Apple’s iPhones consistently rank in the top of sales charts for new releases. Given they created the smartphone market with the release of the original iPhone, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

But since the initial release, Apple has released an additional 20 iPhone models… And they keep around 7 models in productions at all times.

So how do you know which one to buy?

For most people... we think the iPhone XR is the best new iPhone to buy.

However, depending on how you plan to use it -- and how much you’re willing to spend on a phone -- there might be better options available.

In this guide, we’re going to compare the various iPhone models available today and discuss the options and features that matter to help you find an ideal match for your budget and needs.

Let’s dive in…


The Current Apple iPhone Line-Up

Apple currently has 7 iPhone models for sale. Three options are from the latest generation while four are past models that are still available new.

The latest models include:

Past models still available for sale include:

The iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max all use the newest design with minimal bezels, a notch at the top, and no home button or fingerprint scanner. Instead, they use Face ID authentication.

The iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8 Plus feature a more traditional design with a home button and fingerprint scanner below the display and bezels at the top and bottom of the display.


All of them have a similar shape and the high build quality and materials for which the iPhone series is known.

On the performance front, every iPhone model offers plenty of power. In fact, the A11 Bionic processor used in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus is only beat by the A12 Bionic processor in the XR, XS, and XS Max.

They also all support multiple storage capacities, feature cameras more than capable of capturing outstanding pictures, and beautiful displays perfect for watching videos or playing games.

Sure, the XS and XS Max have newer OLED displays that are better than the others, but the screens on the remaining models are still some of the best on the market.

We think for many the iPhone XR is the best option for most buyers.

If you absolutely cannot stand the notch display -- or prefer a fingerprint-based way to unlock your phone -- the iPhone 8 offers comparable performance and a slightly lower price as well.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are still great phones. But for the cost difference, upgrading to the 8 or 8 Plus is likely a worthwhile expense.

The top of Apple’s line-up, the iPhone XS and XS Max, are beautiful phones and feature the latest Apple tech. But they come with a price tag to match and we’d argue that the phone is likely overkill for most buyers.

However, if you have the budget for it, it is one of the most powerful phones ever released and its camera stands up to the best the market has to offer.

Want a deeper comparison of iPhone models?

The two tables below will help to compare specs between models and see how they stack up.


iPhone Models Compared (XR, XS, XS Max)


iPhone XR

iPhone XS

iPhone XS Max

Price Starting at $749 Starting at $999 Starting at $1,099
Screen Size 6.1 inches 5.8 inches 6.5 inches
Screen Clarity 326 pixels-per-inch 458 pixels-per-inch 458 pixels-per-inch
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
Processor A12 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine A12 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine
A12 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine
RAM 3GB 4GB 4GB
Cameras
12MP rear camera with 7MP front-facing TrueDepth camera 12MP dual-lens rear camera with wide-angle/telephoto lenses and 5x optical zoom

7MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
12MP dual-lens rear camera with wide-angle/telephoto lenses and 5x optical zoom

7MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
Video Recording 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120fps or 240fps
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
Battery Life (Up to) 25 hours talk time, 15 hours Internet use, 16 hours video playback, 65 hours audio playback 20 hours talk time, 12 hours Internet use, 14 hours video playback, 60 hours audio playback 25 hours talk time, 13 hours Internet use, 15 hours video playback, 65 hours audio playback
Weight 6.84 ounces (194 grams) 6.24 ounces (177 grams) 7.34 ounces (208 grams)
Water Resistance Water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Water resistant to a depth of 2 meters for up to 30 minutes
Water resistant to a depth of 2 meters for up to 30 minutes
Dimensions 15.1 x 7.6 x 0.8 cm (5.9 x 3 x 0.3 in)
14.3 x 7.1 x 0.8 cm (5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
15.7 x 7.7 x 0.8 cm (6.2 x 3 x 0.3 in)
Security Face ID Face ID
Face ID
Connector Lightning Lightning
Lightning
View Full Comparison


iPhone Models Compared (Continued) (7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus)


iPhone 7

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 8

iPhone 8 Plus

Price Starting at $449 Starting at $569 Starting at $599 Starting at $699
Screen Size 4.7 inch 5.5 inch 4.7 inch 5.5 inch
Screen Clarity 326 pixels-per-inch 401 pixels-per-inch 326 pixels-per-inch
401 pixels-per-inch
Storage 32GB, 128GB, 256GB 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
64GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB
Processor Apple A10 Fusion Quad core 1.8 GHz
Apple A10 Fusion Quad core 1.8 GHz
Apple A11 Bionic Hexa core 2.39 GHz
Apple A11 Bionic Hexa core 2.39 GHz
RAM 2GB 3GB 2GB 3GB
Cameras
12MP rear camera with 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera 12MP dual-lens rear camera with wide-angle and telephoto lenses

7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera
12MP rear camera with 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera
12MP dual-lens rear camera with wide-angle and telephoto lenses

