iPhone SE vs iPhone 7 -Review And Comparison

If you are in the market for a new phone, it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with an iPhone.

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With that said, you have no shortage of options when it comes to an iPhone. This is especially true when Apple releases a brand-new iPhone each and every year. If it were up to us, we’ll get the latest and greatest iPhone. However, they’re a premium piece of tech and they are not exactly cheap.

So many people just choose to get an older iPhone model which is never a bad thing because older units tend to hold up well.

So for this article, we’ll be comparing two older iPhones and see which one is right for you, the iPhone SE and iPhone 7. For this iPhone SE vs iPhone 7 review, we’re going to compare the specs and discuss some key features for both devices.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 7: Specs Comparison

iPhone SE vs iPhone 7 - Specs Comparison

Let’s take a look at some of the key specs for both devices and see how they against each other.

iPhone SE

iPhone 7

Dimensions

4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches (123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm)

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches (138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm)

Weight

3.99 oz (113 g)

4.87 oz (138 g)

Materials

Main body: Aluminum; Accents: Glass

Main body: Aluminum

Colors

Gold, Gray, Silver, Pink

Black, Gold, Silver, Pink, Red

OS

iOS (11.x, 10.x, 9.x)

iOS (11.x, 10.x)

Display

Physical size

4.0 inches

4.7 inches

Resolution

640 x 1136 pixels

750 x 1334 pixels

Pixel density

326 ppi

326 ppi

Technology

IPS LCD

IPS LCD

Screen-to-body ratio

60.82 %

65.71 %

Peak brightness

500 cd/m2 (nit)

625 cd/m2 (nit)

Features

Oleophobic coating, Scratch-resistant glass, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor

Pressure-sensitive, Oleophobic coating, Scratch-resistant glass, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor

Camera

Camera

12 megapixels

12 megapixels

Flash

Dual LED

Quad LED

Aperture size

F2.2

F1.8

Focal length (35mm equivalent)

29 mm

28 mm

Hardware

System chip

Apple A9 APL0898

Apple A10 Fusion APL1W24

Processor

Dual-core, 1840 MHz, Twister, 64-bit

Quad-core, 2340 MHz, 64-bit, 16 nm

Graphics processor

PowerVR GT7600

PowerVR 7XT GT7600 Plus

System memory

2 GB RAM

2 GB RAM

Built-in storage

128 GB

256 GB

Connectivity

Bluetooth

4.2

4.2

Wi-Fi

802.11 b, g, n, ac, dual-band

802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, dual-band

Mobile hotspot

Yes

Yes

USB

Yes

Yes

Connector

Proprietary

Proprietary

Features

USB charging

Mass storage device, USB charging

Mobile Payment

Apple Pay

Apple Pay

Positioning

GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Cell ID, Wi-Fi positioning

GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Cell ID, Wi-Fi positioning

Navigation

Turn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation

Turn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation

In terms of pure numbers alone, the iPhone 7 beats out the SE for the most part but that’s to be expected since the latter is considered to be an entry-level model. But there’s more to this head to head than mere specs, so let’s proceed.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 7: Head-to-Head

Iphone

The iPhone 7 dimensions are 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches and it weighs 138 grams. The design is very similar to the iPhone 6s with rounded edges, slippery finish, and an all-metal construction, but there are some slight differences from the 6s as well.

The antenna bands that are located behind the unit have been moved to the top and bottom edges. This gives the phone a cleaner look. The iPhone 7 was the first model that ditched the headphone jack in favor of a Lightning-only port and stereo speakers – a move that was proven to be quite controversial for most people.

The iPhone 7 is also an IP67 water and dust resistant device with a re-engineered Home button but it still supports the Touch-ID feature.

On the other hand, we have the iPhone SE which happens to be the smallest iPhone available at 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches. It’s actually slightly thicker than the iPhone 7 but lighter at 113 grams. In terms of actual design, Apple made no attempt to hide the fact that the SE sports the exact same design as the iPhone 5 circa 2012.

The SE doesn’t have any waterproofing qualities and the antenna bands are more prominent at the back of its square body. If you prefer the inclusion of 3.5mm headphone jack like most people do, the iPhone SE is the device for you. The SE has a physical home button unlike the iPhone 7.

In my opinion, the iPhone SE’s design is more attractive with its flush camera and bold angles. However, when it comes to usability and comfort, the iPhone 7’s design is just more comfortable especially for prolonged periods of use.

Display

iPhone Display

The iPhone SE vs iPhone 7 debate definitely has a pretty good wiggle room but there’s really nothing to debate when it comes to the display. The iPhone 7 just takes the cake here. Here are some key display specs for both phones:

  • iPhone SE: 4-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1136 x 640 pixels (326 ppi pixel density), 60.8% screen-to-body ratio
  • iPhone 7: 4.7-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi), 65.6% screen-to-body ratio. 3D Touch

The 7 features a 4.7-inch display which is considerably larger than the SE’s 4-inch screen. The iPhone 7’s screen is a LED-backlit IPS display with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. The 7’s display also supports a wider DCI-P3 color gamut which was borrowed from the iPad Pro. This means that the colors will be richer and far more realistic on the iPhone 7.

The 7 also supports the 3D Touch feature which was first introduced by Apple on the iPhone 6s. This is a pretty great feature that gives the user more ways to interact with the iPhone’s screen. For example, you can short press an app icon and you will be given a shortcut option which lets you access some of the most common functions of the app, without actually launching it.

