iPhone SE is powerful & accessible with tired design, early reviews say

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple's third-generation iPhone SE has the A15 Bionic, 5G, and Touch ID for $429, and here's what people are saying about it.

iPhone SE 3 impressions are in
iPhone SE 3 impressions are in


If you look at the new iPhone SE you'll see an identical design to the iPhone 8 released in 2017. Apple does this to keep costs down in its budget iPhone by using older, cheaper manufacturing processes and parts.

According to MKBHD, the A15 Bionic means it will have "world-class" processing and camera, but lacks in design, battery life, and display. He'd prefer Apple try a new design, throw in an ultra-wide camera, and just mix things up like other phones in its price range.

However, others have praised Apple's consistency, with Forbes calling it the "most accessible iPhone for a not insignificant swath of disabled people." The "old" design means consistency, which is valuable for certain cognitive conditions. Also, the low price point means access to iOS and its accessibility features by those who need it, rather than having to opt for a more expensive model just to access needed applications.

The Verge called the new iPhone SE a "fantastic midrange phone" held back by its "tired design" and 4.7-inch display with large bezels. The powerful processor guarantees years of updates, so The Verge says you'll get your money's worth, but the lack of a larger display, OLED, or ProMotion make the "cramped" screen worse. That longevity means its 4.7-inch display will still be around for 2028 and iOS 21, which will feel archaic by that point.

There seems to be universal praise of the performance and camera included in the $429 iPhone SE. Repeating complaints revolve around the aging design and the desire for Apple to move its budget to the iPhone X design language. One major complaint is a lack of night mode for dim photography.

A review from Tom's Guide compares using the 2022 iPhone SE to "taking a trip back in time." There's Touch ID instead of Face ID and the bezels take up "a lot" of room compared to modern devices. However, the reviewer admitted the device is designed for people who like small phones and are upgrading from older devices like the iPhone 8.

Camera comparisons universally praise the camera quality despite having the same camera hardware built-in. The image signal processor enables new features like Cinematic Mode, Deep Fusion, and now extended dynamic range for 4K video up to 30fps. Video producer Jonathan Morrison shared a music video shot on the new iPhone SE to show off its quality recording capabilities.





The third-generation iPhone SE is up for pre-order and ships Friday, March 18. It starts at $429 and ships with the A15, 5G, and a classic design.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 300member
    There's no arguing with the sales success of iPhone and my only explanation for Apple's failure to advance iPhone design, in general, for more than a decade would be "if it ain't broke..." kind of thinking. And it certainly hasn't hurt Apple so far. But let's face it: the design of iPhone 12, 13 and upcoming 14 is just a larger version of the iPhone 4 from 2010. The ease of being in Apple's ecosystem is too valuable to me to consider switching, but am I totally bored with iPhone design? Absolutely. Even the brand "new" green iPhone 13 Pro looks almost identical to the green iPhone 11 Pro. When it comes to iPhone design, "new" has become Apple reintroducing a previously used idea. 
    edited March 14 grandact73
  • Reply 2 of 16
    cincyteecincytee Posts: 374member
    Complaints about "tired" design make me laugh. Form follows function. No one complains about the "tired" design of a toaster: Toasters have to do what they do, and there are only so many ways to do that. Phones aren't much different at this point.
    mwhitelkruppStrangeDaysmike1Japheymuthuk_vanalingamBeatsscstrrftoddzrxjony0
  • Reply 3 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    cincytee said:
    Complaints about "tired" design make me laugh. Form follows function. No one complains about the "tired" design of a toaster: Toasters have to do what they do, and there are only so many ways to do that. Phones aren't much different at this point.
    +100! Reviewers seem obligated to make derogatory comments about any product to claim a “fair and balanced” review. No product is perfect, of course, but “tired design” seems petty. In this price range do consumers really consider such things? Or do they just want a reasonably priced phone?
    Beatsscstrrfjony0
  • Reply 4 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,122member
    “We demand a triangle phone!”

    Yeah no. Apple design has said numerous times - they don’t do changes for changes’ sake. Of course they try variations in private, but they don’t go to production unless they’re an improvement.

