Best iPhone TechnoBuffalo 2021
Apple offers a lot of iPhones at the moment that cover a myriad of different areas for users. From a marquee flagship to an affordable device, you are covered with iPhones. The best of the best, however, is the iPhone XS as it delivers the flagship Apple experience with gorgeous hardware and blazing-smooth software.
- Best iPhone: iPhone XS
- Best Value: iPhone XR
- Best Large Display: iPhone XS Max
- Best Compact Size: iPhone 8
- Most Affordable: iPhone 7
Our Pick: iPhone XS
The iPhone XS has continually gotten lost in the shuffle of the iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max, and it shouldn't — it's the best iPhone you can buy right now. It carries many of the same great characteristic as the iPhone X but it improves upon it with much more powerful processor and a slick new color (rose gold).
Apple continually makes the most powerful processors for smartphones and the A12 Bionic follows suit. It delivers a stunningly smooth experience that really shines through the iPhone's touch gestures. Opening up the multi-tasking window or swiping between apps is buttery smooth with absolutely no lag.
Where the iPhone XS truly shines is with its gorgeous 5.8-inch OLED Retina HD display that is just wonderful too look at. Text looks super clear, pictures pop with detail, and videos look awesome. You'll be able to see all those amazing pictures you'll take with dual 12MP camera. Apple has always prided itself in making some of best smartphone cameras, and with the iPhone XS, it did not disappoint.
That's not to say all is perfect with the iPhone XS. For one, it isn't cheap. You'll have to pay a hefty price for a smartphone, with a starting retail price of $999. For another, it has a big notch. Now I know that's common for iPhones nowadays, but when you see how Android phones are pushing the envelope and removing them, we hope Apples takes note in the future and reduces the size of its notches.
Through the good and bad, the iPhone XS earns our choice for best iPhone for the simple fact and you will get everything you pay for. Amazing display, fantastic camera, and the best software experience.
- Gorgeous OLED display
- Powerful A12 Bionic chip
- Optimized software
- 12MP dual cameras
- Now comes in rose gold
- Big notch
The perfect iPhone for just about everyone
The iPhone XS is the Apple smartphone for everyone, whether you're a tech aficionado or someone who just wants their phone to work. It's packed with market-leading tech like Face ID and a dual-camera that enhance the experience. Powerful, beautiful, and robust, it does it all.
Best Value: iPhone XR
Apple took an unexpected turn when it announced its latest iPhones. Not only did it announce the two primary devices, it also unveiled a third option that address the pricing issue that has led to slowing smartphone sales. Enter the iPhone XR, the iPhone that delivers the best value at the moment.
That means you get just about every major element you want from a major Apple flagship phone — beautiful hardware, powerful specs, Face ID, and a class-leading camera— but you don't have to pay into the $1,000 range.
To differentiate the iPhone XR from its cousins, Apple delivered it in six stunning colors that truly make the hardware pop. In particular the Red and Coral options make the iPhone XR truly stand out from the sea of black and white phones. Building up on the amazing hardware is the 12MP camera, which is the same found on more expensive XS models.
Though you're still paying a hefty price for the iPhone XR, Apple did omit some things to lower it. The display isn't the highest resolution and it didn't include the telephoto camera found on the other XS models. But those are things you can live without. They aren't deal breakers to having an amazing device.
- Colorful options
- Stunning hardware
- Amazing battery life
- 12MP camera
- Cheapest new iPhone on the market
- Low-res display
- Only the single camera
- It has a notch
Just about every feature in a colorful package
If you don't care about the best of the best, your best option is the iPhone XR. It comes really close to the iPhone XS while cutting down on the price — all in a colorful package.
Best Large Display: iPhone XS Max
Once upon a time, Apple refused to make big phones. They don't fit in the hand, it used to say, but now it's going all in with the iPhone XS Max leading the charge. For many people, a phone with a big, beautiful display for the best media experience is the exact phone they want.
The 6.5-inch Retina HD display is the biggest ever on an iPhone, covering the device from edge to edge for an amazing, immersive effect. Apple also made sure you get the most out of the stunning OLED panel, which is one of the best on any smartphone, with perfect calibration. This will make watching vidoes or scrolling through social media a true delight. Anything you look at on the iPhone XS Max display with look fantastic.
