The iPhone SE is for Power Users, Too

| Dave Hamilton's Blog

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!

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I’m going out to get an SE today. I love my 5C but it’s starting to flake out so it’s time.
I tried a 6 when it came out and found uncomfortable. I traded my 6 for her 5C. She likes the 6. She does a lot of work e-mail and such on it and I notice she habitually uses it in speakerphone mode. Holding something that felt like a dinner plate up to my ear was one of the things I disliked about the 6. I’m very happy that the 5C lasted long enough for the SE to come out. I may be 6’ 1” 215lb but I want a small phone. (It also doesn’t hurt that ApplePay has finally rolled out in Canada for real. The SE can do that where the 5C couldn’t.)


Amen, amen, and amen. May Tim Cook & Co. be regular and attentive readers of your column.

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