Apple’s newest addition to the iPhone SE lineup of secondary devices is a masked avenger for everyday smartphone consumers. While many simpler phones in the past take what the flagship devices offer and completely back down the specs, the iPhone SE 2020 comes to the table with the gloriously fast A13 Bionic chipset that is found in the top-of-the-line Apple phones.
Touted as “the fastest chip in any smartphone,” the A13 Bionic plays right into Apple’s bread and butter: the speed of their mobile devices. A more streamlined operating system, and less to fuss about with, has lent to their success over the decades. This A13 Bionic chip spoils users, giving them lightning-fast responsiveness, and nearly instantaneous app launching. It’s enough to make you second guess using other devices. Better yet, this is a “budget” phone, primarily aimed at pleasing non-technical folks.
So you’ve been given the keys to a street racing supercar, but all you ever drive for is a daily commute, and a grocery trip or two. What’s the point?
It’s easy to look at the guts of this device and say, “This market doesn’t need any of this,” but you’d be denying the simple truth that with ultimate processing comes an easier flow. Sure, the iPhone SE market may do a whole lot more day-to-day things on their mobile devices when compared to tech-heads or photographers and the like, but all of those things are made far easier when you’ve got nothing to internally slow down the process.
The only problem with all of the power in the iPhone SE 2020 is that there’s not the normal mountain of tools to use it. Sometimes it feels like I’ve got that spectacular supercar engine in a family-inspired minivan, and just puttering around on autopilot waiting for something brilliant to happen.
Apple has brought back the beloved original iPhone SE design and tossed out the full-front edge-to-edge touch display used in their mainline devices. It may seem like a step in the opposite direction of design trends for modern phones, but there is a lot of adoration out there for the layout and aesthetics of the iPhone SE.
A classic feel to the boxed-off display in the new iPhone SE / Daily Hive
The boxed feel on the front of the device can oftentimes make you certain you’re holding a phone made five or six years ago. That is, until you launch a premiere Apple Arcade game and you’re playing a smooth, visually stunning, and high-performance video game without the phone even blinking.
As a tech aficionado and a critic, our current global climate poses some interesting hurdles when it comes to taking a piece of technology, as mobile as the iPhone SE, out for a test-drive. However, being that it’s a smartphone designed for the every-person, there are plenty of things from dusk until dawn that are vastly improved by this phone residing within arms reach.
Capturing and connecting
We’ve been staring a lot more lately. Whether it be loved ones, roommates, insects, or pets, people all over the world are spending a lot more time within the vicinity of those living beings around their house.
While the iPhone SE 2020 doesn’t have the secondary Ultra-Wide lens from the iPhone 11, or the Tele-photo (third) lens of the 11 Pro, the SE has the very same 12MP Wide-Angle base camera found in both of those previously mentioned premium devices.
Video captured using the iPhone SE quick capture shortcut with auto image stabilization. (Daily Hive)
Pound-for-pound, the camera is decent. It’s a tad soft in places, and the optical zoom can get rough without the perfect lighting, but for an everyday phone to have an above-par single lens is extraordinary. Especially when it comes to the slow-motion video capture, and built-in image stabilization for filming.
Regardless of the power and quality of the camera, it’s the software — like the built-in stabilization — that revolutionizes the capturing of moments. With the latest operating system update, the iPhone camera application makes going from a locked phone to taking pictures a task that spans a matter of seconds. Without even unlocking the device, you can swipe left to pull up the camera.
Capture moments in mere seconds with a quick-launch camera app and swipe capture. (Daily Hive)
Better yet, from the standstill of the basic camera function (single photo mode), you can tap and drag the capture button to the left for burst photo captures, or drag it to the right to instantly start recording a video. It’s these tools that help keep those magical moments that may happen around your home from going unseen.
Is your dog making a funny face? Burst photo capture and select from all the gathered frames the perfect one to express your mood. About to take your lawnmower off a sweet (but relatively safe) jump? Start recording a video within seconds.
