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Best iPhone? Well, It Isn’t The iPhone XS Max (If You’re After Value For Money)

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Wondering what the best iPhone is? Millions of people do every day, but contrary to what you’ve heard, Apple’s iPhone XS MAX isn’t the #1 option right now…I mean, it is the greatest iPhone ever created. But when it comes to value for money, you far better off with the following iPhone… 


#1) The iPhone XR is The Best iPhone – And The Reason is Value For Money!

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iPhone XR Pros

  • Great Design, Totally Unique
  • Cheaper Than iPhone XS and iPhone XS MAX
  • Brilliant Battery Life
  • Similar Performance To iPhone XS MAX Flagship
  • It Will Get iOS Updates For Years To Come
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An unpopular opinion? Maybe. But the iPhone XR, if I were in the market for a new iPhone, is the one I’d go for. Why’s that? Simple: it is practically the iPhone XS MAX’s equal in all areas, save for the fact it doesn’t run an OLED display. And for this reason, I would say it is the best iPhone you can buy right now.

If you can live without an OLED display, you’ll save around $300-$400 on the retail price and still get the same camera and software performance. Another bonus? The iPhone XR comes in a range of color options and, for me, this makes it way more unique than Apple’s iPhone XS Max. Couple this with the iPhone XR’s amazing specs and performance, and it’s easy to see why many view the iPhone XR as the best iPhone for 2019.

The iPhone XR, thanks to its lower-resolution display, has some of the best battery life performance of any iPhone ever made. If battery life, design, camera tech, and performance are important to you, the iPhone XR is very hard to beat. For me, it is the greatest iPhone for value for money, good looks, and performance.

#2) iPhone XS MAX – If You Have To Have The Best And Don’t Mind Paying For It…

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iPhone XS MAX Pros

  • Best In Class Camera Tech
  • Best In Class Performance
  • It’s Big (And This Can Be Good & Bad, Depending On The User)
  • Display is Fantastic (Stunning OLED Panel)
  • Up To 512GB of Storage Available
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If your motto for life is, Go BIG or go home, then the iPhone XS MAX is just what the doctor ordered. The iPhone XS Max is the biggest iPhone Apple has ever built; it packs in an enormous 6.5in OLED display with a resolution of 1242 x 2688. The iPhone XR is also the best iPhone money can buy too – it’s just you’ll need A LOT of money to buy one.

Inside, you have Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset, 4GB of RAM, and one of the best cameras in the business. And while it is only a 12MP sensor, Apple’s image processing software combined with Smart HDR is extremely impressive, resulting in some of the best mobile camera experiences around. With respect to performance, the iPhone XS Max, like the iPhone XR, is an absolute monster. Apple’s iPhones have consistently wiped the floor with Google’s Android phones during the past few years and this is all down to Apple’s monumentally impressive A12 chipset.

For this reason, it is, arguably, the best iPhone you can buy now, providing you don’t mind paying extra. And this is its only real downside. The iPhone XS Max is VERY expensive – but what did you expect from the company that brought the world’s first $1000+ phone to market!

#3) iPhone XS – The Most Potent, Compact Modern iPhone

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iPhone XS Pros:

  • Great Design, Just Like The XS Max
  • Smaller, More Compact (5.8in OLED Display)
  • Brilliant Camera
  • Immense Power From Apple’s A12 CPU
  • As Good As iPhone XS Max, Just Smaller
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If you can’t stomach a phone with a 6.5in display, then Apple’s iPhone XS could well be right up your street. This phone is more or less identical to the iPhone XS Max, save for battery performance and screen size, and that’s a very good thing indeed.

The imaging is identical. You have the same dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, the same Smart HDR software, and the same overall performance when snapping and shooting images. Only this time, all of that kit is housed inside a smaller package.

The iPhone XS’ battery life isn’t quite as good as the iPhone XS Max on account of its smaller-sized battery. But that’s to be expected. You do get the same amount of RAM and the same storage options – 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.

#4) The iPhone X – The New Budget All-Screen iPhone Option…

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iPhone X Pros:

  • Solid Design, Looks Just Like iPhone XS
  • Great OLED Display
  • Very Good Camera Performance (Front & Back)
  • Performance is Still Stellar (Even By 2019’s Standards)
  • Go Reconditioned Route & You’ll Save a Ton of Cash
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The iPhone X is now kinda old. But that’s a good thing because you can pick one up for A LOT less than both the iPhone XR and iPhone XS. And the best way to do this is to go the reconditioned iPhone route – I use Gazelle for this.

Why reconditioned? Simple: you’ll save upwards of 40% on an iPhone X and it will look and work as good as new. No one will know it’s reconditioned and Gazelle has extremely stringent tests that it puts all of its handsets through so as to ensure they’re fit for resale.

