iPhone SE vs. iPhone 6: How Apple's cheaper, more powerful phone shakes things up

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in iPhone
Although they're still on sale, and potentially tempting, there's really no reason you should be buying an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in early 2016 -- even if you're not interested in the iPhone SE.




The case for buying an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus is likely this: you want a less expensive iPhone, but the 4-inch screen on the SE is just too small. Indeed, while some people may prefer that size, there's a reason most smartphones are closer to 5 or 6 inches. A larger screen means better interface options, more and bigger text, not to mention superior experiences with games, images, and video.

In fact, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still solid performers, and should hold up past the launch of next-generation iPhones coming this fall, and possibly 2017 models as well. But priced starting at $549 for the 4.7-inch model, it's $150 more than the new iPhone SE -- and with less capable specs inside.

If you're really interested in saving money on an iPhone -- but still want something fresh from Apple -- the iPhone SE is a much better value. Sure, it has a 4-inch screen and a weak front camera, but it crams most of the specifications of the iPhone 6s into a device that starts at $399. The model you likely need, with 64 gigabytes of storage, is still $499 -- $50 cheaper than a 16-gigabyte iPhone 6.

If screen space is critical, you should probably go with a 6s. You'll also be getting a faster device that Apple should support longer. As a bonus, you'll get things like a better camera and 3D Touch.

But the smartest decision is to wait, if you can. Apple is likely just five months away from shipping new iPhones, which should be faster still and improved in other ways we haven't confirmed yet.

In our view, the only condition under which you should consider an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus is if you can find it at a sharp discount, whether online or from friends and family. Otherwise, choose the iPhone SE or the iPhone 6s, or wait until September. The iPhone 6, at its current price and place in the lineup, is not the smart choice.

More coverage:



Apple's iPhone SE vs. iPhone 6s: Does price outweigh size?

Buy now or wait? Apple's new iPhone SE vs. the rumored 'iPhone 7'

Review: Apple's 4" iPhone SE is better than we deserve

In-depth review: Apple's iPhone 6s & 6s Plus with 3D Touch

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    Welcome to the world of bad advice.  While it's generally advisable to wait for the next upgrade, if it's only months away, advice to buy down - to save a few hundred dollars - is stupid.  The iPhone 6 and 6s maybe be getting long in the tooth, but that's not a good reason to invest in the SE, which is just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards.  The SE is really an attempt to keep the iPhone 5 crowd, particularly those who don't want a bigger screen.  Nobody shopping for an iPhone 6 should be steered to the SE because the SE is "new" and "cheaper."  It ought to be cheaper.  It's an iPhone 5.  That the insides have been updated is really beside the point.  You can get the same update by getting an iPhone 6 or 6s.  
  • Reply 2 of 14
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    iPhone4 (white) was the design I liked the most.
    So, excellent, when true.
    Also, with oled, battery life will be good again. 
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 3 of 14
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    Welcome to the world of bad advice.  While it's generally advisable to wait for the next upgrade, if it's only months away, advice to buy down - to save a few hundred dollars - is stupid.  The iPhone 6 and 6s maybe be getting long in the tooth, but that's not a good reason to invest in the SE, which is just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards.  The SE is really an attempt to keep the iPhone 5 crowd, particularly those who don't want a bigger screen.  Nobody shopping for an iPhone 6 should be steered to the SE because the SE is "new" and "cheaper."  It ought to be cheaper.  It's an iPhone 5.  That the insides have been updated is really beside the point.  You can get the same update by getting an iPhone 6 or 6s.  
    Talk about bad advice. I don't recommend anyone follow yours. It's "just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards"? How is that an accurate description in any way? Physical appearance? I'm not really sure how that plays into anyone's decision who has both a limited budget and a need for current functionality.
    baconstangchia
  • Reply 4 of 14
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    mac_128 said:
    Welcome to the world of bad advice.  While it's generally advisable to wait for the next upgrade, if it's only months away, advice to buy down - to save a few hundred dollars - is stupid.  The iPhone 6 and 6s maybe be getting long in the tooth, but that's not a good reason to invest in the SE, which is just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards.  The SE is really an attempt to keep the iPhone 5 crowd, particularly those who don't want a bigger screen.  Nobody shopping for an iPhone 6 should be steered to the SE because the SE is "new" and "cheaper."  It ought to be cheaper.  It's an iPhone 5.  That the insides have been updated is really beside the point.  You can get the same update by getting an iPhone 6 or 6s.  
    Talk about bad advice. I don't recommend anyone follow yours. It's "just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards"? How is that an accurate description in any way? Physical appearance? I'm not really sure how that plays into anyone's decision who has both a limited budget and a need for current functionality.
    LOL...BMW change their design every 7 years...So, my 2016 BMW 7series is actually 2009 with new innards....lol. Plain dumb comment, huh?
    baconstangchia
  • Reply 5 of 14
    vision33rvision33r Posts: 213member
    knowitall said:
    iPhone4 (white) was the design I liked the most.
    So, excellent, when true.
    Also, with oled, battery life will be good again. 
    Battery life is bad because Apple uses the tiniest battery in the smart phone industry.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    fallenjt said:
    mac_128 said:
    Talk about bad advice. I don't recommend anyone follow yours. It's "just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards"? How is that an accurate description in any way? Physical appearance? I'm not really sure how that plays into anyone's decision who has both a limited budget and a need for current functionality.
    LOL...BMW change their design every 7 years...So, my 2016 BMW 7series is actually 2009 with new innards....lol. Plain dumb comment, huh?
    Post 1... really an anonymous coward.