7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera
Video Recording 4K video recording at 30 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
4K video recording at 30 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
Battery Life (Up To) 14 hours talk time, 12 hours Internet use, 13 hours video playback, 40 hours audio playback 21 hours talk time, 13 hours Internet use, 14 hours video playback, 60 hours audio playback 14 hours talk time, 12 hours Internet use, 13 hours video playback, 40 hours audio playback 21 hours talk time, 13 hours Internet use, 14 hours video playback, 60 hours audio playback
Weight 4.87 ounces (138 grams)
6.63 ounces (188 grams)
5.22 ounces (148 grams)
7.13 ounces (202 grams)
Water Resistance Water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Water resistant to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Dimensions 13.8 x 6.7 x 0.7 cm (5.4 x 2.6 x 0.3 in)
15.8 x 7.8 x 0.7 cm (6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 in)
13.8 x 6.7 x 0.7 cm (5.4 x 2.6 x 0.3 in)
15.8 x 7.8 x 0.8 cm (6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 in)
Security Touch ID Touch ID Touch ID Touch ID
Connector Lightning Lightning
Lightning
Lightning
View Full Comparison


Factors to Consider When Choosing an iPhone

With knowledge of the options available, it’s time to determine which model best fits your specific needs. Here are some of the factors we consider most important when choosing.

Price

While the iPhone XS Max might set the bar in terms of performance for the smartphone market, it also features one of the biggest price tags ever seen on a mobile phone.

So unless a budget isn’t an issue for you, the price will be one of the first things to consider when narrowing your choices.

Keep in mind that if you choose to finance your phone, it might make a higher model more affordable upfront, you’ll make payments on it every month on top of the fees for service. In some cases, carriers or retailers also add interest or financing fees. So you could pay more in the long run for your phone than simply buying it outright.

Also, financing doesn’t include insurance in most cases. So you’ll probably want to add some form of coverage while you’re paying off your phone.

If you don’t have insurance and break your phone while paying for it, you’ll still be responsible for the remaining balance. This can make it harder to afford a replacement.

Storage

Unlike many Android phones, you cannot expand the storage on iPhones. So it’s important to consider how much storage you’ll need to avoid having to uninstall apps down the road or rely on cloud storage to keep files you need easily accessible.

Fortunately, iPhones start at 32GB of storage -- and the newer models start at 64GB. So even with the baseline versions, you’ll have a nice allotment of space.

But if you like to keep movies or music on your phone for offline enjoyment, play a lot of graphics-intensive games, want to record video often, or are planning to use your phone for work, you might want to consider upgrading to a version with more storage.

Security

With the release of the iPhone X, Apple removed the fingerprint scanner from their phones.

If you’re not comfortable with the concept of facial recognition, you can still buy an iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus to use the classic fingerprint scanning method of unlocking your phone.

Just keep in mind that as Apple continues to update and release iPhone models in the future, you’ll eventually have no choice but to transition to a Face ID phone.

If you prefer the convenience of Face ID, you’ll find it on the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.

Displays

The iPhone X also saw the introduction of one of the most debated phone design features of 2018 -- the infamous screen notch.

It’s easy to see if you look at a picture of an iPhone X model. And for that reason, reviewers seem to either love the notch or despise it.

Notch aside, there another benefit to the newer XS and XS Max phones -- they’re the first Apple phones to use an OLED panel. This means you’ll get better contrast and color than on the other models.

Still, the LCD panels on the rest of the models offer plenty of sharpness, great color balance, and enough brightness to use outdoors with ease. So whichever way you go, you’ll enjoy some of the best phone screens on the market.

Size

All of the phones in this list are much larger than the original iPhone. But there is enough variation in size to help you find a phone that you’re comfortable carrying around and using.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are the smallest phones in the lineup while the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS Max are the largest.

We think that for many, the iPhone XR is a good middle-ground with dimensions of 5.9 x 3 x 0.3 inches (15.1 x 7.6 x 0.8 cm).

Cameras

Apple’s iPhones consistently place near the top of rankings for both photography and video recording.

With each generation, they’ve improved upon the already-excellent cameras of the previous generation. So in most cases, if want an estimate of how the cameras compare, simply look at the age of the device.

However, there are two exceptions. Both the 7 Plus and 8 Plus include a notably better dual-lens camera than their non-Plus siblings with single-lens cameras.

If you’re looking at an iPhone XR, XS, or XS Max, this isn’t as much of a concern. While the XR has a single-lens camera compared to the dual-lens cameras on the XS or XS Max, Apple uses software to make many of the dual-lens features -- such as portrait mode -- available on the XR as well.

In fact, we’d say that in terms of value and features, the iPhone XR is one of the best picks for photography in the latest line up.

Performance

Normally you’d think that performance would be pretty important. However, all the iPhone models currently available for sale new from Apple offer a nice experience, can play games with little worry, and will pop between apps quickly.

While, yes, the XS and XR are the fastest phones ever produced, their only competition is the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. And while the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus fall slightly behind yet again, they keep up with many of 2018’s high-end Android releases with no problem.

Regardless of the phone you pick, you can count on great performance. If you’re looking for a phone to own for a few years though, you might want to consider the iPhone 8 or iPhone X options for a bit of future-proofing.


