When Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone in 2007, there was only one model that you could buy with 4GB or 8GB of storage and in gray.
Fourteen years later, Apple sells seven different iPhone models, five of which were released in 2020. The iPhone is available in a wide range of colors and finishes, and storage options now reach 512GB.
You may find that carriers and third-party sellers offer other older models, such as the iPhone X. To complicate matters, some iPhones have two cameras, some three, and some four (including front camera on the front). There’s also the fact that almost all current iPhones come with Face ID, but one model – the iPhone SE – comes with Touch ID. Having a lot of options isn’t bad, but it can sometimes seem superfluous.
To help you determine which of these models is the best iPhone for you, we’ve thoroughly reviewed and tested each of the devices on this list, from performance to battery life to photo portion.
But if you’re looking for other options outside of Apple’s offerings, read our guide to finding the best phone for your needs and take a look at our tips on how to buy a new phone.
1. The best iPhone for most people
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Apple’s first 5G compatible model, the iPhone 12 marks the start of a new generation of iOS smartphones. Of Apple’s four 12-series phones, the classic iPhone 12 is somewhat overshadowed by its siblings. But if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that it’s actually the iPhone 12 Pro with a $ 250 discount. Both devices have the same design, the same screen, the same blazingly fast A14 Bionic chip, support 5G, MagSafe technology, and have the same front camera as well as the same wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses on their backs. .
What makes them different? You don’t have a telephoto lens, you can’t shoot Apple ProRaw format photos, and you don’t get a nice matte back and shiny stainless steel edges. Instead, you have a glossy back and matte aluminum borders. If you choose to get an iPhone 12 and can afford to pay $ 50 more, we recommend that you upgrade from 64GB of storage to 128GB.
A new design, an OLED screen, an even more powerful chip, a neat photo part, 5G, the iPhone 12 strikes. Too bad the storage space of the basic version is only 64 GB.
2. The best iPhone overall
iPhone 12 Pro Max
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If you want the biggest screen and longest battery life of any iPhone ever, the $ 1,259 iPhone 12 Pro Max is the smartphone for you.
In addition to being the largest and heaviest iPhone, the 12 Pro Max has photo and video features not found on any other model. Its telephoto lens offers a 2.5x optical zoom compared to 2x on the 12 Pro. And this additional 0.5x is very appreciable. The 12 Pro Max’s wide-angle has a larger sensor that Apple says improves low-light shooting ability by 87%. Compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, it is difficult to notice these improvements because Apple’s image processing on its other smartphones is very good.
Going further, the optical image stabilization present on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is sensor-based instead of the lens-based OIS found on the 12, 12 Mini, and 12 Pro.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro, it can also take photos in the Apple ProRaw format. If you can handle the size of this behemoth, go for it.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max benefits from a camera that no other iPhone 12 model has. But with an entrance ticket of € 1,259, do the extras of the photo section justify such an expense? The answer is yes, and not just because of the new Image Stabilizer. If you want the biggest screen ever seen on an iPhone, the 12 Pro Max is worth it. If you’re keen on having the best battery life of any iPhone 12, the 12 Pro Max is an obvious choice. And if you want to get the best possible picture quality for your photos and videos, then again, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the go-to choice. This year again, the biggest iPhone is also the best.
3. The best quality / price ratio
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If 5G isn’t your thing right now, the $ 689 iPhone 11 is a pretty good deal. For that price, it offers an A13 SoC, great cameras, and solid battery life. Unlike the iPhone 12s and their flat edges, the edges of the iPhone 11 are curved.
The only “shadow” on the board, its LCD panel. But the iPhone 11’s screen still shows superb picture quality. As with the iPhone 12, if you have $ 50 more in your budget, I recommend getting the 128 GB version.
While our preference is the iPhone 11 Pro Max, for most “old machine” users who want to renew iPhone, we recommend the iPhone 11. Apple’s 2019 “entry-level” builds on a processor (the same as its big Pro brothers) faster in monotask and significantly more efficient in multitasking and autonomy is satisfactory. The iPhone 11 also benefits from an improved ultra-wide-angle portrait mode, excellent photo / video capture and a devilishly efficient night mode. A worthy successor to the iPhone XR, this iPhone 11 is a very balanced machine and has a good performance / price ratio.
