Review: iPhone SE (2020)

In a world of $1,000 smartphones where does a $400 iPhone, with an age-old design, fit in?

My daily phone is the iPhone 11 Pro. I absolutely love it except for one thing, it is still too big. I know I am in the minority here as the Plus and Max size devices are extremely popular. But, I know there are a lot of those out there who still love a small phone. That is where the iPhone SE comes in.

Remember the iPhone 6, 7, and 8? Well the iPhone SE has the same 4.7-inch screen as those devices. There is nothing new when holding this device. This isn’t a bad thing though. The size feels so great in the hand if you like smaller phones. I love that I can hold this phone and use it in one hand. Also, coming from a bigger phone, that is very heavy, this phone is amazingly light. I sometimes had to check my pockets to make sure it was still there! The size and feel of it is my favorite part of the iPhone SE

The performance on this thing is great. I don’t have much to say other than you are getting the same power in this phone, for $400, as you do with a $700-$1,000 phone. That is astonishing.

The camera is very good. I have wanted this type of camera since the iPhone 8. I loved the dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus because of Portrait Mode. When the 8 and 8 Plus came out, I was hoping the smaller 8 would get the Portrait Mode feature but it didn’t. To get that feature you always had to pay the premium and get the larger phone. Then the iPhone XR came out. It was significantly cheaper than the iPhone XS at the time and had a single camera that could take portrait photos. That was great but you could only take portrait photos of humans with the XR camera. That is the same with the iPhone SE. If you try taking a portrait photo of anything other than a human’s face, it will tell you that it cannot detect a human. This is a downside to the camera, for sure. Outside of that, the camera is great.

Another pain point for me is the battery. If you have followed this blog for a while you will know that I get all of the new battery cases for phones when they come out. The last few from mophie and Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro wasn’t really needed. The 11 Pro’s battery is just so good. But the iPhone SE reminds me why the battery case market was a thing years ago. If you are near a charger all day, this will not be a problem. If you cannot get to a power outlet throughout the day, you will be scrambling to find a charge at the end of the day. Of course, everyone uses their phones different, but if you plan on keeping this phone for a while, a battery pack or battery case may be something you want to invest in.

I forgot how well Touch ID worked on the iPhone. It is extremely fast and in today’s world where a face mask might be the new normal, Touch ID was a joy to have compared to Face ID. With that being said, Touch ID seems like an extra step. Coming from Face ID, I was sometimes waiting for the phone to unlock forgetting to put my finger on the button to unlock it.

If you are coming from something older than the iPhone 8, the SE is an amazing upgrade. If you want a phone that will get you through the next few years without any problem, get the SE. If you want the cheapest or lightest iPhone out there, the SE is by far one of the best values available. If you love the home button and refuse to jump into the Face ID generation, get the SE. If you have been trying to get your friend or family member to upgrade, get them the SE. If you want the latest and greatest, well, you probably already have it and it is safe to say the SE is not for you. But only you can make that decision.

You can pick up the iPhone SE from Apple starting at $400 for the 64GB model. I highly recommend paying the extra $50 and getting the 128GB for $450.

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Apple’s Newest iPhone – iPhone SE (2020)

After nearly two and a half years since the launch of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, we now have what some have been calling the iPhone 9. This is the new iPhone SE.

If you have been paying attention to the rumors, this will come to you as no surprise. Think of the iPhone SE as a beefed-up, yet less-costly, iPhone 8.

This phone has the same 4.7-inch LCD screen that the iPhone 8 has. It has wireless charging. It has a home button with Touch ID.

Source: Apple

What is different than the iPhone 8? Well, it now has the same processor as the super-fast, iPhone 11 model phones. Not only does that mean this thing is fast, but it also means that it will be probably be supported two years longer than the iPhone 8 will be. The camera received a nice upgrade over the iPhone 8 that now includes portrait mode for people. The battery should be significantly better since this model ditched the 3D Touch haptic module. Best of all, it is $50 cheaper than the iPhone 8 at only $400.

