Resolved My iPhone SE died: Refurbished SE or brand new iPhone 8

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Populus, Nov 5, 2018.


After losing my awesome SE, what should I buy?

  1. Refurbished SE for 290€

    22 vote(s)
  2. Brand new iPhone 8 for 690€

    32 vote(s)
  1. Populus, Nov 5, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018

    Populus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    Good morning people, this time I need your advice, because honestly I don't know what to do. My SE died and I'm struggling between a refurbished SE replacement for 290€ and a brand new iPhone 8 for 690€. Yes, iPhones are expensive here in Europe.

    But first let me tell you what kind of consumer I am: I am one of those who likes to purchase something and keep it for as long as I can. I think it is the best for our planet, our resources are limited, and why should I stop using a device if it still works? It's also a budget issue. For instance I have a MacBook Pro from 2010 and It still works, and shortly, in the next year or so, I'll purchase my new MacBook Pro with, hopefully, a 10nm processor with a powerful enough CPU and GPU that will allow me to keep it for another 8-9 years. This time powerful enough to allow me to learn video editing and music creation.

    And what does that have to do with this post? Well, the iPhone I buy this holidays is going to be my smartphone for many, many years. Even if Apple slows it down with iOS 12.1 and upcoming releases. I will stop updating once I see the performance goes down. I kept my awesome iPhone SE at iOS 10.2 and it was quick. Fast. Portable. It was awesome.

    But my SE died, and it's not repairable. I am within the 2 years of European consumer warranty, but water damage is not included so... Out of warranty they will offer me to pay 290€ for a refurbished iPhone SE.

    But before I keep going with my argumentation, something you must know: I like small smartphones, that's why I purchased an SE. Nowadays, phones are getting bigger and bigger... Even iPhones.

    I used my SE with one hand with no hesitation. Whatever the situation was, if I had a free hand I could use my smartphone. Easy to carry, easy to pick... Not dropping it because of its flat sides... Only problem was it's small screen, but I was used to it. A lightweight smartphone, I loved it.

    However, even stuck on iOS 10, it was starting to show it's age. And as I read, iOS 12 pushed it to the limit, with shortened battery life. Battery life is important to me, and while I managed to get 11 hours at the moment of the purchase of my SE, lately I was getting 7-8 hours. On iOS 12, that would have been 4-5 hours max.

    So, after the accident, I decided to give the most powerful 4,7" iPhone a chance. A black iPhone 8. The grey on the back of this device is awesome, and the glass makes it look gorgeous... But it is glass. And I see myself dropping this slippery phone. Its rounded shape, the smooth anodized aluminum, makes this phone easy to drop.

    On the other side, the screen is gorgeous, iOS feels snappy, the keyboard doesn't take 60% of the screen anymore... It is the right screen size, the minimum nowadays. But overall size is... A bit big.

    Then, there is the money question. This iPhone 8 costs 400€ more than the SE refurbished replacement, and it is a money I could invest in my next Mac, or buy a new iPad mini if they release it next year... I'm not sure.

    I'm testing this iPhone 8. It is awesome, but it is big, and if I put a case on it, it will be even bigger. Reachability feature is nice and cool (remember, I always use it with one hand even if my two hand are free), but it fails from time to time.

    TL;DR version:

    I like small phones, my iPhone SE broke and I need a new one. Gave the iPhone 8 a shot and I like its gorgeous display, and it is blazing fast, but I find it big and super slippery. I see myself dropping it so I'll have to put a case on it, but that will make it more bulky for my hand to hold it and type.

    On the other hand, a refurbished replacement iPhone SE will cost me 290€ and I'm not sure of spending that amount of money on a 3 year old device.

    Should I keep this iPhone 8 and try to get used to it to it's weight and size (as phones nowadays are getting much bigger) or should I pay for a replacement SE? One handed use of my SE was plain awesome but the screen... Man, the screen was beginning to feel small. I don't know what the hell to do.

    Obviously the 8 is a much better long term purchase, it's going to have more support down the road, but I don't think I will update it beyond iOS 12 if its performance or battery life gets damaged. So I want a long lasting iPhone and I think iPhone 8 is much better on that regard.

    December EDIT: I finally made my decision. The iPhone 8 is going to be my next iPhone. See details of this decision on the page 2.

