How to choose the best iPhone model

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Apple has seven different iPhone models in its range – but which of all these models is right for you? It is not certain that you need to buy the latest one. Unlocky guides you to the best iPhone in 2022/2023.

Apple seems to have stuck to a plan with four new iPhone models every autumn, two simpler and two more luxurious, and from time to time a new iPhone SE with the latest processor but otherwise simpler specifications. Meanwhile, the company continues to sell several older standard models (but no Pro models).

With so many models to choose from, launched between 2020 and 2022 and with different pros and cons, it can be difficult to take it all in and decide which model is the best choice. Especially when it’s not as simple as the more you pay, the better phone you get.

This autumn, perhaps the biggest – and definitely the saddest – news is that all models have become more expensive. Even the older models that remain in the range received unwanted price increases. Last year, a new iPhone from Apple cost between $4,99 and $1,699. Today, you can pay between $650 and $2,300.

iPhone 14 – the first choice? Not obvious anymore

In the past, it has been easy to recommend iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 as the standard choice for those who need a new iPhone. The Mini variant was for people with small pockets, and the Pro obviously for those who want luxury or extra features. In short: Don’t know what to choose? Run on the latest model without a nickname.

This year, Apple’s new strategy, combined with increased prices, has made the choice trickier. The iPhone 14 is not at all as big an upgrade from the iPhone 13 as it was against the iPhone 12. At the same time, it costs $150 more at Apple and even more if we count other retailers.

The iPhone 14’s small advantages over the iPhone 13:

    • One hour longer battery life.
    • Slightly faster processor.
    • Six gigabytes of memory instead of four.
    • New camera technology Photonic Engine.
    • Slightly improved cameras.
    • Action mode for video.
    • Bluetooth 5.3 (bluetooth low energy audio support).
    • Crash detection.
    • Emergency messages via satellite (so far only in the US).

Given that the practical difference in performance between the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro was not particularly large, you probably shouldn’t place so much importance on the chip. It is not likely that the iPhone 14 will receive iOS updates any longer than the iPhone 13.

On the other news, the action mode is the one with the greatest potential benefit, but only for those who actually shoot a lot. Otherwise, it is mostly about fine-tuning. For many users, an iPhone 13 with more storage is a better choice for the same price.

Color options: Red, warm white, dark grey, blue and purple.
Storage options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB.
Good choice for: Those who want the latest model but not a bigger screen or Pro features.

Iphone 14 Plus – finally a big screen without Pro

Apple has abandoned the Mini model and instead launched the iPhone 14 in a Plus model with the same screen size as the Pro Max models. It’s welcome, to say the least, for anyone who likes big screens, but doesn’t want to shell out more money for features they’re not interested in.

The only problem is that the iPhone 14 Plus is released at the same time as the dollar is record high and the prices are significantly higher than any previous basic iPhone model. In fact, it costs more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max did just a year ago.

In terms of specifications, the iPhone 14 Plus is identical to the regular 14, but since there was no iPhone 13 Plus, it is easier to recommend it. Plus it has the best battery life ever in an iPhone.

Color options: Red, warm white, dark grey, blue and purple.
Storage options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB.
Good choice for: Anyone who wants a new iPhone with a large screen but doesn’t care about the Pro.

iPhone 14 Pro – latest technology

Apple is making it increasingly clear that the Pro models of the iPhone are what matters if you want the latest technology and all the finesse. From being mostly about the cameras, the distance from the standard model has increased. In this year’s models, there are many differences:

  • Dynamic Island instead of flip.
  • Significantly better cameras, including a telephoto camera for zoom.
  • Newer, faster chip.
  • More advanced screen with Pro Motion, higher brightness and always-awake technology.
  • Better video recording.
  • Longer battery life.

Compared to last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, Dynamic Island is the big news. The A16 Bionic chip is not a huge upgrade, and the other news are mostly small tidbits, although the action mode for video recording is awesome.

