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Apple recently released three new iPhones—the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X—while dropping prices on the older iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, and 7 Plus. With so many models available, it can be dizzying to decide which is right for you, so we’ll sort them out by size, age, key features, and camera capabilities.
Size is an important factor for people with particularly small or large hands, or for those who like to carry the iPhone in a pocket. Weight is closely coupled with size, but makes less of a difference—all these iPhones are fairly light.
As you can see in the chart, the iPhone SE is the smallest, while the models with “Plus” in their names are the largest. The other non-Plus iPhones sit in the middle. The new iPhone X is an outlier—its dimensions are close to those of the mid-sized models, but its screen is even larger than the Plus models’ screens.
If you’re not sure what you prefer, visit our store to try our demo models.
All these iPhone models are completely functional and compatible with both iOS 11 and Apple’s other devices, but you can save money by buying an older iPhone. The tradeoff is that older models have slower chips and tend to have less storage. And, of course, they’ll become obsolete sooner. We generally recommend the newest iPhone that you can afford comfortably, because it will provide the best performance for the longest time.
If you want a small iPhone, the iPhone SE is the obvious choice. Unfortunately, it lacks all the hardware and camera features described next, as well as 3D Touch and Live Photos. Plus, its front-facing FaceTime camera is only 1.2 megapixels, far less than any of the other models. Nonetheless, if you strongly prefer the size of the iPhone SE, its limitations are unlikely to matter to you.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus introduced these hardware changes:
The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X go even further, with these improvements:
The iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) marks the iPhone’s tenth anniversary and demonstrates Apple’s latest innovations. It is the first Apple device with an OLED screen, making for better visuals—more pixels, more colors, and more contrast. The screen covers most of the front of the phone, taking over the Home button area. There’s neither a Home button nor a TouchID fingerprint sensor. Instead, iPhone X users sign in with Apple’s new Face ID facial-recognition system, which works even in the dark. The iPhone X also boasts the same dual-camera features as the Plus models, but in a smaller form factor.
For many people, the camera is the most important aspect of an iPhone. All these iPhones have a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and work well for everyday photos and videos. However, Apple keeps improving the underlying sensors and image processing capabilities, so newer iPhones usually take higher quality photos and videos than older models.
If you’re particularly interested in photography, note that the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, and X have two rear-facing cameras, one with a general-use f/1.8 lens and the other with a telephoto lens (f/2.8 in the 7 Plus and 8 Plus, f/2.4 in the X). The Camera app uses these cameras to provide Portrait mode, which blurs the background behind the subject, and the new Portrait Lighting mode (in the iPhone 8 Plus and X), which lets you change the lighting of a scene.
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting the latest and greatest, but even the oldest of these models is essentially magic, putting an Internet-connected supercomputer and high-quality video and still photo camera in your pocket. The newer models offer even more features and the best possible iPhone experience. No matter what you pick, we think you’ll enjoy your new iPhone!