iPhone SE vs iPhone 5C

The iPhone SE also benefits from TouchID and Apple Pay, both of which are lacking from its older sibling.


The iPhone SE's camera is also a big improvement on the iPhone 5C's. Apple's stuck its latest 12MP sensor in the iPhone SE and paired it with 4K video support, a True Tone flash and support for Live Photos.

iPhone 5C

The iPhone 5C had just an 8MP snapper, with video recording capped at 1080p and none of those fancy features.

The two handsets both have a 1.2MP front-facing camera, but even here the iPhone SE has the edge, as it can use the screen as a flash to brighten up selfies.

The iPhone 5C didn't have a bad camera for the time, but the iPhone SE has a snapper fit for 2016.

Battery life

The iPhone SE should have a lot more life in it than the iPhone 5C too. It's quoted for up to 14 hours of talk time or 50 hours of music for example, while the iPhone 5C conked out after 10 hours of talk or 40 hours of music playback.

iPhone SE

Having said that, both phones will likely need a daily charge unless you're a very light user, so in practice the difference may not be that noticeable.


The iPhone 5C is no longer available, but the most recent RRP back when you could buy it was £319/$450/AU$529 for an 8GB version. That was the only size you could get it in by the end of its life and the iPhone SE thankfully starts at 16GB.

That's still not much storage, but it's double what the iPhone 5C offered at the end of its life and for that you'll pay £359/$399/AU$679. In other words, it's slightly more expensive, unless you're in the US, but only slightly more, and for that money you get far more storage, far more power, a premium build and extra features like Touch ID.

iPhone SE

Pump it up to 64GB and you're looking at a price of $499/£439/AU$829, which is still pretty reasonable by Apple's standards. That's also far more storage than the iPhone 5C ever offered, with that phone topping out at 32GB.

Ultimately the iPhone SE's combination of low(ish) price and high-end specs and features makes it a far more promising handset than the iPhone 5C ever was - this is the 'budget' iPhone as it should have been.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.