The price is what rubs off. Anyone who bought an iPhone 13 Pro in August saved a considerable amount compared to today, to say the least. But if you are going to buy a new iPhone today, this is the model you should choose if you want it to feel as new and fresh as possible.

Color options: Dark purple, gold, silver, black.
Storage options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB.
Good choice for: Anyone who wants the very latest in a slightly smaller phone.

iPhone 14 Pro Max – extra everything

Everything we have said about the iPhone 14 Pro also applies to the larger iPhone 14 Pro Max model. Apart from even longer battery life and of course the larger screen, they do not differ. When the regular Pro already costs $1,400, a hundred bucks is not much to argue about. If you like really big screens and don’t mind the fact that it can be difficult to stuff into a jeans pocket, the choice is easy.

There are already apps that use Dynamic Island in exciting ways, which give a different feeling than previous iPhone models, and there will only be more of them. It is not surprising that, according to analysts, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the best-selling of this year’s new models.

Color options: Dark purple, gold, silver, black.
Storage options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB.
Good choice for: Those who want the very latest, maximum battery life and a large screen.

iPhone 13 – still a very good choice

Last year’s new iPhone is doing really well this year. The iPhone 14 is one of the smallest upgrades in a long time – definitely one that would have been called the iPhone 13S back in the days when Apple released S models every two years.

The iPhone 13 now has a really good balance between price, performance and functions. It is $150 cheaper than the iPhone 14, but does not have much worse technology. An important detail is, for example, that it also has 128 gigabytes of storage, something that the iPhone 12 does not have and which made the difference between 12 and 13 bigger. 64 gigabytes is simply too little for most people, but 128 is enough for those who do not cram their phone full of large games and recorded video.

Color options: Red, warm white, dark grey, blue and pink.
Storage options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB.
Good choice for: Those who want a cheaper iPhone and are not concerned about lower specs.

iPhone 13 Mini – still on the market?

The iPhone 13 Mini is now the only remaining model in Apple’s range with the smaller, more flexible size that for years had been requested by a small group of customers. If you belong to this crowd, it is both your only option and perhaps the last chance ever to get a new and small iPhone.

The battery life is worse than other models. The smaller screen means you have to scroll more, so the iPhone 13 Mini is not a good idea for those who just want to save a notch. No, this is the right model only for those specifically looking for the smaller size.

Color options: Red, warm white, dark grey, blue and pink.
Storage options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB.
Good choice for: Those who want as small a phone as possible.

iPhone 12 – cheapest with Face ID

If you want to buy a new iPhone as cheaply as possible but with a modern design and Face ID, the iPhone 12 may be the right choice for you. The 2020 “regular” iPhone is in many ways quite similar to its successors, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. It has the same sharp design, and the A14 chip is not much slower.

But two details can make it a bad choice:

The base model only has 64 gigabytes of storage. It’s too little for a majority of users, and if you upgrade it to 128 gigabytes, it’s only $90 cheaper than the iPhone 13.
The battery life is noticeably worse than the iPhone 13 – still not bad at all, but not as good.

If you’re sure that 64 gigabytes is enough for you, you can save 150 USD and get a new iPhone with Face ID and full screen for under 1,000 USD. Otherwise, we recommend the iPhone 13 instead.

Color options: Black, white, red, green, blue.
Storage options: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB.
Good choice for: Those who have a limited budget but want Face ID.

iPhone SE 2022 – the real budget option

The third-generation iPhone SE has indeed become slightly more expensive, but since all other models have also become so, the difference is still very large. If all you want is an iPhone with a modern chip so that it receives updates for as many years as possible and want to pay as little as possible, the iPhone SE 2022 is the right choice.

The iPhone SE 2022 still has the same iPhone 8-based design with a 4.7-inch screen without OLED technology and Touch ID instead of Face ID. On the back sits a single camera without any innovations beyond what the A15 chip allows. But it can run all apps and with the A15 chip it will receive updates for many years to come.

Color options: Black, white, red.
Storage options: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB.
Good choice for: Anyone who wants as new an iPhone as possible for as little money as possible.