So Which iPhone Should I Buy?

Picking the ideal option for your needs will depend on your budget and how you plan to use your new tablet.

If you're not sure where to start, consider these picks.

iPhone XR

Best Overall

Pros: Mid-sized, great performance, middle-ground pricing, multiple color options
Cons: No OLED panel, no storage expansion options, no headphone jack


The Apple iPhone XR combines the sleek look and design of the iPhone X series with scaled back specs to keep the cost lower. But the compromises Apple made are smart, so you still get a premium experience.

The phone’s display looks great, the processor can keep up with the latest games or multitasking with ease, and the camera takes shots that rival any recently released high-end phone.

Many reviewers argue that the steps up from the XR -- the XS and XS Max -- are actually more phone than the average person will ever use. So why pay more than you need to?

The XR is still ahead of most Android phones in nearly every spec and benchmark. It’s cheaper than both the XS and XS Max by a substantial margin. And it also comes in some fun colors if you like your phone to have a little personality.


Bottom line...
The iPhone XR offers everything you need and just enough extra to age gracefully. While it’s not the top-tier option from Apple’s lineup, it’s the one that offers the best value for the money. It’s the best iPhone for most people.

LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW

Apple iPhone XS Max

Best iPhone for Media Lovers, Gamers, Enthusiasts


Pros:
Large OLED display, nearly bezel-free, unmatched performance, plenty of storage options
Cons: Price, no headphone jack


The iPhone XS Max tops the charts in nearly every way a mobile phone can. It has the most powerful processor available, the most RAM in the iPhone lineup, Apple’s new OLED display, and a camera that can capture images that rival the best phone cameras available.

Of course, all of this comes at a price. But if you want a phone that will make your favorite movies or tv shows pop, can play the latest games at the highest settings, or simply want the best that Apple offers, the iPhone XS Max delivers.


Bottom Line...
The iPhone XS Max blows any other 2018 or early-2019 smartphone away on virtually every front. If you don’t mind the price tag, it’s the ultimate phone experience.


LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW


Apple iPhone XS

Best iPhone for Photography and Video


Pros:
Optical zoom, dual-lens camera, slow-motion video recording, 60 FPS 4K video recording, OLED display
Cons: No storage expansion options, no headphone jack


While the camera in the XS looks a lot like the camera from the iPhone X on paper, Apple has added some subtle tweaks to help the camera compete with the photography heavyweights -- such as the Google Pixel 2 and the Huawei P20 Pro.

And reviewers are happy with the results.

HDR, low-light shots, autofocus, and image stabilization have all seen improvements. The result is a camera that you can point and shoot with little worry about how the shot will turn out.

Reviewers were also pleased with the software processing, noting that it enhances shots well without making them look fake or overly processed.

On the video front, you’ll find a wealth of options from 4K video at 60 FPS to super slow motion and respectable shot stabilization.


Bottom line...
The iPhone XS can go toe-to-toe with the best smartphone cameras on the charts. It’s also an ideal size for pulling out of your pocket for quick snapshots and the OLED screen makes it easier to check details and color in pictures and video before sending them off to family, friends, or your Instagram stalkers.

LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW


Apple iPhone 8

Best Budget-Friendly iPhone, Best iPhone for Teens


Pros:
Lower price, plenty of power, decent camera, tons of cases and accessories
Cons:No headphone jack, no storage expansion options, no Face ID


While the iPhone 8 falls behind the newer X-series iPhones, it’s no slouch. In fact, it was top of the charts for a range of things up until the XS came out.

And it’s only slightly more expensive than the iPhone 7. So we feel the added cost is worth it in terms of how long you’ll be able to use the phone.

The phone offers more than enough power for the latest games and the display is great for streaming movies or TV shows. The cameras are also decent enough to take great photos for your Instagram or have you looking your best on Snapchat.

All of this at a price significantly lower than the latest-generation offerings.


Bottom line...
The iPhone 8 offers most of the experience of the latest iPhone models at a fraction of the price. While it’s not the absolute cheapest option in Apple’s lineup, it should age well and provide value for years if you pop it in a case and are careful with drops and spills.


LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW


Common Questions

If you’ve never used an iPhone, you might have questions about how they work and which iPhones will meet your needs.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common iPhone questions we’ve seen.



















Final Thoughts

As the smartphone that started it all, Apple’s iPhones continue to be a popular choice.

The consistent interface, sleek styling, and great build quality ensure a familiar, reliable experience no matter which model you choose.

However, as iPhone prices continue to climb, knowing what you need in a phone -- and what the various iPhone models have to offer -- is essential to finding the best value.

If you’re looking for a good all-around iPhone with the latest features, the iPhone XR is hard to beat.

However, if you don’t need Face ID or don’t want the newest model available, the iPhone 8 is still more than capable of handling nearly anything you might want to do.

While the iPhone XS and XS Max are the pinnacles of Apple’s lineup, we’d argue that the price isn’t worth it for most buyers. The average person simply doesn’t need that much power in a phone.


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