New iPhone SE packs an A15 Bionic chip, 5G and better battery life
Ever since it first debuted in 2016, Apple's iPhone SE has been the company's offering to smartphone buyers on a budget. It's never been a bare-bones phone, though, and the latest feature-laden incarnation makes it even less so.
First and foremost, the new SE runs on Apple's A15 Bionic chip, which was introduced on the iPhone 13. Reportedly making "nearly every experience better," the A15 packs a 6-core CPU which is reportedly the fastest in any smartphone – in fact, the new SE is up to 1.8 times faster than the iPhone 8.
The A15 is also central to the SE's new imaging system, which incorporates a 12-megapixel f1.8-aperture wide-angle camera. This system offers features such as Smart HDR 4, which uses intelligent segmentation to apply different adjustments for color, contrast and noise to the subject versus the background; Photographic Styles, which allows users to bring their personal photo preferences to every image while still benefitting from Apple’s multi-frame image processing; and Deep Fusion, which uses advanced machine learning to do pixel-by-pixel processing, optimizing for texture, details and noise in every part of the photo.
Importantly, the SE now supports 5G wireless technology, making for faster uploads and downloads, along with lower latency. That said, when high speed isn't a priority, the phone can be set to its battery-saving Smart Data mode, in which it automatically switches over to LTE.
And on the subject of batteries, the efficiency of the A15 chip is claimed to give the new SE longer battery life than the previous generation, although no exact figures have been provided. The phone is also now compatible with Qi-certified wireless chargers, and with fast charging.
As is the case with Apple's other latest mobile devices, the SE uses the iOS 15 operating system. Its claims to fame include more natural-sounding Spatial Audio and a new Portrait mode for FaceTime; a distraction-reducing Focus mode; a Live Text feature that recognizes text in photos (and prompts users to take action, if necessary); full-screen maps in the Weather app; plus three-dimensional city maps and augmented reality features in Apple Maps.
Finally, the new SE's body features a mix of aerospace-grade aluminum and "the toughest glass in a smartphone on the front and back." Its display sits at 4.7 inches. And for buyers who don't want to bother with a case, the SE is IP67 water- and dust-resistant – as far as water-resistance goes, this means it can withstand being submerged to a depth of 1 meter (3.3 ft) for up to 30 minutes.
The new iPhone SE is being offered in 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB models, in color choices of midnight (black), starlight (white) and red. It can be preordered starting Mar. 11th, and will be available in stores as of Mar. 18th, with prices starting at US$429.