If you want to buy an iPhone but you’re unsure of which is best for you, we’ve got you covered. You’ve made the decision to buy a new iPhone, but that decision isn’t as simple as it once was: while it was once a case of simply deciding on storage capacity and colour, now there are multiple models of iPhone available, each with its pros and cons.
So, which is the best iPhone to buy right now? In truth, it’ll depend a lot on what you want to get out of your smartphone.
iPhones come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of camera options and other unique features that set them apart from the Android competition, and here, we’ve ranked the best iPhones currently available to buy.
1. iPhone 14 Pro – Best overall
- Unique Dynamic Island camera cutout
- Impressive 48Mp snapper
- All-round camera enhancements
- Always-on display tech
- More expensive in the UK
- Average battery life
The iPhone 14 Pro is the best iPhone for most people right now. It offers key improvements over the iPhone 13 Pro not only in terms of raw performance but new features too, with the iPhone 14 Pro sporting key new tech including Apple’s new Dynamic Island camera cutout.
Replacing the standard Face ID notch, the oblong-shaped cut-out is an impressive blend of software and hardware that brings the notch into the iOS experience, displaying timers, music controls and more without having to access your lock screen. It’s utterly charming and a true highlight of Apple’s keen eye for software and hardware design.
That’s not all though; it’s also the first iPhone to offer an always-on display, and in true Apple form, it’s much better than the Android competition. While it dims the display, you’ve still got full access to your wallpaper, time, widgets, notifications and music controls without any real impact on overall battery life.
The 48Mp rear snapper is another highlight of this year’s Pro model; using 4-in-1 pixel binning tech, the new main camera offers an impressive boost not only to overall detail but low-light photography. That’s a trend of all cameras on the 14 Pro, with Apple claiming a general 2x improvement.
The only real disappointment is battery life; while it’ll keep on going if left on standby, you’ll likely only be able to squeeze about a day’s use out of the phone before it’ll need a top-up – a stark difference to the big-screen iPhone 13 Pro Max and (likely) the iPhone 14 Plus & Pro Max.
2. iPhone 14 – Best for most people
Outstanding battery life
Superb dual cameras
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In Apple’s lineup, the iPhone 14 takes the place of the iPhone 13 and, like its predecessor, is the go-to iPhone for most users. It features excellent cameras despite not having the 48Mp camera found in Pro models, outstanding battery life that easily lasts all day, and a brilliant display even though it runs at 60Hz.
It’s big enough to enjoy the display without being unwieldy like the iPhone Plus and Max models, and it isn’t a lead weight in a pocket or bag. That’s down to the use of an aluminium frame in place of the stainless steel of the Pro models, but the aluminium sides of the iPhone 14 feel great, and they don’t pick up greasy fingerprints like the Pro models either.
Throw in other features including full waterproofing, wireless charging, satellite connectivity and car crash detection and you have a solid iPhone that will last you for four or five years.
It’s not quite enough for iPhone 13 owners to upgrade, however, and for this price should have a high refresh rate display and the ability to shoot in RAW format so people can use the camera as a professional tool – it was possible on the iPhone 13 Pro, and the iPhone 14 shares the same camera and chipset.
3. iPhone 13 Pro Max – Best for battery life
- Longest battery life of any iPhone
- Gorgeous 120Hz 6.7in display
- Great camera performance
- Very expensive
- Large, bulky form factor
After we review the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we anticipate replacing this entry in our chart. For a complete update, come back soon.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is less appealing this time around if you don’t like the huge display it offers because, unlike the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there are no differences between it and the iPhone 13 Pro.
It’s a big 6.7in Super Retina XDR OLED display with the same 120Hz ProMotion tech as the iPhone 13 Pro, able to jump between 10- and 120Hz depending on what you’re doing. There’s also the same A15 Bionic at its heart, although with a suspected bump in RAM compared to the other models.
Like the iPhone 13 Pro, it’s the camera department where the iPhone 13 Pro Max shines. Sporting a 12Mp main snapper with the same sensor-shift OIS and wider f/1.5 aperture, the 13 Pro Max is capable of taking great photos both during the day and at night. It also benefits from improvements to the ultrawide and telephoto lens, and there’s Apple ProRaw video recording available for pro-level videographers too.
Where the iPhone 13 Pro Max truly shines is in the battery department; it offers an extra 2 hours compared to the already-impressive 12 Pro Max, beating not only every iPhone before it, but keeping up with some of the best Android competition too. The downside is that the larger display and battery means the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a bit of a beast to hold one-handed, and it’s noticeably heavier too. Pair that with the added starting cost and the fact that there isn’t anything unique about the latest Pro Max, it’s only for those that really want the large display.
4. iPhone 13 – Still a strong contender
- Gorgeous design
- Great battery life
- Strong performance
- 60Hz display
- No telephoto lens
Despite being replaced by the iPhone 14, the iPhone 13 remains a solid choice for those that can get hold of it. It sports the same general form factor as the updated iPhone 14, and boasts a similar level of performance with the same A15 Bionic chipset at its heart.
