, Mr. Confused. MDN is open to everybody worldwide. Regarding reality and demographics, it is what it is and deserves respect.

        “But that is not where Apples primery mission is.
        Apple is on a journy forward, not backward or stagnation.”

        The primary mission for Apple is pleasing customers of ALL ages.

        “‘Most’ complaints are steming from the inability to adapt to the next and the new and blaming Apple for the path they are on.”

        NO, most complaints are focused on Apple neglect of products and tone-deaf to their customers. Mac Pro is the Rosetta Stone of NEGLECT in the complaint category.

        “Yet most in the older age group wont , since their mind set is of ‘i have lived a long time, i know best, and the ways i am accustomed to are the right way’ Accustomed the key word!”

        You are TOTALLY WRONG and peddling outdated stereotypes. No sale. When people age they gain decades of experience, perspective and knowledge and are more open minded.

        I am a senior citizen and using Apple products since 1983. When “change” is positive I’m all aboard for the cruise. When “change” is negative I speak up.

        Sonny, when you grow up you will understand.

        ”Now go ahead and click on the one star rating” if it makes you feel better…

      2. What ‘Mr. Truth’ sees as a problem isn’t necessarily so.

        First off, the demographics of those who read the news have always had an age bias (older), so that’s not anything unique to MDN to complain about. Besides, age tends to bring perspective and wisdom … including recognizing BS as BS.

        Case in point, there’s an allusion to what Apple’s primary mission is – – but the graybeards know that such things are actually published. Here’s Apple’s (current as of 2018):

        “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”

        Now then, just what’s Apple’s performance against their own set of benchmarks?

        1) How well is the Mac being supported? Are they PROUD of their “Flashship” Mac Pro? Why or why not?

        2) How’s iLife doing these days? And their professional software? Other than FCP, Is there actually anything pro left?

        3) iPods and iTunes … hmmm, not a trend here, is there?

        4) Finally the iPhone is mentioned. Yeah, they’ve done okay in ramping it up, but they’re also demonstrating being tone deaf to the market on price points which includes the SE.

        5) the iPad gets mentioned to close things out. Again, the iPad with its Pro incarnation has arguably gotten more corporate investment than what Apple themselves calls “…the best personal computers in the world…”.

        6) There is no six. As such, no mention of the iWatch, Autonomous Vehicles, Healthcare, AppleTV, Services … even though we know (indirectly) that they’re spending Billions in R&D while they themselves have identified as their core business – the Mac and its ecosystem – withers on the vine.

        So from this own document of Apple, the direction that they’re obviously going versus the direction that they claim to be going do not align.

        Of course, being a greybeard has provided the experience to identify stuff which isn’t passing the “sniff” test … and its also part of the reason why statistically, the older generation has more discretionary funds with which to make more discretionary purchases of higher end IT products such as Apple apparently tries to align to. Of course, the customer is still kind because they have the ultimate vote in their wallet.

        Which is why some longtime Apple customers have either implicitly or explicitly said “No New Apple Purchases Until there’s a New Mac Pro”.

  3. It doesn’t need to be assumed that the SE II iPhone will need to be an exact copy of the original design. What does need to be assumed is that Apple will deliver a new, SE that is familiar in the in the hand to the original. That does not mean it can’t have newer technology like, say, the XR. Apple has the technology. Some of the newer technology, like the new 5nm chip coming on line soon will allow for lower costs of today’s components to a reasonable level. There is no need why FaceID can’t be included – it’s needed by many
    people at that size. Screen size can also be increase using current technology.

    Current SE dumps are, IMO, just a holding design for the next design. I don’t see that next design to be a regression.

  4. My experience with my iPhone SE in 2019 has so far been a lot like my experience in 2018 and late 2017. Small wonder. The iOS updates improved things a bit along the way, of course.
    Anyhow, since I bought the device new for $160, my annual cost will be less than $80 by the time I pass it on to a family member near the end of this year. Works for me.

  5. It seems MDN’s comments on the SE are just clickbait. The SE is close to the perfect size phone, the one that Steve Jobs and the tean envisaged when they first created the iPhone, and indeed not all that far from the size of the Palm III that I bought over 20 years ago. Just the right size for a handheld device. Of course it could be improved and updated, but offering and marketing an up-to-date device in that size range should be a given.

  6. The SE is just fine, not interested in a big ass phone that I can’t carry or hold comfortably.

    Now if Timber doesn’t update the SE in the future, AND include a Home Button, I’m calling it quits and moving up to a LG Flip Phone!

  7. Its perfect for me, MDN. That’s what I, good eyes at 60s, use every day. I don’t care about games and for eventual photos it’s ok. All I need is communication, to ear my production musics, some videos/photos and to fit inside my front 5 pocket’s pants.

    1. Yup MDN being arrogant and patronising as usual these days.

      ‘We’d hazard a guess that if 4-inch iPhones were off-the-charts popular, Apple would have a modern X-class iPhone the size of the SE’s case on the market.’ Clearly they have, while issuing their mini rant also forgotten that Cook is running the company now, when does any product arrive when needed or on time? Maybe MDN can’t do two things at once either.

    2. Yeah my aged eyes can read that screen rather better than my TV screen these days, its great and clearly MDN have little idea (little change there then) how for many at least, declining eyesight actually affects us in practice. But then as they have often lectured us ‘older’ and/or less valuable customers simply aren’t wanted whatever our history of dedication to multiple Apple platforms, only cash cows need apply it seems.

  8. Say what you will folks, but I will TREASURE IT (bought a new one just before Xmas) until the time I can buy a foldable of the same size. Yes, size matters, and this size is perfect for me. Do you hear? MSN? Hello………

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