Which iPhone model should you choose?

A simple guide to every available iPhone model

There are plenty of iPhone models available to choose from right now, and so if you’re new to the iPhone market you might be a little confused on which is the best one for you. iPhones, for many, are the most premium phones you can buy, and so you’ll want to make sure you get the one that does exactly what you want it to. Here we compare all the models available.

Whilst all of these iPhone models run Apple’s latest iOS software, it’s the hardware and design differences that make the difference in price, along with some nifty software tricks that are reserved for the top end models.

The iPhone 8 explained

The iPhone 8 was originally released in September 2017 and is the oldest iPhone you can still buy brand new, although with the recent release of the iPhone SE, Apple have stopped making the phone so stocks will start to run out in the UK now, although Refurbished and Pre-Owned models will be available.

Available in four colours – Space Gray, Silver, Gold and Product Red – it runs on the A11 processor which was 25% faster than the iPhone 7 range, and was the first iPhone to introduce wireless charging.

It also improves the cameras significantly over previous models, with a 12 megapixel rear camera that can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, and slow motion 1080p HD footage at 240 frames per second. The front camera is 7 megapixels, and the phone has Touch ID to let you unlock it without entering a password.

iPhone 8 refurbished
iPhone 8

Who is the iPhone 8 for?

The iPhone 8 has now been surpassed by the new iPhone SE, which is actually available at a cheaper price than the iPhone 8 was selling for when it launched. If you’re looking for a new iPhone but want to spend towards the lower-end of the budget scale rather than on a flagship iPhone 11, then you’d be better looking at the iPhone SE, unless you can find a great clearance or refurbished deal on the iPhone 8. It’s still a fantastic phone if you spot a bargain.

The iPhone 8 Plus explained

The iPhone 8 Plus was released at the same time as the iPhone 8 and is essentially an upgraded version in terms of screen size and camera.

It has a 5.5 inch screen with a 1920×1080 resolution, compared to the 4.7 inch screen with a 1334×750 pixel resolution of the iPhone 8, and an upgraded rear camera with a telephoto lens that offers 2x optical and 10x digital zoom, as well as including Portrait Mode to take better images of people with improved depth of field (that means blurred backgrounds to make photos look cool).

It was originally available in three storage sizes – 64GB, 128GB and 256GB (the same as the iPhone 8) but the 256GB model was discontinued by Apple in 2019. The processor and front-facing camera are the same as in the iPhone 8 too, so the increased screen size and improved rear camera are the key differences to choose this model over the iPhone 8.

iPhone 8 Plus (256GB)
iPhone 8 Plus

Who is the iPhone 8 Plus for?

The iPhone 8 Plus has been discontinued by Apple, same as the standard iPhone 8, as the iPhone SE is the successor to both models.

If you’re looking for a brand new model, it’s likely that the iPhone SE will be the better choice with its improved camera and processor but, again, if you can find a good deal on an iPhone 8 Plus you’ll be getting a fantastic phone that still outperforms many other models released by rival manufacturers.

The iPhone SE explained

The most recently-announced iPhone model, the iPhone SE (second generation) was first revealed in April 2020 and is the official successor to the iPhone 8 (and 7) range. It’s designed to look like the iPhone 8, but it shares much of the hardware of the more contemporary iPhone 11 range, making it faster and more powerful than the older models, but without the massive screen seen on some of the top end new flagships such as the 11 Pro.

This includes the newer A13 processor, and cameras that, while similar in hardware spec to the iPhone 8 range, can do more thanks to the updated software and better processor. It’s available in three colours too – Black, White and Product Red. While it’s considered part of the 13th generation of iPhone alongside the iPhone 11 range, it doesn’t have many of the more premium features such as the edge-to-edge display, Face ID and the latest camera lenses.

iPhone SE (64GB)
iPhone SE (2020)

Who is the iPhone SE for?

If you’re interested in a new iPhone but your budget can’t stretch to the top of the range, the iPhone SE is the perfect entry level model. It’s the cheapest brand-new iPhone available but it comes with all the quality hallmarks you’d expect from the premium Apple brand, including speed and reliability, but at a lower price point. Whether it’s your first iPhone or you simply aren’t too concerned with the absolute latest tech features, the iPhone SE is a great choice.

The iPhone XR explained

The iPhone XR is part of the 12th generation of iPhone and has a number of improvements over the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It was first released in 2018 in the widest range of colours since the iPhone 5c, available in Black, White, Product Red as well as Blue, Yellow and Coral. It has an A12 processor, so it’s faster than the iPhone 8 range, but not as modern as the processor in the new iPhone SE. Its cameras are the same megapixels, but it’s capable of a range of photo functions including stage lighting, digital image stabilisation, and huge panoramas.

