Pick your per­fect iPhone part­ner

Susie Ochs’s guide will help you choose the right iPhone

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Pick­ing out an iPhone used to be eas­ier – just get the new­est one with all the stor­age you can af­ford. We still rec­om­mend plenty of stor­age, but the choice of which iPhone to go with that stor­age isn’t quite so sim­ple. Do you want the phone with the best cam­era, the one with the low­est start­ing price, or maybe just one with a head­phone jack?

We’re here to help, with this guide of ev­ery iPhone cur­rently sold by Ap­ple, and how to de­cide which is the best for you.

iPhone 7 Plus: Best over­all, best cam­era Price: From £719

The flag­ship of flag­ships is the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s got an ab­surdly fast A10 Fu­sion pro­ces­sor that com­bines two high-per­for­mance cores to run desk­top-class apps, and two low-power cores that stretch bat­tery life dur­ing less-in­ten­sive tasks. Ap­ple quotes 13- to 15 hours of In­ter­net use, 14 hours of video play­back, or 60 hours of au­dio play­back per charge. In our test­ing, we got seven hours, 55 min­utes of video play­back be­tween 100 per­cent and 50 per­cent charged – this thing just goes and goes.

But the big­gest sell­ing point of the iPhone 7 Plus is its two-lens cam­era sys­tem. It com­bines a wide-an­gle lens with an f/1.8 aper­ture to let in more light, with a ‘tele­photo’ lens with f/2.8 aper­ture for get­ting in close. The Cam­era app still does all the work for you (some­times even choos­ing 2x dig­i­tal zoom over 2x op­ti­cal zoom if the re­sult will be a bet­ter im­age), but the real magic hap­pens when it com­bines data from both lenses. The Por­trait mode, cur­rently in beta as part of iOS 10.1, is a great ex­am­ple of that, au­to­mat­i­cally blur­ring the back­ground while keep­ing your sub­ject’s face in fo­cus.

While our re­views of the iPhone 7 Plus and the 7 took is­sue with the new ‘click­less’ Home but­ton and the lack of a head­phone jack, the speed, power, and cam­era still make 7 Plus the best iPhone over­all. Prices start at £719 for 32GB, £819 for 128GB and £919 for 256GB.

iPhone 7: Best 4.7in phone Price: From £599

The iPhone 7 is per­fect for any­one who wants the speed and bat­tery life of the iPhone 7 Plus, a

cam­era that’s nearly as good, and a smaller size. Oh, and the ac­ci­dent-prone should def­i­nitely con­sider an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus over pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, since the new phones come with an IP67 wa­ter re­sis­tance rat­ing.

The sin­gle iSight cam­era on the back has a wider f/1.8 aper­ture than be­fore, which re­ally makes a dif­fer­ence in low-light con­di­tions. You don’t get op­ti­cal zoom or Por­trait mode, which are ex­clu­sive to the iPhone 7 Plus’s two-lens cam­era. But the pho­tos the iPhone 7 takes are a big step up from all the mod­els that came be­fore.

Opt­ing for the iPhone 7 over the 7 Plus comes down to a pref­er­ence for the 4.7in size, over the larger 5.5in Plus. But keep in mind that the iPhone 7 is also £120 cheaper across the board if you buy it out­right. (It’s £599 for 32GB, £699 for 128GB and £799 for 256GB.) So you could pick the iPhone 7 and spend the sav­ings on an­other tier of stor­age.

iPhone 6s Plus: Best bar­gain for big hands Price: From £599

When a new iPhone comes out, Ap­ple keeps the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion on sale at a sub­stan­tial dis­count. That means, right now you can get a

5.5in iPhone 6s Plus with 32GB of stor­age for £599, or 128GB of stor­age for £699.

We loved the iPhone 6s Plus when we re­viewed it in 2015. The A9 chip is still plenty fast for iOS 10 ap­pli­ca­tions. The 6s and 6s Plus were the first to get 3D Touch, which lets you deep-press on the touch­screen to get more func­tions, kind of like the mo­bile ver­sion of a right-click. When the fea­ture launched, it was a nice-to-have, but iOS 10 has made it much more es­sen­tial.

The 6s Plus also sup­ports Live Pho­tos and 4K video, thanks to its 12Mp iSight cam­era. This is a sin­gle-lens cam­era, and you won’t get quite the same low-light per­for­mance as you would with the wider-aper­ture lenses on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But if the cam­era isn’t your main rea­son for up­grad­ing your iPhone, you’ll still be able to take good pho­tos with the 6s Plus, which does have op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion.

iPhone 6s: Best for head­phone jack diehards Price: From £499

One other ad­van­tage to last year’s iPhones is that you can plug in any old head­phones you

want. Want to charge your phone while you’re lis­ten­ing? No prob­lem, be­cause those use two dif­fer­ent ports. As we know, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus no longer have a 3.5mm head­phone port, but the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and the SE all do.

And like the 6s Plus, the 6s is no slouch. Its 4.7in screen size makes it eas­ier to carry in a jeans pocket, or strap it to your arm for a run. It’s got the ex­act same A9 chip as the iPhone 6s Plus, and the same 12Mp cam­era that shoots 4K video – only with­out op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion, which in this gen­er­a­tion is ex­clu­sive to the iPhone 6s Plus.

Plus, it’s a bar­gain. The en­try-level 32GB iPhone 6s is £499, in gold, rose gold, space gray, and sil­ver. If you need more stor­age, a 128GB ver­sion is £59. That’s the same price as an en­try-level iPhone 7, but with four times the stor­age. If you’ve got a lot of files and an aver­sion to head­phone adap­tors, this might be the right choice.

iPhone SE: Best value, best for small hands Price: From £379

But the best bar­gain on the iPhone mar­ket is still the iPhone SE. This is es­sen­tially the guts of an

iPhone 6s shoved into the pocket-friendly body of an iPhone 5s. You get a 4in screen, the same size as the iPhone 5/5c/5s, be­fore Ap­ple went big with the iPhone 6. But you won’t sac­ri­fice speed or bat­tery life com­pared to the 6s.

The iPhone SE has the same A9 chip as the iPhone 6s, so it han­dles iOS 10 just fine, though it doesn’t have 3D Touch, which is a mi­nor draw­back. You can press-and-hold on no­ti­fi­ca­tions to see an ex­panded view, for ex­am­ple, but you can’t 3D Touch an app icon for Quick Ac­tions. The 1624mAh bat­tery in the iPhone SE is a lit­tle bit smaller than the 1715mAh bat­tery in the 6s, but it still lasts longer be­cause the 4in screen needs less power.

An­other ad­van­tage to the iPhone SE is that it fits into cases made for the 5s and 5, which you might al­ready have ly­ing around. The 12Mp cam­era sup­ports Live Pho­tos and 4K video, so you aren’t los­ing out there, but the iPhone SE does have lim­ited stor­age sizes. The en­try-level 16GB ver­sion is £379, but we rec­om­mend most peo­ple quadru­ple that stor­age for an­other £50 with the £429 64GB model.

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