Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Sam Rutherford Is Not Satisfied With the iPhone SE

At Android Central, Harish Jonnalagadda writes that, with the new iPhone SE, “you’re not only getting a phone with reliable hardware, but you’re also getting great software and more updates than you would on Android”. At 9to5Google, Seth Weintraub says that it is “setting a high bar this year, particularly matching the Pixel (a) series price points”.

But over at Gizmodo, Sam Rutherford remains unsatisfied:

After months of rumors and leaks, the new iPhone SE has finally arrived with a starting price of $400. It’s a great deal. But deep down inside, I can’t help but feel like Apple could have done more with its affordable new iPhone.

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More importantly, what’s kind of bumming me out are some of the things that Apple didn’t do. A good example is the iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch LCD screen. By going with what looks to be the same display used on the iPhone 8, Apple was probably able to save a little money. However, you have to compare it to other budget and mid-range phones like the Pixel 3a, Galaxy A50, and the OnePlus 7T (which got a recent price reduction down to just $500), that all have more colorful OLED displays (which is also what Apple uses on the iPhone 11 Pro). Apple’s decision to stick with LCD panels seems like a missed opportunity.

Rutherford provides no reason why the iPhone SE ought to have an OLED display other than saying it is “more colourful”. The iPhone SE’s LCD display has exactly the same P3 colour gamut of the iPad Pro’s LCD display and the iPhone 11 Pro’s OLED display.

On top of that, only including a single rear camera is somewhat disappointing, because while having multiple rear cameras used to be a luxury only available on expensive flagship handsets, a ton of affordable phones including the Moto G Power, Galaxy A50, and the upcoming TCL 10L all have two or more rear cameras while still sporting price tags of $350 or less.

But perhaps the biggest disappointment is that Apple didn’t really do anything to maximize the size of the iPhone SE’s screen. Last year, when Apple announced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, it felt like Apple was finally ready to boldly move forward into a world centered around FaceID and thinner bezels. Seeing the iPhone SE still sporting fat bezels and TouchID is somewhat confusing (even if its a little welcome during a time we’re all having to wear masks outside of our homes).

Rutherford is the same guy who thought that it was perfectly reasonable for Samsung to charge $1,700 for the Galaxy Fold but it was unconscionable to price the iPhone X and XS at a thousand bucks. He now thinks that you should be able to get all of the features of an iPhone 11 Pro with a slightly smaller display for $399, and he will not be satisfied until then.

It’s a small wonder that Apple has not hired this guy to set the prices of all of its products. Imagine how successful it would be.