Large Size of Apple’s New Low-Cost iPhone SE Disappoints

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Apple has released a new iPhone SE that reuses the iPhone 8 form factor, meaning that it’s notably larger and heavier than the model it nominally replaces. But even as an updated iPhone 8, the second-generation iPhone SE is cheap, uses Touch ID, and boasts modern specs, so it will be welcomed by those for whom iPhones have become too expensive.


Well it’s finally landed. As expected, it an 8 on the outside, with the internals of the 11. $399 for a 64GB iPhone with an A13 is a really sweet deal.

I bet these will sell very, very well.

A pity it’s not really small. I would have preferred a more expensive device that tries to be the “old” SE in terms of form factor, but has a chin/bezel-free screen like the X. That would have also rendered about 4.7" of usable screen, but in a package substantially smaller than the 8-like new SE. That would for sure have not been cheap and I admit, battery life should be better this way too. I went from a 6 to an SE because I felt the 6 was too big. Couldn’t operate it with just one hand. Looks like Apple will force me to give up one-handed use when my SE dies. Sniff. :wink:


Nice. I like the big screen on my iPhone 6+, but given the pricing for the big-screen iPhone 11 models and the fact that the SE offers 64 GB of storage for $400, this may well be what I end up getting.

The fact that it is retaining Touch ID instead of Face ID is an added plus in my book.


Interestingly, in relative terms, it’s almost exactly the same size as the previous model. The 2016 SE was 89% the height of the next largest model and 88% of the width. The 2020 SE is 91% of the height of the next largest iPhone and 88% of the width. Weight? 2016 was 79% of the weight of the next up, and 2020 is 76%.

I recognize that absolute size may be more important for a lot of folks, but Apple seems to be positioning it about the same relative to the top of the line models.

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I regularly look at the iPhone subreddit and lately there are a lot of people with iPhone 6s, 7 or 8 who have issues from broken screens to hardware failure who are now limited in how they can get support to get their phones fixed, which almost exclusively means mailing it to someone and being without the phone for days (if it is even repairable.) I have to think for a lot of people right now a phone at this price and at that size with 2019 specs (except cameras, which I believe is 2018/Xr equivalent) is fantastic.


I’m still using an iPhone 5 :slight_smile: I almost bought an iPhone 11 but the huge size and huge price made me hesitate and finally decide my iPhone 5 is “good enough” for now. But the new SE is very tempting. While it’s a bit bigger than my 5, it’s not massively bigger, and I’m much more willing to drop $500 on a new phone than $1,000, and it will be nice to have Touch ID and be able to run an iOS newer than 10, so I’m leaning strongly to getting one.


I’m still using a 6, so very happy with this model. A mini headphone jack would have made it perfect for me, but I’ll just get the dongle thingy for my wired headphones.

I can understand SE owners will be disappointed, this new ‘SE’ does not do justice to the name. Apple should have called it a 9 and left the option to bring out a real SE replacement in the future.


My wife would love to have a phone the size of the screen on her 8. She dropped her XR too many times in a couple weeks, so traded it for an 8. But that’s still too big for her.


I think the old form factor doesn’t suit modern chipsets and battery requirements. I’ll have to let that dream go.

Well, looks like I’ll be sticking with my 11 pro. I know, some hardship…

The 11 pro is great, the cameras are good, night mode and video really good but the size still bothers me, I have to double tap to get the screen to slide down all the time and a load of apps don’t work well with that.

I just liked how the old 5 form factor felt in the hand and miss that,


Yep, still on an iPhone SE(1?). What is with the same name thing, that is just plain dumb.

This new iPhone SE(2?) is only small compared to a tablet, so that is a bit disappointing, but at least it has a home button.

I can understand why Apple wont make a new phone with the SE(1?) format, because its hard on developers to support the range of screens down to the S2 size (even Apple fails at this, I’ve seen system apps that can’t quite fit things on the screen). So it is disappointing, but understandable.

But those of us who just want a phone to do phone stuff for the most part really don’t need a 4.7" screen and the phone size that goes with it. I’m at my computer most of the time, so if I want to do something I just use that. Even in the car, I have Car Play, so the screen size makes no difference.


Gotta say I’m very disappointed with this from both size and cost perspectives.

I use an iMac for a large chunk of each the day. I have a large iPad Pro for other times.

As Peter says “just want a phone to do phone stuff for the most part”. Why would I bother with an Apple phone at all in that case? So I can sync Contacts, Calendar, Messages and Notes as simply as possible with the iMac and iPad.

Is that convenience worth NZD 1,000 (NZD 800 for the 64GB model and NZD 180 for Apple Care)?

Hmmmm – probably not.

Cheers, Gobit

Slightly off topic, but is there a big technological jump for Apple to make an iPad cellular into a phone? As in true phone, not with 3rd party apps. Is the cellular iPad missing some hardware? If I had to stop buying one, I slightly prefer the iPad over the iPhone. Especially if I have a watch and AirPods.

Yes. For one thing it’s missing the NFC chip that allows the iPhone to be used with Pay at a POS terminal.

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I use a watch for that. Slightly better as I don’t have to Face ID each time.

But your watch will only work with your phone. It doesn’t connect to an iPad nor is there an app for iPad to configure and update your watch.

I currently own the original SE, and I’m going to keep using it for as long as I can. Then I’ll see what I can get at Apple’s refurbished section.


Agree, with the understanding that “phone stuff” includes tethering, in case I need to get some non-phone stuff done while away from home (on a MacBook). This is where the original SE excels; it’s a phone and a hot-spot and it’s only slightly oversized.

When small size is the key feature, “improved” would require that it get smaller, not larger.

Well put, @ace.


I’m excited. My 3.5 year old iPhone7 has a cracked screen and I’d like to replace it. The new SE, for me, is the perfect size and price.


In four years, it will be relative to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. :slight_smile:


John Gruber has a nice analysis of how the new SE fits into Apple’s strategy and lineup:

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