iPhone 5s and iPhone SE are the twins of Apple’s lineup of iPhone. I get this question a lot, Buying iPhone 5s Vs iPhone SE Today is a good deal? Many have the idea they are older but are they still capable? The iPhone 5s is the older brother of the two with an age gap of 30 months between them. The later, iPhone SE looks exactly similar to its older brother but packs more powerful internals and an improved camera.
However, why would you be interested in these year old phones?
The iPhone 5s story
iPhone 5s is still selling like hot cakes for around Rs.15,000-17,000 ($ 200-220) 16GB. The younger brother comes with a price tag of Rs. 21000-25000 ($ 270-300) 32GB for the variants. A recent report points out that iPhone 5s is one of the top-selling iPhones in India. Why these devices have still held up a place for their interest lies in the fact that they still hold up quite well through the time. iPhone 5s was launched in 2013 but is still regularly supported by Apple officially, having received iOS 10.3.1 update just recently. It is even expected it to be getting iOS 11 updates scheduled to launch by end of this year. If I can recall correctly, none other smartphones from any vendor are supported for so long as iPhone 5s.
To be very realistic about how it feels to own an iPhone 5s in 2017, let me tell you this, I personally own an iPhone 5s for over 3 years now and still going on strong. I got my iPhone 5s at Rs. 27000 than for the 16GB variant but let me tell you, it is the only smartphone I have ever used above 2 years straight, and trust me I still love it.
Why You Can Still Buy An iPhone 5s
Well, this phone has aged quite a bit; but it is still among one of the phones that attract people’s attention. The design language is refreshing with sharp chamfered edges that give the phone a sexy look. I personally love the dual tone back especially the one with black chin and forehead and a matte grey finish. I would prefer the design any day compared to many other high-end devices presently including Samsung Galaxy S8. Mostly as this design is bold and not fragile as the new Samsung Galaxy S8, that has to be most fragile phone ever. This is debatable as everyone has a different opinion regarding looks of a device, but you can still not trash the build quality and premium feel of iPhone 5s.
Let us make a quick recall of the specs that are packed by this “old is gold” iPhone
- Display: 4 inches retina display, that is better than many Android devices today in this price range with crisp and vibrant colors
- Processor: Apple A7 processor, the first of 64-bit processor that still can shy away many pricy android phones
- Cameras: 8 MP back camera, too good for the price it comes now and a 1.2 MP selfie shooter that is really good in my opinion
- Charging port: Reversible Lightning port, more like USB Type C that is only limited to higher-end devices in the android market
- Battery: 1360 mAh battery, this is one of the weaker points, though it lasts a 10 hr usage very well
- Fingerprint scanner: Fingerprint scanner that is accurate, fast and never misses at par with most Android devices today, but remembers this is 2013 tech when Android had only patterns
- RAM: 1GB RAM is better than many androids with 2-3 GB RAMs, apps never get out of memory for days. Yes, I said days.
How iPhone 5s stands among its competition in 2017
Well, depends on the usage and your expectation from a device. For me at a price tag of Rs. 17,000/ $220 this phone does out performs many newer androids in this price range. What makes iPhone 5s stand out is its reliability. You can completely rely on this phone to never let you down. May not be blazing fast as the newer generation iPhones or high-end androids, this does a decent job handling multi tasking with ease. I never faced any issue with apps reloading, which you find in many androids that are priced higher too. With overall good specs and smooth performance without lags, it is a very decent user experience on the device.
Not to forget the camera performance is very good compared to many others in the price bracket. iPhone cameras are known to be top notch and this age-old device does prove itself worthy at the price point it is tagged now. Though megapixel counts might be higher on many devices like the Redmi Note 4 the final image output is better on iPhone 5s by a large margin. The only con or let’s say drawback I noticed in iPhone 5s camera is the absence of Continuous Auto Focus in videos. This is a 5-year-old device, so you have to bear with some drawbacks of technological advancements happened in these years.
I love the reversible lighting port, whose counterpart USB Type-C is absent in most android devices in this price range. Charging times are decent for the small battery but the battery life is a point you may consider devices with bigger batteries. However, never get your expectations too high for a 5-year-old device but it is decent for the price compared to other devices in this price range. Apple is even supporting iPhone 5s with regular updates and we expect it to follow next year.
The IPhone SE Story
iPhone SE launched in March 2016 makes it quite a newer device compared to iPhone 5s. You can currently get an iPhone SE for around Rs. 21,000- 23,000($330-400) for the 32GB variant. However, both the devices sports identical footprints and looks, the internals makes them different. iPhone SE comes with the powerful Apple A9 chip that iPhone 6s, the most famous iPhone, supported. iPhone SE sports a 4 inches display same as the iPhone 5s but the powerful next generation A9 chip makes it one of the fastest phones in the market.
