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Top 5 iPhone SE alternatives 2018



5 minute read

The iPhone SE is a brilliant little phone, but it’s not long for this world - Apple announced new handsets in September, but didn’t include an iPhone SE successor. That’s why we’re using this little article to suggest five alternatives for iPhone SE fans. You’ll find there are plenty of excellent small-size phones with the same premium feel at a reasonable price point - especially if you’re willing to consider Android models. Let’s get right into it with the best compact phones on the market!

5. iPhone 8 - 138 x 67mm

iPhone 8 (right)

Right now, the smallest iPhone that Apple sell is the iPhone 8. This phone uses the same classic design as the iPhone SE, just on a slightly larger scale with better internals and an upgraded camera. Released at the same time as the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 comes with a fast A11 Bionic processor, an excellent 12-megapixel rear camera and a whopping 64GB or 256GB of storage. Unlike the new iPhone X models, the iPhone 8 retains a Touch ID fingerprint reader and a physical home button, so it’s exactly what you’re used to with the iPhone SE - just better.

Buy from £589 today or £28 monthly from giffgaff

4. Nokia 3.1 - 146 x 69mm

Nokia 3.1

After reclaiming their name from Microsoft, Nokia have been quietly making an excellent series of Android phones across a wide range of price points and screen sizes. The Nokia 3.1 comes near the middle on both counts, with a compact 5.2-inch display wrapped in Corning Gorilla Glass and a diamond-cut aluminium frame. The display is taller but not wider than the one found on the iPhone SE, so you get the benefits of a larger screen without the body getting much larger. Nokia have also worked their magic on the front-facing camera, which comes with a handy wide-angle lens that’s perfect for selfies. This is all great, but my favourite feature of the Nokia 3.1 is its stock implementation of Android 8.0, which means that updates come quickly and there are no superfluous features or stupid apps to uninstall when you first get the phone. At £129 for a phone that came out just a few months ago, the Nokia 3.1 is an excellent deal.

Buy refurbished from £129 or £5.17 monthly from giffgaff

3. iPhone Xr - 151 x 76mm

iPhone Xr

The iPhone Xr is Apple’s new “budget” model, taking the best parts of the new iPhone X design that arrived in 2017 and bringing them to a much more palatable price point. Compared to the £1000 iPhone Xs, you get the same top-notch 12-megapixel rear camera, the same blazing fast Apple A12 processor and the same fancy new Face ID login system. The only difference is that the screen is excellent (LCD) instead of amazing (OLED) and you don’t get a second rear camera to take trendy portrait photos. Given the £250 discount, that seems more than reasonable! It’s also important to note that the iPhone Xr is bigger than the iPhone SE and the iPhone 8, but its modern slim-bezel design means that it actually isn’t as large as you would expect given its 6.1-inch screen size. If you can, get down to an Apple Store to try it out in person - you may come away convinced, particularly when you see how many nice colours there are!

Buy from £749 today or £35.94 monthly from giffgaff

2. Google Pixel 3 - 146 x 68mm

Pixel 3

Google is one of the few companies that still makes excellent compact phones, and their latest release is definitely worth considering. The Google Pixel 3 has the best camera of any smartphone, including the vastly more expensive iPhone Xs Max, as well as good specs and the latest Android operating system. The Pixel 3’s two-tone design isn’t as iconic as that of the iPhone, but with a camera this good and a beautiful OLED display, you probably won’t mind too much! If the Pixel 3 is a little too expensive, you could also consider last year’s Pixel 2, which has the second-best camera of any smartphone and a smaller display. The Pixel 2 comes in a fair bit cheaper at around £499, although availability may be limited after the Pixel 3 launches.

Buy from £739 from Google

1. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact - 135 x 65mm

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Sony have long championed compact smartphones, releasing excellent pint-sized handsets with almost all of the specs and features of their larger-screened flagships. Their most recent release is the superlative Xperia XZ2 Compact, which at 135 x 65mm is by far the smallest phone on our list today. The phone sports a modern tall screen at an easy-to-use 5-inch size, a bleeding-edge Snapdragon 845 processor and a stylish design that’s classic Sony. The phone is also quite reasonably priced at £469, making it our top alternative to the outgoing iPhone SE.

Buy from £469 today or £22.04 monthly from giffgaff

Wrapping up

That’s all the time we have for now! Thanks for checking out the article; we hope it was helpful. If you’d like to suggest your own alternatives to the iPhone SE, feel free to reach out on Twitter - I’m @wsjudd. Thanks again and we’ll catch you on the next one!

_Title image credit: SimonWaldherr, Wikimedia Commons_

Written by wsjudd

Will is a gadget fanatic, working from cafes and gadget-infused mega-hovels to turn caffeine into technology articles. Follow him on Twitter @wsjudd and check out his newly redesigned tech review site!