500 million and counting. That’s how many 4.7-inch iPhones Apple has sold. It’s Apple’s best-selling form factor ever. It’s one reason why Apple has gone back to this form factor for the second generation iPhone SE. The 2020 version arrives at a time when more than half of the world is under lockdown and consumer purchase drivers have changed, at least in the medium turn. It’s why a $399 phone (Rs 42,500 in India) might be all the iPhone many consumers might be looking for.

Apple sticks to the original iPhone SE playbook. Launched back in 2016, the first SE featured the internals of the iPhone 6S stuffed into the body of an iPhone 5S. The 2020 SE boasts of the same A13 bionic chip that powers Apple’s 11 trio of flagship devices. This is Apple’s fastest processor ever, built with a focus on machine learning, with a dedicated 8-core Neural Engine that can handle 5 trillion operations per second. It is lightning quick.

 

 

The original SE played to two key constituencies – those looking for an affordable iPhone and equally those who weren’t prepared to move on to a large screen smartphone. A 4.7-inch screen might not seem like enough screen real estate at a time when Netflix marathons have moved to our smartphones and yet there might be quite a few consumers in India who are keen to move on from their older iPhone 7 or 6. Some of these didn’t quite take to the larger size of the XR. That brings us to the question, is the new SE a replacement for the XR or a step up for the original SE. It might well be a bit of both.

Apple is playing up the single rear cam of the new SE with its 12MP lens (f/1.8 aperture). It’s the same as the primary lens on the 11 series and yet there’s no wide-angle lens and dedicated night mode. And yet, this camera is no slouch. It features Portrait Mode (all six Portrait Lighting effects on the iPhone) and offers Smart HDR that improves lowlight images.

Take a look at a few samples below:

 

Videos are even more immersive with stereo audio recording and cinematic video stabilisation on the front and rear cameras. The rear camera supports high-quality video capture at 4K up to 60fps. The front cam (7MP) uses machine learning and monocular depth estimation to snap portraits.

Just like the iPhone 8, the last device launched with this 4.7-inch form factor (in 2017), the second generation iPhone SE comes with IP67 rating (for dust and water resistance – up to 1 metre for 30 minutes) and wireless charging. We’ll save our verdict for our detailed deep-dive review but we think Apple might be on to something with the new iPhone SE (2020). At a time when many of us are going back to the basics, a smartphone that does everyday things efficiently might be all the iPhone we need. Will the India price tag do the trick? We’ll find out soon enough.

The Apple SE (2020) costs Rs 42,500 and is available in Black, White and (PRODUCT) RED