I don’t like large phones, but I’m really liking my iPhone 8. Over the last two months I have been using my SE and the 8 together. Both have things I like, both have things I dislike.
The iPhone 4 was a beautiful redesign when it was released. All the design language that made this phone carried through to the SE. It has crisp edges and clean lines that aren’t uncomfortable to hold. The size is well thought out; it’s comfortable to hold and easy to reach anywhere on the screen with a thumb. Unfortunately much of the SE’s technology is stuck in the past. The display does not have the better contrast or higher color depth that is now available. The display is also missing 3D Touch. The Touch ID sensor is at least a generation old, depending on how you count the button.
The iPhone 8 is a wonder. It’s amazing to think how a phone in my pocket has more processing power than my first couple Macs, or even many laptops that are still sold today. The screen is crisp with better contrast and color than nearly any other display I have. It has comfortable contoured edges and glass back that reminds me how nice they were with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unfortunately the glass back also means its a lot more likely to slip on sloped surfaces. The lock button feels at home on the side of the phone, and I keep finding myself reaching there on my SE. It is also nice to see what I was missing with 3D Touch since the 6S. It’s too bad that 3D Touch isn’t yet prevalent across all iDevices. It’s frustrating as a developer having to support some interactions multiple ways. It’s also frustrating as a user not knowing how a 3rd party application will support it, if at all. But the phone is big. It isn’t easy to reach the whole display as with the SE.
The iPhones are at an interesting crossroads. The 8 is visually similar to its 3 predecessors, excluding the glass back. The iPhone X shows where they think the future is. Over the next two years I think that Apple will transition to have the whole iPhone lineup like the X in two or three different sizes. I hope that Apple won’t neglect smaller phones as the display bezel shrinks.