Apple’s new iPhone SE hits the market next week. With a starting price of $399 unlocked, it’s going to be one heck of a deal, especially if you’ve been looking for a new smartphone that actually fits in your hand.
Of course, if you do want something larger, there’s the equally powerful, though more expensive, iPhone 6s. And if you’re looking for a really big-screen handset, you can opt for the iPhone 6s Plus.
Which leaves the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple’s oldest smartphones were already looking a little long in the tooth, thanks to the 6s and 6s Plus. And now with the SE, they look positively ancient.
In fact, at this point you’re probably better off avoiding the 6 and 6 Plus altogether. Here’s why.
They’ll get slower faster
OK, so the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are old, but they’re basically the same as the 6s and 6s Plus, right? Actually, they aren’t. While the 6 and 6 Plus look exactly like those newer offerings on the outside, they’re far different on the inside.
The 6 and 6 Plus come with Apple’s A8 processor and M8 coprocessor; the 6s and 6s Plus come with the company’s A9 processor and M9 coprocessor. That might not seem like a big deal right now.
But if you’re buying a new phone and you’re going to stick with it for two years or more, buying one with outdated innards like the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus means that, by the time you’re ready for a new phone, your current one will likely be slowing to a crawl.
Sure, the 6s and 6s Plus will eventually become slow and outdated, too. But two years from now they’ll be running far better than the 6 or 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and SE all come with the same 12-megapixel iSight camera. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, on the other hand, still use Apple’s older eight-megapixel camera. Naturally, photos should look a bit crisper when taken with the 6s, 6s Plus, or SE than those shot with the 6 or 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and SE also come with improved five-megapixel Face Time cameras. The 6 and 6 Plus come with Apple’s older 1.2-megapixel Face Time cameras.
If you’re the kind of person who loves taking selfies, then the 6s, 6s Plus, and SE are far better choices than the 6 and 6 Plus. Not only will images look sharper and offer more detail, but you’ll also be able to use Apple’s new Retina flash, which uses the display as a flash to light up shots taken in low-light settings.
Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, like the 6s and 6s Plus, come with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays, respectively. The only difference between all those screens is that those on the 6s and 6s Plus support Apple’s 3D Touch technology, which lets you press harder on the phones’ displays to access secondary app menus.
Sure, images and videos will look exactly the same on the 6 and 6s and 6 Plus and 6s Plus. But 3D Touch is a genuinely helpful feature that more and more app makers will likely take advantage of in the coming years. If you buy a 6 or 6 Plus, you’ll lose out on those advantages.
On the flip side of things, if you were thinking about upgrading to the iPhone 6 from your iPhone 5s because you wanted a faster phone but not necessarily a larger screen, you’ve now got the iPhone SE. So you can get your faster phone without having to upsize.
The price is … wrong
Price is the real reason the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are now pointless. With the introduction of the $400 iPhone SE, consumers now have a high-powered, low-cost iPhone.
If you want a bigger screen on your handset, you’ve got the $650 iPhone 6s. And if you want the biggest possible screen, you can opt for the $750 iPhone 6s Plus.
The iPhone 6, meanwhile, costs $550, while the 6 Plus costs $650. Yes, they’re still $100 less expensive than the 6s and 6s Plus, but you’re getting a lot of added functionality and longevity for that extra cost. If you really want to save some cash, you’re way better off buying the relatively inexpensive iPhone SE, with its improved performance and camera.
In other words: There really doesn’t seem to be any good reason to choose the 6 or 6 Plus over one of Apple’s other phones.