iPhone Comparison: Which Is Best For You?

iPhone Comparison: Which Is Best For You?
Image: Tegan Jones
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If you’re after a new iPhone, it can almost feel like there are too many options to choose from. Not only are there four flavours of iPhone 12, there are also a few older models that are still pretty easy to find and hold up surprisingly well. With that in mind, we’ve broken down the main differences between the main iPhones you can buy now.

iPhone 12

Image: Fergus Halliday

If you can’t make up your mind, the iPhone 12 is easily the best iPhone for most. While it’s one of the cheaper devices in the iPhone 12 family, it raises the baseline iPhone experience to the point where it really doesn’t feel like you’re sacrificing much when compared to the “Pro” models.

The iPhone 12 has the same primary and ultra-wide camera, the same 5G connectivity, the same drop-resistant OLED screen, and the same design as the iPhone 12 Pro. All you really miss out on is the zoom lens and LiDAR (which helps with better low light portrait photos and AR apps).

Considering the iPhone 12 starts at $1,349 outright while the iPhone 12 Pro will cost you an extra $350, we’d say the sacrifices you make aren’t that significant.

If you can make your budget stretch, we’d also recommend the iPhone 12 over an older model. While Apple is best in class at supporting old devices – the iPhone 6s will still get upgraded to iOS 15 later this year – opting for the newest model you can afford guarantees a longer software life. Even if you don’t want to keep your iPhone for more than a few years, the extended software support helps with resale value.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone 12 plans around:

iPhone 12 Pro

Image: Tegan Jones

While the iPhone 12 is better value, the iPhone 12 Pro is still a solid upgrade pick if you want a little extra from your phone in terms of photography.

The Pro Max is definitely your best option if you want the most from your camera, but the iPhone 12 Pro’s 2x zoom lens and LiDAR make it a good middle ground if you don’t want to splurge on Apple’s most expensive phone.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone 12 Pro plans around:

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iphone comparison

If you’re after a compromise-free iPhone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is as close as it gets. Not only do you get the best primary camera on the market, the Pro Max also has the best battery life of any iPhone 12 device.

While the core iPhone 12 range won’t really last more than a day with moderate usage, the iPhone 12 Pro Max can easily survive a day-and-a-half. That’s also the best battery life we’ve seen on any 5G-ready smartphone in Australia.

And of course, you also get a gorgeous 6.7-inch OLED display, excellent performance, and more.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone 12 Pro Max plans around:

iPhone 12 Mini

iphone comparison
Image: Tegan Jones

The iPhone 12 mini has a clear purpose: it’s a small iPhone that barely compromises when compared to the standard iPhone 12. If you’re not a fan of how big phones have become, the iPhone 12 mini is an easy pick. It’s more pocketable than most phones and the perfect size for one-handed use.

The only real sacrifice you’ll make when compared to the standard iPhone 12 is a slightly shorter battery life.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone 12 mini plans around:

iPhone 11

iPhone comparison
Image: Alex Cranz

The iPhone 11 may almost be coming up on two years old, but it’s still a reliable pick. We’re expecting it to get a further five years of support, and it’s just a great all-round device. It’s not quite as sleek as the iPhone 12, but you still get a great camera, a day-and-a-half battery life, and a fantastic processor.

Better yet, we’ve now seen providers start to offer pretty hefty discounts on the iPhone 11, so it will cost you a good chunk less than any iPhone 12.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone 11 plans around:

iPhone SE

Image: Tegan Jones

If you’re after the cheapest new iPhone you can get, it’s the iPhone SE. The iPhone SE blends the iPhone 8’s retro design with an iPhone 11 processor. This gets you speed performance in a familiar form-factor, and also ensures the iPhone SE will get years of support. We’re expecting Apple to keep supporting it until 2024 at a minimum, which is pretty damn solid.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone SE plans around:

iPhone XR

Image: Alex Cranz

The iPhone XR isn’t quite as widely available anymore and it’s the oldest iPhone still actively ranged by Apple, but it could still be a good pick depending on what you’re after.

The iPhone XR features a slower processor than the iPhone SE, but has a more modern design and a much better battery life. Even though it’s now almost three years old, we’re still expecting years of software update support.

Here are the cheapest 24-month iPhone XR plans around:

Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.