iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s – which is right for you?

We weren’t hugely surprised when the iPhone SE was announced by Apple last night. The full details were impressive, though: here’s a handset with almost identical innards to the iPhone 6s for £180 less. There has to be a catch, right?

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s – which is right for you?

Here’s how the two handsets stack up alongside each other – to help you decide whether to buy an iPhone 6s now or hang on for the iPhone SE.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s: Design

The most obvious thing to tell apart the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s (other than the relative sizes, of course) is in the design department. Rather than simply making a smaller iPhone 6s, Apple has turned back the clocks on its design and is bringing us a handset that looks a bit like the ones they sold in 2012.

Yep, the iPhone SE looks like an iPhone 5, which is to say flatter with less curves and small round buttons protruding from the side.

Taking your design cues from four years ago may seem like a weird move, but the iPhone 5 remains a good-looking handset, and the SE is too. Whether you think it’s better looking than the iPhone 6s is really down to personal preference.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s: Specificationsiphone-se-vs-iphone-6s

While the iPhone SE may look like an iPhone 5, the similarities come to an abrupt halt right there. From a specifications perspective, it has far more in common with the iPhone 6s, meaning it’s incredibly fast and in real terms not too much of a downgrade from Apple’s current flagship.

So, what are the differences? Well, a smaller frame means a smaller battery, meaning you shouldn’t get the stamina that the iPhone 6s offers, although Apple reckons you’ll get slightly more. On top of that, while the iPhone SE still packs a fingerprint sensor, 3D Touch doesn’t make the cut. The front-facing camera also faces a major downgrade, dropping from 5 megapixels to a measly 1.2, but the more important main camera is identical. The bigger screen means the resolution is lower of course – 1136 x 640 against 1334 x 750 – but, in terms of pixels per inch, they’re identical at 326ppi a piece.

Here are the full specs compared side-by-side:

iPhone SE

iPhone 6s





1136 x 640 (326ppi)

1334 x 750 (326ppi)


Apple A9

Apple A9




Rear camera

12 megapixel

12 megapixel

Front camera

1.2 megapixel

5 megapixel




Extra features

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor, 3D Touch

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s: Price

Whether or not you think those differences are minor or vital comes down to your love of larger screens, selfies and 3D Touch, but one thing that can’t be dismissed as minor is the price difference. On the Apple Shop right now, the iPhone SE is £180 cheaper than the iPhone 6s. That’s a huge difference for a handset that isn’t that much weaker on paper.

The 16GB model of the iPhone SE comes in at £359, compared to the iPhone 6s’ £539. The 64GB model is £439 to the 6s’ £619. You can’t get a 128GB iPhone SE, but for comparison the 6s model is £699.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 6s: Verdict

To me, the price difference makes this one a no-brainer, especially if you find yourself longing for the days when handsets were generally smaller. The size difference between a 4.7in and 4in handset isn’t actually that big, but the price difference is.

You have to work quite hard to make a compelling case that a higher resolution front-facing camera, 3D Touch and a slightly bigger screen are worth £180. On paper, the iPhone SE sounds like a triumph for Apple, but we’ll know more when we’ve put the new handset through our rigorous testing process.

READ NEXT: Everything you need to know about the iPhone SE

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