The iPhone SE is for Power Users, Too

When the iPhone 6 came out I had a choice to make: go to a bigger iPhone or an even bigger iPhone? The 6 was to be larger than my 5s and, being a power user that always wants to have the latest and greatest speed and technology, those were my choices. The recent introduction of the iPhone SE, however, meant I could revert the size choice I made 18 months ago if I wanted. I immediately set to testing exactly how size mattered to me.

At the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Apple event I asked if I could put one of each in my pocket. They obliged and I tried. Both the 4.7" iPhone 6 and the 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus fit just fine. Both felt quite big to me, but both fit just fine in my jeans. It pays to be 6'3" tall, I suppose. “6 Plus it is,” I said, and flew back home to New Hampshire to await the start of pre-orders.

Since then it’s been a 6 Plus and a 6s Plus to follow that. No complaints, and I definitely enjoy the longer battery life and occasionally the larger screen that the Plus-sized iPhones have offered me.

But I kept my old 5s around in case one of us in the family suffers an irreparable fate. It’s good to have a backup. That 5s sits on my desk and every two weeks I charge it up. And every two weeks when I have that 5s in my hand I think, “hmmm…” and then let the thought pass. "It'll be too slow for you," I tell myself.

You’ll understand, then, that when the iPhone SE was announced I was intrigued. Conflicted, of course, but intrigued. By default I just had to use this larger iPhone because there was no option for me, a power user by declaration and profession, to use a four-inch iPhone. Now, however, there was.

So, I decided to put this option to the test, and test I have. For the past 3 weeks I’ve been using an iPhone SE and immediately I felt like I was back at home. I had convinced myself that the plus-sized iPhone was for me. Both the 6s and 6s Plus feel the same to me in my pocket and in my hand: BIG. But with the iPhone SE I have a little phone again.

Sure, it took me a few days to re-adjust to typing on a 4-inch screen. But that was about the extent of my adjustment period. I don’t miss the larger screen when checking email, looking at Twitter or Facebook, or even reading the web. I don’t miss the larger screen when catching a quick opportunity to read on iBooks or Kindle while waiting in line or at a doctor’s office. Really there have only been two scenarios where I’ve noticed missing the large screen: triaging photos and watching movies. I can live with that sacrifice.

Ok, there was one other time. A few days after the iPhone SE arrived from Apple my wife and I went out to see a band at a club. I went to the bar to fetch a pair of drinks for us and, after waiting to place my order and get our drinks, I made my trek back to our table. Halfway back I panicked. My iPhone wasn’t in my pocket. I was yet-another-dude who left his iPhone at a bar. After about 2 seconds of that I realized, no, it’s sill in my pocket. It’s just not all that big. I consider that a win.

The speed of the iPhone SE is stellar. It blazes through everything I need. Apps launch quickly, web pages come up fast and it’s everything that I would want as a power user.

I hadn’t quite yet made 3D Touch a part of my daily life, so the fact that the iPhone SE doesn’t have that feature isn’t a big deal for me, but it’s worth noting that it’s not included with this model. I also noticed while snapping pics of the band in that dark bar that the iPhone SE doesn’t quite have the same camera that the iPhone 6s Plus has. It’s a fantastic camera, though, and other than that one time I haven’t even thought about it. Frankly, the 4-inch size makes snapping pix one-handed a breeze, so any low-light tradeoff is quite worth it to me.

There’s only one thing about the iPhone SE that concerns me: the next revision to the iPhone. It was pretty clear that Apple made the iPhone SE for two groups of people: those that wanted a 4-inch iPhone, and those that wanted a less expensive iPhone. These groups are not necessarily the same, and I can only hope that when the next iPhone is released Apple will release 3 sizes simultaneously. Because as happy as I am with this iPhone SE right now, I’m fairly convinced that I’ll want all the new speed and features of whatever iPhone Apple releases next. I hope I can get that in a 4-inch size.

Until then, I’m counting each day with the iPhone SE as a treat, and I hope that I don’t ever have to go to a bigger iPhone again just to get the latest new features. The iPhone SE is perfectly-suited for a power user, especially one who likes to be mobile and flexible. Plus, it means I can start wearing skinny jeans. My kids will love that!