    Funny nobody dings lawnmower companies for their “tired” product designs. Or power tools, etc…
    edited March 14 Beatsscstrrftoddzrxjony0
  • Reply 5 of 16
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,000member
    charlesn said:
    There's no arguing with the sales success of iPhone and my only explanation for Apple's failure to advance iPhone design, in general, for more than a decade would be "if it ain't broke..." kind of thinking. And it certainly hasn't hurt Apple so far. But let's face it: the design of iPhone 12, 13 and upcoming 14 is just a larger version of the iPhone 4 from 2010. The ease of being in Apple's ecosystem is too valuable to me to consider switching, but am I totally bored with iPhone design? Absolutely. Even the brand "new" green iPhone 13 Pro looks almost identical to the green iPhone 11 Pro. When it comes to iPhone design, "new" has become Apple reintroducing a previously used idea. 

    Oh, please. The days of radical changes to the industrial design of a phone are over.
    Since everyone was able to move to a full-screen front, that only leaves a few things with which to play.

    1. Whether the side edges or rounded or flat and whether the phone gets slightly thinner or thicker.
    2. Material use for the enclosure, be it glass aluminum, stainless or plastic when it comes to cheap phones.
    3. Color


    scstrrftoddzrxjony0
  • Reply 6 of 16
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,193member
    The headline should have included quotes around 'tired' design as I thought it was a typo but it's actually quoted as.
    scstrrf
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Main thing I care about is function, as most of the phone is stuck in a case anyhow. I wish they would keep the buttons and size the same among phone model. It would cut down on environmental waste and cost, by reusing the same case. It is like people and companies that complained about the notch. People have a large capacity to ignore things.This is the low cost phone, with Touch ID, current processor, meant for large buyers and long term updates.
    edited March 14
  • Reply 8 of 16
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,922member
    “Tired design” is pure bull. It’s a classic design. Why change it just for the sake of change?
    Beatsscstrrf
  • Reply 9 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,385member
    charlesn said:
    There's no arguing with the sales success of iPhone and my only explanation for Apple's failure to advance iPhone design, in general, for more than a decade would be "if it ain't broke..." kind of thinking. And it certainly hasn't hurt Apple so far. But let's face it: the design of iPhone 12, 13 and upcoming 14 is just a larger version of the iPhone 4 from 2010. The ease of being in Apple's ecosystem is too valuable to me to consider switching, but am I totally bored with iPhone design? Absolutely. Even the brand "new" green iPhone 13 Pro looks almost identical to the green iPhone 11 Pro. When it comes to iPhone design, "new" has become Apple reintroducing a previously used idea. 
    So what? Are you waiting for a trapezoidal shaped phone to cure the boredom? Until we get the see-through glass sheet phones that are in all the sci-fi movies, we’re just going to have to make due with the rectangle brick. What else can any of them do at this point?
    scstrrf
  • Reply 10 of 16
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    I wonder what reviewers will say when all phones will look like iPhone X in a few years.

    Of course only Apple is expected to innovate.

    Japhey said:
    charlesn said:
    There's no arguing with the sales success of iPhone and my only explanation for Apple's failure to advance iPhone design, in general, for more than a decade would be "if it ain't broke..." kind of thinking. And it certainly hasn't hurt Apple so far. But let's face it: the design of iPhone 12, 13 and upcoming 14 is just a larger version of the iPhone 4 from 2010. The ease of being in Apple's ecosystem is too valuable to me to consider switching, but am I totally bored with iPhone design? Absolutely. Even the brand "new" green iPhone 13 Pro looks almost identical to the green iPhone 11 Pro. When it comes to iPhone design, "new" has become Apple reintroducing a previously used idea. 
    So what? Are you waiting for a trapezoidal shaped phone to cure the boredom? Until we get the see-through glass sheet phones that are in all the sci-fi movies, we’re just going to have to make due with the rectangle brick. What else can any of them do at this point?

