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FAQ: What you need to know about the 4-inch iPhone SE

Susie Ochs | March 22, 2016
It starts at US$399, it does Live Photos but no 3D Touch, and the battery should even outlast the bigger iPhones.

That’s the same ppi density as the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 6s—the iPhone SE screen won’t look any worse, just smaller. The really big iPhones (the 5.5-inch 6 Plus and 6s Plus) have 1920x1080 screens at 401ppi.

Does it have 3D Touch?

No. You can take Live Photos, and tap and hold the screen to see them animate, but the iPhone SE doesn’t have the full 3D Touch feature. You can’t deep-press home screen icons for Quick Actions, or use the Peek and Pop gestures. Bummer.

3D Touch is currently exclusive to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Physically, how close is it to the iPhone 5s?

Extremely close. Apple mentions some incredibly subtle differences, like “bead-blasted aluminum for a satin-like finish,” but the size and shape are the same. Both the iPhone SE and the now-discontinued iPhone 5s are 4.87 inches tall, 2.31 inches wide, and 0.30 inch thick. You should even be able to use the same cases on both.

The iPhone SE weighs 3.99 ounces, and the iPhone 5s weighs 3.95 ounces. Almost the same.

What colors does it come in?

The four you’d expect, same as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: silver, gold, rose gold, and space gray. The space gray version has a black bezel around the screen, while the other three have white bezels. The ring around the home button matches the color of the metal back.

And yes, “rose gold” could be colloquially known as “pink,” but it has a golden undertone that makes it look a little more sophisticated than a pure cotton-candy pink.

Tell me about the cameras

The rear-facing “iSight” camera has a 12-megapixel sensor with Apple’s Focus Pixels and True Tone flash. It can shoot 4K video and up to 63-megapixel panoramas.

The iPhone SE’s front-facing “FaceTime HD” camera takes 1.2 megapixel stills and records 720p video. It gets the Retina Flash feature, which lights up the phone’s entire screen for a more natural looking flash, great for selfies. The front camera even has burst mode, like the rear camera does.

To compare, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have all these features, but on those flagship devices, the front camera is 5-megapixels, not 1.2. The iPhone 6s Plus has optical image stabilization for both photos and video, but it’s the only device that does. (The iPhone 6 Plus does for photos but not video.)

4K video? Does it have the same video modes as the bigger iPhones?

Yep! You can record 4K video at 30 frames per second (fps). If you go down to 1080p video, you can opt to shoot at 30fps or 60fps, but 720p video is always 30fps. Slo-mo is supported, at 120fps for 1080p, or 240fps for 720p. The time-lapse mode is here, and you get cinematic video stabilization in 1080p and 720p modes, but the iPhone SE lacks the optical image stabilization for video that’s exclusive to the iPhone 6s Plus. You can even take 8-megapixel still images while you’re recording video.

 

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