Picking the Right Apple Handset: iPhone SE or an iPhone 6s

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-03-25
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Picking the Right Apple Handset: iPhone SE or an iPhone 6s
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    Picking the Right Apple Handset: iPhone SE or an iPhone 6s

    Choosing between Apple's new iPhone SE and iPhone 6s or even iPhone 6s Plus isn't as simple as one might think. Here are the pros and cons of each.
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    There Are Some Major Design Differences
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    There Are Some Major Design Differences

    Apple made the somewhat surprising decision to make the iPhone SE look nearly identical to the iPhone 5s. The device, therefore, has a metal plate on the back, side buttons and, as expected, a 4-inch screen. The iPhone 6s line has a revamped design featuring a fully metallic chassis and antenna lines on the back. The iPhone 6s also has a curvier design than the iPhone SE, which may be more or less appealing, depending on the customer.
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    Let's Talk About the Screens
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    Let's Talk About the Screens

    The obvious difference between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 6s is screen size. The iPhone SE has a 4-inch screen featuring 326 pixels per inch and an 800:1 contrast ratio. The iPhone 6s, meanwhile, comes with a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 6s Plus boasts a 5.5-inch display. The devices range from 326 to 401 pixels per inch. The bigger handsets also come with another important feature—dual-domain pixels, which allow for wider-angle views. In other words, it'll be easier to see what's on-screen when not viewing the iPhone 6s display head-on.
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    How Important Is Storage?
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    How Important Is Storage?

    When deciding between the two phones, customers will need to ask themselves how important storage is. Both phones come with 16GB and 64GB storage capacities, but Apple offers a third option with the iPhone 6s line: 128GB. If extra storage matters, then the iPhone 6s is the obvious winner.
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    Is Lack of 3D Touch on iPhone SE a Deal Breaker?
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    Is Lack of 3D Touch on iPhone SE a Deal Breaker?

    Apple's 3D Touch feature that is found in the iPhone 6s models enables new app experiences by pressing a little more firmly on the phone's screen. It's more than a gimmick and can actually enhance productivity. Unfortunately, it's not available in the iPhone SE.
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    iPhone SE Wins Points With Small, Light Frame
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    iPhone SE Wins Points With Small, Light Frame

    If it's mobility a customer is after, the iPhone SE is the right choice. The device is less than 5 inches tall and 2.3 inches wide, fitting nicely in a pocket or purse. It weighs just under 4 ounces. The iPhone 6s devices, on the other hand, range in height from 5.4 inches to 6.2 inches. Their width ranges from 2.6 inches to 3 inches. The iPhone 6s weighs 5 ounces, and the iPhone 6s Plus is nearly 7 ounces. One thing to note, however: Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are slightly thinner than the iPhone SE.
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    Both iPhones Run the Latest Processors
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    Both iPhones Run the Latest Processors

    On the processor front, there's no winner. Apple's iPhone SE runs the same A9 processor as the iPhone 6s models. In addition, both device types come with the M9 motion coprocessor. As of this writing, the iPhone SE hasn't been benchmarked against the iPhone 6s, but it'll likely have similar performance.
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    Bring On the Full Touch ID Support
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    Bring On the Full Touch ID Support

    With security on the top of everyone's mind, it's nice to see that both the iPhone SE and the iPhone 6s line support Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor. As a result, users can use biometrics not only to secure their devices, but also to make payments though Apple Pay. Since they're both iPhones, the devices will support in-store and in-app purchases via Apple Pay.
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    It's Hard to Pick a Camera Winner
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    It's Hard to Pick a Camera Winner

    All the phones come with a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with support for noise reduction, burst mode and more. Only the iPhone 6s Plus, however, has optical image stabilization. On the front, the iPhone 6s wins handily, sporting a 5MP front-facing camera to top the 1.2MP shooter in the iPhone SE.
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     Consider This if Battery Life Matters
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    Consider This if Battery Life Matters

    If battery life is a concern, one model stands above the others. While the iPhone SE's talk time (up to 14 hours on 3G) and standby time (up to 10 days) are identical to the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus is by far the winner here. The iPhone 6s Plus offers up to 24 hours of talk time on 3G and 16 days on standby. It also delivers up to 80 hours of audio playback, topping the 50 hours offered by the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s.
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    Not Even Close on Pricing
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    Not Even Close on Pricing

    Arguably the iPhone SE's greatest strength is its price. The 16GB model starts at $399, while the 64GB version will cost customers $499. The iPhone 6s, meanwhile, starts at $649, and the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $749. Customers who want the top-end iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus will need to pay $849 or $949, respectively.
 

The iPhone is critical to Apple's business, and that is why it keeps refreshing its smartphone line and adding new models. As of its last-reported financial quarter ended Dec. 26, the iPhone accounted for nearly $52 billion of Apple's $75.9 billion in overall revenue. In total, the company sold nearly 75 million handsets during this three-month period. It's perhaps no surprise, then, that Apple on March 21 announced a new entrant into its smartphone line, called the iPhone SE. The long-rumored device replaced the iPhone 5s that Apple launched in 2013 and comes with a 4-inch screen, A9 processor and 12-megapixel camera. Better yet, it starts with an affordable price tag that could appeal to both customers on a budget and those living in emerging markets. But Apple also sells high-end smartphones with its iPhone 6s line. Now, customers have a choice. Go with a smaller, affordable device or choose a bigger handset with many high-end features. The choice isn't as simple as one might think, and in the following slides, eWEEK will talk about both iPhone lines to help customers make the decision that's right for them.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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