iPhone SE vs iPhone 6S comparison

The iPhone SE is in essence an iPhone 5S for 2016. Apple says millions of people bought a 4in iPhone in 2015 and there’s still plenty of demand for a small-screen smartphone. So if you’ve been holding onto your iPhone 5 or 5S, the SE is the upgrade you’ve been waiting for. But is it also a decent upgrade from the iPhone 6s? We compare iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s. Also see: iPhone SE UK release date, price and specifications and our full iPhone 6s review.

Also see: Best Black Friday Phone Deals

The iPhone SE has the same innards as an iPhone 6s, but is £180 cheaper, so is it a bargain or is there a catch? We’re here to explain the differences between the two phones. Also see: Best phones 2016.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s comparison: UK price

One of the main draws of the newest iPhone is the low price. It starts at only £359 for the 16GB model. If that’s not enough storage (you’ll have around 12GB out of the box) then the 64GB version costs £439.

By contrast, the iPhone 6s costs £539 and £619 respectively – a lot more. You will be able to pick up either model direct from Apple or from UK mobile operators including Three, Vodafone and EE. It is up for pre-order on 24 March and on sale on 31 March.

There is also a 128GB version of the 6s, but it’s not an option for the SE. Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s comparison: Specifications

The biggest difference between the two phones is their screen size: 4in vs 4.7in. Some people love the 4in form factor as it easily fits into a pocket, but if you’ve used a 4.7in iPhone or an even larger one, 4in can feel pretty cramped these days.

While it looks like an iPhone 5S, the iPhone SE has the same A9 processor as the 6s, which means it’s twice as fast as the 5S, both for apps and games. It also gets the great 12Mp camera which also shoots 4K video.

What the iPhone SE lacks is a 3D Touch screen and the higher-resolution front camera, but in every other area that matters it is the 6s’s equal: it doesn’t lack any camera modes, and it supports Apple Pay. Also see our complete guide to Apple Pay.

iPhone 6s

Here’s a summary of the key features (we’ve included the iPhone 5S for the sake of interest):

 

iPhone 5S

iPhone SE

iPhone 6s

Screen size

4in

4in

4.7in

Resolution

1136x640 (326ppi)

1136x640 (326ppi)

1334x750 (326ppi)

Capacities

16, 32, 64GB

16, 64GB

16, 64, 128GB

Processor

A7 + M7

A9 + M9

A9 + M9

RAM

1GB

2GB

2GB

Main camera

8Mp (1080p video)

12MP (4K video)

12MP (4K video)

Front camera

1.2Mp (720p video)

1.2Mp (720p video)

5Mp (720p video)

TouchID

Yes

Yes

Yes

Apple Pay

No

Yes

Yes

Dimensions

123.8x58.6x7.6mm

123.8x58.6x7.6mm

138.3x67.1x7.1mm

Weight

113g

113g

143g 

New iPhone SE: podcast discussion

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s comparison: Design

It’s unusual to see an old design relaunched, but that’s what you get with the iPhone SE. We expected Apple to launch a smaller version of the round-edged iPhone 6s, but the SE really is just an iPhone 5S with updated specs. The only minor difference is the ‘matt-chamfered’ edges: the iPhone 5 and 5S had polished chamfers.

In every other respect, nothing has changed – and that’s no bad thing. The iPhone 5S was a great phone, and it still looks good today. The SE retains everything from the circular volume buttons, the mute switch and top-mounted power button.

iPhone SE

Despite the upgraded camera, the lens, mic and dual-LED flash are in the same positions, so iPhone 5 / 5S cases should fit the SE.

What’s new is the range of colour options, which now includes Rose Gold in addition to Gold, Space Grey and Silver.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2016.

iPhone 6S: Specs

  • iOS 9
  • 4.7in Retina HD display wth 3D Touch
  • A9 processor with M9 motion co-processor
  • 16/64/128GB storage
  • 12Mp iSight rear camera
  • 5Mp FaceTime HD front camera
  • Touch ID
  • 7.1mm
  • 143g
  • iOS 9
  • 4.7in Retina HD display wth 3D Touch
  • A9 processor with M9 motion co-processor
  • 16/64/128GB storage
  • 12Mp iSight rear camera
  • 5Mp FaceTime HD front camera
  • Touch ID
  • 7.1mm
  • 143g

OUR VERDICT

So iPhone SE or 6s, which is best? The answer to that question depends on your priorities. If you want a cheaper phone, the SE is the obvious choice. If you prefer a larger screen the 6S is better. If you just can’t live without a Force Touch screen, don’t choose the iPhone SE. What’s impressive is that the SE is as powerful as the 6S with the same cinematic 4K video recording for considerably less money. It’s even better if you specifically want a phone with a small screen.

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