    I wanted to thank everyone to help me, in one or another direction, I'm gonna miss my SE, but I'm definitely enjoying the bigger screen and the haptic feedback of the taptic engine. Thanks people.
  2. StaceyMJ86 macrumors 68000


    Sep 22, 2015
    Washington, DC
    To be honest, I would opt for the 8. Reason being that it would able to receive the latest updates longer than the SE, have up-to-date hardware, not too much bigger than the SE, wireless charging, and I could see a person using it for many years. I have the X and it’s not much bigger than the 8, and I’m able to use my phone with one hand a lot when I want to.
  3. Tmacc47 macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2018
    If you're concerned with the glass on the 8, I would personally pick up a 7. They are 100 dollars cheaper than the 8 and they have no glass.
  4. Givmeabrek macrumors 68040


    Apr 20, 2009
    Clearly the 8 is the answer. One of the smallest phones made today. It should last for years.
  5. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    Why don't you get a refurbished 8? Apple has them on their refurb store now.
  6. Populus, Nov 5, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018

    Populus thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    Only on US. I'm on Europe, where everything is more expensive. And no refurbished iPhones (unless you break your phone and pay the "other damages" price, exchanging the old phone, which is like paying for a refurbished one)

    You're right, but the 8 has the neural network and I see it much more future proof. Also the 7 is much more slippery, being all anodized aluminum. I like the piano black (jet black) but it's not on sale anymore.

    Again, the 7 is starting to show its age like the 6S and SE, there wasn't a big jump from A9 to A10, so it is SE or 8 for me. Usability vs performance.
  7. zachdog macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2016
    I’m in the same boat here. My SE stopped working in September, so I considered a replacement. I ended up buying the 8 after the price drop and it’s a great phone. It’s still too big, and I may not fully get used to it, but the technology is so much better. I hope Apple comes out with a smaller Xr in the spring. I simply can’t believe they would not consider making a smaller phone. The Xr is beautiful but ginormously huge!
  8. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    @zachdog so you finally kept your iPhone 8? Or did you return it in favor of another SE?

    I'm going to buy a slim case, and try it without the fear of it being dropped. Right now I'm writing and the phone is so heavy, it's slowly slipping down from my hand. Annoying.
  9. FeliApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 8, 2015
    An SE with iOS 12... I am unsure about the battery life. Though, I think it will be lower than iOS 10. You said you value battery life a lot, so maybe get the iPhone 8 and never update it. As you did with your SE, leave the 8 on iOS 12 forever.
    Otherwise, my other thought is the following: If you find the SE more comfortable, smaller screen notwithstanding, can you try it and return it, like in the US? Perhaps you can try the SE's battery life on iOS 12. If it goes fine, keep it. Else, return it, buy the 8 on iOS 12, and keep it there.
  10. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    @FeliApple yes, we have a 14 day tryout... On brand new products. That's why I'm able to try this iPhone 8.

    Problem with the SE is, it's not on sale anymore. I cannot purchase it brand new and return it if it performs badly. The only way to get an iPhone SE, due to the fact that it is not on sale anymore, is by going to the Genius Bar and paying for a replacement, a refurbished replacement, in exchange of my old SE. Once I make the exchange paying the 290€ for "other damages", there's no going back.
  11. Broadus macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2011
    Upstate SC
    I think you will keep a new 8 a good deal longer than a refurbished SE. And in the scheme of thins with smartphones today, an 8 is considered small.
  12. x-evil-x macrumors 601


    Jul 13, 2008
    id bump it up for an X imo. I feel like the 8's aren't anything to die for over the 7 series. or even the 6s.
  13. ghanwani, Nov 5, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018

    ghanwani macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    The processor in the 8 is the A11, in the SE it's A10. IMO, there's some performance difference but not huge.

    I recently had some problems (mic not working) with my phone and opted to get it repaired for $100+ (can't remember the amount) and also asked for battery service. Apple damaged the phone while replacing the battery, so they gave me a refurbished phone for the cost of repair. If I'm going to pony up for a new phone, I want it to be exciting. But I found I was actually more excited about the SE's form factor. I plan to stick with the SE as long as is viable.

    The SE is the last iPhone where the moment I held one in the store I knew I wanted it.
  14. peterpayne, Nov 5, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018

    peterpayne macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2017
    Both are old technology for Apple now, everything's design with the notch in mind. I don't think the 8 is gonna meet your long term needs. Touch ID and all models pre-X are old for Apple now.

    Of course we'll be able to use them for some more years, but everything's gonna be optimized for the latest models.

    I would get an SE (2nd hand or new, some stores in Spain still have them), you can get a 32GB for less than 300 euros. 2nd hand for 150-200. And then wait for a Mini XR for Spring 2019 (with rumors of the iPad Mini maybe they're thinking about a "Mini" event for March?).