4. The most affordable iPhone (but with Touch ID rather than Face ID)
iPhone SE 2020
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At $ 489, you might think the iPhone SE (2020) ‘s only appeal is its price. And it’s true that this is the most affordable iPhone on this list, and it’s a big deal, too. From the outside, the iPhone SE has the same design as an iPhone 8. It is the only iPhone in this selection to be equipped with Touch ID, which in times of pandemic is actually a plus because face masks are a plus. of using Face ID a frustrating experience.
Inside, the iPhone SE 2020 also comes equipped with an A13 chip, which brings a number of improvements to the photo portion of 2017. The SE supports 4G and is the only phone mentioned here to sport the design of the first Apple models. But with the ability to run the latest version of iOS, it’s still just as relevant.
The iPhone SE (2020) isn’t just a great iPhone, it’s also one of the best budget smartphones out there today. If its design is very close to that of the iPhone 8, inside we find the latest A13 Bionic which equips the iPhone 11. The change goes well beyond a simple modification of the specifications with big progress on the photo part and autonomy.
5. The best compact iPhone
iPhone 12 Mini
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Who said small phones don’t exist in 2021? The iPhone 12 Mini is great because it p) offers everything the iPhone 12 has in a smaller form factor. It has the same design, supports 5G and sports an HDR-compatible OLED display. The case is IP68 certified and supports MagSafe technology. It has an A14 Bionic chip, runs iOS 14, and has the same camera gear. The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Mini are therefore twins. But one is small and the other is not.
Having said that, I recommend that you get the iPhone 12 Mini just for its size. It’s 100 euros cheaper than the iPhone 12, but if you don’t want to buy such a compact smartphone, you might be frustrated by its size or by its battery life of just a day. And like the other phones on this list, if you can afford it, I recommend paying $ 50 more and getting the version with 128GB of storage.
Adios the iPhone SE. Here is the little iPhone that we expected from Apple, the iPhone 12 Mini. Its small size, the user-friendly navigation in iOS 14 and the high screen-to-body ratio make this compact smartphone an almost perfect device to use with one hand. Its size does not affect its performance, it takes excellent photos and videos and provides fantastic images in any circumstance. The high-end performance of the iPhone 12 is there and it should be noted that it is the smallest 5G smartphone on the market. If there is one consequence to having a small phone, it is autonomy. During our tests, the iPhone 12 Mini lasted a day of regular use without a problem. A great iPhone than this Mini.
6. The best alternative to the iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro
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The iPhone 12 Pro Max is essentially the ultimate iPhone. But its size, weight and price will deter more than one. This is where the iPhone 12 Pro comes in at € 1159: its technical configuration does not have to be ashamed of that of its big brother and its finishes are just as neat. It has a smaller screen, a smaller battery and a 2x telephoto lens instead of the 2.5x of the Pro Max.
The iPhone 12 Pro is one of the most successful models from the Apple company. 5G, new design, photo part supplemented by LiDAR, 5-star performance, Apple’s smartphone is accumulating arguments and is a benchmark in the high-end smartphone market.
7. The alternative to less than 600 €
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The $ 589 iPhone XR can currently be considered a mid-range iPhone. The 2020 iPhone SE costs $ 100 less and comes with a newer processor, but the iPhone XR offers something that this one doesn’t. It is part of the new generation of iPhone from Apple introduced with the iPhone X. The XR has Face ID, a large 6.1-inch LCD screen, and comes in six colors instead of three. offered by the SE.
But there is also the iPhone 11 which costs 100 € more, is also a more current processor but also new cameras, including an ultra wide-angle that the XR does not have. The latter remains less expensive. So if you are looking for an affordable iPhone that adopts the design and some features of Apple’s latest models, the iPhone XR is a great option. It is even more interesting with more storage space if you can add 50 euros to it.
If you are looking for a quality iPhone, positioned below 700 €, this is the device for you. With the iPhone XR Apple has created a smartphone that offers 95% of the iPhone XS experience for 75% of the price. Not everything is perfect, there are trade-offs: the screen and camera take small steps back from the XS models, but overall it is doing very well – it even makes a few improvements. compared to its more expensive siblings. Its screen is larger than that of the XS (6.1 versus 5.8 inches), it is available in a wider variety of colors, and the battery life is also better.
Article from CNET.com adapted by CNET France
Featured Image: Patrick Holland / CNET