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Which iPhone should I choose? Get the best model for you

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Apple’s iPhone range has grown into a wide–ranging, and often confusing, lineup of different devices released over several years. With wildly different prices and specs - and some models only available second hand - there's plenty of variety, which means there should be something for everyone.

But which should you choose? Apple has you covered whether you’re a tech novice or a hardcore fan after the very latest in cutting edge smartphone technology. Here’s our guide to helping you make the right decision.

Ready to start shopping? Take a look at our best iPhone deals.

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 (hero)

The entry-level model of Apple's new iPhone range will be more than good enough for most people. The camera is a real step on from last year's iPhone XR, with two lenses on the back for taking a much wider selecton of shots.

It also comes in a variety of colours, which are more eye-catching than its more expensive stablemates. Plus it runs the same iOS 13 operating system, with the new dark mode, better Apple Maps and lots more features.

What’s good about the iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is the cheapest of Apple's new range, but starting at £729, it's not exactly a budget buy. Though to put it in perspective, that is £20 cheaper than its precedessor, last year's iPhone XR.

Inside is Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, which is the fastest ever to feature in a smartphone. And battery life is also a big step on from its predecessor.

But it's the camera that really sells this phone. A new night mode turns on automatically, making your low-light shots much more clear and detailed. And you can zoom out from a shot you've taken to see much more of the surroundings.

What’s bad about the iPhone 11

Being the baby of the bunch, the iPhone 11 isn't quite up there with the 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max in terms of specs. There are only two rear cameras instead of three, and it doesn't have as extensive a list of shooting and editing options.

The screen is also more basic. It uses a less advanced screen technology, meaning it's not quite as bright or as clear.

But really, there's not much to choose between them. And if you can do without the pro-level photography skills, the iPhone 11 will do you proud.

The iPhone 11 is right for you if:

  • You want the latest iPhone without paying £1,000 for it
  • You can live without pro-level photographic abilities
  • But you still want a very advanced camera

Want Apple’s latest iPhone? Check out our best iPhone 11 deals.

iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro camera (hero)

The Pro is a step up from the standard iPhone 11. The screen is brighter and more brilliant, and the camera more advanced, with three lenses on the back giving you far more opportunities to take some amazing photos.

It's also more subdued than the iPhone 11 in terms of style, coming in a range of muted colours.

What’s good about the iPhone 11 Pro

It's like the iPhone 11 on steroids. Because it has an OLED screen instead of LCD, it's brighter, and the difference between the light and dark parts of the picture are far more evident. That means the bright parts will really pop from the screen, while the darker parts will be inky black. It also has more gradual 'steps' in between these two extremes, giving the picture more detail.

Three lenses on the back let you zoom in and out of photos you've already taken, shifting the focus or adding in more of the surroundings for more context. But unlike some mobile cameras, it's still very simple to use.

The colour scheme is more muted than the iPhone 11 too, reflecting its more sophisticated nature. It comes in four colours: grey, silver, green and gold.

And despite being more advanced than the iPhone 11, it's a little smaller than it, with a 5.8-inch screen (the iPhone 11's is 6.1 inches).

What’s bad about the iPhone 11 Pro

All these advances come at a cost. The cheapest model costs £1,049, and that only gives you 64GB of storage - not much, considering how many photos you'll be taking with that awesome camera. The next step up is 256GB, which will cost you £1,199, and the highest capacity model (512GB) will set you back £1,399. Ouch.

It's also smaller than the iPhone 11, albeit only marginally. Still, if you're paying this much, you might want a bigger handset.

The iPhone 11 Pro is right for you if:

  • You want a step up from the standard iPhone 11
  • Photography is very important to you
  • You're not fussed about having the biggest phone around

Want Apple’s iPhone 11-beater? Check out our best iPhone 11 Pro deals.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 11 launch - iPhone 11 Pro - Demo including camera22

This is the big daddy. It's Apple's biggest handset, towering above the others so much that it puts them in its shadow.

Other than that, it's the same phone as the iPhone 11 Pro - same amazing camera, same brilliant screen tech and same superfast processor. It even comes in the same colour schemes.

What’s good about the iPhone 11 Pro Max

It's massive. The screen is 6.5 inches large, which is bigger than the iPhone 11 Pro (5.8 inches) and iPhone 11 (6.1 inches). That makes it great for watching videos like films and TV shows, as well as playing games. Netflix addicts, this is the phone for you.

