Joined: 09 March 2016
Apple announced the iPhone SE and the web is going wild about it! The Verge says "The new iPhone SE finally makes a small phone feel powerful", TechRadar says that its "Small but mighty!" and The Telegraph calls it "Apple's secret weapon". Lots of superlatives are being thrown around, as is always the case with Apple products.
So, in the midst of Apple's reality distortion field, I decided to compare it to my Le 1s - that I've been using for more than a month now. The results, at least for me, are very conclusive.
Let's start with the OS. Android and iOS are now at-par on features, freely taking inspiration from each other and the perennial also-ran Windows Phone. However, if you've been using an Android phone, the move to iOS is jarring regardless of preparation. Trust me, having moved from a OnePlus 2 to an iPhone 6S, I know this better than most. If you're an iPhone user already, there is no discussion required. If you're an Android user, then I'd say "Don't even consider an iPhone!"
Moving on to design and build, the new iPhone is, in line with Apple's policy "thinner, smaller and lighter" than the Le 1s. However, the Le 1s has an astounding screen-to-body ratio of 75% that enables single-handed use and the phone doesn't feel too big. After all, within reason, bigger is always better! Both phones offer amazing build quality at their respective price points, so that's not really much of a contest.
On display, if you like smaller screens, the iPhone SE will appeal to you. But for someone who has used a 4+ inch screen device earlier, going back to a smaller display doesn't really work. In this respect, the Le 1s scores with its big but not too big display, and its helped by minimal bezels. Resolution-wise, its a no contest with the Full HD In-Cell display on the Le 1s ruling the roost with its fantastic color reproduction, great viewing angles and almost-zero bezels.
On connectivity, both the Le 1s and the iPhone SE are at par with each other on Wi-Fi and Network compatibilities, but the Le 1s scores with its dual-SIM capability.
When it comes to performance, I believe that specs are just one part of the game. Real-world performance is key. And in this area, despite having lesser amount of RAM than the Le 1s, the iPhone SE performs equally well due to better memory management in iOS versus Android. Its a straight tie!
Camera is another key feature where specs are just one part of the game with actual photo clarity being the key identifier. The iPhone SE uses the much-lauded camera module from the iPhone 6S, so its a given that photos will come out well. The Le 1s on the other hand had a few initial hiccups with photo clarity but they've since been resolved by OTA updates, so overall - its a good camera experience on both smartphones. The Le 1s scores in lowlight clarity and front-camera! Apple, for reasons that defy logic, went with a 1.2MP sensor on the front-camera. Now megapixels might not be everything, but with a 5MP sensor, the Le 1s handily beats the iPhone SE on selfies. Another reason is the smaller aperture size on Le 1s cameras - both front and rear (f2.0) compared to the iPhone SE which has f2.4 on the front camera and f2.2 on the rear camera - in photography parlance, smaller is referred to as "wider". A wider aperture lets in more light which gives better photos in low-light and indoor situations, and gives you that beautiful blurred "out of focus" effect on wide shots.
With respect to sensors, the Le 1s has an infrared sensor to control home appliances that the iPhone doesn't. Everything else on this front is a tie.
Finally, the "essential spec" in today's world, battery! The Le 1s has almost double the battery capacity of the iPhone SE, with fast-charge built-in! While iOS has better power management than Android, the huge difference in capacity should result in longer standby times with the Le 1s!
Regardless of all technical specifications and performance comparisons, there will still be people convinced that an Apple product is the next best thing since sliced bread! So, to those people, here is a final nail in the coffin. Both the Le 1s and iPhone SE are good phones that do almost everything you can expect them to. Most importantly for a budget-conscious Indian, the Le 1s costs INR 10,999 while the iPhone SE starts at a whopping INR 39,000! That's three times more expensive than the Le 1s!!! Case closed.
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