Apple confirmed the iPhone SE at an event in Cupertino in March, putting to rest all the rumours.
We have put the specs of the iPhone SE up against the iPhone 5S and the older, but still relevant, iPhone 5C to see what the differences are and what the new device offers. Does it do enough to entice an upgrade for those that want to stick with a smaller iPhone?
Apple iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Design
The Apple iPhone 5C measures 124.4 x 59.2 x 8.97mm and weighs 132g. It comes in white, pink, yellow, blue and green colour options and it features a plastic shell casing. The plastic doesn't feel cheap though, offering a warmer feel than the cold metal of the iPhone 5S and SE.
The Apple iPhone 5S measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and hits the scales at 112g. It features an aluminium body that comes in silver or space grey colour options so it's not as colourful as the iPhone 5C, but it does look a little more premium.
The Apple iPhone SE is a development of the 5S, taking the same design but refining it slightly with features such as matte edges. It measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and hits the scales at 113g. This means the iPhone SE is slimmer and smaller than the iPhone 5C and the same size as the iPhone 5S. It is ever so slightly heavier than the iPhone 5S but you will absolutely not notice that gram.
Like the iPhone 5S, the SE has an aluminium build rather than plastic like the iPhone 5C so it sits in the small but more premium-looking sector. It is available in the same colours as the iPhone 6S, meaning silver, space grey, gold and rose gold.
The iPhone 5C launched before Touch ID did meaning there is no fingerprint sensor on board the colourful little device. There is however on the iPhone 5S, although it doesn't support Apple Pay. The iPhone SE has both Touch ID within the Home button, and NFC on board to support Apple Pay however.
Apple iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Display
The Apple iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S both feature a 4-inch display with a resolution of 1136 x 640, which delivers a pixel density of 326ppi.
The iPhone SE is has the same size 4-inch display, as well as the same resolution as its predecessors, meaning the same pixel density. Images offer ample sharpness on all three devices, even if not class-leading sharpness. Colours are bright with natural tones, and you'll find no blurriness or softness on any of the devices being compared here.
There is no 3D Touch, Apple's version of a pressure sensitive display, on any of these devices so you can expect a similar experience across the iPhone SE, iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. If you're used to the smaller screen, you won't notice a difference. If you have a larger device and you're considering switching to the new smaller Apple however, you might find the 4-inch display a little cramped.
Apple iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Camera
The Apple iPhone 5C and 5S both come with 8-megapixel rear cameras and 1.2-megapixel front facing cameras. It isn't all about the megapixels though, with various features added to the 5S that aren't present on the 5C. The iPhone 5C has a good camera, but the iPhone 5S has a better one, as you might expect.
The iPhone SE features the same rear camera as the iPhone 6S, meaning it offers a cracking camera in your pocket, and one that is a lot better than the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. There is a 12-megapixel sensor capable of 4K video recording and Live Photos, while the lens has an aperture of f/2.2 and larger 1.22µm pixels for better low light images.
On the front, the iPhone SE opts for a 1.2-megapixel snapper, which is noticeable in its performance, even if it's the same as the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in terms of resolution. The SE introduces Retina flash, again like the iPhone 6S, which does help deliver better selfies in darker conditions compared to the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C but a 5-megapixel front snapper like the iPhone 6S would have been welcomed here.
Apple iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Hardware
The Apple iPhone 5C comes in storage options of 16GB and 32GB, which is the same for the iPhone 5S. The iPhone SE is available in 16GB and 64GB options.
In terms of processor, the iPhone 5C is the oldest of the devices being compared here and offers an A6 chip under its hood. The iPhone 5S has an A7 processor and M7 motion co-processor so a little faster, but both are supported by 1GB of RAM. When both these devices first launched, their performance was more than adequate. Naturally though, things move on and the SE will now show them up.
The iPhone SE joins the iPhone line-up with an A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor, which is the same as the iPhone 6S so it's a powerful little device. The RAM support has increased to 2GB, which is also the same as the latest iPhones and therefore double that of the iPhone 5S and 5C.
When it comes to battery capacity, the iPhone 5C is thought to have a 1510mAh battery inside, while the iPhone 5S is said to jump this up to 1560mAh. The iPhone SE has the same capacity as the iPhone 5S, but thanks to the savings in processor performance, you should still see an improvement compared to the old model and definitely from the iPhone 5C. We managed to get a full day out of the SE, hitting 10pm with still 20 per cent left so it doesn't do too badly.
Apple iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Software
The Apple iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S both run on iOS 9 as this is the latest iOS software build from Apple. Neither offer all the features iOS 9 is capable of, such as Live Photos or the 3D Touch shortcuts, but that's because their hardware doesn't allow for that.
The iPhone SE runs on iOS 9 too but while it too doesn't support 3D Touch, it will support Live Photos and Apple Pay, bringing it almost up to speed with the flagship 6S.
Apple iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: Conclusion
The iPhone SE brings significant upgrades to the iPhone 5C especially, as well as the iPhone 5S, such as camera, performance and key features like Apple Pay support.
It misses more recently introduced technologies like 3D Touch, but it knocks almost £200 off the price of the iPhone 6S, so you know, this can be forgiven.
For those hoping to upgrade from an iPhone 5S or 5C, the iPhone SE is a great choice. It might be small, but it is mighty and based on the specs and our time with it, users should see a nice difference between the older four inchers and this new one.
READ: Apple iPhone SE review