It has the same three camera arrangement as the iPhone 11 Pro, giving you fantastic photography options like the ability to zoom in and out of photos you've already taken. Night mode makes your evening shots a whole lot clearer, while the A13 Bionic processor keeps everything moving smoother than a samurai sword through hot butter.

What’s bad about the iPhone 11 Pro Max

Its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness - 6.5 inches will be too big for some people. As well as being potentially unwiedly to use, it will take up a lot of room in your bag or maybe even not fit in your pocket. Not ideal.

It's also Apple's priciest iPhone. The 64GB model costs £1,149, the 256GB £1,299 and the 512GB £1,499. So it's for big spenders only.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is right for you if:

  • You want the biggest and best iPhone available
  • You can live without a brightly coloured phone
  • You watch a lot of content on your phone

Want Apple’s biggest and best iPhone? Check out our best iPhone 11 Pro Max deals.

iPhone XR

iPhone XR lock screen hero size

Our pick for best phone of the year 2018, the iPhone XR delivers all the best features of a 2018 iPhone but without the £1,000+ price tag.

Like the iPhone X before it, the XR comes without a physical home button. So if you haven’t used a new iPhone in a while, you’ll have to learn a bunch of new gestures to perform basic functions, such as closing apps and returning to the homescreen.

Although it might feel like a lot to get used to, Apple’s intuitive new gestures feel like second nature within a matter of hours. And without a home button taking up room, the screen can fill the front of the phone, giving you a widescreen display in your pocket.

What’s good about the iPhone XR

As we mentioned, one of the main reasons to choose the XR is the price. Although, at £629 for the entry-level XR, it’s certainly not a cheap phone, it’s considerably less expensive than the iPhone 11, which starts at £729.

And for the money, you’re still getting all the best bits of an iPhone without the some of the costlier extras. The camera’s still great, the screen’s still lovely and the design still looks high-end.

It’s available in lots of bright colours, including yellow and coral shades. So the iPhone XR is actually a lot more eye-catching than the understated elegance of its costlier sibling, the iPhone XS.

What’s bad about the iPhone XR

As you’d expect from the price, the iPhone XR isn’t quite as good as the XS. It only comes with a single-lens camera, rather than an expensive dual-lens setup, and the screen doesn’t shine quite as bright.

Still, the camera and screen work well and only the most discerning of phone users would be able to notice much of a difference.

But however good the iPhone XR is, it might not be the device for you if you don’t like big phones. Slightly shorter and wider than the mighty XS Max, the XR can feel a bit unwieldy in smaller hands, and can be a pain to use one-handed.

The iPhone XR is right for you if:

  • You want a mid-range iPhone
  • You’re happy to do without a couple of premium features
  • You can handle a large handset

Want Apple’s latest iPhone? Check out our best iPhone XR deals.

iPhone XS

iPhone XS app tray hero size

The sequel to 2017's much-loved iPhone X, the XS is certainly a worthy successor. It comes with a stunning all-screen front, slimmer bezels (edges) than the cheaper iPhone XR and a fantastic dual-lens camera.

Smaller than the XR and the XS Max, it’s more comfortable to use and will slip easily into your jeans pocket.

It’s one of the most durable iPhones on the market, with a waterproof rating of IP68. This means it can survive in two metres of water for up to 30 minutes. And although it’s made of glass, it’s said to be the strongest glass used on a smartphone. So it’s a lot tougher than it looks.

What’s good about the iPhone XS

The stand-out feature of the XS range is undoubtedly the camera. Although a dual-lens setup is now considered fairly standard on even mid-range Android devices, the XS snapper gives you nigh-on professional images.

The Portrait mode has been improved since the iPhone X and photos taken in low-light are surprisingly clear and detailed.

Elsewhere, although the screen size is smaller than that on the XS Max, it’s just as bright. And, as we’ve said before, this only makes it easier to use one-handed.

What’s bad about the iPhone XS

Unsurprisingly, the main factor that puts people off the XS is the price. And, when there are cheaper alternatives, such as the XR and iPhone 8 that’ll still perform really well, it’s not difficult to see why people are opting for the less expensive versions.

Besides which, it’s not all that different to the iPhone X. And for this price Apple’s asking, you’d really want something genuinely innovative.

