iPhone SE: Unexpected Purchase


Back in September 2013, I bought my first smartphone – an iPhone 5S. I took really good care of my first phone. I probably use it a good deal less than most folks do. I hardly ever dropped it. Always had a case and screen cover. Made sure the battery never ran down, and it served me a good 2 and a half years… until today.

The past month, out of nowhere, my phone started having battery charging issues. When I woke up in the mornings, the phone had shut itself off over night, even if I left it fully charged before I went to sleep. If the charge got under 40%, the phone shut off saying it had no charge at all. Eventually, it got worse and worse until I had to charge the phone three times a day because it drained that fast. One time, the phone even shut down at 97% while being plugged in.

So, it didn’t look good.

I knew people said it cost about $80 to take the phone and get a battery replaced… and that’s almost 1/3 the cost of a new phone. So that option was out… especially since I’d have to drive over an hour to get to the nearest genius bar to get it done.

Others I talked to said phone replacement is usually the suggested option after two years had run its course. But I was trying to get as much life out of my investment as I could. I was in no rush to upgrade to the next best phone, especially the larger and more expensive iPhone 6. Funny how I just wanted the smaller size I already had…

I picked up a battery replacement kit for my 5S, figuring that if it was on its last legs already, it couldn’t hurt but to try to replace it anyhow. And I’m adventurous. So opening up an iPhone was my project for this Saturday morning.

I actually did get it open without a hitch, but during the process, I noticed there were other issues with the phone. Namely, the screen had started to become warped outward in the top right corner. I did some research on this, and folks said that this seems to happen when the battery inside starts to swell and push outwards on the screen. Ugh…

Anyhow, I was super careful in replacing the battery and getting it all back together. Even tested the battery itself to ensure it started, and it did. But once I got all the parts back together, the phone refused to turn on again. I have a feeling there were bigger issues going on inside than just the battery, perhaps. So, that’s when I decided it was a lost cause and I’d have to deal with the fact that I needed a replacement.

Thankfully, this all happened a few days after the new iPhone SE released. Everything about the SE is almost identical to my iPhone 5S – even the screen protectors and case are interchangable, much to my pleasure. I think the phone’s a bit more gutsy on the inside, but that’s the only difference.

I went to check my upgradablity on my existing plan, and everything was cool for me to make the jump to a new phone. Except… seeing that it was a new model, it would take two weeks for them to ship the phone to me if I placed the order online. X(

Instead, I decided to see if my nearest AT&T store had anything in stock. I rarely go to brick and mortar stores, but I was a little nervous about making sure my new phone kept my old number and everything transferred correctly. So, overall, it was probably a good thing I did.

They had the color I wanted in stock, I explained the situation to the sales rep, and she set me up with a brand new SE in short order. When I got home, it took very little time to start it up and transfer all my data from my iCloud backup to the new phone. There were a few apps, like my FFXIV authenticator, I had to reset, but everything transferred just fine.

I spent a good bit of time playing Miitomo to break the phone in, and everything seems to be working just fine. Much, much nicer than my old phone, which drained from 95% charge to 60% in just 5 mins of playing an app.

So, while it was an unexpected upgrade and purchase, it was probably something that needed to be replaced in the end. Just hope this one lasts a lot longer than the previous.


    1. Having mine less than a day, my first impression is that it feels exactly like my iPhone 5S, which was the experience I was looking for. I haven’t seen any mind-blowing improvements or changes, but I wasn’t expecting them.

      So, if you are just looking for a solid, full-featured and lower priced iPhone, this would be the go-to phone I’d suggest. If you’ve had an older model like a 4, 5, 5S, etc and you’re looking for something different, this is going to feel much like the previous phones.

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