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Choosing the best mobile phone

How to buy the best Apple iPhone

By Oli McKean

Article 3 of 3

Apple is renowned for its smartphones. But are they worth the high cost, and which one should you buy?

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If you’ve decided that you want your next smartphone to be an Apple iPhone, there are a few options to choose from. Here, we explain the differences to help you make the best decision.

Apple is undeniably one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the UK, alongside Samsung. Whenever it announces new products, there’s a veritable media frenzy – with many debating whether Apple is still a cutting-edge company offering the best and most innovative technologies.

Many people often ask whether there’s any need to spend top whack on the latest Apple smartphones, or whether you’ll be just as happy with an older device whose price has been cut.

Below, we explore how much Apple iPhones will set you back, and reveal our top tips for what to look for when choosing between models. Plus, we show how each iPhone has fared in our tough tests.

Just want to read full reviews of individual models? Head to our Apple iPhone reviews.

How much do Apple iPhones cost?

It goes without saying that Apple doesn’t make budget-friendly or even mid-range smartphones. Instead, it focuses its efforts on the top end of the price range.

The iPhone 7 (32GB) costs about £579 to buy outright, while the larger iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) will set you back by around £719. Brands such as Samsung and LG have similarly pricey phones – but they also have other options for those on a tighter budget.

It’s worth remembering that the prices of older iPhones typically drop when there’s a new kid on the block. For instance, you can pick up the iPhone 6s (32GB) for around £499 and the iPhone 6 (32GB) for about £399.

In March 2016, Apple unveiled the iPhone SE. This phone has the same rear camera as the iPhone 6s and the same chipset, but its 4-inch display is smaller than the 4.7-inch screen you’ll find on the 6s. It’s also much cheaper, costing about £339 to buy outright – if you go for the 32GB option.

What to look for when choosing an Apple iPhone

There are a few things to think about when deciding which iPhone to opt for. Here’s our shortlist of top tips and considerations:

  • Size If your biggest priority is an iPhone that you can easily use with one hand, the iPhone SE is a good bet. The 4.7-inch displays of the iPhone 6, 6s and 7 aren’t too large for smartphones these days, but you may still need to use both hands. The 6 Plus, 6s Plus and 7 Plus have expansive 5.5-inch screens, which places them among handsets known as ‘phablets’ (a portmanteau of ‘phones’ and ‘tablets’) – you’ll most likely need two hands to use them.
  • Storage space For the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, you have three different options for storage space – 32GB, 128GB and a monstrous 256GB. You can buy some older iPhones with 16GB or 64GB. Generally, more on-board storage means a pricier handset. If you're likely to fill up your phone with thousands of photos, apps and songs, consider 128GB or more. If you prefer a 'cleaner' phone and don't mind deleting old photos or apps you don't use that much anymore, 32GB should be fine. Bear in mind that Apple is yet to introduce micro-SD card slots to its line-up like many Android phones, so you can't boost space with a separate micro-SD card.
  • Speed When Apple launches a new phone, it often features the brand's latest chipset, promising the fastest speeds. However, previous processors may well be up to the job of playing the latest games, or running the latest apps with ease. To find out more about iPhone speed, you'll need to read our iPhone reviews.
  • Cameras The latest iPhones have highest-spec cameras. For instance, both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6 have a 12Mp rear camera, but the former's has been boosted by optical image stabilisation - meaning you should be able to take clear photos even when you're on the move. It has a larger aperture, meaning the lens lets in more light and is better at picking out detail in darker locations. You might also want to bear in mind that the iPhone SE, 6s and 7 can all shoot high-quality 4K resolution videos, too.

Are Apple iPhones actually any good?

Below, we reveal the top-level test results from the five latest Apple iPhones, listed in order of release. Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access. 

Mobile phone Click for full review Battery Screen quality Score
iPhone 7 Plus Apple iPhone 7 Plus

The latest large handset from Apple. It's waterproof and Apple claims that it's super speedy and responsive – but how well does it match rival handsets?

Find out by reading our full iPhone 7 Plus review.

Apple iPhone 7 Apple iPhone 7

Apple caused a stir when it announced the removal of the traditional headphone socket from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It has a Retina HD display and Apple claims it has brilliant cameras and battery life – but does it meet expectations?

Read our full iPhone 7 review to find out.

Apple iPhone SE Apple iPhone SE

It's small, so could be a good choice for those wanting an Apple handset that sits comfortably in one hand. But is it as good as its larger counterparts, and is it worth investing in?

Check out our full iPhone SE review to find out.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus iPhone 6s Plus  M

You might appreciate this phone's 5.5-inch display if you like to watch films on the go. In theory, the high-resolution display should really help bring them to life.

To find out exactly how this phone shapes up to key competitors, read our full iPhone 6s Plus review.

Apple iPhone 6s iPhone 6s  M

The most innovative feature on the 6s was the 3D Touch controls – the screen registers how forcefully you tap the display, and reacts accordingly. It can record 4K video and supports Apple Pay, but does it deserve a place in your pocket?

Read our full verdict on the iPhone 6s to find out.

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