Inside the Apple iPhone SE

Apple has released a smaller iPhone for 2016, harking back to the classic design of the iPhone 5 and 5S. We take a look beneath the screen to see what makes this such a desirable handset.

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  • Chassis
  • Camera
  • Battery
  • Touch ID
  • Display
  • Mainboard
  • More stories
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Inside the iPhone SE

The most noticable thing about the iPhone SE is its striking resemblance to the iPhone 5 and 5S. This is down to the fact that Apple has use pretty much the same design for the chassis, with only the minor changes of matte-chamfered edges where there were previously shiny ones, and a stainless steel insert for the Apple insignia on the rear.

This will work well for many users as it means all those cases and accessories that were bought for the older 5 and 5S will fit with the new device.

See also: iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S comparison review

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The most noticable thing about the iPhone SE is its striking resemblance to the iPhone 5 and 5S. This is down to the fact that Apple has use pretty much the same design for the chassis, with only the minor changes of matte-chamfered edges where there were previously shiny ones, and a stainless steel insert for the Apple insignia on the rear.

This will work well for many users as it means all those cases and accessories that were bought for the older 5 and 5S will fit with the new device.

See also: iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S comparison review

Inside the iPhone SE

The camera in the 5S uses the same 12Mp sensor and fast image processor that can be found in the iPhone 6S. In fact the only real difference between the two is that the iPhone SE doesn't come equipped with the scratch-resistant sapphire cover glass. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though as it gets rid of the camera bulge from the 6S.

As with all iPhones, the camera is excellent, producing vibrant, sharp images and now offering 4K video recording. 

The 5 mega-pixel front camera of the 6S doesn't make an appearance on the iPhone SE though, instead there is a less impressive 1.2 mega-pixel offering. We're guessing this is one area where Apple made cuts to keep the price of the unit down. 

Be sure to check out our iPhone SE review for a detailed look at the camera alongside some sample shots.

See also: iPhone SE vs iPhone 6S comparison review

Image courtesy of iFixit.com

Inside the iPhone SE

Battery life is always one of the most important factors in a smartphone, so it's good to see that Apple has managed to increase the capacity of the unit in the SE.

Whereas the iPhone 5S came with a 1560mAh, the SE has a snugly fitting 1624mAh version nestling at the heart of the device. Of course this still seems small when compared to the 3000mAh found in the Samsung S7, but then the iPhone SE doesn't have to drive the large 5-inch Quad HD screen of its Android rival, and Apple is famous for its power management tweaks.

See also: Inside the Samsung S7

Image courtesy of iFixit.com

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Inside the iPhone SE

Another area where money has been saved is in the fingerprint sensor. With the iPhone 6S Apple introduced an updated version of the Touch ID hardware that could read fingerprints faster, and thus give you a more rapid way to access your phone.

In the iPhone SE the unit is the older iteration, as would have been found in the iPhone 5S. It's still pretty nippy though, and works better than many other variants we've come across on other platforms. One advantage of the SE is that it sports NFC capabilities, so Apple Pay can now be used with the smaller style of iPhone.

Inside the iPhone SE

In terms of display technology the iPhone SE is identical to the iPhone 5. Apple has continued to use the 4in, 1136x640 resolution, 326ppi screen that proved so reliable on the earlier variants.

This might not quite match up to the better displays on the iPhone 6 or 6S, which feature better constrast and, in that case of the latter, 3D touch technology, but it's still a solid offering that's sharp, colourful, and easy to read. 

Inside the iPhone SE

It's amazing how much technology can be packed into the tiny innards of the iPhone SE.

The mainboard is home to a plethora of chips, sensors, and controllers, many of which have been harvested from the iPhone 6S. Running the show is Apple's A9 SoC, bolstered by 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM. On the flip side you'll find either 16Gb or 64GB of NAND flash storage, depending on which model you buy.

There's also a six-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, Wi-Fi and previous-generation LTE controllers, power management fittings, audio controllers, and the aformentioned NFC chip.

The iPhone SE might be keeping things small, but there's certainly some big improvements going on inside.  

Image courtesy of iFixit.com

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