Should You Upgrade to iPhone SE from the iPhone 5s?

Apple has launched the iPhone SE on Monday, and will start shipping toward the end of this month to early April. The smartphone succeeds iPhone 5c, but it will replace iPhone 5s as the entry-level iPhone.
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>> How iPhone SE compares to the rest of the lineup

The iPhone SE has a starting price tag of $399 and will be available starting March 31. Let's see if the iPhone SE is worth upgrading from the iPhone 5s.

The iPhone SE has the same design and form factor as the iPhone 5s. Customers who like the iPhone 5s for its compact design may take a shine to the iPhone SE.

Design-wise, there’s not an awful lot between the two, and this could be the undoing of the iPhone SE. The SE is a single gram heavier than the iPhone 5s, and the chamfered edges now have a matte finish instead of a gleaming exposed metal one, but otherwise the two handsets look precisely the same.

The volume buttons are circular, just like the 5s, the coloured insets at the top and bottom of the rear of the phones look the same, and all the detailing, from the speaker grilles to the strips that let the signal through to the antennae, is identical.

If you upgrade from your ageing iPhone 5s, you may not be able to tell the difference between the two, although the new handset will almost certainly look shinier and newer than your battered old iPhone 5s.

On the one hand, that’s not ideal, but by opting for a phone with exactly the same design as your old one, there are some positives. You won’t have to buy a new case for your phone for one – something to bear in mind.

Apple suggests that the battery in the iPhone SE offers better performance when compared to the iPhone 5s. The new iPhone can offer up to 50 hours of audio playback, 13 hours of video, 13 hours Wi-Fi browsing, 13 hours of LTE browsing, 12 hours 3G browsing and 14 hours of 3G talk time.

On the other hand, the iPhone 5s offers up to 40 hours of audio playback, 10 hours of video, 10 hours Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of LTE browsing, 8 hours 3G browsing and 10 hours of 3G talk time.

The iPhone SE, as well as iPhone 5s, has a 4-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 640 x 1,136 pixels and 326ppi.

The iPhone SE’s screen falls into the same category as the design. It’s basically the same as on the 5s.

Not that this is a bad thing. The iPhone 5s’ display was classed as a “Retina” display, and so is the 1,136 x 640 screen on the iPhone SE. It’s just as sharp, and likely will look pretty similar as well in terms of quality.

We won’t know the full story until we have one in our hands for testing, but one small snippet Apple let slip was that the screen of the iPhone SE will have a contrast ration of 800:1.

That’s a little lower than our measurement of the iPhone 5s, which came in at 972:1, and much lower than the iPhone 6s’ 1,542:1. Will this affect your enjoyment in using the phone? Probably not. Although 800:1 isn't up with very best these days, it's still more than respectable.

Processor And RAM
The iPhone 5s has a now-dated A7 processor. However, the iPhone SE runs on A9 processor and M9 co-processor - the same used in the iPhone 6s.

"The 64-bit A9 chip ... offers iPhone SE customers two times faster CPU and three times faster GPU performance compared to iPhone 5s, all with gains in energy efficiency for improved battery life" says Apple.

Apple does not officially disclose the RAM capacity of its devices. However, reports suggest that the iPhone 5s has 1 GB of RAM, while the iPhone SE has 2 GB of RAM.

The iPhone 5s has 8-megapixel (f/2.2 lens) rear-facing and 1.2-megapixel front-facing cameras. The iPhone SE has a 12-megapixel (f/2.2) rear-facing camera and a 1.2-megapixel front camera.

"iPhone SE has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera featuring Focus Pixel technology for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharper, more detailed photos like the ones shot on iPhone 6s" says Apple.

The iPhone maker introduced Live Photos in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. The feature takes a short 3-second video - 1.5 seconds before a photo has been shot and 1.5 seconds after clicking the snap - which brings life to photos.

Touch ID
The iPhone SE as well as the iPhone 5s has Touch ID, which allows to easily unlock the handset.

The latest iPhone has top-end specs similar to the flagship iPhone 6s. The iPhone SE is definitely a worthy upgrade for iPhone 5s users, especially for those who prefer a smaller 4-inch phone.