Making the best choice of model from Apple’s iconic smartphone range
If you decide to buy an iPhone whether you’re changing from the Android platform or staying with Apple iOS by upgrading your current model, the choice is less straightforward than it used to be.
There are presently no less than five different iPhone models available brand new covering a £350 – £1,150 price bracket ranging from the 4 inch screen SE to the latest X with its OLED 5.8 inch ‘edge to edge bezel’ screen.
Choosing the best value version requires careful thought.
A wide choice
Earlier in the iPhone’s history, when a new version was released Apple would discontinue its predecessor either immediately or soon after leaving just one model with a few variations in specification available.
Over the decade the company’s mega selling smartphone has been on the market this situation changed as the company began offering one or more previous generations of iPhone for sale alongside the new model at reduced prices. It means buyers can save money by not upgrading to the very latest tech and costlier tech if they don’t want or need to.
It’s not always necessary to buy a superseded model new. For example, if you don’t need the slight enhancements the latest iPhone 8 offers over its predecessor you could save further and buy a refurbished iPhone 7 rather than a brand new one.
Matching your requirements with the iPhone range
What offers the best value is decided by which model iPhone meets your needs without paying for features you don’t require. For example, why pay extra for the Plus versions of the iPhone 6S, 7 and 8 when you don’t require extra screen space?
The iPhones available new:
SE – at 4 inches, this is the smallest screen sized iPhone available and was launched in spring 2016.
The SE offers a compact option if you prefer to keep things bijou with your smartphone and offers pretty decent iPhone value at £350.
6S – if you prefer a larger screen the 6S offers a 4.7 inch display or 5.5 inch if you opt for the Plus version. You’ll pay £100 more for the standard 6S over the SE.
7 – the iPhone 7 looks very similar to the 6S but offers some improvements for an extra £100:
Screen – while the same size and type as its predecessor, it displays a wider range of colours so making the viewing experience more realistic.
Memory – the increased RAM (1 GB more) is useful for speeding up memory intensive tasks.
Camera – improved over the 6S, so if photography is important to you then the 7 may be the better option especially if you’d like improved low light performance. The 7 Plus features a dual lens camera so enhancing photo quality further and offering optical zoom capability.
Waterproof – the 7 is the first water resistant iPhone; it’ll withstand immersions to a depth of 1 metre for thirty minutes so conforming to IP67 waterproof rating standards.
And so to the latest models:
8 – many reviewers feel the 8 should really have been dubbed the ‘7S’ as its enhancements over the 7 itself are fairly small bearing in mind it represents a £150 price jump. That said, the 8 starts with 64GB of storage compared to the 32GB of the 7.
There are some differences that might make it worth your cash:
Wireless and fast charging – the 8 offers both fast and wireless charging for the first time in an iPhone although you’d also need to budget for the purchase of a wireless charging mat and a fast charging adapter as none come in the box.
Enhanced screen quality – the 8 features ‘True Tone’ screen capability; the display automatically adjusts colour tones and rendition depending on ambient light conditions so improving the viewing experience overall.
Camera improvements – while the iPhone 8 doesn’t change the camera specifications in any obvious way over the 7, processing and sensor quality is improved so it’s faster and improves low light performance.
The Plus version’s camera benefits from a ‘portrait’ mode to give a professional lighting look to photos.
X – the current flagship iPhone and the first all-new body design since the 6 appeared in 2014.
Along with an ultra thin bezel screen, the display is an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) type as used by Apple’s key competitors such as Samsung. This provides an even richer viewing experience over the already excellent high resolution screens of the other iPhones discussed here and features face recognition for the first time.
Otherwise, the processor and other internals of the X are pretty much as the 8 and it features the same dual lens camera as the Plus.
So what iPhone should you buy?
While it’s important to marry the features of a particular iPhone to your specific requirements, perhaps two models stand out:
If you’re on a budget or simply aren’t keen on larger screens and thus bigger handsets, the SE offers the full iPhone experience in a compact package offering a lot of smartphone for your money at £350.
If you do like the idea of a larger screen (or even larger still with the Plus version) then the iPhone 7 combines a good range of features with a useful price saving over the 8 and X. You’re getting a very powerful phone with an excellent screen and camera.
Along with saving money on non-latest model iPhones with refurbished specialists as mentioned above, there’s the possibility of Apple themselves offering refurbished handsets. At present they only offer them via their online stores serving the American market and not yet in the UK, although it’s worth keeping an eye on the situation as it could change.
What is the best value iPhone amongst the five models currently available new from Apple? The model range starting with the compact SE up to the latest X discussed.