Whether you’re considering a high-end device like the iPhone 15 Pro Max to take advantage of the new USB-C port and better Night Mode on the camera app, or you want to upgrade your older iPhone SE to one that has better battery life, you’ve probably asked, “What’s the best iPhone?”
Though Apple released its newest iPhone models in 2023, that doesn’t mean that a device such as the iPhone 15 Pro Max is ideal for every buyer.
Between devices like the Apple iPhone SE and standard iPhone Pro Models, we’ll take you through some of the brand’s top current devices, their features, and why they might make an excellent fit for your next smartphone.
Which of Apple’s smartphones is the best?
Overall, Apple is a brand known for quality and innovative features. While even a standard iPhone has benefits like portrait mode, rear cameras, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and the Dynamic Island (depending on the model), some Pro Max and Pro models come with enhanced telephoto lens capacity, longer battery life, and USB-C capabilities.
Generally, the “best iPhone” for you will depend on your needs. Do you want the best camera quality with a solid telephoto lens and enhanced rear cameras? Consider the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Do you need faster data transfer speeds and better software support for your Apple Watch? A regular iPhone might be the only iPhone you need.
Consider your use cases, from Apple Music streaming to web browsing, and look at what features come standard in which iPhone. This can help you narrow down your choices.
Apple first announced the iPhone 13 at the 2021 Apple Event in Cupertino, CA. Released alongside other models like the iPhone 13 Max, Pro Max, and Mini, the 13 quickly established itself as a high-performance handset with marked improvements over the iPhone 12.
Though both devices retain similar builds and material quality, relying on Apple’s signature rounded curves and flat-edged frames, the iPhone 13 iterated on the Super Retina XDR display to deliver more brightness, greater color depth, and richer pixel density, all powered by the A15 Bionic Chip.
Here are some additional details about the iPhone 13:
- Display: The 13 has a 6.1-inch screen size with Super Retina XDR. This smartphone boasts a Ceramic Shield front cover that is tougher than many smartphone glass builds and offers a clear display.
- Chip: Get reliable performance from the A15 Bionic Chip.
- Environmental Resistance: The iPhone 13 has an IP68 water resistance rating, which means it can withstand being submerged in up to six meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
- LiDAR: The 13 has a LiDAR Scanner on the rear camera system that enables faster autofocus and improved AR experiences.
- 5G Experience: Apple iPhone 13 supports 5G connectivity to get lightning-quick speeds on covered mobile device plans.
- Pricing: Apple iPhone 13 starts at $699, which can be pricey for an older phone unless you purchase a refurbished or renewed device.
Overall, the iPhone 13 is a reliable smartphone, particularly for an older model. It has a powerful processor, a great camera, and a long-lasting battery. You’re liable to get the best deal if you shop used or refurbished with a company like Gazelle (or if your provider offers a discount).
The iPhone 13 Pro is one of the most reliable devices from Apple. The brand released the phone in September 2021, alongside the other iPhone 13 models, and many enthusiasts referred to the 13 Pro as the “best iPhone” at the time.
The 13 Pro comes available in several colors, including Graphite, Silver, Gold, and Sierra Blue. The iPhone 13 Pro has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion, which means it has a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. 120hz refresh makes the display look smooth and fluid, especially when scrolling through web pages or playing games.
The iPhone 13 Pro is powered by the A15 Bionic Processor chip, which, at the time of release, was Apple’s fastest handset chip and clocked itself ahead of the standard A15.
The A15 Bionic processor makes the iPhone 13 Pro snappy and responsive, and it also enables some impressive new features like Cinematic mode for video recording.
The iPhone 13 Pro has a triple-lens rear camera system with a 12MP Ultra Wide camera, a 12MP Wide camera, and a 12MP Telephoto camera.
The Ultra Wide camera is excellent for taking landscape photos or group shots, the Wide camera is great for everyday photos, and the Telephoto camera is ideal for zooming in on distant objects. The iPhone 13 Pro also has a LiDAR Scanner, much like the base model iPhone 13, which is used for AR and improved autofocus in low-light conditions.
The iPhone 13 Pro has a battery life of up to 22 hours, which is excellent news for power users, students, streamers, or anyone who wants to get the most out of their device between charges.