The other key difference is the display. Compared to the iPhone 8 and iPhone SE, the iPhone XR has a much bigger screen – measuring 6.08 inches – and it’s Liquid Retina, which means you’ll get a much a vivid and fluid display whether you’re just browsing apps or watching a video.

iPhone XR (64GB)
iPhone XR

Who is the iPhone XR for?

The iPhone XR is the middle of the pack in the current Apple range, near the best that Apple has to offer but it is an all-round excellent phone. It has a much bigger display than the iPhone SE, and better camera functions too.

If you’re looking at getting a cheaper iPhone, consider stretching your budget slightly if taking photos and watching videos are some of the things you’ll be doing most of.  Many will also prefer the bigger screen for viewing apps, although it’s also going take up more space in your pocket or bag.

The iPhone XS explained

Released alongside the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS is the more premium phone in the 12th generation. It actually has a slightly smaller screen and, in most tests, a shorter battery life than the XR. But what it does have is a much better display, as the screen is a Super Retina OLED with an edge-to-edge design, so not only does the phone just feel more expensive but the way you watch video, browse photos and play games will change due to how smooth and vibrant the motion and colours are.

The XS also has dual rear cameras, both 12 megapixels, with one wide-lens and one telephoto to unlock a much wider range of shooting modes and generally higher-quality snaps.

The iPhone XS is available with more storage options too (a 256GB and 512GB version, as well as the 64GB and 128GB options you can also get the XR in) and it comes in three colours – Gold, Silver and Space Grey.

iPhone XS (64GB)
iPhone XS

Who is the iPhone XS for?

At a higher price point than the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS is for people who still aren’t looking for the very latest iPhone range so can save themselves some cash, but want premium quality tech. The screen looks amazing, and the dual lens rear camera will let you snap some incredible photos, so it’s the perfect phone if you want a balance between price and quality features.

It will still outperform most of the latest phones released by other brands.

The iPhone 11 explained

Announced and released in September 2019, the iPhone 11 is one of the best phones available to buy today. It’s essentially an upgraded version of the iPhone XR, again coming in six colours and with a 6.1 inch Liquid Retina display.

It has the dual camera system of the iPhone XS and is runs on the latest A13 processor, meaning it’s faster, smoother and it takes a wider variety of photos, in better quality, than the XR. Some of the key additions are an advanced Bokeh effect and automatic Night Mode for shooting in low light, as well as ‘slofies’ – slow motion selfies using the front camera.

iPhone 11 (64GB)
iPhone 11

Who is the iPhone 11 for?

The iPhone 11 is tailored to anyone who wants the latest iPhone but can’t afford, or doesn’t actually need, the more advanced Pro versions. It’s super-fast, it looks and feels fantastic in your hand and it’ll snap some amazing photos under all conditions.

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max explained

At the same time as the iPhone 11 was announced, a Pro range was also confirmed. It was the first time that the ‘Pro’ name was given to an iPhone, having previously been used in iPad and MacBook ranges.

The Pro range has an OLED display that supports HDR content, and a triple-lens rear camera that takes the best photos.

The screen on the iPhone 11 Pro is 5.85 inches while the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a bigger 6.46 inch screen. The other key difference between models is the battery life, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max offering around 33% more battery life than the iPhone 11 Pro.

iPhone 11 Pro (64GB)
iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max share the same outer design but the Max has a larger screen

Who is the iPhone 11 Pro for?

The iPhone 11 Pro is one of the best smartphones on the market, with very few handsets able to rival its incredible screen, super-fast processor, amazing triple-lens camera setup and wide range of features. If you want the latest iPhone tech, or you just want to make sure you have the best view or the sharpest, most vivid photos, the iPhone 11 Pro is the phone for you.

Who is the iPhone 11 Pro Max for?

In short, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is for everyone who wants the very latest iPhone and best specs, including the biggest screen and best battery life. Whether you’re churning through boxsets on the commute to work, or you’re just revelling in the range of photos you’ve taken of yourself, friends and family on the best mobile phone screen available, the 11 Pro Max is an outstanding choice.

Whichever iPhone model you choose, there’s no denying, Apple make some of the very best smartphones in the world. Hopefully this guide offers some help in choosing your next iPhone and if you have a question about any model or deal, you can tweet us at any time or message us on Facebook.

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