There’s also great camera performance, sporting the Sensor-Shift OIS previously exclusive to the top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max, though it doesn’t get the autofocus tech on the front-facing camera like the newer model. There’s also a 2-hour jump in battery life compared to its predecessor too.
But while the overall experience is still strong, there are certain areas where the iPhone 13 is lacking. While you will receive an ultrawide camera with macro photography capabilities, you won’t find a telephoto lens for close-up portrait pictures. It is capped at 60Hz, down from 120Hz on the Pro models. There’s also a slower maximum charge speed to consider.
None of those, though, are absolute deal-breakers, and the iPhone 13 is still a fantastic smartphone at an even more reasonable price if you’re not too bothered about having the best of everything.
5. iPhone 13 mini – Best small-screen iPhone
- Perfect small-screen experience
- No compromise on performance
- Great cameras
- 60Hz display
- Small battery gains
- Slower MagSafe charging
Incase iPhone 13 6.1 inch display is a bit big for you then iPhone 13 mini is suitable for you.
It offers the same iPhone experience as the standard model, complete with an A15 Bionic at its heart, Apple’s Super Retina XDR display (albeit at a smaller 5.4in) and improved main and ultrawide lenses, sporting sensor-shift OIS like the more premium models, but in a much smaller form factor.
The smaller display of the iPhone 13 mini makes it less suitable for watching Netflix and YouTube videos, even though it is the ideal iPhone for one-handed use.
Although battery life has increased in comparison to the 12 Mini due to the smaller size, it still can’t quite match the overall performance of the larger models. Additionally, it continues to have a 12W MagSafe charging cap, which is lower than the range’s average of 15W.
6. iPhone SE (2022) – Most affordable iPhone
- A15 Bionic chipset
- 5G connectivity
- Affordable price
- Dated design
- Small 720p LCD display
- Single rear camera
Apple’s iPhone SE range is devoted to function over form, prioritizing raw performance over design or aesthetics, and that’s just as true with the latest 2022 variant – but possibly to its detriment.
Sporting the same A15 Bionic chipset and 5G connectivity as the iPhone 13 series, the iPhone SE outperforms every Android competitor in its price range and 5G connectivity is a welcome addition, but that performance comes at a cost.
The iPhone SE’s vintage design feels more dated than ever, and its 720p LCD display appears to be getting smaller and less capable of rendering apps and web pages made for larger mobile displays.
Additionally, there is a single 12MP camera on the back. It has a processor that is more than competent at taking nice images in bright light and even in slightly low light, but it lacks advanced photography settings like Night Mode and Cinematic Video mode.
Only those who really must have an iPhone, but who cannot afford the iPhone 13 Mini or who cannot say goodbye to Touch ID, should get the iPhone SE. There is a better iPhone out there for almost everyone else.
What should I consider when buying an iPhone?
One of the biggest deciding factors when on the market for an iPhone is the screen size you want, or most feel comfortable using – we don’t all have huge hands to use the iPhone 14 Pro Max one-handed, do we?
The iPhone 13 mini, with its 5.4-inch display, is your best option if you prefer smaller screens. It might’ve been ditched with the iPhone 14 range, so you’ll miss out on the latest features, but it’s the most portable iPhone in Apple’s collection. Despite having a smaller display than the 13 mini, the 4.7-inch iPhone SE actually has a somewhat larger overall size due to its significantly wider bezels.
The iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, both measuring 6.1 inches, are then displayed. You’d be better off with the iPhone 14 Plus or iPhone 14 Pro Max at 6.7in if you want the largest display imaginable.
Performance is another element to consider when buying an iPhone, as you’ll likely want to get the most out of your device – especially at Apple’s prices.
Apple introduced 5G support with the iPhone 12 range, so if you want the fastest connection speeds you’ll have to buy one of the newer iPhones.
5G availability is still limited in many countries and regions, but remember that it is improving, so upgrading to 5G might be seen as futureproofing – so long as you expect to stick with the same iPhone for at least another two years.
Of course, the biggest factor to consider is your budget: how much do you want to spend on your iPhone? The iPhone 14 Pro is a phenomenal smartphone, but starting at $999, it should be – and that’s not considering the £150 increase compared to the 13 Pro in the UK, now starting at £1,099.
Incredibly, that’s not even the most expensive iPhone; that award goes to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which starts at $1,099/£1,199 and goes all the way up to $1,599/£1,749.
The iPhone 14’s $799/£849 price tag is much more attractive if you want flagship specs, while the 14 Plus offers the big-screen experience at a more affordable $899/£949.
The cheapest iPhone is the iPhone SE at $429/£449, and although it does offer the same A15 chipset as the iPhone 13 range, there’s a compromise not only in terms of design but other areas too.
But hey, if you want to get into the iOS ecosystem at the cheapest price possible, the iPhone SE could be the one to go for.
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