Having said that, if you’ve got the money, this is still a brilliant iPhone. And the quality of the camera alone makes it worth the extra.

The iPhone XS is right for you if:

  • You want a great iPhone without spending big
  • A smaller handset suits you best
  • Having an excellent camera phone really matters to you

Convinced this is the one for you? Check out our best iPhone XS deals.

iPhone XS Max

iPhone XS Max camera in use original filter hero size

With a big screen, the XS Max is truly a thing of beauty. The screen is huge, the camera impressive and battery life pretty long.

Although its size may make it difficult to use one-handed or slip into your skinny jeans pocket, having a big display certainly has advantages. If you like streaming movies or playing video games, they’ll look so much better on the XS Max.

And it’s powered by a nice big 3,174mAh battery. But with a screen this size, it needs a big powerpack to keep it going all day on a single charge.

What’s good about the iPhone XS Max

The XS Max has the same camera as the standard XS, which means stunning portrait shots and some pretty amazing low-light capabilities.

But, as we’ve mentioned before, the main attraction of the XS Max is the 6.5-inch super AMOLED screen that fills the front of the device, bar the small notch at the top that houses the selfie camera and flash.

The larger size may make it feel like more of a phablet. But as people move more and more towards using their smartphones in place of their laptops, tablets and TVs, a large display is becoming increasingly important.

What’s bad about the iPhone XS Max

Although the larger screen greatly improves the experience when watching films, playing games or multitasking, a huge handset doesn’t work for everyone. And if you’ve got small hands, you might be better off opting for a more compact device.

Of course, the other main reason you’ll likely be put off the XS Max is the price. Apple doesn't sell it any more, but when it did, it ranged from a hefty £1,099 for the 64GB model, all the way up to a positively iWatering £1,449 for the 512GB version.

And for that, you’re not getting anything greatly different to anything seen on the iPhone X, apart from a larger screen and an improved camera.

The iPhone XS Max is right for you if:

  • You’re happy to pay for more than the iPhone XS
  • You like a hefty handset
  • You’re after a big and beautiful screen

Want Apple’s best-ever iPhone? Check out our best iPhone XS Max deals.

iPhone X

iphone x packshot hero

2017's top-of-the-range iPhone was the first Apple smartphone without a physical home button, a mainstay since the first iPhone was unveiled in 2007. The result is a striking-looking phone with a screen that takes up the entire front of the handset.

The less good news, at least for people who are wedded to their home buttons, is that means you’ll have to learn a whole new set of gestures to use core functions, such as closing apps.

It features the very best in OLED screen tech, a dual lens camera and Face ID, Apple’s facial unlocking security that’s light-years ahead of the competition.

What’s good about the iPhone X

The iPhone X was the first Apple phone to come with Face ID. Apple’s impressive new facial-scanning tech is lightning-fast, unlocking the device even quicker than the Touch ID fingerprint scanner found on older iPhones. And it’s more secure too.

Elsewhere, the iPhone X’s dual-lens camera has some great photography features, including a fantastic portrait mode that lets you blur out background details to bring the subject of your snaps into razor-sharp focus, and a superb zoom function.

It also has a larger aperture that lets in more light for better snaps in low-light conditions.

The stunning all-screen front gives the iPhone X an entirely different look to all previous iPhone models. And it really pops when watching back 4K video and the latest shows on Netflix and Amazon.

It also comes with clever new features that simply aren’t available on older iPhones, such as Animoji, which lets you personalise emojis to sound like you and mimic your facial movements.

And it supports for wireless charging too.

What’s bad about the iPhone X

Unsurprisingly, the main downside of this gorgeous iPhone is the price. When Apple sold it, it started at £999 SIM–free, rising to £1,149 for a 256GB model. Contracts that include a free phone start at a shade over £50 per month, at the time of writing.

Aside from this, it’s hard to ignore the notch at the top that eats into the screen area and can be very distracting when you’re using apps that require the full screen.

Considering Apple is so renowned for its attention to design details, it’s a bit disappointing it didn’t find a way around it.

Some users also found the fact there’s no home button hard to get to grips with and had to learn new gestures to use the phone. But for what it’s worth, we found we soon got comfortable with the iPhone X and fully up to speed in a week or so.

Owners of traditional earphones should take note that there’s no headphone slot. So you’ll either have to use the adapter or splash out on a wireless pair.