    I know it's money but the 8 is much more.

    PS: Another option would be a 2nd hand 32GB 7, you can find it on Wallapop for 300-350 euros and it would be a model in between those two (both in specs and weight, the 7 is 139 g, I think, SE 112g and the 8 close to 150 with the glass back). But battery life on the 7 is not that good or so they say.
  15. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    @ghanwani excuse me, but you're wrong. The SE carries an Apple A9 chip. The A10 fusion was 2 cores as well: 2 high performing + 2 low energy. But only 2 cores at the same time. The A11 is an hexacore and, performance wise, much more powerful. But this iPhone 8 is heavy... Uncomfortable to hold with one hand. Maybe if they still sold the jet black iPhone 7 I'd give it a try, as that smartphone is lighter... I don't know.

    @peterpayne I think you're right, that's an old design already, but Apple will keep supporting the 6/7/8 design for years to come. Remember, iPhone 8 carries the same SoC as the iPhone X.

    But yes, I think exchanging my dead SE for another one (paying the 290€ of other damages) with iOS 12 could be a good way to wait for the next SE, if it ever comes to life.

    For now I'll give this iPhone 8 another try with a grippy case, but man, my little finger is getting numb just by supporting the phone weight (one handed always, the phone's bottom rests on my little finger)
  16. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    In your shoes, I would choose the refurbished SE.
  17. ghanwani macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    Sorry, thanks for the correction. Didn't know about the hexacore difference either.

    It makes the decision a lot harder, but I think I would still lean towards the SE.
  18. zachdog macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2016

    I kept the 8, but I miss the SE. If Apple comes to its senses and releases a smaller X then I'll be the first person in line!
  19. austyn23 macrumors regular


    Nov 22, 2017
    The SE on iOS 12 is faster than ever, battery life is OK, of course this depends on your personal use.

    The 7 is really light and the aluminium back is better for drops.

    You can buy an SE on Amazon and send it back within 30 days (just paying 3€ for shipping if you are not "Prime" client").

    Between a 7 and an 8 I´ll suggest the 8 just because is newer and will support better trough years. It´s heavier than the 7 but not so much (10 grams I think). You'll get used.

    I sold mi SE to get an XR... it was nice the first week but then too heavy and bulky... now I´m on an 8, it´s great, not too small as the SE, not to big as the XR, and takes amazing photos (the SE was just getting old for photos...)

    The 8 on Amazon in Spain is 600€.
    The 7 is 485€
    The SE 320€.

    If you have some friend that can pass the invoice as a professional purchase, it can give you the IVA when they refund it to him/her (it´s 21%!)
  20. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    How about a refurb iPhone 8?
  21. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    I don't know about the internal spec comparisons, but I know that my SE is still absolutely a total Ferrari for everything I do with it. Absolutely nothing about it feels like old technology in terms of internal CPU speed, etc.

    If size is a big consideration for you, the decision is honestly made IMO.

    All other comparisons aside, the SE is tremendously more discrete, portable, unnoticable, easy to hold/handle, etc.
  22. pdp1 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2018
    My SE died earlier this year as well (took a dip in the pool) and I had to resort to the my wife's retired iPhone 6. Since the 6 is the same size as the 8, I wanted to tell you I haven't had a hard time adjusting to the size difference. I also like(d) the smallest iPhone possible, but I have definitely grown to enjoy the extra screen space, so much in fact, I'm even willing to go bigger at the sacrifice of ergonomics for my next phone.

    TL;DR, I don't think you'll mind the size difference of the iPhone 8 too much and you should get used to it rather quickly, especially since you will enjoy the screen more. Get the 8!
  23. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 24, 2012
    Valencia, Spain.
    Regardless of my final decision, I'd like to thank everyone their participation on the thread, trying to help. Thank you.

    I still have time to figure it out. Time to try this 8 with a case. It's a shame, because this is one of the most good looking iPhone I've ever seen, but I don't see myself going case less with this.
  24. actcyclist macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2017
    I'd get the SE but if not, I'd get the iPhone 7 as it's made out of metal and not as heavy or expensive as the 8. As someone who doesn't like cases, I've found all the glass phones too fragile, slippery and actually yuck to hold.
  25. ultravegeta1981 macrumors 6502


    Oct 12, 2017
    Iphone 8 is/will be the new SE. Last one of the classic iphone model and blazing fast with a top camera and good battery life.

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