I spent the weekend with my old iPhone SE and I’ve decided I like it better than the iPhone X.
The iPhone X is a beautiful device. Smooth, sleek, powerful, and the screen is just gorgeous. The iPhone SE, by comparison, is tiny, slow, and practically blurry.
However, the iPhone SE is also easier to carry, easier to hold, and easier to use.
Face ID is clever and it works pretty well, but sometimes having to either pick up or lean over the phone to read notifications is less than ideal. And frequently when I pick it up to read notifications it just opens up to the home screen instead. Haven’t figured out why yet, but I don’t enjoy it. Face ID can be super convenient but I’m not convinced it’s always better than Touch ID.
I don’t like putting cases on things. The iPhone X feels so nice that putting a case on it takes away one of the great things about it. Feeling nice isn’t the same as being easy to hold, and using a $1,000+ bar of soap without a case is just asking for trouble. The SE, on the other hand, is much easier to hold. Also, it’s not nearly as precious so even if I do drop it I’m not out that much.
I find the iPhone SE easier to use than the iPhone X. I’m still not used to the contortions required to unlock or swich apps on the X. I must have small hands because getting to the the control panel one-handed on the X is an exercise fraught with peril. Holding the phone securely and actually using it can feel like mutually exclusive activities.
Here’s something I can’t explain; I type much faster and more accurately on the SE. I can’t seem to type three words in a row correctly on the X.
Oh, and the SE has a real headphone jack. I hate not having a standard headphone jack on my phone.
There are of course downsides to the SE.
The camera on the SE is not as good as the one on the X. Especially the front-facing camera. Selfies look terrible in anything but broad daylight.
The SE’s screen is small. This obviously can be less useful than the big, bright iPhone X screen. Thing is, I don’t use my phone for doing much. I don’t read anything longer than tweets or short blog posts. I avoid writing on it as much as possible. I certainly never use it for watching movies. I do miss the larger screen of the X while using Maps, and I really miss it for viewing photos.
The SE is definitely slower, but not by as much as you’d think.
All in all, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using the iPhone SE again over the past couple of days. It’s still the perfect form factor for me. If Apple introduces the rumoured SE 2 with upgraded internals and camera, I’ll have a decision to make.