Apple has unveiled its cheapest-ever iPhone model – the SE – which will go on sale in the UK next week and be available for pre-order on Thursday.

Here are the key need-to-knows from yesterday's launch:

  • The iPhone SE will be smaller than other iPhones, with a four-inch screen.
  • The 16GB handset will cost £359 from and Apple's retail stores – its cheapest-ever – while the 64GB version will be £439.
  • It's likely to be sold by all the major networks including EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, though none have yet announced contract prices.
  • It'll go on sale in the UK on Thursday 31 March, and be available for pre-order from Thursday 24 March.
  • It'll be available in four colours – space grey, silver, gold and rose gold.

However, if you're thinking about getting your hands on the latest model, remember iPhones aren't MoneySaving. Consider whether you really need one before ordering. If you're an Apple addict and nothing else will do, think about buying an older model as they tend to be much cheaper.

We'll add contract prices to our iPhone comparison tool as they're revealed, and you can see more ways to cut mobile costs in 30+ Cheap Mobile Tips.

How does the iPhone SE stack up?

The 4.87-inch handset has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 'near-field communication' (NFC) chip. NFC is a form of contactless communication between devices such as smartphones and tablets. In the iPhone SE the NFC chip works with its 'Touch ID' fingerprint scanner to allow contactless payments through Apple Pay.

Apple hopes the smaller size, last used for the iPhone 5s in 2013, will boost sales that have slowed for recent larger-screen releases.

The iPhone SE uses the same 64-bit A9 chip used in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models for faster speeds, longer battery life and faster wireless. It has double the processing power and four times the graphics performance of the iPhone 5s.

Tech experts have given the new phone generally positive reviews, though some have urged would-be buyers to think twice before opting for the 16GB model due to its limited storage.

Tech website Techcrunch says: "If you've been hankering for a new iPhone that has all the power of the latest generations but fits in your hand like the old models, today is a good day for you", while web guide Engadget concludes: "If you loved the iPhone 5s the iPhone SE will feel like a compelling blend of old and new. For once, we're getting a small iPhone that doesn't feel like a second-class device."

Apple launches iPhone SE – and reveals UK prices
Apple launches iPhone SE – and reveals UK prices

Planning to sell your old iPhone? Do it soon

If you're thinking of selling your old iPhone to help pay for a new one, go fast – data from mobile recycling website shows that prices for older handsets drop dramatically following the launch of a new model, and drop even further when it actually goes on sale.

When selling an old mobile, always compare the prices being offered using a mobile phone recycling price comparison service, such as our MobileValuer tool, to ensure you get the best price.

It's also worth seeing how much you can get from Apple by trading in your current phone – it says it'll offer up to £275 towards the purchase of a new iPhone.