Get a glimpse at the overall specifications:
- Display: A bright, colorful 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display powers this device and includes ProMotion for ultra-smooth browsing.
- Chip: The A15 Bionic Processor offers advantages over the standard chip found in the base 13 and 13 Plus.
- Battery: Get up to 22 hours of use with a more capable battery without upgrading to a larger iPhone.
- Storage: Choose between 128, 256, and 512GB of storage, or get 1TB of onboard storage.
- Colors: The 13 Pro and Pro Max come in Sierra Blue, Gold, Graphite, Silver, and Alpine Green.
Ultimately, the iPhone 13 Pro is an excellent smartphone that offers many features and performance for the price.
If you want a more powerful smartphone that isn’t as expensive as the new Apple iPhone, consider the 13 Pro. However, if you want features like Dynamic Island, more reliable Touch ID, or Always On Display, consider a newer device like the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The iPhone 14 is the last-gen smartphone from Apple. It sold incredibly well due to its sleeker design, the powerful A15 Bionic chip, and an improved camera system.
The iPhone 14 comes standard in four colors: Midnight, Starlight, Product Red, and Blue. It has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion, which means it has that much-appreciated high refresh rate for smoother scrolling and animations across videos, web browsing, and other apps. The phone is also water-resistant and dust-resistant to a certain degree.
The base iPhone 14 is powered by the A15 Bionic chip, similar to some iPhone 13 Pro models. The handset can hit up to 6GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, depending on your preferences and plan.
The phone also has a refined camera system with a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens. The front-facing camera is also a 12MP camera.
The iPhone 14 runs iOS 16 out of the box, which includes several new features and improvements over the older models. Some of the new features of this OS iteration include a customizable lock screen, an updated Messages app, and a refreshed Maps app.
Take a quick look at the iPhone 14’s specifications:
- Display: The screen size is a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion that offers smoother scrolling, crisp animations, and bold colors.
- Chip: Enjoy snappier performance from the A15 Bionic Chip.
- Battery: Get up to 17 hours of video playback with an enhanced battery that outperforms the previous model.
- Storage: The iPhone 14 comes in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes.
- Colors: Express yourself with classic shades like Midnight, Starlight, Product Red, and Blue.
- Base operating system: iOS 16, though the device is compatible with newer iterations.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are two of the more robust offerings from Apple. The brand released both in September 2022 alongside the base iPhone 14, and each device boasts several features and improvements over the previous generation.
One of the most notable changes is the new design. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a flat-edge design, similar to the iPad Pro. They also have a new system with a triple-lens rear camera and a 48-megapixel primary sensor.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also have a new A16 Bionic chip, which is faster and more efficient than the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max and the base iPhone 14.
The 14 Pro and Pro Max also have 6GB of RAM, which is 2GB more than many previous device lineups.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, respectively. The display is bright and vibrant, with truer color saturation and depth, and it has a high refresh rate of 120Hz.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also have longer battery life than previous models, thanks to performance efficiency improvements. Both devices have a larger battery than the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and they also have the more robust A16 Bionic chip.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are available in four colors: Graphite, Silver, Gold, and Sierra Blue. They start at $999 and $1,099, respectively, though you can find great deals when you shop for used or certified renewed devices with Gazelle.
Overall, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are excellent smartphones. They have a sleeker, modernized design, a high-end camera system, the A16 Bionic chip, and longer battery life for power users.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line smartphone, the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max is still a great option.
Here’s your at-a-glance information about the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max:
- Camera: The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a triple-lens rear camera system with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor, and a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a 12-megapixel front-facing camera.
- Chip: Get an even better performance from the high-end A16 Bionic Chip.
- Display: The handsets have a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, model-dependent.
- Colors: Express yourself when you choose between four colors: Graphite, Silver, Gold, and Sierra Blue.
- Pricing: The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max start at $999 and $1,099.
The iPhone 15 is the newest flagship device from Apple. The brand announced the device at the annual Apple Event in September 2023 and released it shortly after that. Though cosmetically similar to the 14 series of phones, the iPhone 15 has several new features that make it a noteworthy upgrade from previous models.
