Everyone loves the underdog, which is probably why the iPhone SE retains such a cult following. That and its radical ideas.
In many ways, Apple's iPhone SE handset stands out when compared to contemporary devices like the iPhone Xr and the iPhone Xs. However, this compact and palm-friendly handset retains a loyal and devoted audience, while packing a punchy specification and continues to swing away at its bigger, feature-packed and more powerful rivals.
In fact, it has arguably become even more popular in an age where you can buy refurbished SE handsets at genuinely competitive prices. If it isn't broken, don't fix it. And if it was broken, we fixed it anyway, so it's really worth taking a look at our iPhone SE deals.
In order to fully understand the appeal of the iPhone SE, we need to comprehend its core features and compare it against its marketplace rivals back in March 2016 (when the handset was initially released). With the date in mind, it's easy to see why the iPhone SE is so popular, with its compact design, deceptively impressive power and excellent battery performance providing more than enough value to users.
When the iPhone SE was first launched, it provided a significant upgrade on the 5S that preceded it. This was most evident in the graphics and display resolution, with a six-core chip dwarfing the power of the iPhone 5S and (perhaps more surprisingly) the highly-lauded 6S range.
In fact, the iPhone SE more than matches the 6s duo in terms of graphical performance, as having to power fewer pixels translates into significantly improved imagery and camera functionality.
Not only does the SE handset offer impressive graphics, but it also performs deceptively well at your fingertips. This is thanks largely to the integration of Apple's flagship A9 chipset, which is a common feature of several more recent handsets and contributes to faster processing speeds (particularly when multitasking).
Make no mistake; anyone transitioning from the 5S to the SE model will notice that everything moves at a more rapid speed, making this akin to upgrading from a Skoda to a Mazda Miata Sport. This handset also saw the amount of RAM doubled in comparison to the 5S, meaning it's twice as good.
The capacity of smartphone batteries continues to increase markedly with every passing year, thanks largely to the emergence of lithium ion technology. Despite using the preceding Li-Po battery technology, the iPhone SE manages to offer exceptional performance and longevity on a daily basis. This battery also performs considerably better than the 5S, despite the fact that there's no additional chassis space or huge design modifications.
Instead, Apple managed to channel their inner Houdini to shrink down some of its internal components and install a marginally more powerful unit. In fact, the SE boasts a 1,624mAh power pack and drains every bit of this energy from the resource.
It's easy to forget that the SE was launched at around the same time as the coveted 6s range, in order to create a point of difference in an increasingly crowded market. This means that despite its compact design and relatively staid design, it shares a number of cool features and innovations with the larger-than-life iPhone 6s.
This is best embodied by the camera feature, which is a 12MP offering complete with Focus Pixels to provide a secondary layer that sharpens the lens at rapid speed. Incredibly, this camera also features Apple's super Live Photo innovation, which enhances snaps by introducing animation and movement whenever required. It's the closest you can get to taking Harry Potter-esque photos in real life.
Despite borrowing heavily from the functionality of the iPhone 6s, the SE handset remains true to the look and feel of the 5s that preceded it. Whilst this means that the visual appearance of the SE is not as slick and remains true to Apple's more traditional design features, it also lends itself to a small and light handset that can be held comfortably in the palm of your hand.
This means that there's no awkward stretching or reaching when navigating the 4-inch touchscreen, and this provides a delightful but too often underrated benefit of buying a refurbished iPhone SE. If you don't want to take on more than you can handle, an SE is the easy choice.
The SE handset will forever remain an iconic and unique Apple product, primarily thanks to its compact nature and the fact that it bridges the considerable gap between old and new iPhone designs.
By leveraging both the design of the iPhone 5s and the innovative features of the 6s series, the SE model holds a genuinely unique position in the market and continues to sell well in the face of fierce competition.