Who is this for? This is for those who want the smallest iPhone available. Though it doesn’t have the latest and greatest, top-of-the-line features like Face ID, dual or triple cameras, or the intuitive home button-less interface, it is still an iPhone. This is also for those who want the least expensive iPhone out there. Maybe you love the home button and Touch ID, maybe you just want best iPhone for the least amount of money. This is it.

I’m excited for this. I use an iPhone 8 as a company device and there are a lot of times that I enjoy it over my iPhone 11 Pro. I love the size. Sometimes Touch ID is just so fast that it outshines Face ID. This phone is going to be very popular because not only is it lower in price, but it is also familiar to those who have never upgraded to an iPhone since the iPhone X redesigned the interface.

The iPhone SE launches April 24th for $399 for 64GB of storage. It is also available in 128GB for $450 and 256GB for $550. It is available in Black, Red and White.

Are you picking up an iPhone SE? Let me know on Instagram or twitter so I can hear what you have to say about it!

What if Apple Cancels the iPhone 12?

For years I have had an internal battle with which iPhone to buy. Should I get the 6 or the larger 6 Plus. Should I get the 7 or dual-camera 7 Plus. Should I get the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro-with three cameras instead of two. And so on and so on. We are spoiled and most times we don’t even know it.

If you are reading this, more than likely you like getting the new gadgets every year. I do too. Since I was little, I always enjoyed technology. But have we gone too far with getting the new iPhone every year?

What if, due to the global pandemic, Apple scrapped its plans for its iPhone 12 this year? What then? Miraculously, our iPhone 11’s would survive another year. Of course, after all of the podcasts and news articles are released about how Apple is doomed, we would move on with our lives. Eventually, the rumor mill would ramp up again and we would start to hear what the next iPhone is going to be like. Then, before you know it, it will be September 2021 and we will be waiting for the newest iPhone.

Would I be bummed? I don’t think I would. It would allow the entire tech community to take a breath and take a step back. Trust me, I don’t wish for this. I am ready for the world to get back to normal just as much as the next guy. I absolutely love what Apple has done over the years. It is the one thing in life that I like to splurge on.

But, just thinking out loud, maybe this is the year Apple could give us permission to skip an upgrade. I honestly think it would build that anticipation for a new iPhone more than ever before.

Saying all of that, I do believe there will be an iPhone 12 this year. How when, and where Apple announces it is a different story. My optimistic side hopes and prays for an end to all of this craziness very soon.

Bottom line, we will be just fine.

Review: Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro

Do you really want to read about another battery case? If so, go check out my review of the Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS. It all essentially pertains to this case as well. For everything new, please read on!

The one difference with this case is the camera button on the side of the case. Yes, a button. This is a nice addition to the Smart Battery Case. If you hold in on that button it will immediately open the camera. Not once did I accidentally trigger this feature. Which is surprising. Apple knew what they were doing when designing this case. This will remind you of your old point and shoot camera that you used to carry around with you before smart phone cameras were so good.

There are very few people who actually need this case. As someone who buys multiple battery cases, and has relied on them over the years, the iPhone 11 Pro doesn’t need one. If you are constantly traveling, or away from power outlets all day, ok, you may need this case. For $130, and the amount of times that I needed it, the value just wasn’t there. For how much I would use a battery case, I would be better off buying the mophie Juice Pack Access. If you hold onto your phone for multiple years, this will be a great acccessory in a year or two when your iPhone 11 Pro battery is degrading. Plus, you will be able to find it significantly cheaper.

The iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case can be bought here if you are still interested.

Let me know on twitter or Instagram if you are picking up the Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro.

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Review: mophie Juice Pack Access for the iPhone 11 Pro

Another phone, another battery case. I wont spend too much time on this one because at this point, there isn’t much that has changed over the years.

