Date:22 March 2016
Just look at it. Nary a curve to be seen. Industrial design at its peak. Ergonomics even the creator would envy. Now endowed with powerful internals and a class-leading camera. It’s magnificent.
I coveted the iPhone 5S. Mostly because it took a few great things from my first smartphone love Motorola Atrix and made it better. Biometric security, a great camera and the perfect screen size.
You’re supposed to use a phone with one hand for all tasks that don’t include typing. My current daily driver Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is a supremely capable device, but I’ve dropped it about a half dozen times when trying to use it with only one hand. The curved back of the Galaxy S7 (inspired by the Note 5) only exists to compensate for the too big screen size. Forget the marketing schtick about immersive experiences, you have a TV at home.
Squared edges and no camera hump is where we should be at this stage. If you want a bigger screen, get a tablet.
It isn’t all good with the SE though. While the 12MP camera comes over from its bigger siblings, the front facing optics are from a couple years ago. Retaining the iPhone 5’s 1,2MP selfie camera was a shortsighted exercise in cost cutting. Social media is highly dependent on quality selfies and it seems a harsh punishment on the emerging market to offer such low quality. The iPhone SE is supposed to be big in China and India, these are also Xiaomi and Huawei’s key markets, that’s 8MP selfie territory.
That said though, having a Live Pictures (don’t laugh, they’re awesome and the app Lively can turn them into gifs) capable snapper on one of my favourite phone designs of all time is quite exciting. Even if there’s no 3D Touch – which you will know still haunts me to this day whenever I interact with a touchscreen.
In all the iPhone SE is a tale of compromises. On the one end it’s part the phone of my dreams (if only it ran Android), on the other its riddled with Apple brainfarts. But at least the pricepoint isn’t a total disaster. The 16GB variant launched at $400, which will probably translate to R8 000. That’s a fully fledged iPhone running the latest version of iOS natively for under R10 000. Take a bow Apple, your competitiors will struggle to live with that.
Now please add water resistance.