You also get the powerful specs, amazing camera, and agile software experience Apple flagships deliver. The camera, in particular, is a top performer. The 12MP dual-camera comprises a main wide angle lens and a telephoto lens that offers 2x optical zoom. Standard photos come out looking detailed and color accurate. Portrait mode creates a cinematic finish with a bokeh effect in the background that will delight photo takers.
About the only downside to this phone is that it is very expensive and it can be difficult to hold a phone this big, especially if you have smaller hands. Still, those trade offs are worth it for people who want a biggest and best display on a smartphone.
- Big and beautiful display
- Best specs possible
- Amazing camera
- 12MP dual-camera
- Unwieldy at times
Best Large Display
Make your iPhone experience cinematic
If you're willing to shell out even more money for the biggest screen possible, the iPhone XS Max is your best bet. With a spacious 6.5-inch and the best features the iPhone has to offer, this is the best large display iPhone you can scoop up.
Best Compact Size: iPhone 8
There are a lot of iPhones available at your disposal and for the most part, they all look very similar, but the best compact model is the iPhone 8. Unlike some of our other selections, the iPhone 8 is really the perfect size with a big enough display without feeling too unwieldily in the hand. Anything bigger that it and you begin to sacrifice comfort.
Even with the compact size, you still get a spacious 4.7-inch Retina display that looks amazing. Sure, it isn't as high resolution as other displays, but at some point that stops mattering. You also get solid specs, such as the A11 Bionic chip, and Apple's high-end design prowess of metal and glass that opens the door for wireless charging.
For as much as we are fans of Face ID, it still doesn't quite match the performance of Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint scanner, which is front and center on the iPhone 8. With multiple years of development, the biometric sensor is blazing fast, reading your finger within milliseconds of placing your finger on the sensor. Sadly, Face ID is not quite there yet.
Where you do make some concessions is with the older iPhone design, which comes with bigger bezels and specs that are a couple years old. Even so, Apple's optimization of iOS for the iPhone 8 still makse it a worthy device for those looking for a fantastic compact iPhone.
- Beautiful glass and metal body
- Comfortable to hold
- Blazing fast Touch ID
- Older specs
- Big bezels
Best Compact Size
Feel comfortable holding your iPhone
Buying an iPhone doesn't mean it has to be a big phone. The iPhone 8 is the perfect size and delivers on everything people love about the iPhone. From iOS to the beautiful hardware, you will not be disappointed going with this iPhone.
Most Affordable: iPhone 7
The one big sticking point with iPhones is that they are expensive, and if you're looking to get one that is remotely affordable, you're going to have to get an older model. Lucky for you, the iPhone 7 is still a fantastic choice because it still holds up, even at 3 years old.
Coming in at less than $500 at the time of this writing, the iPhone 7 is the most affordable iPhone you can buy right now. What exactly does that get you? For starters, the iPhone 7 is the last iPhone to come with the durable aluminum unibody, which is more adept at taking punishment than the newer ones comprised of mostly glass.
Even more impressive is the fact that it's running the latest version of iOS (12.3.1) and will continue receiving updates for at least two more years, if not more. Apple is still offering support for the iPhone 6 and that model is 5 years old. You won't get that kind of software support for any Android phone.
Having optimized software should definitely help offset the older specs, and you do also miss out on wireless charging, but again, at a bargain price (relatively speaking), you can't always have it all. For what the iPhone 7 offers, you still get a great smartphone with the complete Apple experience.
- Great price
- Sturdy aluminum unibody
- The latest iOS software
- Older specs
- No wireless charging
- Big bezels
Buying an iPhone doesn't mean it has to be expensive
Lost in the tech bubble is that some people just want their phone to work and that's it. Luckily for them, the iPhone 7 does just that. You get the same experience as other iPhones, including the most current iOS version, and the outstanding Apple support without breaking the bank.
There's a reason you go for an iPhone
Regardless of your reasoning to get an iPhone, there is a particular reason people buy this phone. It is the experience. Whether you value iOS or the Apple customer service, it doesn't matter which iPhone you end up selecting, you will get that experience.
We believe the iPhone XS is the best all-around iPhone you can buy, but everybody is different and their reason to buy a phone will be unique. That's why we included multiple selections that could better appeal to you. There is an iPhone for you out there and we certainly hope our guide helped figuring which one is the best for you.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was the catalyst for his interest in writing. Down the road, the colorful iPod Mini jumpstarted his interest in technology and has been glued to it ever since.
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