MORE: Find Out How You Can Save 40% With A Refurbished iPhone…

By 2019 standards, the iPhone X is no longer the best iPhone you can buy. However, it is still a VERY good option. The processing power under the hood, the design, and the camera are all still top-notch, so if you want that all-screen iPhone experience, just at a fraction of the cost the iPhone X could well be the best iPhone option for you right now.

The iPhone X is still a very solid option too. It’ll get iOS updates for years to come, it looks more or less the same as Apple’s most current phones, and it has a great camera and display. But you can get one for about $300 less than the price of a new iPhone XR, and if you’re in the market for value for money, that’s a helluva deal!

#4) iPhone 8 Plus 256GB – The Ultimate Budget iPhone…

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iPhone 8 Plus Pros:

  • TouchID – I Actually Prefer It To FACE ID
  • Plenty of Power – Apple’s A-Series Chipset is Brilliant
  • Up to 256GB of Storage
  • Solid Design, A Classic-Looking iPhone
  • 70% Faster Than iPhone 7 Model
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What if you want a powerful iPhone, but you don’t want to pay close to $1000 for the pleasure? Simple: you get the iPhone 8 Plus. This handset, which retains TouchID, is still impressively powerful and, despite modern design changes, still looks really smart.

And because the iPhone 8 Plus is older, you can pick one up for very little money, which means you can buy outright and avoid expensive, restrictive phone plans altogether. Go the reconditioned route, and you can grab a fully-loaded iPhone 8 Plus for $469 – that’s dirt cheap for a phone of this quality.

And don’t be put off that it’s reconditioned; phones from Gazelle are rigorously tested, look and perform like brand new, and even come with a robust 30-day returns policy, so if it isn’t up to chalk, you simply send it back for a replacement or your money back.

Things To Keep In Mind When Buying An iPhone…

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Tens of millions of people buy iPhones every single quarter. This fact alone is why Apple is the most profitable company in the consumer technology space. Tack on the fact that its phones are VERY expensive and it’s easy to see why Apple’s consistently #1 in the profitability stakes…

But just because everybody buys iPhones, with 90% getting them on contract/plans, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. You can do things differently and save some money in the process. This is why I did this article; to emphasis that there is another way to get iPhone performance without breaking the bank.

It’s also why I put the iPhone XR as the #1 iPhone you can buy right now. In terms of raw specs and performance, the iPhone XS Max is the outright best – at least from a marketing perspective. But when you’re talking about consumer advice, you have to consider more than this – things like value for money just aren’t talked about enough these days.

And this is why I’ve brought up reconditioned iPhones. For value for money, going this route when buying an iPhone pays dividends in the long run. The most notable of which is that you can actually buy an iPhone outright and then shop around for the best plan. And when you do find that plan, it’ll be dramatically cheaper than if you bought it to support the purchase of a $1200+ iPhone XS Max.

Recap: What’s The Best iPhone For You? 

Bottom line? If you’re rich – or someone else is buying you this phone, and they’re rich – get the iPhone XS Max or iPhone XS; they’re the best for overall performance and specs. You know, all the shiny stuff that allows Apple to constantly charge more for its phones even though you mostly do the same things with all of them…

On a budget, but keen on going the contract/plan route? Get the iPhone XR; it’s cheaper than both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max and, in my opinion, is just as good. Personally, I’d take the iPhone XR over the XS and XS Max any day of the week. But I’m a sucker for value for money!

On a budget and want to buy your iPhone outright? Go the reconditioned route; Gazelle sells iPhones (as well as iPads, MacBooks, and Samsung phones) for 40% less than Apple’s official program. Getting an iPhone this way will save you money and allow you to shop around for the best deal for your plan.

I’ve had multiple phones from Gazelle over the years and they’ve all functioned perfectly. If you like value for money and want a properly good iPhone, just for 40% less… it is the #1 option available to you right now. Period.

An Overview of Apple’s OLD iPhones – Just In Case You Wanna Go Ultra-Cheap on Cost…

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iPhone SE: The Best Compact iPhone

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It’s fair to say that if you’re shopping for a new iPhone, even the cheapest iPhone, you’re not really “on a budget” by any stretch of the imagination. In other words, all new iPhones are expensive. The iPhone SE, however, is certainly the most affordable of the entire range – it costs as little as $159!

This makes it potentially the best choice if you do insist on partaking in Apple’s ecosystem – as well as its unique blend of design, hardware, and software – but also want to spend as little as possible; something more in mid-rage Android price territory.

Or if you just want that Apple logo on your device at the lowest possible outlay. That said, another good reason why you might find the iPhone SE the best iPhone for you, is if you’re an Apple fan, want in on its services, software, and the level of polish it brings to its phones, but are absolutely sure you want a smaller screen.