Perhaps the most significant upgrades lie within the camera setup. Instead of the older dual camera system, the iPhone 15 has a triple-lens camera system with a new 48MP wide-angle lens. This lens takes stunning photos and videos, even in low light, thanks to a more robust Night Mode feature.
The iPhone 15 also has a new Cinematic mode for video, which allows you to create Hollywood-style videos with ease.
The screen size resembles previous models, clocking in around 6.12 inches. Also, the device includes a USB-C port for standardized USB-C charging, resulting in faster charging times for restoring the phone’s battery life.
The iPhone 15 has several new features, including the faster A16 Bionic chip, previously only available on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models.
The iPhone 15 has long battery life and 120hz display capabilities for the ultra-smooth scrolling experience Apple users love. These features make the iPhone 15 a powerful and versatile smartphone perfect for everyday use.
Overall, the iPhone 15 is a significant upgrade from previous models. It has several new features that make it a powerful and versatile smartphone. If you are looking for a new smartphone, the iPhone 15 is definitely worth considering.
Take a look at the overall specs of the iPhone 15:
- Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion for smooth scrolling and bright colors.
- Chip: The A16 Bionic chip provides snappy performance, using the same processing power available to the previous lineup of Pro and Pro Max devices.
- Camera: With a 48MP wide-angle camera, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 12MP telephoto camera, you can take stunning shots on the latest iPhone.
- Battery: Get up to 19 hours of video playback on a single charge, depending on stream quality and other factors.
- Storage: The latest iPhone has storage space options including 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
- Colors: You can find the iPhone 15 in classic shades like Midnight, Starlight, Product Red, Blue, and Pink.
The iPhone 15 also has Dynamic Island, Optical Zoom, a USB-C port, and Always On Display capabilities that older models don’t have. Like the 14, this device is wireless charging compatible.
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max could each stake their claim for the title of “best iPhone.” From the new USB-C port to the best battery life, Optical Zoom, and Dynamic Island features, the Apple iPhone 15 series put a lot of bells and whistles into the Pro lineup.
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro series features the lineup’s lighter titanium build, a long battery life, spacious screen size, and the A17 Pro Chip, making it a powerhouse of performance. Either the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max will work well for standard tasks and can outperform any other device in the iPhone lineup.
Of course, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is also the most expensive iPhone available. Out of the iPhones mentioned on this list, it has the most features, excellent onboard camera tools, and a chip that puts last year’s model to shame.
In general, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max stand out as among the most exceptional smartphones currently available. Both devices include a formidable processor, an outstanding camera setup, and a long-lasting battery. If you’re in the market for a top-tier smartphone, the Apple iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max represents a compelling choice.
For a quick look at the specs of both the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, keep these stats in mind:
- Display: The Pro model features a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, while the Pro Max version offers an even larger 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display.
- Processor: Both models have the A16 Bionic chip, ensuring cutting-edge performance and efficiency.
- Camera: The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max sport a triple-lens rear camera system comprising a 48MP wide-angle lens, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 12MP telephoto lens. This onboard setup delivers exceptional photography capabilities, enabling you to capture stunning images in various scenarios.
- Battery: With a battery life of up to 28 hours of video playback, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max provide remarkable endurance, ensuring that your device keeps up with your daily demands.
- Colors: Both models are available in a choice of elegant colors, including Graphite, Silver, Gold, and the distinct Sierra Blue.
- Price: The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $1,099 and the 15 Pro Max at $1,199, offering a premium smartphone experience with a price point that reflects their exceptional features and capabilities.
Ultimately, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max represent the pinnacle of Apple’s smartphone technology, delivering top-tier performance, cutting-edge camera capabilities, and an enduring battery.
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, a power user, or simply someone who appreciates the best that technology has to offer, these models are a compelling choice in the competitive world of smartphones.
Starting at just $399, the iPhone SE stands as Apple’s most budget-friendly iPhone offering, making it an appealing choice for individuals seeking a potent iPhone without needing a hefty investment.
For starters, the iPhone SE 2022 boasts that classic iPhone design that newer products in the iPhone lineup moved away from.
Equipped with a 4.7-inch Retina HD display boasting a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels, the screen delivers vivid, well-lit visuals with excellent viewing angles. Including a True Tone display ensures automatic white balance adjustments by ambient lighting conditions.
