iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE: Same design, powerful upgrade
Aside from the new rose gold option and subtle SE symbol, the iPhone SE is indistinguishable from the iPhone 5s. So if the outside is the same, what really changed and what is the difference between the iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE?
Launching in March 2016, Apple kept the design of the 5s and updated the internals to create the iPhone SE. The only real design difference is that the iPhone SE features a satin-like finish, but it’s still hard to tell them apart.
Well as Apple would say, it’s a big step for small. Nearly everything from the camera to the battery received an upgrade, leaping over the specs of the iPhone 6 to join the ranks of the iPhone 6s.
So what does the SE stand for? Special Edition. Let’s see what makes this device so special comparing the iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE.
Probably the biggest difference between the iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE is the speed. Apple went all out, packing the A9 processor from an iPhone 6s into the smaller case of the iPhone SE. The result is spectacular, putting the four-inch phone on the same playing field as the flagship devices.
Apple reports that the iPhone SE has 2x faster CPU and 3x faster GPU compared to the iPhone 5s. Essentially, the SE is incredibly snappy and plays games almost as powerful as a console.
The M9 motion coprocessor replaces the M7 in the iPhone 5s. It’s much more efficient at tracking your steps, but just like the iPhone 6s, your phone is always listening. No need to plug in your iPhone, simply say “Hey Siri” and the M9 will engage Siri for you without any significant battery drain.
Apple also gave the iPhone SE faster LTE bands and 802.11ac Wi‑Fi thanks to the latest networking antennae.
The camera in the iPhone 5s was nothing to complain about. It took some of the best pictures in its time and still ranks the second most popular photography device on Flickr. The iPhone SE once again packs the power of Apple’s flagship phones into the small form factor (no camera bump necessary).
Shot on iPhone 5s
Comparing the 8-megapixel camera of the iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE which has a 12-megapixel camera, you’ll find your photos coming out looking better than ever before. The newer camera even performs better in low-light conditions where it’s harder to get a good shot. The iPhone SE is also capable of taking huge 4K videos and capturing Live Photos for all those special moments.
Shot on iPhone SE
It’s not all different between the iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE, the FaceTime HD camera is the exact same on both models at 1.2-megapixels. The one improvement is the feature Apple calls Retina Flash. Introduced with the iPhone 6s, it uses your screen to provide a powerful front flash. So even though the camera is the same quality, the Retina Flash should help your selfies look a little better in low-light.
One of the more surprising improvements of the iPhone SE is the bump in battery size. It’s not a huge difference (from 1560mAh to 1624mAh) but when you compare the usage times, it means your iPhone SE lasts quite a bit longer than the 5s.
Basic internet use on Wi-Fi lasts 3 hours longer on the iPhone SE for a total of up to 13 hours usage. Similarly, video playback should last up to 13 hours on the iPhone SE compared to 10 hours of the iPhone 5s.
Another big difference between the iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE is the addition of Apple Pay. Apple Pay wasn’t launched until the iPhone 6, making the iPhone SE the first four-inch phone to support the technology.
Now every phone in Apple’s currently lineup — from the iPhone 6 to iPhone SE — supports Apple Pay, meaning every new customer will have access to the feature.
SE in Summary
If you think the iPhone SE is just the phone you were looking for, you can buy it unlocked from Apple. It’s too early to have the iPhone SE in our selection of used devices, but it won’t be long until we get a few of them into our hands.
If you don’t care too much about Apple Pay, the speed, or fancy camera, the iPhone 5s makes an excellent choice for a four-inch iPhone. It still has an amazing camera, solid battery life and steady performance. Unfortunately, Apple no longer offers the iPhone 5s after the SE became it’s official replacement.