Choosing the best mobile phone
Which Apple iPhone should I buy?
By Oli McKean
Article 2 of 5
Apple iPhones are world famous. But are they worth the high cost, and which model is the best choice for you?
If you want your next smartphone to be an Apple iPhone, there are a few options to choose from. Keep reading to find out about the key differences, as well as the best iPhones we've tested, to help you make the right decision.
Apple is one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the UK, alongside Android brands like Samsung, Motorola and Huawei. It retains a unique standing among mobile phone brands, though many question whether Apple remains a cutting-edge company, and if it adopts more of a 'style-over-substance' approach.
iPhones frequently push the envelope, though, bringing new features and ideas into the smartphone world. Its products aren't cheap, so it's important to consider whether you need the latest and most expensive iPhone, or if an older device at a cut price will still tick all the boxes.
Below we reveal how each iPhone fared in our tough tests. Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts below. If you're not yet a member, sign up for a trial to get instant access.
Want to see what else is on test? Follow the link for all our mobile phone reviews.
Apple iPhone XR
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Despite its delayed release, this iPhone proved to be a dark horse in our testing. It scored higher than both of its range mates mostly due to its battery performance, which has been an area of struggle for many Apple iPhones. But that wasn't all. Its impeccable camera quality and incredibly fast processor make the price almost too good to be true.
Apple iPhone 8
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Is it worth upgrading to the Apple iPhone 8, or will you be just as happy with an older version - or an Android alternative? We have the answer - so make sure you read our full expert verdict on its battery life, camera quality and more before taking the plunge and splashing out.
Apple iPhone XS
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There are several reasons why this is a noteworthy option, despite having minimal difference to its predecessor. The stylish design undoubtedly increases the premium feel of the model, matched with brilliant camera performance. Though light usage will give you a reasonable amount of time to enjoy its capabilities, the overall battery performance proved disappointing.
Apple iPhone X
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Apple iPhone SE
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The iPhone SE is the closest you’re going to get to a ‘budget’ iPhone. It retains the metal casing and fast A9 processor seen on the Apple iPhone 6s but in a smaller 4-inch package. Our full review reveals whether it can compete with its large-screen rivals.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of November 2018.
How much do Apple iPhones cost?
Apple iPhones are typically very expensive, with no particularly budget-friendly options when buying brand new.
Top of the pile is the £999 iPhone X (64GB). It has an attractive almost-all-screen display and a few fancy features, such as facial recognition and two rear-facing cameras. But spending this much money on a mobile phone might prove too hard a pill to swallow.
Not in a rush to upgrade? iPhone prices often drop when a new model comes out
If you're not committed to always having the very latest tech, it can pay to wait until the model you want has been succeeded. Prices of older iPhones typically drop when there's a new kid on the block, even if not by much. For instance, the iPhone 7 (32GB) can be found for around £500 to buy outright, £100 cheaper than its launch price.
If you want an iPhone but want to spend as little as possible, consider the iPhone SE. Its 4-inch screen could also make it a good option if you're not a fan of large-screen phones. You can currently buy it outright for £299, and it has the same rear camera as the iPhone 6s.
Want to save even more money? Take a look at our guide to buying a refurbished or used mobile phone.
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 what to consider:
- Size If you want 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 6s, 7 and 8 aren't especially large for smartphones these days, but you may still need two hands. The Plus models have expansive 5.5-inch screens, while the X's display is an even larger 5.8 inches - unless you have particularly large hands, you'll need two hands for comfortable use.
- Storage space The iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X have two different storage options - 64GB and a monstrous 256GB. The older iPhone 7, 7 Plus and SE have 32GB and 128GB options. If you want the larger storage option, these usually cost £100-£150 more. If you're happy to delete old photos or apps you don't use much, a smaller option should be fine. Bear in mind that iPhones don't have micro-SD card slots, 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 the highest-spec cameras. For instance, both the iPhone 8 and 7 have a 12Mp rear camera, but Apple says it has made improvements to the latest model for clearer photos. All iPhones from the 6s onwards can shoot high-quality 4K resolution videos, too.
Do any iPhones make our favourites list? Find out in our top five best smartphones guide.