March 18 (UPI) — Apple’s most affordable iPhone yet hit store shelves on Friday, bringing most of the essential smartphone experience to consumers without the fancy trappings and a less of a hit on the wallet.
The third-generation iPhone SE is Apple’s latest smartphone offering, although it might look a little familiar to longtime iPhone users. For one, it maintains its 4.7-inch display and borrows from the older versions’ rounded-edge design.
It also includes a home button that allows users to unlock their phone using Touch ID. That feature was discontinued in 2017, when the iPhone X introduced Face ID technology to unlock phones.
The new iPhone SE is available in three colors — (PRODUCT) Red, Starlight (white) and Midnight (black).
Apple will begin selling the new SE at stores on Friday, as well as taking orders online.
Other than its appearance, what makes the newest iPhone so different?
The third generation iPhone SE will be available in three colors — red, white and black. Photo courtesy Apple
The most noticeable difference is the cost. The iPhone SE starts at $429 for 64 GB, but users can pay for more space — $479 for 128 GB or $579 for 256 GB.
The base model is the most affordable new iPhone available. For comparison, the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099, the iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999, the iPhone 12 at $699 and the iPhone 11 $499.
The cheaper price tag means there are some trade-offs, but the casual smartphone user may not notice the limitations.
The SE is 5G-ready, like the 12 and 13 models — but unlike them, it doesn’t include the ultrafast option using millimeter wave technology. But even for users who do have that option with the 12 and 13, it’s rare to find a superfast connection, according to a review by The New York Times.
Apple’s new iPhone SE includes an A15 processing chip, which is used in other recent models, so processing speed is comparable to the 13.
A USA Today review of the SE says that it has “plenty of zip” when carrying out day-to-day functions such as scrolling, downloading and switching between apps.
As for the SE’s camera, it’s a single 12-megapixel wide camera with up to a 5x digital zoom and optical image stabilization. The 13, by comparison, has a dual 12 MP wide and ultra wide camera system with sensor-shift optical image stabilization. The SE also doesn’t have night mode, meaning low-light photos won’t produce quite as much fine detail.
For shooting video, the iPhone SE has 4K and 1080p HD video recording capabilities and otherwise comparable features to the 13 — but it doesn’t include cinematic mode like the 13.
Apple’s new smartphone is also more environmentally friendly.
“iPhone SE now uses 100% recycled rare earth elements for its Taptic Engine and audio magnets,” Apple says on its website. “We’ve also eliminated the plastic wrap around the box.”