iPhone 6s vs iPhone SE: What’s The Difference Beyond Size?

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Every now and then Apple does something which, for a company that is usually predictable like clockwork, is distinctly out of left field.

Things like launching the Apple Watch, the iPad Pro, and the way it has occasionally launched smaller, slightly cheaper iPhone models such as the iPhone 5c and iPhone SE.

In these cases, not only does Apple introduce some slightly peculiar product category, or an odd take on an existing product in its portfolio, but it often launches them at weird times of the year. For most of Apple’s product line-up, September is the time to watch, but the oddballs seem to get scattered throughout the year like confetti.

In 2016, on March 21, Apple launched the iPhone SE. It wasn’t entirely a surprise, as there had been rumours and leaks, but none of it had felt as concrete as what we associate with the Autumnal launches of its main products.

This Spring launch only saw a single device, but it was intended for a specific market segment and is very different from its stablemates.

And that section is quite a big chunk of the iPhone market, as it happens, with the company revealing that it sold a whopping 30 million 4-inch phones inside 2015. So there is still a hard core of 4in devotees to tap into with a new model. The iPhone SE appeared to be a bid to persaude iPhone 5s/iPhone 5c users to upgrade.

The new iPhone SE joins the ranks of Apple’s bigger smartphones. Its contemporary sibling was the the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s. We now have the iPhone 7 as well, and this year these models will be usurped by the iPhone 7s and iPhone 8. The latter in particular is going to be a beast, it’s the 10th anniversary model with an all new design, an OLED display, and tons of new features.

But, according to multiple reports, the iPhone SE won’t see a new model launched this year. Fans of 4in phones are essentially stuck with either the iPhone 5c (which is quite long in the tooth at this point), or the iPhone SE from 2016.

Apple will release its brand new iPhone later on this year. Dubbed the iPhone 8 at the moment, the handset could also be called the iPhone Pro, once it is official, and it will also be joined by the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

These phones will be pricey – very pricey, indeed – with some reports suggesting the top of the line OLED iPhone 8 will retail for around £1200, which would make it the most expensive phone ever created (excluding Vertu ones, of course).

The iPhone 6s and iPhone SE will have their prices slashed, as is always the case when a new iPhone lands, and both are still excellent options for those looking at a cheaper way of getting in on some iPhone action in 2017.

The obvious difference between the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE are the screen sizes, but they do have a few other differences you should know about when deciding which to buy. Here’s how both compare.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone SE Specs & Features Compared In Full

Here’s the specs for the iPhone 6s:

  • Display: 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch ppi; 1400 to 1 contrast ratio; Dual-domain pixels for wide viewing angles, 3D Touch
  • Dimensions: 138.3mm x 67.1mm x 7.1mm
  • Weight: 143 grams
  • Storage: 32 or 128GB
  • Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor
  • Front camera: FaceTime HD camera. 5 MP photos and 720p HD video.
  • Rear camera: iSight camera. 12 MP photos. ƒ/2.2 aperture. 4k/1080p video. True Tone flash.
  • Battery: 1715 mAh. Up to 12 hours battery life mixed usage
  • Touch ID: yes (2nd generation)
  • NFC: yes

And here’s the specs for the iPhone SE:

  • Display: 4-inch Retina HD display with 1136×640 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi); 800 to 1 contrast ratio
  • Dimensions: 123.8mm x 58.6 mm x 7.6 mm
  • Weight: 113 grams
  • Storage: 32 or 128GB
  • Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor
  • Front camera: FaceTime camera. 1.2 MP photos and 720p HD video.
  • Rear camera: iSight camera. 12 MP photos. ƒ/2.2 aperture. 4k/1080p video. True Tone flash.
  • Battery: 1642 mAh. Up to 12 hours battery life mixed usage
  • Touch ID: yes (1st generation)
  • NFC: yes

iPhone 6s vs iPhone SE: Display & Design

Of course the biggest difference between the two new iPhones are in the display department. The iPhone 6s features a 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi and the iPhone SE features a 4-inch display with a 1136×640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi.

Technically, from a resolution perspective the iPhone 6s wins because it has the higher resolution. Although that resolution is obviously larger because the screen is larger. But the 6s wins on another front. It’s display has both dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles and a 1400 to 1 contrast ratio, as well as 3D Touch.

The contrast ratio of the SE is only 800 to 1 and that means the bigger iPhone’s display can display more difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks.

As for the design, both feature aluminum bodies and while their physical length and height dimensions are of course different (due to screen size) the larger iPhone 6s wins on thinness being just 7.1mm thick versus the iPhone SE’s 7.6mm thickness.

That being said, the iPhone SE is noticeable lighter than the iPhone 6s. The iPhone SE weighs just 113 grams versus the iPhone 6s’ 143 grams.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone SE: Specs and Battery

In the storage department the iPhone 6s wins because it comes in a 128GB option in addition to the 16 and 64GB options found on the iPhone SE. And while both phones have the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and support Apple Pay, the iPhone 6s used a second generation Touch ID, which is about 2x faster than the first generation Touch ID found on the SE. Both phones feature the exact same A9 chip with M9 motion coprocessor.

As for battery life, although the iPhone 6s features a slightly larger battery at 1715 mAh, it doesn’t get any more usage than the 1642 mAh battery provides the SE. Each phone will last about 12 hours in mixed usage. The lack of battery life discrepancy is due to the fact that the larger 6s battery needs to power a larger display.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone SE: Camera

The final difference between the two new iPhones is in the front camera department. While both have the exact same 12MP iSight camera, the iPhone 6s wins it here because it has a much better front FaceTime camera. The FaceTime camera on the iPhone SE is still only 1.2MP, whereas the FaceTime camera on the iPhone 6s is 5MP.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone SE: Cost & Verdict

And then there is the cost. Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE come in silver, gold, rose gold, and space grey. Unlocked the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s will cost £4499 (32GB) and £549 (128GB). The iPhone SE will cost £349 (32GB) and £449 (128GB).

If you want an iPhone but are operating on a budget or don’t want to be locked down inside a length contract. Another method of getting what you and saving a ton of money in the process is buying reconditioned iPhones.

But not just any old iPhones. Certified, reconditioned iPhones from a reputable service like Gazelle. You can make MASSIVE savings as well. I know a few people who swear by reconditioned phones. And when you factor in the savings, I can kind of see what they mean.

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