iPhone SE vs iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C review


FOR YEARS, Apple made only 4in phones. The iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S and 5C all stuck resolutely to Steve Jobs’ insistence that 4in was more than adequate for a phone screen size.

However, under pressure from rival Samsung and its larger ‘phablet’ devices, Apple released the iPhone 6 with a 4.7in screen and the iPhone 6 Plus with an even bigger 5.5in screen. These were followed by the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

These, naturally, sold in their millions, leading to huge profits. Problem solved. Well, perhaps not. Many have been put off by the larger screens, hoping instead that Apple would issue a smaller, updated iPhone to meet their needs.

This happened in April with the release of the iPhone SE, pitched as offering almost all the same specs as the iPhone 6S but in the smaller 4in form factor.

But how does the iPhone SE stack up against the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, the most recent 4in devices from Apple? Is it worthy of a place in the 4in hall of fame? We put all three together to provide a complete overview of the specs and features on offer.

iPhone SE: 123.8×58.6×7.6mm, 113g
iPhone 5S: 123.8×58.6×7.6mm, 112g
iPhone 5C: 124.4×59.2×8.97mm, 132g 

As you might expect, all the devices have broadly similar features, although the iPhone 5C is notably heavier than the others and a tad bigger in all dimensions.

iPhone SE v iPhone 5S v iPhone 5C review

Overall there’s not much difference, although the iPhone SE and iPhone 5S don’t suffer from the iPhone 5C’s plastic case. However, the iPhone 5C wins out here if you like bright colours.

The iPhone SE and iPhone 5S are definitely sleeker and probably edge this category.

Winner: iPhone SE and iPhone 5S

iPhone SE v iPhone 5S v iPhone 5C review back view
iPhone SE: 4in 1136×640 resolution at 326ppi 
iPhone 5S: 4in 1136×640 resolution at 326ppi
iPhone 5C: 4in 1136×640 resolution at 326ppi

All three have the same display quality, which is more than adequate for any requirement. The colours are crisp with decent viewing angles so that videos and photos look lively and bright.

None of the devices has the 3D Touch feature found on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, which is to be expected with the iPhone 5C and 5S but perhaps not the iPhone SE. However, it’s not a huge loss as the feature has proved underwhelming and is underused by app developers.

Winner: Draw

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