What’s The Cheapest iPhone? A Buyer’s Guide For 2020…

by | 21/07/2020 9:54 am
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Apple now makes relatively cheap iPhones. Hell hath frozen over. But what is the cheapest iPhone you can buy right now?


Back in the day, buying an iPhone was simple: you had one, or maybe two options, but as the market has matured Apple has had to change its business. It now makes and releases a variety of iPhones each year. In 2019, it released three models: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

In 2020, Apple will launch and release the iPhone 12 range (the first iPhones to carry 5G connectivity) which will include, potentially, four distinct models. Add to that list the iPhone SE 2020, released in April, and that makes five iPhone phones released in 2020.

But which is the cheapest?

iPhone SE 2020: The Cheapest iPhone Apple Sells

  • Cheapest iPhone Model: iPhone SE 2020
  • Price: 399 USD; 419 GBP

You guessed it: the iPhone SE 2020. This phone is essentially an iPhone 8 redux, meaning it essentially looks exactly the same the iPhone 8, only here Apple has updated the internals, adding in its A13 CPU (the same one found inside Apple’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max).

iPhone SE 2020 Review
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This means the iPhone SE 2020 is basically the iPhone 8 on steroids. Apple’s A13 CPU is monumentally powerful, and what makes the iPhone SE 2020 so appealing is that you can pick one up new for $399.99 (or 419 GBP), making it the cheapest iPhone you can buy by a considerable margin.

Best iPhone SE 2020 Deals

Is the iPhone SE 2020 any good? We think so; in our iPhone SE 2020 review, Damien gave it a very positive write-up. There are something caveats, obviously, like the camera (it’s not great) and the battery life (also not great), but for the most part the phone itself is very good – especially if you’re the type of user that isn’t on their phone all day long.

If you just want a reliable, easy to use phone, the iPhone SE 2020 is a brilliant option. It’ll get iOS updates for years to come, it has a perfectly adequate camera and the battery life, so long as you’re not a heavy user or someone that wants to take professional-grade photographs. For normal usage, the iPhone SE 2020 is a brilliant option. You get the best of iPhone and Apple’s iOS ecosystem, just with the massive monthly costs.

Other Ways To Buy Cheap iPhones

If you’re buying a new iPhone, your basically limited to the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 11 if you want a cheap(ish) iPhone. However, if you look to the refurbished market, you can make huge savings on nearly all of Apple’s past releases – from the iPhone 8 Plus to the iPhone XS Max.

How much can you save when buying a refurbished iPhone? Around 40%. And remember: a refurb iPhone is not the same as a used iPhone; it’s been vetted and tested and essentially should look and function as good as new. I bought a refurbished iPhone XS Max this year – and it looks as good as new.

this-is-what-a-refurbished-iphone-actually-looks-like
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This is my refurbished iPhone XS Max; I got it via Gazelle for less than $500

If you don’t necessarily need a new iPhone, buying refurbished (or reconditioned, as it sometimes called) is perhaps the #1 easiest way to save a lot of money on your next purchase. As noted above, most refurb iPhones look and function as good as new.

Just make sure you use reputable companies like Gazelle (USA) and Music Magpie (UK). In our experience, they provide the best-looking phones and the best money-back guarantees and warranties.

Apple runs its own refurbished iPhone section too, but I always find it a little limited with respect to selection, whereas, with a retailer like Gazelle, you literally have the pick of the litter – it carries all models of iPhone from the iPhone 6s right up to the iPhone 11, as well as iPads and MacBooks too.

iPhones You Probably Shouldn’t Buy…

If you’re looking at picking up a cheap iPhone, the used and refurbished market can look very attractive, however, you need to be careful what model you buy and who you buy it from. This is why we ALWAYS recommend you buy refurbished instead of used and that you always use legit companies like Gazelle and Music Magpie.

You’ll also want to avoid really old iPhone models; anything below the iPhone 7 is not worth buying in 2020. The iPhone 7 will reach its end of life inside the next couple of years which means it will no longer get iOS updates. Instead, you’ll want to buy either an iPhone 8 or the iPhone X; these models will be supported well into the late-2020s, so you’ll be able to use them for years to come.

Difference Between iPhone SE 2020, iPhone 11, and 11 Pro Models

The main differences between Apple’s iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 11 are to do with its design, its size, and its internal specs. The iPhone 11 is larger, has a bigger display and battery, and has a dual-lens camera. It does not have an OLED display, however – you’ll need to get one of Apple’s Pro models for that.

The iPhone SE 2020 is smaller than the iPhone 11 (and the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max); it has a 4.7in LCD display and looks identical to the iPhone 8. It has the smallest battery of any of Apple’s 2019 and 2020 releases, and its camera is a single-lens setup that lacks the features of the iPhone 11’s dual-lens camera and the iPhone 11 Pro model’s triple-lens camera.

This is why it is so cheap.

But the iPhone SE 2020 does have the same CPU as the iPhone 11 range, so when it comes to performance it is just as good as the more expensive iPhone models; it just lacks things like OLED panels, multiple camera lenses, large battery cells, and higher amounts of memory.

Personally, I think the iPhone SE 2020 is more than enough phone for most people. If all you do is a bit of web browsing, some social media, and IM, the iPhone SE 2020 will be perfect. It costs less than Apple’s iPhone 11 range and is more portable. It even has a home button, so you don’t need to worry about FACE ID issues.

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