The iPhone SE is the only model available with the older size 4in display, making it much more pocket friendly than the rest of the line-up, which range from 4.7in on the regular editions, up to 5.5in on the Plus models, and up to 5.8in on the iPhone X (though admittedly squeezed into a smaller shell in an edge-to-edge arrangement).

The iPhone SE has been on the market for a little while now, but as with many Apple products, the hardware has been engineered carefully and the firm continually refines new editions of the iOS software to be just as well optimized to it now, with added features, services, and interface tweaks, as it was at launch.

This smaller iPhone with a less demanding touch display is much kinder to battery life than many modern “phablet” size devices, which require enormous battery cells just to keep in the same ballpark. Being a lower-cost model doesn’t mean it holds back in key areas where things really matter either, the camera quality on the iPhone SE is superb, as is the sharpness, color, and clarity of the Retina display.

Processor performance is decent too, thanks to Apple’s carefully curated software ecosystem. To give you an indication of what’s good about the iPhone SE, here are some excerpts from our original review: “Where this phone really comes into its own is the performance, imaging, and battery life. Plus you get all the rich trappings of Apple’s brilliant ecosystem, which, in many ways, cannot be equaled. The iPhone SE is a solid, solid performer across the board. It does everything you want it to and performs like an absolute champ! I have no qualms recommending this handset to anyone that is looking for a smaller, but equally powerful handset.”

iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus: Best Value iPhone

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If you’re not in the market for the very latest and greatest – and most expensive – but still want an iPhone, and yet don’t want an itty-bitty 4in touchscreen from the iPhone SE, you’re left looking at the rest of Apple’s legacy range. And you can pick up a reconditioned iPhone 7 Plus for around $300! 

This basically consists of the iPhone 6s series, the iPhone 7 series, and the newer iPhone 8 series. We find it pretty much impossible to recommend the iPhone 8 and its larger sibling, the iPhone 8 Plus. Essentially, Apple really dropped the ball here on a number of fronts. It clearly spent too much time focusing on the iPhone X, as the specs and features between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7 hardly seem like an upgrade at all.

At the same time, the iPhone 8 cost considerably more than the iPhone 7 at launch – $699 and $799 for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus respectively, versus $549 and $669 for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – while not offering much that is new for that hiked price point. However, the iPhone 8, as well as the iPhone 7 series, are now both VERY affordable if you get them from the right place.

And lastly, on the subject of bashing the iPhone 8, it is riddled with bugs and production faults, according to multiple widely circulated reports from users and reviewers alike. That being the case, you could and probably should follow the tune of millions of other consumers who turned their noses up at the iPhone X and iPhone 8 after launch and opted instead for an older iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.

You’ll save a ton of money, get most of the same features (particularly the really good ones), and all with fewer headaches. And if you want to save EVEN more cash, check out reconditioned units via Gazelle – they’re around 40% cheaper than new RRP.

Choosing Between The iPhone 7 vs the iPhone 7 Plus

Ah well, that’s a much trickier question. Swings and roundabouts, I’m afraid. On the one hand, the iPhone 7 is much cheaper than its larger stable-mate, and it’s also smaller and easier for your hand and pocket. However, the iPhone 7 Plus has a superior dual-sensor camera and, more importantly in our view, a substantial difference in battery life.

The iPhone 7 Plus (indeed, most iPhone Plus models) will see you going far longer than their smaller counterparts. Here at KYM we’d likely take the iPhone 7 Plus first every day of the week, because we’re used to bigger phones by now and we love high-end cameras and BIG battery life – saying that in a hypothetical “money no object” sense, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be in the market for an iPhone at all!

Ultimately for us that means if you’re stumping up the money for a new iPhone you might as well go hard or go home. And hard in this context, means the iPhone 7 Plus – Plus models are ALWAYS better. They have better battery life and, in some cases, better specs and performance. Bottomline: both the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 7 Plus are now seriously cheap. 

What About Apple’s iPhone 6 & iPhone 6s series?

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The iPhone 6s series was great when it first launched. But that was A LONG time ago now. And for this reason, I would avoid getting the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s in 2019 – too much time has passed.

Things have moved on and, despite excellent hardware, you’re going to be missing a lot of features and performance running one of these older handsets.

Applications move with the times, and so do web standards, things change, usually for the better, every year. But these changes to apps and web standards require more raw processing power and newer GPU technologies to run them smoothly and securely. An iPhone 6/iPhone 6s in 2019 just ain’t up to the task.

If you do want to save a ton of money, but still get yourself an iPhone, have a look at Gazelle – it sells reconditioned iPhones for 40% less than Apple. You can get pretty much any model, though the newer ones – the iPhone XS, for instance – are obviously more expensive. But then again, the iPhone XS is the best iPhone Apple has made to date.

At least… it will be until the arrival of Apple’s brand new iPhone 11 series later on this year.

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