As I mentioned earlier iPhone 5s camera is good than many, iPhone SE’s camera is one of the better ones in this price range. It has the same sensor from the last year’s (2015-16) flagship iPhone 6s. iPhone SE as you might have guessed is a special edition device launched by Apple for people who loved the more compact design of 4 inches. I personally love this particular design with the compact size and the dual colored glass antenna bands. It gives it a stunning look making it look bit different when every other device in the market looks similar. Going back to the camera, the 12MP improved shooter has auto focus that was missing in its twin brother iPhone 5s. However, the selfie shooter remains the same 1.2MP, which is decent but there are many others doing a better job in this area.
Why You Can Still Buy An IPhone SE
Compared to the specs it offers almost similar experience as the last year’s (2015-16) flagship the iPhone 6s that comes at a higher price tag. The only difference you can notice is the screen size and the front camera. The iPhone 6s has a larger screen with 3D touch and a 5MP front camera to make it a little different from the iPhone SE that is cheaper. Luckily, you get a flagship experience at price of a mid-range, which in my opinion is a wise choice. It is strictly for people looking for a compact form factor when smartphone screen sizes are growing bigger and bigger.
Here is a quick round up of the specs that make iPhone SE still desirable in 2017:
- Display: 4 inches retina display, more improved of already great display on an iPhone 5s
- Processor: a big improvement over iPhone 5s is the newer generation A9 processor, it is really snappy even among today’s high-end processors
- Cameras: 12MP with autofocus and dual tone LED and a 1.2 MP selfie shooter same as the iPhone 5s
- Battery: 1624 mAh, a bigger battery coupled with the small display makes for a good battery performance overall about 14-16hrs normal usage
- RAM: 2GB RAM, giving boost to the performance that was never an issue with the iPhone 5s but has got better
How well iPhone SE holds up to the competition in 2017
iPhone SE is a small size rocket that can make a good option for you even in 2017. This is mostly because of the Apple’s trust and performance that, this phone masters very well. I personally really like the smaller footprint is great for one-handed by most people. These days we mostly get phones over 5-inches display that has more space. However, needs stretching your fingers to get to the corners. No such problems with the iPhone SE and the powerful A9 chip can handle almost everything thrown at it with ease. With the additional 1GB RAM over the iPhone 5s makes it a powerful phone to last for couple of years.
The improved camera on the iPhone SE makes it one of the phones with better camera in this price range. The addition of auto focus makes it for a good video recording camera and its size makes it easier. Personally, I prefer shooting on the iPhone SE than other higher prices androids simply because of the comfortable grip. It is updated to iOS 10.3 and going by Apple’s history it will be getting few more updates.
Multitasking is simply a buttery smooth experience on the iPhone SE and holds up tough against competitors like the Moto G5 Plus or the more powerful Lenovo ZUK Z2 plus. In a comparative analysis, Qualcomm the biggest rivals of Apple’s chips in terms of performance. The Snapdragon 820/ 821 would be best compared to Apple’s A9 chip. Both are the last year’s flagship processors but not many Android devices available with this processor in this price range. The 32GB variant is priced below 23k/ $380 is really a good deal. Only the battery is an area where other devices may race ahead. But do not get me wrong it can easily go for a day on moderate usage.
Which one should you buy in 2017: iPhone 5s vs iPhone SE
Let us round it up for the final verdict on which one you should decide to buy.
- iPhone 5s is the cheapest iPhone you can get currently and Apple has officially announced a further price cut, which could get you one within Rs. 15,000 in India.
- If you have never used an Apple device, iPhone 5s can give you the experience of iOS
- For the price it has very decent specs which can compete well with other phones in this price
- Camera is good and can shoot excellent time lapses and slow-mo along with sharp and crisp images
- RAM management is top notch although being just 1 GB it keeps all most 10-12 apps easily in memory
- You get Apple’s trust and support for even a 5 years old device
- Last is my personal emotional reason; “It is the last phone that followed the design done by the great creator Steve Jobs”, and last innovative smartphone
- More like the iPhone 5s this is a very compact phone for best one hand user experience in my opinion
- Improved specs similar to iPhone 6s that was Apple’s flagship in 2015-16
- Camera performance is easily top notch compared to many in this price range
- Sporting a last year flagship processor that too at this price range
- 2 GB RAM does a great job handling all tasks easily
- If you want a compact device iPhone SE is a good overall phone even in 2017
Let me know in the comments below which among these two twins brother you bought. With online sellers like Amazon and Flipkart offering great discounts, it is the right time to pick one.
(do use the affiliate links to buy the iPhone, it will help us run the blog efficiently)