The mophie Juice Pack Access is mophie’s latest battery case for the newest iPhones. They made them for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

The cool thing about the Juice Pack Access is that the bottom of the case is open to allow you to use the Lightning cable that came with your iPhone.

To charge the case up, you can plug in the the included USB-C cable or sit it on your wireless charger. Either way, when you charge the case, it will also charge up your phone.

To use the battery portion of the case, which is the entire point of it, there is a button on the lower-back of the case. Pressing and holding the button will turn on the case and in turn, start charging up your phone.

In my tests, I got about 36% extra charge using the mophie Juice Pack Access. This isn’t very impressive but if you know the iPhone 11 series batteries, you really don’t need too much extra.

The cases come in black, blush pink, and red.

The case is normally $80. Is $80 worth an extra 36% battery? That is up to you. But if you act quickly, you can actually get this battery case for around $48 through mophie.com. They are running their post-Black Friday deal and for $48, I say go buy this case.

What do you think about the mophie Juice Pack Access? Will you be picking one up? Let me know on twitter or Instagram!

This post is not affiliated with mophie or Zagg.

mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone X – Review

I have been expecting this case for well over nine months now and finally, it has arrived.

In the past, mophie has released their Juice Pack battery case for new iPhones within three months or so of the newest iPhone’s launch. The iPhone X Juice Pack launch went a little different.

A year later, it is finally available. You may see posts that say that mophie released a product that is already discontinued, and yes, while this is true, this battery case will also fit your new iPhone Xs. So it’s not for nothing. Let’s check this thing out.

Size

I will come right out and say it, this is the best size battery case that I have used on the iPhone X/Xs. It is slimmer than any I have used before and fits in the hand perfectly. I can’t promise that it is the slimmest case on the market but compared to those that I have used, it is a welcoming size in the battery case world.

Performance

This case has a 1,720 mAh battery capacity. What that means is that it should charge your iPhone X around 63% and your iPhone Xs – 64%. Of course, this is in a perfect world. After doing that math, I really thought I would get at least 60% extra battery by charging from 20% to 80%. I did my test and in just over in an hour, with my phone connected to wifi and not being used during that time, my phone charged from 24% to 64%. 40% is all that I got out of this case. Frustrated, I completed another test. This time I got from 20% to 64%. So it wasn’t a fluke.

Compared to other cases on the market, a mere 40% is ridiculous. Unless my case is a dud, I can confidently say you will only get 40% extra charge with this case.

Charging

The Juice Pack can charge two ways, through QI wireless charging and Micro-USB. Yes, unfortunately, Micro-USB is still a thing. I thought by this time, mophie would have switched all of their cases to USB-C. I am thankful that you can charge this case wirelessly as that is how I primarily charge my iPhone these days.

The other thing to think about is if you use Apple CarPlay. Since you can’t use Apple’s lightning cable with this case, you have to rely on a Micro-USB cable in the car. Fortunately, CarPlay does work when the case is on your phone. This is a big win because the only other Apple certified battery case, from Moment, does not work with CarPlay.

Price

The mophie Juice Pack for the iPhone X is $99.99.  The case comes in black and blue.

Like Apple products, mophie is a premium brand with premium prices. I am not saying they are perfect but I have never had any quality issues with mophie in the past. They are a brand that you can trust.  How you spend your money is up to you, all I can tell you is that this case works as advertised. Is the $100 price tag a bit much? In my opinion, yes. But this has been mophie’s going price for these devices for as long as I have known about them.

Let me know if you plan on picking up this mophie Juice Pack or already have a favorite battery case!

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Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

 

The New iPad Pro

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We all knew a new iPad Pro was coming, but wow. This blew me away.

The new iPad Pro still comes in two sizes, 12.9-inches, and a new 11-inch model. The 12.9-inch model comes in at a significantly smaller size because now the iPad Pro extends the screen further to the edges. The 11-inch model keeps the same footprint as the previous year’s 10.5-inch.

