August 24, 2018
For Apple devotees, the iPhone is the only phone that matters. The biggest choice fans have to make is whether they need to get the newest iPhone, right now, grab a bargain on an older model, or hold off in the hopes of a new iPhone being launched.
However, simply going for the newest iPhone doesn’t always mean you’ll get the best deal. Often, the older iPhone models are just as slick and feature-packed as the newer ones. Put simply, there’s no bad iPhones out there if you go for a model from the past couple of years.
You could buy any of the six iPhones currently on sale, including the new iPhone XS, and bag a great phone. You could even hold on for the cut-price iPhone XR, coming late October, and still have one of the best phones on sale.
But how do you know you’re getting the right iPhone for you? We’ve taken an in-depth look at all the iPhones on sale so you can quickly and easily find out which one is right for you.
Which Is The Best iPhone?
These are the best Apple iPhone models you can buy. Though it’s still possible to track down older ones second-hand or refurbished, we’d advise sticking to one of the iPhones below:
- iPhone XS Max – The biggest, priciest and newest: The XS Max is, simply, the iPhone taken to the max. It features a huge 6.5-inch Super Retina display which is bright and pin-sharp, meaning your videos and apps will look better than ever. The XS Max has a huge price tag to match its huge screen, starting at $1,099.
- iPhone XR – A genuine return to form: The new baby iPhone borrows the iPhone X’s design, but adds a splash of colour not seen since the 5c. It doesn’t have the dual cameras or the OLED screens found on the XS or XS Max, but costs just $750 – a $250 saving on its bigger brothers.
- iPhone XS – Picks up where the iPhone X left off: It looks the same, but is a notable upgrade on the X. It has a faster processor, sharper screen and a longer battery life. It’s far from revolutionary, but it’s still an excellent phone – read our full iPhone XS review to learn more.
- iPhone X – The first of the new iPhones: Featuring the edge-to-edge screen and notorious notch, the X was the first in a wave of new iPhones. You can’t get it direct from Apple anymore, but it’s still available from carriers and unlocked, so you can expect some discounts.
- iPhone 8 Plus – A good X alternative: The iPhone 8 Plus is big in every way. It has a large 5.5-inch screen, dual rear cameras, stands at nearly 6.3-inches tall and weighs over 200 hundred grams. It’s no longer new, but it’ll get the job done for most users.
- iPhone 8 – The newest ‘old’ iPhone: The iPhone 8 is the last iPhone to stick with a design that goes back some four years to the iPhone 6. It’s small, handy, and remains as slick as ever. It’s now available for $600 unlocked, but it isn’t particularly exciting any more.
- iPhone 7 Plus – A big screen on a budget (sort of): The cheapest iPhone you can buy with a screen bigger than 5-inches, the 7 Plus still works well, despite being over two years old now. If you want an iPhone with a big screen for as little as possible, it’s the way to go.
- iPhone 7 – The cheapest new iPhone: The 7 was the first iPhone to ditch the headphone jack, and now costs just $449 from new. It’s starting to feel its age, though, with no wireless charging, a less-than-HD display and just 32GB storage.
|iPhone XS Max||iPhone XS||iPhone XR|
|Cost||From $1,099||From $999||From $749|
|Screen size (in)||6.5||5.8||6.1|
|Storage sizes (GB)||64, 256, 512||64, 256, 512||64, 128, 256|
|Processor||A12 Bionic||A12 Bionic||A12 Bionic|
|Rear camera||Dual 12Mp||Dual 12Mp||Single 12Mp|
|Front camera||7Mp TrueDepth||7Mp TrueDepth||7Mp TrueDepth|
In this guide:
- Better value than iPhone XS
- Beautiful screen quality
- Powerful processor
- Premium design
- Range of color options
- Single camera, rather than dual camera of the XS
- ‘Notch’ screen design is divisive
- LED, rather than OLED display
- Great cameras
- Incredibly powerful
- Fantastic screen
- Very expensive
- Not a massive upgrade over the X
- Might be a touch too big for some
- Huge screen
- Great cameras
- Speedy processor
- The screen might be too big
- Enormously expensive
- Fails to make the most of its big screen
However, the iPhone XS and XS Max have more improved camera software than the iPhone X. This new tech works behind the scenes to give you better pictures all the time, and often without you knowing. The standout camera changes are the improved bokeh and depth control features. These will help the foreground of your images really stand out from the background, doing so by sharpening the foreground and blurring the background – without looking unnatural.
There are also improvements to the HDR, or high dynamic range capabilities of the XS and XS Max’s cameras. The new Smart HDR, as Apple is calling it, improves on the Auto HDR offered on the iPhone X by bringing more highlight and shadow detail to your photos. This new tech applies to the iPhone XR as well as the iPhone X, so despite not having dual cameras, the XR is still able to produce top-notch photos.
The differences between the front cameras, though, are even less pronounced. On paper, all the models offer the same 7Mp resolution with the same f/2.2 aperture. Again, though, software improvements give the XS, XS Max, and even the XR the edge over the X. The same smart HDR tech found on the rear cameras is present on the selfie snapper, while the XS, XS Max and XR get improvements to front-facing videos with cinematic video stabilization.
Which iPhone has a Dual Camera?
The dual rear camera was introduced in recent years to the iPhone line-up, but not all models have it.
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone SE
The iPhone X has a longer talk time than the XS, but a shorter video playback time. This is probably due to the screen and processor tech, rather than the iPhone X having a better battery life.
The iPhone XR claims a longer battery life for talk time, internet use and audio playback than the supposedly superior iPhone XS. However, the XR has a larger battery than the XS, but the XS’ smaller screen means that it lasts longer for video playback.
If battery life is the defining factor in your iPhone purchase, the XS Max (with its larger case and consequently larger battery) is your best bet. But should you not want to shell out nearly $1,100, the XR is a good option.
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