Written by Jesper

Apple iPhone 5S vs Apple iPhone SE (2016)

The Apple iPhone 5s and the iPhone SE (2016) look identical. Still, there are a few important differences. The iPhone SE (2016) is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Behind its modest appearance, you'll find powerful hardware comparable to that of the iPhone 6s. What exactly are the differences compared to the iPhone 5s? We're happy to highlight these for you.

The Apple iPhone SE (2016) no longer available

Apple has released a new version of the Apple iPhone SE. The older model, the Apple iPhone SE (2016), is no longer available.

Compare the Apple iPhone 5S to the Apple iPhone SE (2016)

iPhone 5s iPhone SE (2016)
Camera 8 megapixels 12 megapixels
Processor A7 A9
Storage capacity 16, 32, and 64GB 16 and 64GB
Apple Pay No Yes

The camera

iPhone 5S

Camera iPhone 5s

iPhone SE (2016)

Camera iPhone SE (2016)

What's the difference?

Compared to the iPhone 5s, the biggest change in the iPhone SE (2016) is the camera. The resolution has moved up from 8 megapixels to 12 megapixels. I consider that to be a significant upgrade. The photos that I took with the iPhone SE (2016) are of higher quality. This is good news for video fans as well. With the iPhone SE (2016), you can record in 4K resolution. The iPhone SE (2016) also supports 'Live Photos', which the iPhone 5s doesn't. The 1.2-megapixel front camera has remained the same.

The processor

A7 processor

​​​ Processor iPhone 5s

A9 processor

Processor iPhone SE (2016)

What's the difference?

The same appearance, more processing power. The iPhone SE (2016) has the same processor as the iPhone 6s, which makes it exceptionally powerful. While the iPhone 5s with an A7 chip still performs well, the iPhone SE (2016) with its A9 chip is a powerhouse with a modest appearance. In my opinion, the iPhone SE (2016) is a good choice if you're looking for a powerful smartphone with a small casing. This sets the iPhone SE (2016) apart from other small phones, which often have less powerful hardware.

Storage capacity

I'm disappointed that Apple once again chose a model with a storage capacity of just 16GB. In my opinion, 16GB fills up quickly. Especially if I use the device for 2 years. I can also choose the 64GB version, but that is more expensive. With the iPhone 5s, I could at least opt for 32GB of storage capacity. This sadly isn't an option with the iPhone SE (2016).


My iPhone 5s is still a great smartphone that performs as it should. The iPhone SE (2016) is the improved version. Unfortunately, Apple has discontinued the iPhone 5s along with the introduction of the iPhone SE (2016). This makes me wonder how long it will still receive updates. And how long the iPhone 5s will continue to run smoothly on newer iOS versions. With the iPhone SE, I'm guaranteed to get the latest updates in the next few years and a phone that runs smoothly. Taking into account the significantly improved camera as well, I can conclude that the iPhone SE (2016) is an incremental upgrade of the iPhone 5s. On top of that, I can easily operate the iPhone SE (2016) with one hand.

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