My 2017 iPhone X Died: I Got a 2016 iPhone SE, Upgraded the Battery and Added Wireless Charging — It's Great
I got a $70 iPhone SE and upgraded the battery with a nominal 2180 mAh one (the original had 1624 mAh of capacity). Then I added Qi wireless charging with an adhesive tag that lives between the case and the phone's back chassis (connected via the Lightning port). How about performance?
After a few cycles and tests running iOS 13.5.1, the 2016 SE effectively streamed YouTube videos for 12 consecutive hours, at max brightness. I'm very happy and hardly miss the iPhone X (swipe gestures would be nice, and the OLED display maybe). The surprise was how well it handles iOS 13, plus rediscovering the form factor: easier to handle and to grip on. When I bend to tie my shoes, it doesn't perforate my rib cage from the pocket like a Pro Max would. I also found that, in my case, the SE complements the iPad Pro 12.9” fantastically (aesthetics and screen size balance between iOS devices).
Adding Qi wireless for charging was easy and, so far, stable: I did not notice any qualitative speed changes from the iPhone X's charging behavior.
Total investment: ~$98. The best part? I can plug in my IEM monitor headphones through the 3.5mm headphone jack, while this thing also supports AirPods/Pro (minus sharing audio with friends for simultaneous listening, but I didn't even know that was a feature...).
I upgraded to every new iteration of the iPhone from the original 2007 model up to the X. After that, I became more mindful of the added value I received from the investment, and the way I use the device itself has changed.
After the X abandoned me, I thought I'd wait for the smaller iPhone 12 to be released. It looks like I might keep this modded original SE longer than I intended to. I wonder how many other people also slowed down their upgrade cycle during the past few years (and why).
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A couple more things: some user reviews seem to have reported problems with these: so far I had absolutely none. Also, replacing the battery wasn't exactly the easiest thing in the world, but doable with basic skills and an iFixIt video. The adhesives behind mine were very dry. Once you complete this step, I suggest to completly drain the battery, then recharge it to 100% and do a hard reset (Power Button+Home).
If you are not confident about opening the phone: don't do it. It's not a user-replaceable part according to Apple, and you should understand the risks connected to it.
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I've been a satirical author, marketing manager, radio host, Comedy Central correspondent, and improviser. Process optimizer, critical observer, easily obsessed—and emotional stoic—I love meaningful conversations and silences. Rome (Italy) native, I now live in Chicago → more about me and what I'm doing now.