Swiss Army Phone
Playing the same game as many smartphones available today, the easiest way to describe the usefulness of an iPhone is that you can pretty much use them to improve everyday things. Whether it be setting timers for laundry, ordering essentials from the internet, or having an in-kitchen assistant, the iPhone SE is one of the nicest and most affordable brand-name smartphones on the market.
Throughout my day, I use the iPhone SE for many things. However, nothing beats the portable screen-and-Siri combo in the kitchen. Without having to rinse your hands or touch the phone at all, Apple’s built-in voice assistant can find you the right answers to your kitchen questions, bring up ingredients, or best of all convert measurements.
Using Siri to improve your kitchen activity will change your life. (Daily Hive)
Being the every-person’s version of a brand new iPhone, the SE 2020 model comes in swinging as an essential partner in your life.
Without the frills and premiere features of the more expensive models, this phone has the potential to be far more widely accepted, adopted, and usable.
Notable perks beyond the standard array of applications and integration are things like a free year of Apple TV+ subscription with the activation of a new phone, and thanks to the internal guts of the iPhone SE 2020, users can also run Apple Arcade games (like A Fold Apart) without any issue whatsoever.
I never thought that a pared-down device would be something that could be easily pitched to people. We techies really love the latest and greatest. However, my bias truly shone while having hands-on time with the iPhone SE 2020, and it’s vastly realized integration into my day-to-day life.
At times, it feels like the “selling features” of the iPhone SE 2020 are the direct result of laziness — taking extra parts from their flagship devices and slapping them in this — but it all works out for the better. Instead of getting a roughed-up and dumbed-down version of a modern iPhone, the new iPhone SE simply provides a more condensed Apple product and experience.
This, in its theory, makes it the perfect phone for everyone. Perhaps Apple should front-and-center the iPhone SE lineup and pitch the more premium products to a more niche audience.
Another 15 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Huron and Perth Counties over the weekend. There are two new cases in Howick Township, six in North Perth, three in Stratford and four in Perth East. When it comes to the 40 active cases, one is in Howick, eight in North Perth, 14 in Perth East, and 17 in Stratford.
Huron Perth Public health reported Cedarcroft Place Retirement Residence continues to be in outbreak, and two more residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 passed away since Friday. Eleven residents who had the virus have died. There are thirteen active cases among residents, and 19 residents have recovered. All 19 staff members who had COVID-19 have recovered.
There are no active long-term care home outbreaks and no active school outbreaks
Huron Peth Public health is clarifying why the region is now at the Orange-Restrict level of public health measures. Some of the factors include rates of cases and hospital capacity locally and in neighbouring regions.
It also looks at the rates of cases without a known chain of transmission, which suggests community transmission. And the ability to keep up with contact and case management.
Apple’s iPhone 12 has outrun Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra by a clear margin in a realistic speed test.
It was consistently faster in CPU and GPU tests.
You can chalk up a lot of it to Apple’s 5nm A14 Bionic chip.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a beast of a phone in most respects between its huge screen, capable cameras and gobs of memory, but how fast is it compared to Apple’s latest mainstream phone? Not very, it seems. Gary Sims has pitted the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra against the regular iPhone 12 in his realistic Speed Test G benchmark, and the results are… not pretty.
Simply put, the iPhone 12 obliterated the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra across the board. Apple’s device claimed the largest advantage in the CPU-oriented test, where it finished in 32.5 seconds versus Samsung’s 38, but it also won by clear margins in GPU and mixed-use tests despite running visuals at higher resolutions (the Note was dialed down to 1080p). The iPhone 12 finished the whole speed test in 1 minute and 3 seconds where the Note 20 took nearly 14 seconds longer.
Unlike some phone benchmarks you see online, Speed Test G focuses primarily on a phone’s ability to run apps rather than loading them. It’s a true test of processing power rather than memory and storage speeds. In this case, you’re seeing how well the A14 Bionic chip and iOS stack up against a Snapdragon 865 Plus running Android.
