iPhone SE 2 – Gold Award
The iPhone SE 2 is Apple’s cheapest phone and the ideal choice if you’re upgrading from an iPhone 6, 7 or an Android that’s starting to show its age.
Apple’s £419 device is a simple proposition: stuff some of the best bits from the recent flagship iPhones into the body of a smaller, older one. There isn’t much new or, dare we say, exciting here. Still, it’s a great phone that’s easy to recommend thanks to a number of highlights.
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What we love – Size, speed and camera
Phones have been getting bigger for years and it can often be hard to find a smaller device that doesn’t require you to juggle to use it. We love bigger phones but, for someone, that you can use in one hand is a headline feature. The iPhone SE 2 most definitely is a small phone; you’ll barely notice it in your pocket or bag and we can happily knock out an iMessage single-handedly without feeling like the phone is going to have a meeting with the pavement. It has a 4.7-inch display and the TouchID fingerprint sensor below it.
The iPhone SE 2 might be Apple’s cheapest phone going, but that doesn’t mean it feels budget to use. In fact, many of the internals are the same as you’d find on the £1000+ iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s fast, like really fast; works with all your App Store downloads and even takes excellent 12-megapixel snaps. Those pictures are best when the light is good; if you’re more into taking shots at night then we’d suggest the Pixel 4a.
Expect it to receive plenty of software updates too, keeping it feeling (hopefully) nippy and packed with new features for years to come, The first of these will be iOS 14, which brings a redesigned home screen, better app management and lots more.
We’re also happy to see Apple keep around some of the more ‘luxury’ features you won’t find on competing phones like the Pixel 4a and OnePlus. It can withstand being submerged in water for half an hour, for example, and it can charge wirelessly if you invest in a separate Qi pad.
What we don’t like – Overly familiar design, short battery life
While we do like the fact this is a smaller phone, we’re less sold on Apple once again reusing an older design. If you’ve had an iPhone 6 or newer then unboxing the iPhone SE 2 will give you a strong sense of deja-vu. We’d have much preferred a phone that mimicked the original SE, with those flat sides and industrial look. At least it comes in a sleek red colour.
Apple might have drastically improved endurance with the recent iPhone 11 range, however, you won’t really find any of that benefit here. We just about got through the day on a single charge but you might want to keep a charger handy if you’re a particularly heavy user.
The iPhone SE 2 is a great, small phone that gives you access to all the benefits of iOS without making you pay over the odds.
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