    That will never happen either. I remember people thinking computers would be this way but it never made sense to me due to privacy.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    fred1fred1 Posts: 965member
    My impression is that Apple, and others, change the design every so often so people who buy them can show that they have the latest model. If Apple is willing to use a design from previous models then that’s to their credit. 
    scstrrfjony0
  • Reply 12 of 16
    My decidedly non techie neighbors, parents, in laws truly don’t care. They use maybe a couple of apps and text and that’s it. They’re on 7s and 8s and had ZERO interest in spending more than 400 bucks on the phone. 
    evercuriousscstrrftoddzrxjony0
  • Reply 13 of 16
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 300member
    mike1 said:
    charlesn said:
    There's no arguing with the sales success of iPhone and my only explanation for Apple's failure to advance iPhone design, in general, for more than a decade would be "if it ain't broke..." kind of thinking. And it certainly hasn't hurt Apple so far. But let's face it: the design of iPhone 12, 13 and upcoming 14 is just a larger version of the iPhone 4 from 2010. The ease of being in Apple's ecosystem is too valuable to me to consider switching, but am I totally bored with iPhone design? Absolutely. Even the brand "new" green iPhone 13 Pro looks almost identical to the green iPhone 11 Pro. When it comes to iPhone design, "new" has become Apple reintroducing a previously used idea. 

    Oh, please. The days of radical changes to the industrial design of a phone are over.
    Yeah. And I remember when PC manufacturers thought they had reached the pinnacle of computer industrial design with black plastic boxes. "What else is there to do with it?" Apple owes its very existence to gorgeous, forward-thinking industrial design, so how much Apple Kool-Aid do you have to drink to give them a pass on not doing that? These apologist comments are hilarious. And what I'm suggesting isn't total reinvention, which is the typically stupid straw man response: "What do you want a trapezoidal phone?" No. The 2009 iMac DNA is clearly evident in the design of my recent iMac 24" -- but the newer design is much slicker, much more refined, evolved and elegant than the 2009.  You don't see that kind of evolution with the iPhone any longer. The last iPhone design as exciting as the iPhone 4 WAS the iPhone 4. 

  • Reply 14 of 16
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,297member
    “We demand a triangle phone!”

    Yeah no. Apple design has said numerous times - they don’t do changes for changes’ sake. Of course they try variations in private, but they don’t go to production unless they’re an improvement.

    Funny nobody dings lawnmower companies for their “tired” product designs. Or power tools, etc…
    I think the clearest counter argument to that is that Apple did actually move away from the design and sell the new one as an improvement. 

    In its day they actually put up an iPhone 8 design at a presentation to 'sell' the full screen idea.

    Independently of that, design, colour and finish still play an important part in the industry and there are still areas for improvement. For example, phone wobble due to camera bumps and overall slipperyness in the hand have largely gone in tackled. 

    There is no problem calling a design tired. Most designs can become 'tired' at some point, go out of fashion and then maybe come back. The car industry is an example.

    I'm a fan of the boxy design with flat edges but on larger phones in smaller hands it definitely isn't an improvement over rounded edges. That is definitely a change for the sake of change. 
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Still love my iPhone 8 Plus.  Bring on the iPhone SE Plus!
  • Reply 16 of 16
    toddzrxtoddzrx Posts: 241member
    charlesn said:
    mike1 said:
    charlesn said:
    There's no arguing with the sales success of iPhone and my only explanation for Apple's failure to advance iPhone design, in general, for more than a decade would be "if it ain't broke..." kind of thinking. And it certainly hasn't hurt Apple so far. But let's face it: the design of iPhone 12, 13 and upcoming 14 is just a larger version of the iPhone 4 from 2010. The ease of being in Apple's ecosystem is too valuable to me to consider switching, but am I totally bored with iPhone design? Absolutely. Even the brand "new" green iPhone 13 Pro looks almost identical to the green iPhone 11 Pro. When it comes to iPhone design, "new" has become Apple reintroducing a previously used idea. 

    Oh, please. The days of radical changes to the industrial design of a phone are over.
    Yeah. And I remember when PC manufacturers thought they had reached the pinnacle of computer industrial design with black plastic boxes. "What else is there to do with it?" Apple owes its very existence to gorgeous, forward-thinking industrial design, so how much Apple Kool-Aid do you have to drink to give them a pass on not doing that? These apologist comments are hilarious. And what I'm suggesting isn't total reinvention, which is the typically stupid straw man response: "What do you want a trapezoidal phone?" No. The 2009 iMac DNA is clearly evident in the design of my recent iMac 24" -- but the newer design is much slicker, much more refined, evolved and elegant than the 2009.  You don't see that kind of evolution with the iPhone any longer. The last iPhone design as exciting as the iPhone 4 WAS the iPhone 4. 

    Don’t hold your breath bro.  Gonna be a while before you see something terribly different. Thank goodness. 
Sign In or Register to comment.