Earlier this week, Apple began selling refurbished versions of the iPhone SE, its nearly three-year-old, 4-inch smartphone modeled after the iPhone 5S, at a $100 discount. It was the second round of recent sales after an initial batch sold out the previous weekend. And like any budget-adverse tech journalist with an impulse buying compulsion, I felt this was the appropriate moment to hop on the backup phone bandwagon. So I bought one.
I’ve always appreciated the classic 5S design, with its overtly rounded corners and its sturdy, not-so-delicate dimensions. It never felt like it really required a case, and its smaller screen and more comfortable, one-handed use is something I’ve thought far too much about as I’ve ferried around an iPhone X and now an XS over the past year and a half. Plus, it’s got a headphone jack.
I purchased a space grey model, with 32GB of storage, purely because I want to pop my nano SIM into it on nights and weekends when I don’t want the full, 5.8-inch iPhone XS screen taunting me to open Instagram and Twitter two dozen times in an any given hour. I plan to keep Spotify, Google Maps, and maybe a few reading, podcasting, and news apps on it, but nothing else. No Slack, no Twitter, no Instagram… none of that. I want the phone to function mostly as a phone, instead of as the always half-open window into a digital life I’d rather leave behind when I shut my laptop down every evening.