Is the budget iPhone any good?

I have had the second-generation iPhone SE for over six months now and wanted to share some of my thoughts on it, what is good and what could have been better and, overall, if it is worth it.

First, let’s go over who I am and what I am looking out of a smartphone. I love taking photos and selfies with friends and family, so something with a decent camera and looks good. Furthermore, I take a lot of photos, download a lot of apps, and I am the type of person who will forget about the apps they download and it accumulates into a lot of crap on my phone, so I need storage. To add, I use quite a few power-demanding apps to edit photos and videos, so I need something that is not only fast but able to keep up and last a while. Finally, I don’t use social media, so the battery does not need to last forever, but at least the entire day.

Performance: This is a fantastic, powerful device, especially for the price. The iPhone SE has Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, the same processor that is found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro phones. It is not the most powerful phone on the market, but so far, I have not had any issues with it whatsoever. It has been able to handle everything that I have thrown at it without fail, including some heavy multitasking. For example, sometimes during FaceTime calls, I might be doing another task, such as editing photos, and while the phone may get a touch warm, I can edit and export the photo quickly, all while still being on call and having no issues. The true test is to see how many years it last with all the software updates and apps becoming more demanding.

Screen: The screen is something that I love and hate about this phone. To begin with the pros, I love having a smaller screen and a smaller device in my pocket. Being able to use the phone one-handed is a massive convenience and something I will always consider when looking for future phones. And while it is on the smaller side, it is still big enough to enjoy content and read articles. However, it is not the best screen on the market, and I wish it had an OLED display. While I am okay with the resolution of the screen (for the price), I believe that the LCD panel that is on the iPhone is extremely outdated. So, if Apple had changed the technology to either and LED or OLED, it would have made the experience 10x better.

Cameras: The two cameras that are on the iPhone (one front and one rear) are good. They are not the best ones, and nothing close to the amount of customization and options you have with the other iPhones that feature 3–4 cameras, but it is enough for me. I usually take photos of important things that I need to note down and pictures with friends, so its enough for me. I am not doing any crazy photography with my iPhone as it is usually done with my DSLR. Its a simple, fast, and easy camera system to use, but it could be better.

Storage: The iPhone SE comes in at three storage options: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. I opted for the 128GB because I do take a lot of photos and download a lot of apps, but the biggest reason was that it made sense for the price. For as extra $50USD, you are doubling the storage of the phone, which leads to extending the life of the iPhone. Many people often upgrade their phones because their storage is full or almost full which leads to the iPhone slowing down. So, it made sense in the long run to at least upgrade to the 128GB since it is best bang-for-buck.

Speakers: They get the job done. They are not the best sounding speaker and not the loudest, but for watching YouTube videos and listening to music alone in my room, can’t complain. In a group setting, I would be using a speaker of some sort, since if someone is having a conversation, it is quite hard to hear.

Battery: Probably the biggest weak point of the iPhone SE. I can get through the day with the iPhone SE on regular usage and having it hit 20% at the end of each day. It doesn’t last super long and the second you are doing tasks on it for hours on end, it starts to drain, especially with video watching and recording. My average screen on-time is around 5–6 hours, depending on what I was doing that day. However, it’s great to have fast charging as well as wireless charging. So, while charging is convenient and fast, if you are outside, it does not last long so keep an eye on it.

For the price, I believe this iPhone is fantastic for those who want a simple smartphone. It still has the capability of doing almost everything thrown at it, can take nice pictures when needed and the best part, it’s compact and simple to use. While I wish the battery life was better, I can still get through an entire day with it as long as I am a bit careful and keep an eye on it. If you are looking at entering the Apple Ecosystem, but don’t need the fanciest or looking to save the cash, you won’t be disappointed with the iPhone SE.

A young University student very curious about many things and here to share his thinking. Interested in Photography, Technology and sharing stories.

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