    no...  Other than lacking 3DTouch... I see nothing 3 generations old about this phone.    I'm torn...  I love the size of the 'se', but my vision likes my 6s.   My next phone choice will be tough (13 months and counting)..
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Hmmm... what if you have a lot of high end audiophile equipment and so would really like a high end phone with an audio jack?

    If there's a new iPhone every 12 months, and it's foolish to buy 6 months in to save $150, what if your phone dies.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    i understand where Apple was coming from when they came out with the "SE". But they should have done this on launch day with the 6s series phones. Make 3 phones identical to each other spec
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 9 of 14
    jdiamond sez...
    Hmmm... what if you have a lot of high end audiophile equipment and so would really like a high end phone with an audio jack?


    I'm not sure if the iPhone's converter is all that hot.  Doubt if they're as good as the Wolfson's from the 4th gen iPod...at least to my ear.
    You might be better off going lightning to USB to a good DAC to your audio rig.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    ...but the 4-inch screen on the SE is just too small. Indeed, while some people may prefer that size, there's a reason most smartphones are closer to 5 or 6 inches. A larger screen means better interface options, more and bigger text, not to mention superior experiences with games, images, and video.
    Let's keep things in perspective though.  The 5 to 6 inch screen size has only been superior for less than a year.  Once the SE comes out then it will be up to the customer to decide what is best for them and to get the size that they prefer.  No size will be superior to another once the SE is released.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    Wise, just keep the 8 and 2mp cameras no 3D Touch and different lte and wifi and the base price at $399 like they have already done so at launch day with the 6s and 6s+ and drop the prices of the regular 6.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 12 of 14
    ...but the 4-inch screen on the SE is just too small. Indeed, while some people may prefer that size, there's a reason most smartphones are closer to 5 or 6 inches. A larger screen means better interface options, more and bigger text, not to mention superior experiences with games, images, and video.
    Let's keep things in perspective though.  The 5 to 6 inch screen size has only been superior for less than a year.  Once the SE comes out then it will be up to the customer to decide what is best for them and to get the size that they prefer.  No size will be superior to another once the SE is released.
    Buy what suits when you really need it and ignore what other people do, especially those who must have the latest model. "Smart" Phones (ie mini computers with mobile telephone facilities) now have a much longer functional lifespan now than ever did  in the past....even if companies selling them tell you they are obsolete after 12 months. How often do you change your computer? Do not be gullable; use your commonsense. Also the earth's resources are limited; do not waste (ie. abuse) them. As for size, as boopthesnoot suggests it is only one factor out of a number to be considered.
    retrogustourbanleopard
  • Reply 13 of 14
    My hope is that they felt confident giving the SE such great specs at a low price because the 7 is going to be a huge step up.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Welcome to the world of bad advice.  While it's generally advisable to wait for the next upgrade, if it's only months away, advice to buy down - to save a few hundred dollars - is stupid.  The iPhone 6 and 6s maybe be getting long in the tooth, but that's not a good reason to invest in the SE, which is just an iPhone 5 with upgraded innards.  The SE is really an attempt to keep the iPhone 5 crowd, particularly those who don't want a bigger screen.  Nobody shopping for an iPhone 6 should be steered to the SE because the SE is "new" and "cheaper."  It ought to be cheaper.  It's an iPhone 5.  That the insides have been updated is really beside the point.  You can get the same update by getting an iPhone 6 or 6s.  
    If you lived in Canada or an other country with a big exchange rate to the USA$, you'd change your tune.
    Here in CDA the iPhone6 is now $769, vs $549 in the USA.  That's a $40% higher price in CDA.
    The iPhone SE is $567,  an ugly 45% above the $399 USA price.
    Apple does better than OK here and in the USA.  Remember most of the iPhone comes from countries also with an increased exchange rate to the USA,  so Apple imports the iPhone into the USA for less USA$s than a few years ago.
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