On the other hand, iPhone SE has a 4-inch LED-backlit IPS display with a resolution of 1136 x 640. For the most part, the SE’s display is serviceable. However, don’t expect some fancy features like with the 7. The SE doesn’t have the Display Zoom or the 3D Touch features.

As far as screen displays go, the iPhone 7 is the clear winner here.

Performance

Hand holding iPhone

As you might expect, the iPhone 7 completely trumps the SE in terms of performance. Below are some of the key hardware specs for both phones:

  • iPhone SE: Apple A9, CPU: Dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister, GPU: PowerVR GT7600 (six-core graphics), 2GB RAM
  • iPhone 7: Apple A10 Fusion: Quad Core CPU, Six Core GPU, 2GB RAM

When it was released, the iPhone 7 was the fastest device in the market. However, the iPhone SE is no slouch either. One interesting thing to note is that the SE uses the same components as the iPhone 6s, which is still a speedy device even by today’s standards.

According to Apple, the iPhone 7’s CPU has delivered a 40% better performance, and the GPU with a 50% boost than the previous A9 chip. If you fancy yourself to be quite the power user or a hardcore mobile gamer, you’ll love the under the hood performance of the iPhone 7.

The 7 is also the very first iPhone that benefited from a quad-core setup. However, this doesn’t imply that the A10 CPU has four cores that run simultaneously. Instead, it runs two very high-performance cores for more advanced tasks and two more cores for handling the less demanding processes. This allows Apple to be more efficient with the 7’s battery life.

The iPhone 7 comes with a 2GB RAM which makes everyday tasks like browsing internet tabs or switching between apps a smoother experience.

On the other hand, the iPhone SE features the A9 processor which is still pretty good when compared to the latest iPhones. True enough, the SE should be more than capable of handling pretty much anything that you throw its way. The SE is also equipped with a 2GB RAM, same with the iPhone 7, which is rather nice.

In reality, you won’t really notice the difference in performance between the two devices, unless you run a resource intensive app or game. However, the iPhone 7 is certainly the more future-proof between the two, especially with iOS 12 down the line.

Camera

Woman having selfie

Apple always loves to market camera upgrades for each of their iPhones. So is there much of a difference about the camera between the two devices?

Well, the answer is: not really. Below are the camera specs for both the 7 and SE:

  • iPhone SE: Rear: 12 megapixel sensor, f2.2 aperture, Focus Pixels, EIS, dual-LED flash, 4K video recording. Front: 1.2MP Front Camera, f2.4 aperture, 720p video recording
  • iPhone 7: Rear: 12 megapixel wide angle sensor, f/1.8 aperture, Focus Pixels, Optical Image Stabilisation, quad-LED (dual tone) flash, 4K video recording. Front: 7MP sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 1080p recording

As you can see, the camera specs are very similar between the two devices and both are 12-megapixel units.

However, the real differentiator here is the front-facing or FaceTime camera. The iPhone 7 features a 7MP front camera for some really crisp video chat sessions and selfies. On the other hand, Apple has decided to retain the poor 1.2MP front camera of the iPhone 6 to the iPhone SE. It also doesn’t have the optical image stabilization or wide-color capture features of the new iPhone, so the performance isn’t the best in low-light situations.

If you do like your selfies, the SE might not be the best camera phone for you.

The iPhone 7 also has more Camera features True Tone flash, wider f/1.8 aperture, new six-optic lens, and many more. It’s hardly the best camera phone in the market during its release but it’s still a fairly competent shooter.

Storage and Pricing

Now, this is where things get really interesting.

The iPhone SE is touted as the “budget iPhone” which is accurate to some extent. If you’re going to buy a brand-new iPhone SE on Apple’s Store, it will cost you $349 for the 16GB base model. However, Amazon offers some refurbished units for around $150 for the 16GB model, and more or less $300 for the 32GB version.

On the other, the iPhone 7 starts $549 for the 32GB base model. Looking at Amazon, you can get a 32GB iPhone 7 for around $360.

For the price alone, it’s easy to be tempted by the iPhone SE. It has some good specs under the hood and it’s still a blazing fast phone despite being touted as the “budget” option. Plus, it actually has a headphone jack. The only disappointing part is the front camera of the SE which just pales in comparison to the iPhone 7’s shooter.

Other than that, the iPhone SE is the perfect budget iPhone.

The Verdict

Back view of iPhone

So, in this iPhone SE vs iPhone 7 head to head, which is the better iDevice?

If you’re just going to look at the numbers and features, the iPhone 7 is the better phone versus the iPhone SE.

With a better screen, camera, and storage options, the iPhone 7 is an excellent device that would be supported by Apple for the years to come. It’s also going to survive a dip in the bathtub if you’re ever so silly to bring your phone while showering.

On the other hand, cheapskates will have a lot to love with the iPhone SE. Aside from the significantly cheaper price, the SE sports a compact design, updated specs, and the inclusion of a headphone jack. During our tests, the iPhone SE also outclasses the iPhone 7 in terms of battery life.

So, for this head to head, we chose the iPhone SE because it has exceeded all of our expectations. For the added price, we just didn’t feel like the iPhone 7 is a worthy upgrade.

So which iPhone do you prefer, the 7 or the SE? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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