I've tried every single iPhone Apple currently sells — here's how to decide which one is right for you (AAPL)

Business Insider Technology 1 month ago

Those shopping for a new iPhone now have plenty of options at their disposal.

Apple currently sells six smartphones: the newly announced iPhone 11, the also new but pricier iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, last year's iPhone XR, and 2017's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

It's not unusual for Apple to continue selling certain older iPhone models at lower prices after it launches its newest iPhones. But as Apple has released more versions of its newest iPhones in different sizes over the years, the lineup has grown — making it all the more difficult to decide which new iPhone to get.

Here's a look at how to decide which one is right for you.

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

Price: Starts at $1,000 for iPhone 11 Pro, starts at $1,100 for iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are the first Apple smartphones to ever get the "Pro" title, and there's a reason. Much like the iPad Pro, this iPhone model comes in an optional larger size and offers some additional features that its less expensive sibling lacks. And of course, it's more expensive.

The biggest difference between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro is the Pro's third camera: a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. That extra lens makes it possible to shoot with a closer optical and digital zoom and take photos in Portrait Mode from two different perspectives. You can choose to take a portrait with the telephoto camera to get a shot that more closely focuses on the subject, or take one that's more zoomed out using the wide-angle lens to get a portrait that captures more of the background.

There are also some important discrepancies when it comes to their sizes and screens: the iPhone 11 comes with a 6.1-inch LCD display, while the iPhone 11 Pro comes in either a 5.8-inch or 6.5-inch size and features an OLED screen that's brighter and offers better contrast and deeper blacks than the iPhone 11.

The iPhone 11 Pro also has a textured matte design made of glass and stainless steel, while the iPhone 11 features a more glossy build made of aluminum and glass. The Pro model is also more water-resistant than the standard 11; it can withstand being submerged in up to four meters of water for as long as 30 minutes, while the 11 can only endure two meters of submersion.

And if you need the most storage possible on your iPhone, you'll want to check out the Pro. The Pro comes in 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB storage options, while the iPhone 11 is available in 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB capacities.

Otherwise, the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro share many of the same features: they both have 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle cameras, run on Apple's new A13 Bionic chip, support Face ID, have a 12-megapixel camera for taking sharper selfies, and support Apple's new Night Mode for taking better photos in the dark.

If you're trying to decide between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro, consider which features matter to you most. If you feel like having that third telephoto camera lens and the option for more storage space and a larger screen are important to you, then the Pro might be the best choice for you. But keep in mind you'll be paying at least an extra $3oo to get those perks compared to the less expensive iPhone 11.

iPhone 11

iPhone 11
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Price: Starts at $700

The iPhone 11 retains many of the same features as the iPhone 11 Pro, but at a less expensive price. If you go with the iPhone 11, you'll be missing out on having a third telephoto camera lens, an OLED screen, and increased water resistance, but you'll still have Apple's latest chip, a dual camera that includes Apple's new ultra-wide-angle camera lens and Night Sight, and Face ID, among other features.

The iPhone 11 Pro's OLED screen is brighter and provides richer contrast, but you probably won't really be able to tell in most situations. During my time testing the phones, I only noticed this difference in very specific circumstances, such as transition scenes in movie trailers when the screen goes black. In that case, the iPhone 11 Pro's screen was able to get much darker than the iPhone 11's display since OLED screens are capable of achieving true blacks unlike LCD panels.

The iPhone 11 Pro also comes in a 6.1-inch screen size, which feels like a happy medium between the iPhone 11 Pro's 5.8-inch screen and the iPhone 11 Pro Max's 6.5-inch display. If that size doesn't feel right — maybe you need a phone that's extra large because you use it as your primary work device, or you want a smaller phone that feels more compact — you may want to consider splurging on the Pro or Pro Max.

Overall, given the fact that the iPhone 11 shares many of the same features of the Pro at a much lower price, it's probably the right choice for most people — especially if you want to avoid paying at least $1,000 for a new phone.

iPhone XR

iPhone XR
Stephen Lam/Reuters

Price: Starts at $600

If you're on a tighter budget and don't necessarily care about having the latest iPhone but still want a phone that has recent features like Face ID and a nearly borderless screen, the iPhone XR is probably the right choice for you.

You can think of the iPhone XR as the predecessor to the iPhone 11: both phones offer the core features of the pricier counterparts, but compromise in certain areas such as the camera, screen, and storage options.

If you opt for the iPhone XR over the iPhone 11, you'll still be getting an edge-to-edge LCD screen with a 1792 by 828 resolution, Face ID, a 12-megapixel camera, and a glass and aluminum design that comes in a wide range of colors.

But you'll be missing out on the new 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and the front-facing camera will have a lower resolution 7-megapixel camera versus the iPhone 11's 12-megapixel selfie camera.

That lack of an ultra-wide-angle camera, which can be used to capture a much wider field of view than the standard wide-angle lens, is the biggest difference between the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR. You also won't get Night Mode for taking clearer photos in dark scenarios, and will have only three portrait lighting effects to choose from instead of six.

The iPhone XR is also less water resistant than the iPhone 11 and doesn't come in a 256 GB storage option. And since it came out last year, it runs on Apple's older A12 Bionic processor and offers shorter battery life than the iPhone 11.

That aside, if you're really trying to decide between the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR, it's the new camera features that you'll probably be the most concerned with. The iPhone XR may not run on the latest Apple processor, but if you're using your phone for basic tasks like browsing the web, checking social media, sending emails, and playing mobile games, you probably won't notice. And even though the iPhone 11 offers improved battery life that should make it last an hour longer than the XR, the iPhone XR should still have plenty of juice to get you through a day and then some.

If you don't care about having the newest iPhone, want to save a few bucks, and are upgrading from an older phone like the iPhone 7 or earlier, the iPhone XR is worth considering.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Price: $450 for iPhone 8, $550 for iPhone 8 Plus

If you want an iPhone and aren't looking to spend a lot — perhaps you're an iPhone owner looking for a first smartphone to get for your child — the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus are options worth considering.

The iPhone 8 could also be a good choice for those who are upgrading from an older phone like the iPhone 6 or 6S. If you're using one of those older models, you may want a phone that runs faster, has more storage space, and offers better battery life but still retains the familiar Touch ID home button and comes in the compact 4.7-inch size that Apple no longer offers for its newer phones.

If you opt for the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus, you'll also get a dual camera that can take photos in Portrait Mode in addition to a bigger screen.

But if you do want an iPhone with a larger screen, the iPhone XR may be a better value than the iPhone 8 Plus depending on your priorities. For $50 more, the XR offers a larger screen in a more compact form factor, runs on a newer processor, and supports Face ID. But unlike the iPhone 8 Plus, it doesn't have a dual camera with a telephoto lens, which means you won't get as close of a zoom and can only use three lighting effects with Portrait Mode.


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