Sims didn’t outline just why the iPhone 12 took a commanding lead over the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but the story is likely a repeat of what you’ve seen with other speed tests. The A14 Bionic is the first production 5nm chip where the Snapdragon 865 Plus has to “settle” for a less efficient 7nm design. While CPU architecture and the operating system may play roles, there’s little doubt that Apple has an advantage in newer technology.
This also underscores an issue with price-to-performance ratios in Android phones. The Note 20 Ultra normally costs $1,300, and it’s still a premium phone at $1,100 after Black Friday discounts. The iPhone 12, meanwhile, is priced at $799. You’re clearly paying for more than just a fast chip with Samsung’s handset, but this test suggests Apple once again has the better proposition if you’re focused on speed and unwilling to make the feature sacrifices that come with the OnePlus 8T.
Sony’s PlayStation 5 user interface could really use some work, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the simple act of trying to turn the thing off.
On most recent consoles, it’s been pretty easy to shut down the device with just the controller. Simply press and hold the PS button / Xbox button / home button, and the UI will helpfully show you an option to power down the console in some way. This is true for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It takes just a few seconds, and I can happily end a gaming session.
But turning off the PS5, for no good reason that I can figure out, is a needlessly cumbersome process. Instead, when I press and hold the PS button — the behavior I have used for years to start the process — I’m taken back to the main PS5 menu where I’m presented with options like picking a different game to play, checking out the PlayStation Store, or opening a media app.
Instead, Sony has buried the option to turn off the console in the quick actions menu that appears with a short tap of the PS button instead of a press and hold. But even when I pull that menu up, I have to spend a few seconds navigating to the unlabeled icon representing power (you probably know the one — the circle with the vertical line through the top) and opening it up. Then I see the options to shut down my PS5. You can also shut down the console after logging out from your account, but that’s not exactly a speedy option, either.
The Xbox Series X, by comparison, is very easy to turn off. You just press and hold the Xbox button, and on the menu that appears, tap up and select if you’d like to turn off the console or controller or restart the console. Shutting down the Switch is even easier: press and hold the home button, and the menu that appears already has the sleep mode option selected, requiring just one more button press to turn the system off.
Turning off the PS5 is just one of many other frustrating issues I’ve experienced with the console’s UI. The way trophies are displayed is a step backward, for example. Instead of a vertically scrolling list, PS5 trophies are shown as a long, horizontal row of large cards. It’s harder to quickly browse through them, and they show less information at a glance. One of my colleagues has taken to checking her trophies using the PlayStation mobile app, which has… a vertically scrolling list, just like it remains on the PS4.
Taking screenshots and captures off the console is also a pain, especially compared to the Xbox Series X. On the Series X, screenshots and captures are automatically synced to the Xbox mobile app, where I can save them to my phone. But on PS5, the only way to share captured media is by uploading it to another platform directly from the PS5 or transferring it to a USB drive.
And sometimes, when I boot up the PS5 to jump into another hellish play session with Demon’s Souls, the console opens not the game I was playing last but instead the Explore menu, which shows news and trailers about games. Right now, it’s showing me a card for an upcoming map in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, a game that I don’t own and don’t want to play. To actually jump into the game I was playing before I turned the console off and the reason I’m waking it up again, I have to navigate one-directional tap over to the Demon’s Souls icon. It’s a small inconvenience but just one of many problems that make for a frustrating experience.
I do like the PS5 a lot. Sony hyped up the console’s ultra-fast SSD for months, and it’s been a revelation to jump from world to world in Astro’s Playroom and Demon’s Souls with hardly any wait time. But that ethos of speed doesn’t seem to be applied to the day-to-day moments of using the console’s UI, and I really hope that Sony updates it soon to make things a bit more seamless.
But until then, you can listen for me cursing under my breath when I forget, yet again, that it’s a short press to get to the power menu, not a long one.
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