Buying an iPhone used to be a fairly simple process. You used to merely pick between the new model and the older model, both of which would have served your needs as an iPhone user fairly well.
But in the last few years, buying an iPhone has become increasingly more complicated. If you go to buy an iPhone today, you’ve got your choice between a whopping five different iPhone models, in addition to a bunch of different configurations and color choices.
So whether your choice of iPhone comes down to price, size, or getting the newest features, there’s definitely an iPhone out there for you.
The biggest differentiator between the different iPhones is size. Ranging from the smallest at a screen size of 4.0-inches, going clear up to the Plus-size 5.5-inch models. The smallest, the iPhone SE, came out in early 2016, but has the design of the old iPhone 5. It has a bit of a harsher edge and has that great two-tone color at the antenna bands. It’s perfect for one-handed use and ideal for people with small hands. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get an update this year to the iPhone SE, so it’s still a safe buy right now.
In the middle size (which is where most people will probably want to be looking), you’ve got a choice between the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7. Both models have 4.7-inch displays, which is still fairly small by modern smartphone standards.
Lastly, between the larger sizes you’ve got either the iPhone 6s Plus or the iPhone 7 Plus. These 5.5-inch displays are big and beautiful, but the result is an absolutely massive phone to hold in your hand or fit in your pocket. Unlike many Android smartphones that have 5.5-inch (or even bigger) displays, the iPhone has a fairly large top and bottom bezels to keep things symmetrical and to make room for that big Home button.
Photo by GagliardiImages / Shutterstock
Pricing is where things get interesting with the iPhone. There are all sorts of different deals you can get with carriers, whether it’s trading in old phones or one of the many “rental” programs that many carriers love to push on people these days. But according to the actual prices that you can buy through Apple, the cheapest iPhone you can get is the $399 iPhone SE. While it’s significantly smaller than the other phones, it’s got the same processor as the iPhone 6s, meaning it can still hold up fairly well with anything you throw at it.
Next up is the iPhone 6s ($549) and the iPhone 6s Plus ($649). These 2015 smartphones are getting a little old at this point, though both are still capable devices. If you want some
personal advice, I’d say that unless you really want the bigger display, you’re better off getting the iPhone 7 over the iPhone 6s Plus. It has a faster processor, a bunch of new features, and comes in at the same price. In addition, it’s got optical image stabilization, which will make a real difference in how your photos look.
There isn’t much to say about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus—both are expensive, but are also top-of-the-line devices. In addition, you can now get either of these phones in red (or the shiny black jet model), if that’s your thing.
Photo by Leszek Kobusinski / Shutterstock.
The thing to know upfront is if you want a headphone jack, you’ll be choosing from either the iPhone SE, the iPhone 6s or the iPhone 6s Plus. These three models are very similar in terms of features: they all support iOS 10, Touch ID, and have the same 12-megapixel camera. The single difference between the SE and the 6s is that Apple’s 3D Touch feature is not included on the SE. On the other hand, the iPhone 6s Plus has optical image stabilization, which means it’s got a significantly better camera than the other two.
As for the new models, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have an assortment of important new features that you can only get with these models. They’re both splash, water, and dust resistance—and also both have new stereo speakers and offer a 128GB configuration. The only real difference between the two models (outside of price and display size) is the iPhone 7 Plus’s new dual-camera setup. The two cameras allow the iPhone 7 Plus to have both a wide-angle and telephoto lens. Essentially, the camera gives you an optical zoom which means you can perform a 2x zoom without losing a single pixel of fidelity.
Photo by Leon Neal / Getty Images.
The difference between the models is smaller than you’d think, which makes the decision that much harder. If you’re an iPhone user, you’re probably used to the price by now. With that being said, your choice of iPhone should really be coming down to determining which size you prefer and which features are must-haves to you.
Is having the absolute best camera the most important feature to you? Get the iPhone 7 Plus. Being able to use your phone one-handed? The iPhone SE is the one for you. The only device that probably has the least bang-for-your-buck right now is probably the iPhone 6s Plus—due to it currently being the same price as the iPhone 7.
The rumors are pointing to three (yes, three) new iPhones coming out later this fall. We don’t know for sure how Apple will rearrange its lineup accordingly, but you can know one thing for sure: the best time to buy an iPhone is definitely between September and December. The closer you get to September, the more you are purchasing an older phone at full price.