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Best iPhone you can buy in 2021 so far

By Roland Udvarlaki July 17, 2021, 8:00 am

We’re always on the search for the best deals possible — now we’re looking for the best iPhone — and so we often put a list together to help you find your new best smartphone. We often do these guides to help you find the best Android devices and the best Samsung devices. We regularly test the latest devices to see which one stands out the most, and to find out which one is worth your hard-earned cash.

iPhones aren’t cheap, especially if you’re looking to pick up the best iPhone. If you’re an iPhone user or are considering changing from Android, the list will help you find the best device that suits your needs, which can be afforded by your wallet. For each phone, we’ve added a little bit of information to help you understand why that particular model stands out and what it can offer you.


The Best iPhone: iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max stands out due to its large size, massive display and rear camera setup. The triple camera setup contains a 12MP wide, 12MP telephoto (2.5x optical zoom) and a 12MP ultrawide sensor. No matter the lighting condition, this device can capture crystal clear photos and produce beautiful quality images.

The large 6.7 inch display provides an excellent opportunity for gamers to enjoy the games on a really large screen. While it doesn’t have a high refresh rate panel, Apple is excellent at making its devices look butter smooth. It’s also one of the first iPhones to feature 6GB of RAM, so swapping between multiple apps will go without any issues. The battery is 3,687mAh and can easily last a full day on a single charge. Just don’t forget to buy a charger separately.

iphone 12 pro max stock

iPhone 12 Pro Max

If you're looking for the absolute best, most premium iPhone device in 2021, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has everything you need, including 5G.

Runner-Up: iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro blue

If the iPhone 12 Pro Max is too large for your hands, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro might be a lot more comfortable for your needs. It features largely the same features as its larger sibling, but the telephoto camera only offers 2x optical zoom, and of course given its size, it has a smaller battery. Apart from the camera difference, it’s the same excellent device with the performance you would expect from a high-end, premium flagship from Apple.

iPhone 12 Pro

It’s nearly identical to its larger iPhone 12 Pro Max sibling with its class leading performance, and it too offers the best camera quality you can buy today.

Best for Most: iPhone 12

iPhone 12 battery drain

If you’ve been eyeing the iPhone 12 Pro or the 12 Pro Max and found it a bit too expensive, don’t worry, the standard iPhone 12 is here to the rescue. It has the exact same internals as the iPhone 12 Pro, and it even has the same 6.1-inch OLED display for deeper blacks and more contrast. The main difference is with the memory — the iPhone 12 only has 4GB of memory, which is still more than enough to multitask.

The iPhone 12 also lacks the extra telephoto camera and some Pro camera features. However, if you’re a casual user or someone who doesn’t zoom in much on objects, the standard iPhone 12 will serve you well.

iphone 12

iPhone 12

If you're looking for flagship features for slightly less, the iPhone 12 provides the full package, and ticks all the boxes on the essentials.

Runner-Up: iPhone 11

While the iPhone 11 is one of the best devices from last year, it’s still one of the best devices you can pick up today. It has a 6.1-inch display, runs the latest version of iOS, and will continue to receive updates for a few more years. It has an excellent camera that lets you take images both day and night, and the 12MP ultrawide lets you fit more objects on a single photo. The battery is also excellent and can last a full day on a single charge.

The only downside is the display size. It sports an LCD panel, which doesn’t have true blacks like an OLED display, but it’s sharp enough to consume content and browse social media and the web all day long. The performance is excellent and the games run very smoothly, without any issues.

iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 comes with a large 6.1 inch display, 4GB of memory and a 12MP+12MP wide angle camera. The battery can also last a full day easily on a single charge.

Best Compact: the 12 mini

iphone 12 mini pocketnow

People have been asking for a small, compact iPhone for years, and Apple finally gave in and listened. The iPhone 12 mini is a true flagship in a very tiny, compact package. It’s as big as an iPhone 6-8 for comparison, so it can easily be used with one hand. It features the iPhone 12 series’ A14 Bionic chipset and has 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage built-in.

The only downside of going for the iPhone 12 mini is battery life. Its 2,227mAh battery can last a day, but depending on how heavily you use it, you might need to top up during the day. Aside from the battery, it has everything the standard iPhone 12 comes with — an excellent display, camera, a beautiful 5.4-inch OLED display and more.

iphone 12

iPhone 12 mini

If you want a high-end, premium compact device, the iPhone 12 mini provides the ultimate package.

Most Affordable: iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE Red color

The iPhone SE is a compact, cheap iPhone. Yes, you’ve read that right, it’s an affordable iPhone. In terms of looks, its design is the same as the iPhone 8 series from 2017, but it features the powerful A13 Bionic chipset and 3GB of memory. It has most of the same functionality as the iPhone 11 from 2019, but it lacks a secondary wide angle camera, a battery that can easily last a day.

Another significant downside are the huge bezels on the front. But if you can get past these issues, it’s really the best and cheapest iPhone you can get at this price range today.

iPhone SE (2020)

The iPhone SE from 2020 offers iPhone 11 performance at an affordable price. It has most of the same flagship features with a few caveats, but if you’re not a power user and want to save a bit, this one's for you.

Best from Last Year: the 11 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max colors

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a massive 6.5 inch OLED display and is powered by the A13 Bionic chipset and 4GB of memory. The triple rear sensor includes a 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide and a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom capabilities. At the front, the 12MP wide sensor ensures you can fit all your family and friends on the photo. The 3,969mAh battery ensures you can stay up-to-date for a day or more, depending on your usage.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro Max can be a great deal if you want to save a bit of money. It offers a flagship camera that can capture your moments both day and night, not to mention the battery performance is one of the best from an iPhone.

Runner-Up: iPhone 11 Pro

Huawei P40 Pro+ vs iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro is powered by the Apple A13 Bionic chipset and 4GB of memory and 64/256/512GB of storage. It has a large 5.8-inch OLED display and a 12MP selfie camera. On the back, there is a 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and a 12MP telephoto sensor with 2x optical zoom. The 3,046mAh battery can last a full day on a single charge and depending on whether you get an older or a newer unit, the charger might actually be included in the box.

iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro is still one of the best devices you can pick up today if you want to save a bit of money. It has true flagship features and an excellent camera.

Our Recommendation

The list includes a number of devices, some of which are better than others. While this guide offers a lot of information about each device on the list, you may be confused about which iPhone is the best one.

If you want the absolute greatest flagship, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the one that offers the best iPhone experience. If you find the Max too big, the smaller sibling iPhone 12 Pro has all of the same main features, except the bigger display, bigger battery, and the better telephoto sensor. If you can live with that, it’s an excellent choice.

Personally, I would rather go for the iPhone 12, since it offers most of the same flagship features of the Pro model, for slightly less money. It has an amazing and crisp OLED display that also finally offers a decent FHD resolution for watching Netflix and playing games. If you want to save even more and you’re happy going for a lower-resolution LCD display and last year’s chipset, the iPhone 11 is an excellent pick.


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