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iPhone SE vs iPhone 5s spec shootout – A huge upgrade for a small phone

by Todd Haselton | March 21, 2016March 21, 2016 8:00 pm PST

iPhone SE vs iPhone 5s

Apple announced the iPhone SE on Monday, a new 4-inch iPhone that has flagship specs. It’s technically an upgrade to a device that’s now a couple of years old, the iPhone 5s, especially given that it’s the only phone since that device to pack a 4-inch display.

As the title says, it’s a huge, huge upgrade for a very small phone. It packs an A9 processor, the same used in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Live Photos support, a 12MP camera capable of recording 4K video, Touch ID with Apple Pay support and more. And it all fits in a form factor that looks almost identical to the iPhone 5s. So what sorts of other upgrades are there?

We created the spec shootout below to provide an easy-to-read answer.

Apple - iPhone SE Apple - iPhone 5s
Display Size 4-inch, 640 x 1136 pixel display (326 ppi) 4-inch, 640 x 1136 pixel display (326 ppi)
Resolution X 640 640
Resolution Y 1136 1136
Display Type LED‑backlit widescreen Multi‑Touch display Retina
Operating System iOS 9.3 (at launch) iOS 7 (at launch)
Processor A9 chip with 64‑bit architecture, Embedded M9 motion coprocessor A7 64 bit processor
RAM N/A 1GB
Storage
  • 16GB
  • 64GB
  • 16GB
  • 32GB
  • 64GB
External Storage No No
Main Camera (Back) 12MP 8MP
Secondary Camera (Front) 1.2MP 1.2MP
Networks
  • CDMA EV‑DO Rev. A
  • GSM/EDGE
  • LTE
  • TD‑LTE
  • TD‑SCDMA
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC‑HSDPA
  • Model A1533 (GSM)*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
  • Model A1533 (CDMA)*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
  • Model A1453*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)
  • Model A1457*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20)
  • Model A1530*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20); TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.0
Battery N/A N/A
NFC Yes No
Connectivity
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Lightning port
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Lightning port
Sensors
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Gyroscope
  • Proximity
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Gyroscope
  • Proximity
GPS
  • Assisted GPS
  • Digital compass
  • GLONASS
  • A-GPS
  • Digital Compass
  • GLONASS
Height 4.87 inches (12.37 cm) 4.87 inches (12.37 cm)
Width 2.31 inches (58.7 mm) 2.31 inches (58.7 mm)
Depth 0.3 inches (7.6 mm) 0.3 inches (7.6 mm)
Weight 3.99 oz (113 g) 3.95 oz (112 g)
Colors Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Space Gray Gray, Gold, Silver
Supported Audio Formats AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE‑AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV AC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
Supported Video Formats H.264 video up to 4K, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG‑4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M‑JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format H.264 video up to 1080p, 60 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
In The Box N/A
  • Wall Adapter
  • Apple Lightning Cable
  • Quick Start Guide

iPhone SE

iPhone 5s


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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