Apple releases budget-friendly iPhone SE during pandemic

Way back in 2016, the first-generation iPhone SE device was marketed by Apple as a handset that matches the internals of the larger iPhone 6S but housed on its smaller predecessor iPhone 5S.

The reason behind this move came largely from Apple customers who were used to the small-sized and compact form factors starting with the first ever iPhone all the way to the iPhone 5 series.

Most Apple fans thought that the SE would be a staple from the annual product releases of the tech giant. But the iPhone 7, 8, 10, and 11 series all didn’t have smaller form-factor version.

On the contrary, the vanilla versions of these smartphone models were the smallest among the series, with the Pro and Max editions getting larger and larger as evident in the screen estate.

Weirdly enough, the new iPhone SE model is not a smaller iPhone 11 but in essence an iPhone 8 with an upgraded camera and updated processor.

Its arrival has also signaled the sudden discontinuation of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus at the official Apple Store, although the devices can still be purchased from authorized Apple product resellers.

This is why the phone has been unofficially dubbed as the missing “iPhone 9” and is considered a steal rather than buying the older iPhone 8 today.

According to Apple, the iPhone SE is a product for smartphone users who prefer a device with smaller size combined with high-end performance and a lower price tag.

“iPhone SE features the industry-leading performance of A13 Bionic that enables great battery life, takes stunning Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, shoots amazing videos with stereo audio, is great for games and super fast web surfing, and is built with the same industry-leading security features our customers expect,” the company said.

True enough, the device can compete with higher midrangers from Chinese smartphones. The new SE is housed in an aluminum frame sandwiched in glass, has an IP67 rating, and is a lightweight at 148 grams.

One of its main attraction points is its 4.7” Retina IPS LCD panel with ion-strengthened glass and oleophobic coating protection. It features a wide color gamut and true-tone color reproduction, and is advertised to have 625 nits at maxed brightness setting, which makes the SE quite a bright phone that can deliver visuals especially in outdoor settings.

The solitary shooter at the back is able to shoot 4K-quality videos at 60fps and comes with a Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, PDAF, and Optical Image Stabilization. For a single camera, it easily outshines some phones in the market with triple or quad camera setups. The 12MP sensor has an aperture of f/1.8 and can even record with stereo sound.

The 7MP front-facing camera has maxed quality of 1080p@30fps and can be aided by a built-in gyro electronic image stabilization when shooting videos. The f/2.2 camera also has HDR and panorama functionality, and is used for Face ID.

The iPhone SE can reach 50% in 30 minutes when fast-charging at 18W. The non-removable Li-ion 1821mAh battery can also accommodate Qi-certified wireless charging. It will be available in three color variants – black, white, and red.

It will run the latest iOS 13 and uses the 7nm+ A13 Bionic chip partnered with Apple GPU. The device comes in three storage options – 64GB (P26,490), 128GB (P30,490), and 256GB (P36,490).

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