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

Well if the 7 was already too big for you it’s no surprise the 11 Pro wasn’t going to feel better. It’s larger in every dimension. Heavier too.

I feel I will keep my 64GB SE until it dies or I do. I note the new SE, which looks lovely especially in red, just replaces the identically-named old SE as if the original one had not existed… and that makes me wonder if my old SE will be deprecated for iOS 14.

I’m guessing it’s cheaper to re-use what they can from existing form factors than retool for smaller form factors; significant for a budget device. I also wonder about heat dissipation in a smaller form factor; heat is a huge problem, made worse by wireless charging. Not sure the area difference is big enough to matter, but it just might be. :man_shrugging:t2:

Still, Apple hating people with those nasty little hands seems most likely; I know I hate 'em.

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Call me happy. This new SE is very close to the same physical size as my faithful but aging 6S, so the size is fine with me. I am finally able to install the latest operating system and download dozens of apps. (Everybody has an app these days, and I only have 2 screens of them on my phone right now, to conserve memory.) I am going from 16MB to 128MB! The 11 is much too big and too expensive, so the timing on this SE is just right. Now I can join the rest of the 21st century!


After having the Xr for almost a year I’m trading it in for the SE, back to the smaller size. I went back and forth between the 8 and Xr and thought the Xr would be better. However it’s just too big for my pockets and my hands as many have said. It will be nice to have something that fits nicely again. I don’t know what I’ll do in 4-5 years- hopefully they keep making a smaller phone.


Rumors say the iPhone 12 expected this fall will come in one model with a 5.4" screen and no bezels.

That’s half an inch less diagonal than the 11 Pro which is already smaller than the XR. If I assume the H:W ratio remains unchanged from the 11 Pro, that would result in a device with just shy of a 1/4" less width than the 11 Pro. Roughly 5.3" high and 2.6" wide overall. Or about 0.15" shorter and 0.05" narrower than the 8.

If these rumors are true, although we won’t be getting something like the 2016 SE, there is hope that at least we’ll be getting something noticeably smaller than the 11 Pro or the 2020 SE.

Silver lining, the low-budget 2020 SE will still remain quite close in size to this rumored 5.4" 12 meaning that there will be a good selection for those who felt left out with the recent 11s — both those who want inexpensive rather than small, and those that prefer small over cheap.

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4s. For me, that’s the one that went through the wash. I still have it (used, in box). Good paper weight now.

Honestly, I’m a little puzzled by all the negative comments based on the new SE’s size. My original SE is, in most respects, a wonderful iPhone; but reading web pages on such a tiny screen is a constant frustration. Composing web messages is even harder. Considering the pervasiveness of the internet in virtually everyone’s life nowadays, the original SE’s screen is simply too small for the average iPhone user today. Compared to my iPhone XR, the iPhone 8 feels very thin, light and easy to handle. I think a cheap, modern iPhone of this size will be a huge hit.


I agree – I think it goes to a difference in definition. Apple seems to see a ‘small’ iPhone in relative terms, thus the new one being about the same ratio to the larger iPhones as the first one. Others have a more absolute definition of small.

Actually, that’s a good question – what constitutes a ‘small’ phone for everyone? What’s your definition?

My definition is what I said in my last comment: A good small phone for everyone has to be reasonably suitable for all the tasks that most people use a phone for. The old SE, as much as I love it, doesn’t fit that definition because of the tiny screen. Could Apple have made a bezel-less iPhone SE smaller than the iPhone 8 but with a larger screen than the old SE? Probably, but for whatever reason, that’s not what they decided to do.

I don’t think anyone is arguing Apple should release a 2016 SE sized phone for the “average” iPhone user.

What I do believe some are arguing is that next to the half dozen or so cutting board sized iPhones there ought to be room for one iPhone that can still be used well singlehandedly by people who are south of 6’ 5".

But I agree with the rest of your comment. I also believe this new SE will do very well on the market. It’s a lot of oomph you’re getting for $399.

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Okay, what size is that?

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I’m not sure that’s the kind of size I meant…


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But if they make the phone the size of the LCD screen of the 8/SE/etc, then software doesn’t need to change. If they can’t hide the face ID stuff behind the screen, then put the home/fingerprint button on the back. And because of the smaller form factor, the camera bump would go away since additional thickness may be needed to fit the electronics.

That diagram (minus the porn comment) is interesting. Up until the invention of the smartphone, the trend was to make phones as small as possible. I remember how everybody loved the Motorola StarTAC when it came out. And I saw some that were even smaller than that.

Of course, not all of us agreed. My first phone, a cheap Audiovox flip-phone, was small enough that I could wrap my hand entirely around it. The buttons were small and awkward. When, two years later, I replaced it with a Motorola Razr V3c, which was much better, featuring a keypad large enough to use comfortably.

I agree with this, and the article I quoted before speculated that the new SE was designed not just to make owners of older SEs or earlier to be happy, it’s also aimed at being an introductory product for developing markets that have been challenging for Apple, esp. India and China. China and India are now the world’s two largest smartphone markets; the US recently fell to #3.

A key goal for Apple is locking in new iPhone users into the Apple ecosystem. It’s probably why they built a newest A chip into it…gaming, movies, photos, iCloud storage, Music as well as throwing in free productivity and photo editing apps. Although it doesn’t have three or four lenses, it has a camera that’s comparably better than what’s available in these in these markets in the price range. And for the price, it’s got a good sized screen for gaming, movies, TV, FaceTime.

In addition to convincing Foxconn to build a manufacturing center in India, Apple convinced a manufacturer of chargers and other components to buy a Nokia plant that was sitting idle there:

Apple, after years and years of politicking and negotiating, will be opening Stores throughout India:

Apple also opened stores in Brazil, Macao and other countries. So I think they developed the new SE to sell to high opportunity markets for hardware and services at least as much as keeping fans of smaller sized phones in the US that just want to talk and text happy. And I strongly suspect there won’t be a five or six year lag before another new SE is introduced. And I’ll bet it will be in about a year or two because 5G is aggressively rolling out in China.

Agreed. My new SE is…in the city and out with the courier for delivery right now, and I expect to be fully satisfied with the size.

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As @Simon said, it’s just that many people are small enough that an iPhone 8-sized phone is awkward, and if you don’t do a lot of reading onscreen you may not care about the screen size. The old iPhone 5s form factor and industrial design was a sweet spot for many.

Would I get one that small? Probably not unless it had the power and cameras of the bigger phones, but I find the iPhone 11 Pro constantly uncomfortable to have in my pocket.

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Let me attempt to quantify. My hand is about 8 1/4" from tip of thumb to tip of pinky. I could not use my iPhone 6 singlehandedly. I can however, mostly use my 2016 SE that way. Now it’s entirely possible I’m just terribly clumsy, but when it comes to my left hand (my finger hand) I’m fairly confident that’s not it — I’ve been playing the violin since I was six.