The iPhone X is right for you if:

  • You're not wedded to your home button
  • You don’t mind paying a higher price
  • You’re an avid photographer and use your phone as your main camera

Want Apple’s newest and best iPhone? Check out our best iPhone X deals.

iPhone 8

iphone-8-official

To the untrained eye, the iPhone 8 looks much like 2016’s iPhone 7. But under the bonnet, it features much more advanced tech, as well as an impressive camera and a pin-sharp screen.

What’s good about the iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 has the same reassuringly familiar, comforting design that has worked so well for years, with a home button and Touch ID present and correct.

But winningly, it comes with an A11 Bionic processor, identical to that found inside the far more expensive iPhone X. So it runs incredibly quickly and smoothly, even when multitasking. And it can be charged wirelessly too.

Unlike the iPhone 7, Apple isn’t slowing down the iPhone 8’s performance to boost battery life. At least not yet. So you probably won’t have any issues with iOS updates for a while.

What’s bad about the iPhone 8

Although there are some key differences, the iPhone 8 isn’t a huge upgrade on the iPhone 7, and comes with the same camera tech and design as its predecessor.

And seeing as it isn’t available in a 32GB storage option, there isn’t a truly affordable option for the 2017 iPhones.

The battery life isn’t quite as good as we were expecting either.

The iPhone 8 is right for you if:

  • You want a powerful phone without the bells and whistles of the iPhone X
  • You want an iPhone that fits in your pocket
  • You’re after a large screen phone that sticks to the same design as Apple’s classic iPhones

Sold on the iPhone 8? Take a look at our best iPhone 8 deals.

iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus cameras hero size

The larger version of Apple’s iPhone 8 improves on the standard iPhone 8 a solid dual lens camera and large battery, keeping things ticking over for longer. In a nutshell, it’s the 2017 take on the iPhone 7 Plus, with many of the same features as that 2016 market leader.

What’s good about the iPhone 8 Plus

Much larger than the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus is much better for watching videos and playing games.

Aside from the obvious size difference though, the main benefit of choosing the Plus version rather than the standard iPhone 8 is the stunning dual-lens camera.

It comes with lots of different modes, including an excellent portrait mode for what photography enthusiasts call ‘bokeh’ shots. That’s when you blur out the background and foreground your subject in super sharp focus.

The all-glass construction means you can charge it wirelessly. And the iPhone 8 Plus battery lasts much longer than the one on the iPhone 7 Plus too.

It has the latest A11 processor so it performs really well, even when you’re multitasking.

What’s bad about the iPhone 8 Plus

Although the iPhone 8 Plus isn’t quite as pricey as the iPhone X, it’s not cheap. At the time of writing, the cheapest monthly contracts still come in at around £30 a month.

And for that money, you’re not getting a great deal more than you would with the iPhone 7 Plus. While the rear camera is excellent, it’s virtually identical to its predecessor and doesn’t offer anything particularly new or exciting.

Like the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus don’t have a headphone slot. So you’ll need to choose between using the adaptor included in the box or think about getting yourself a pair of wireless headphones.

The iPhone 8 Plus is right for you if:

  • You want a relatively recent iPhone without the hefty price tag
  • You’re a heavy phone user and need a device with a good battery life
  • You watch a lot of videos on your phone and crave a screen that’ll do them justice

Convinced the iPhone 8 Plus is the one for you? Here’s all our best iPhone 8 Plus deals.

iPhone 7

iPhone 7 angled water

Now this is going back a bit. The iPhone 7 was released in 2016. While it has many of the same features as the iPhone 8, it comes with a much lower SIM–free price tag.

What’s good about the iPhone 7

As we say, the iPhone 7 and 8 certainly have a lot in common. Both have a great single-lens camera and come with the same LCD screen that’s great for watching videos without taking up too much room in your pocket.

The iPhone 7 also has a waterproof rating of IP67, meaning it can survive in up to a metre of water for half an hour.

Although the iPhone 7 doesn’t have the lightning-quick A11 processor, the A10 will keep it running quickly and smoothly, even when you try to open multiple apps.

And the jet-black version is by far the best-looking, and frankly the coolest, colourway we’ve ever seen on an iPhone.

What’s bad about the iPhone 7

The main downside of getting an iPhone 7 is that it’s likely to become slower as newer iOS versions become available.