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Along with the difference in sizes, the iPad Pro takes on a brand new look around the entire device. Its square edges are flat and remind me of the old iPhone 5 design. That design was always one of my favorites on the iPhone, so seeing it on the iPad is most certainly welcome.

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Since the screen has been expanded, this is the very first iPad without a home button. If you are someone holding onto the home button on the phone, this is a clear sign of the direction that Apple is going in the future. So, like the iPhone X, Apple has added Face ID to the new iPad Pro. I don’t hate the notch on the phone, but it is great to see an iPad without a notch but still have Face ID.

Goodbye Lightning. The new iPad Pro is the first iOS device to ditch the lightning cable.  So, whether you like it or not, you cannot use your old cables to charge this iPad. Instead, Apple opted to put a USB-C port in this new device. Not only will it be faster but it also opens up a wide range of opportunities like connecting more peripherals to the iPad.  But this is the way of the future. Before long, our iPhones will probably end up with USB-C. I am excited that Apple has finally taken this step into the future. Something awesome Apple showed off was that you can now charge your iPhone by connecting it to the iPad Pro. I am not sure how often this will be utilized but it will definitely come in handy when you absolutely need it.

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The Apple Pencil got an upgrade today as well. The new Pencil has a new design and matte finish which should make it easier to handle while using it. The showstopping feature is that you now can magnetically attach the Pencil to the iPad Pro for storage but it will also charge the Pencil when it is connected. No more having to plug it into the lightning port waiting for it to snap off. The Pencil also picks up gestures. You can double tap the Pencil while using it to select different options within an app.

If you are in need of a new iPad, give this one a look. It is early so we will have to wait and see how the actual performance is. But at first glance, this iPad Pro seems like a no-brainer for those in the market for a new one.

The iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 64GB option and goes all the way up to 1TB of storage. The iPad Pro is available to order right now with a release date of November 7th.

All images courtesy of Apple.com

Apple Watch Series 4

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The Apple Watch Series 4 was announced today!

Apple updated what was an already-great product with the Series 3, with the Series 4.

This is the biggest update we have seen since the Apple Watch launched. The new Apple Watch screen is more than 30% larger meanwhile keeping the real estate on your wrist to a minimum. Along with a bigger screen, the Series 4 also received a brand new processor with the S4 chip. The S4 chip allows the watch to move 2X as fast as the Series 3.

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The Apple Watch comes in two new sizes, a 40mm and 44mm size. Current Apple Watch users who plan on upgrading don’t have to worry, all of your older bands will work with the new Series 4 Apple Watch. There are a couple of new watch faces that will take advantage of these new screen sizes. We are still missing third-party watch faces but these new data-heavy faces will suffice for now.

That stuff is all great but the new health features are something you can only find the Apple Watch. The Series 4 has introduced three new heart features. The first being a notification if your heart rate is too low. The second heart feature is to notify you if the watch detects AFib or Atrial Fibrillation aka irregular heartbeat. Lastly, the Series 4 can run an on-demand Electrocardiogram (ECG). This is the first over-the-counter device to be offered to consumers to run an ECG. Surprisingly, and probably the only way Apple could ship this, these features are FDA approved. Finally, Apple is using updated gyroscopes and sensors to detect falls. You can have the Apple Watch notify emergency services if you are not responsive after it detects a fall. This is amazing stuff.

Apple Watch Series 4 is available for Pre-order 9/14 and available to purchase 9/21.

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The Series 4 comes in three aluminum finishes: Gold, Silver and Space Grey. Three stainless steel versions in Polished, Space Black and Gold Stainless. The Nike and Hermes brands are making a comeback for the Series 4 as well.

The Series 4 Apple Watch starts at $399 for the GPS model and $499 for the cellular model.

Are you picking up the new Series 4 Apple Watch? Let me know on Instagram and twitter!

All images are courtesy of Apple.com.