Apple usually sells four or so iPhones at a given time. The previous year’s version gets a price drop and moves down in the chain. This year though, Apple released three new iPhones and kept the two year old iPhones 6s in the lineup. The end result is an eight iPhone lineup that stretches from $349 16GB iPhone SE all the way to the $1149 256GB iPhone X. It’s so bad that Apple has a new dedicated tool for comparing different iPhone models.
If you’re in the market for a new iPhone, you might be confused as to which particular iPhone to get. Maybe you’re upgrading from iPhone 5s/6 and you don’t know which new iPhone is the best option for you. May be this is going to be your first iPhone. Let me walk you through the new iPhone line up.
Apple has simplified the storage tiers this time. Instead of the usual three tier options, it’s now down to two. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 come in 64GB and 256GB versions ($150 more for the upgraded storage). All other iPhones in the lineup have a 32GB and 128GB options ($100 more for upgraded storage).
Read more: Which iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus Storage Capacity Should You Buy — 64GB or 256GB?
The iPhone SE might be an almost two-year-old device but it’s still mighty powerful. It has an A9 chip and the same 12 MP shooter from iPhone 6s. But it’s all in the body of an iPhone 5s. And this is the only latest 4-inch iPhone in the lineup.
If you’re looking for a small, pocket-friendly, slip free, iPhone with no camera bump, just go with iPhone SE. There are two models right now – 32 GB and 128 GB. Try to go for the 128 GB version if possible (this advice goes for all available iPhones).
If you’re looking for a now “traditional” 4.7-inch iPhone, the iPhone 6s is the cheapest option. The internals is the same as iPhone SE. The 32GB iPhone 6s comes in at $449 while the 32GB iPhone 6s Plus starts at $549.
The iPhone 6s makes sense if you want the current form factor of the iPhone at the cheapest possible price. While the hardware is nothing to scoff at, it’s now two years old.
While it was the “s” upgrade, the iPhone 6s packed in a lot of new and interesting features. It has the much faster second-generation Touch ID sensor, 3D Touch and it supports awesome photography features like Live Photos.
Because this is a two-year-old iPhone, I would suggest you stay away from it if possible, purely for future proofing reasons.
Until last month, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were the top of the line iPhones. And they’re still on sale. Now they’re cheaper. The 32GB iPhone 7 starts at $549 and the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $649.
If this is going to be your first iPhone, or if you’re upgrading from iPhone 5s or iPhone 6, the iPhone 7 is actually a solid upgrade for you. The A10 chip is really powerful and it has features like the Taptic Engine and Optical Image Stabilization in the iPhone 7 camera.
If you’re really impressed by the Portrait Mode feature and you want to click awesome photos will depth mode effect, the iPhone 7 Plus is the cheapest way to get your foot in the door. iPhone 7 Plus has a dual camera setup with a wide angle and a telephoto lens (only the wide angle lens has optical image stabilization).
iPhone 7’s A10 chip is a beast and you won’t feel like you’re using an old iPhone. It got 3444 single core score in the Geekbench test. The iPhone 6s, for example, scored 2380. That’s almost double the performance.
If you’re wondering between iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, I would say add the extra $100 and just go for the iPhone 7. The A10 chip is much faster and iPhone 7’s Camera has optical image stabilization.
If you’re looking for a Plus model, I would recommend you go for iPhone 7 Plus (32GB for $669) instead of iPhone 6s Plus. For $120 more you get a lot more performance, plus a dual camera setup.
If you want an iPhone with the best possible performance, camera and features in the “classic” package, the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus is for you. The iPhone X is a big leap for the iPhone but it’s $300 more expensive and it changes almost everything about the iPhone. Plus, the new glass back looks really cool. Especially in white and gold colors.
If you’d rather not be a part of the experimental phase of the iPhone X, and lack of Touch ID is a deal-breaker, then the latest iPhones make for a really solid package. They have the same bonkers A11 Bionic chip and other features like wireless charging. The A11 Bionic chip has amazing performance. In benchmarks, it even beats the MacBook Pro running on a Core i5 chip.
The latest iPhone is the most future proof iPhone. And it has the best cameras as well. The iPhone 8 Plus, for example, has a new Portrait Lighting feature which gives you professional-level lighting effects. The end result is that you can upgrade your pretty good photos to amazing portrait mode shots.
The 64GB iPhone 8 starts at $699 (which is $150 more than the iPhone 7) and the 64GB iPhone 8 Plus is $799. To upgrade to the 256GB storage tier, you’ll have to pay $150 more.
Read more: iPhone 8 Plus Review: The Last, Greatest Classic iPhone
There’ a lot to like in the new iPhone X. Both cameras on the back have optical image stabilization. The telephoto lens has f/2.4 aperture. This means you’re going to get some amazing low light and Portrait mode shots. Plus, there’s even a Portrait mode feature for the front-facing camera, along with the Portrait Lighting feature. This phone is going to take your selfie game to a whole new level.
For the first time on an iPhone, the screen is OLED. And it stretches almost all the way across the screen (except for the notch). Face ID is a new revolutionary method for biometric authentication. There’s no Home button instead, you use gestures to unlock the iPhone X, go back to the Home screen or to engage multitasking.
The new 64GB $999 iPhone X ($1149 for 256GB version) is clearly not for everyone. We’ve gotten to a point in the industry where every other phone is pretty good. Even mid-range phones are good enough these days. If you don’t want the latest hotness, or if you can’t spend the extra $300, that’s totally fine – just buy the iPhone 8 or iPhone 7. If you’re not happy with the compromises Apple made to get to the iPhone X, that’s also a valid reason to stay away from iPhone X.
But if you’re a technology enthusiast, or you spend a lot of time on your phone for getting work done, or you just want the best smartphone camera, the iPhone X is it. Yes, the notch is a compromise and we don’t know how the Face ID is going to work in real life. And it’s possible that the swipe gestures aren’t going to be as reliable as the physical home button.
If you’re the kind of person who is excited by new technological shifts, who wants to be a part of the conversation about the future of the iPhone, then you should preorder the iPhone X. Because of iPhone X’s demand (and constrained supply), it’s possible that you won’t be able to get your hands on one for weeks if you don’t pre-order in the first few minutes. iPhone X’s preorders go live on October 27th and they’ll start shipping on November 3rd.
Read more: Top 10 New iPhone X Features
In the end, it all comes down to you. What kind of iPhone do you want, what screen size and build you prefer and how much money you want to spend. I’d say skip the iPhone 6s. Anything above the iPhone 7 gets you a great iPhone in 2017.