Apple has admitted to using software updates to deliberately slow down older iPhones, in a move it says is designed to stop devices from dying too quickly.

Still it’s not the end of the world. Replacement batteries can be bought under Apple’s iPhone battery replacement programme.

Elsewhere, the iPhone 7 doesn’t have wireless charging. Which won’t be a sticking point for too many people, unless you’ve already forked out for a wireless charging mat.

And like its newer siblings, it has no headphone slot. But again you can get round this with the adaptor or some wireless buds.

The iPhone 7 is right for you if:

  • You want a recent(ish) iPhone, without the premium price tag
  • You don’t care too much about the iPhone 8’s incremental updates
  • You’re accident-prone enough to need a waterproof phone

Want an iPhone 7? Take a look at all our best iPhone 7 deals.

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus rose gold

The larger, 5.5–inch model from Apple’s 2016 lineup was the first to feature a dual-lens camera. Even all these years later, it still rivals much of the competition and helps set the device apart from the smaller iPhone 7.

What’s good about the iPhone 7 Plus

The dual-lens camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is still among the best on any smartphone. It’s got a stunning portrait mode that helps you take flattering shots with minimal know-how.

The design of the handset is ultra-sharp, arguably better than the newer iPhone X. Certainly if you’re a bit of a traditionalist, you’ll love the look and feel of the 7 Plus.

The large screen makes video look particularly impressive. So there’s no need to invest in a tablet.

What’s bad about the iPhone 7 Plus

As with the iPhone 7, Apple is slowing the iPhone 7 Plus down in a bid to save batteries from dying. So you may notice a significant dip in performance when you upgrade your version of iOS.

And for all that, it’s still pretty pricey at the places that still sell it.

Also, there’s no headphone slot.

The iPhone 7 Plus is right for you if:

  • You love a good camera but don’t want to stump up extra for an iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X
  • You want a big, bright screen for watching videos and playing games
  • You like the look and feel of a traditional iPhone

Decided on the iPhone 7 Plus? Here’s our best iPhone 7 Plus deals.

iPhone 6s/6s Plus

iphone 6s hero image

2015’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still alive and kicking through third-party retailers. The second set of iPhones to offer larger displays, they may have come to the end of their shelf life, but they still make a good bet for iPhone and Apple first timers.

What’s good about the iPhone 6s/6s Plus

While they don’t have the fancy dual-lens tech of the newer generations, both the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus come with excellent single-lens cameras that’ll still give you great results even in low-light.

The phone itself runs quickly and smoothly and handles multitasking with aplomb.

And the iPhone 6s Plus is great for those who want the iPhone experience on a larger screen, but without the budget-busting cost of an iPhone X.

What’s bad about the iPhone 6/6s Plus

Although they're pretty cheap as iPhones go, they're still iPhones. So you can get better specced phones for less money.

And crucially, Apple is slowing these older models as it updates iOS. So you’ll probably need to take advantage of the iPhone battery replacement programme.

The iPhone 6s/6s Plus is right for you if:

  • You want a way into the iPhone ecosystem and need a big screen
  • You’re after a good deal and you’re not too worried about Apple’s latest frills

Want the standard 6s? Take a look at all our best iPhone 6s deals.

Prefer the larger model? Here are our best iPhone 6s Plus deals.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE hero

The 4–inch iPhone remains a classic. With the same design as the old–school iPhone 5s,the iPhone SE’s size and simplicity, not to mention its affordability, means it’s a must–have for those after a slice of Apple action without the need to take out an expensive contract.

You can just pick the SE SIM-free and sign up for a cut-price SIM only deal.

What’s good about the iPhone SE

One of the main selling points of the iPhone SE is its compact size. Its dinky 4–inch screen means it can be used one–handed, even by people with dainty fingers.

And it’s pretty cheap too. The SIM-free 32GB model can be found online for around £200 SIM–free.

Despite the small size and price, it’s actually rock solid. It feels far sturdier than the glass iPhone X and iPhone 8 and can survive the occasional drop

What’s bad about the iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is nearly four years old. So it’s subject to being slowed down by Apple to prolong its life.

And an imminent update means you could miss out on new features later on.

The iPhone SE is right for you if:

  • You want to try an iPhone for the first time
  • You like a phone that actually fits in your pocket
  • You want an iPhone for under £200

Take a look at all our best iPhone SE deals.

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