Under the hood, the iPhone SE is driven by the A13 Bionic chip, the same capable processor featured in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. This chip’s impressive capabilities enable it to tackle demanding tasks, further enhanced by its Neural Engine, enabling lightning-fast machine learning tasks.
For photography enthusiasts, the iPhone SE offers a 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture. This camera excels in capturing high-quality images across various lighting scenarios and boasts a Portrait mode for creating professional-looking photos with blurred backgrounds.
The front-facing camera, at 7 megapixels and featuring an f/2.2 aperture, not only delivers solid selfies but also supports Face ID, Apple’s advanced facial recognition system.
Overall, the iPhone SE is a great budget smartphone for people who want a powerful device that is easy to use and carry around. The iPhone SE has a fast processor, a strong camera, and a long-lasting battery.
However, it does have a small screen, so it may not be the best choice for people who want a large display. It also does not have popular features available on other iPhone models, such as Face ID and wireless charging.
Beyond that, the iPhone SE is a great value for the price, and it is a good choice for people looking for an affordable smartphone that doesn’t compromise too much on software support or performance.
Once you’ve chosen the best iPhone for your needs, you should decide how and where to purchase it. Depending on your mobile service carrier, you may be eligible for a device upgrade. However, many carriers keep you locked in with extended payment contracts if you don’t buy your phone outright.
You could also see if Apple has any deals. While you might not get a stellar deal on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you may be able to get an older model for less money through the manufacturer.
Certain retailers offer occasional deals on devices like the iPhone SE 2022 and other models. Still, they might not have discounts on the Apple iPhone 15 unless you are signing up for a new line or adding a service contract.
The easiest way to score a deal on the best iPhone is by purchasing a refurbished or certified pre-owned device from a retailer like Gazelle.
Which iPhone is the best budget pick?
If you want a budget phone to handle everyday tasks without compromising performance, you should consider an Apple phone like the iPhone SE 2022. It’s one of the best iPhone models available due to its combination of affordability, feature richness, and screen size that some new phones and budget Android devices can’t match.
The SE line is generally the best overall budget selection if you’re okay with the noticeably reduced screen size and the lack of features like a USB-C port, Dynamic Island, optical zoom, or robust Touch ID features.
Also, being the smallest iPhone in the lineup, you’re limited to reduced storage space and a more compact design that shows it’s the one true budget iPhone that Apple sells.
However, if you’re okay with spending a bit more, a device from the 14 family of smartphones may be the best iPhone you could choose. The 14 isn’t as spendy as the Apple iPhone 15 but boasts some newer, more exciting features that the iPhone SE 2022 and iPhone 13 don’t have.
When should you upgrade if you have an older iPhone?
While the answer ultimately depends on your budget and needs, there are a few telltale signs that your older iPhone might not be cutting it anymore.
- Performance: If your current iPhone is noticeably slower, experiences frequent crashes or freezes, or struggles to run the latest apps and software updates, it may be time for an upgrade. Newer iPhones typically offer improved performance.
- Battery Life: If your iPhone’s battery life has significantly degraded and it struggles to hold a charge throughout the day, it could be a good reason to upgrade. Newer iPhone models often feature more energy-efficient components.
- Software Support: Apple provides software updates for its devices for several years. If your current iPhone no longer receives software updates, it may be time to upgrade to ensure you have the latest security features and compatibility with new apps.
- Camera and Features: Someone passionate about photography or videography might consider upgrading to a newer iPhone with improved camera technology, which can be a compelling reason to switch. More recent models often come with enhanced camera features.
- Storage Space: For people running out of storage space for photos, videos, apps, and other data, upgrading to a model with more storage capacity can be a practical solution.
- Trade-in Opportunities: Sites like Gazelle offer trade-in programs where you can exchange your old iPhone for credit toward a new one. This can make upgrading more cost-effective.
Of course, these aren’t the only reasons you might consider switching from an older device. However, that doesn’t mean you need to buy an expensive iPhone. There are still budget devices that may be a considerable upgrade over your current model.
What’s the most affordable iPhone Pro?
Are you looking for a Pro iPhone model that’s more affordable? You’re not alone. It also means you might want to avoid annual flagship releases like the new iPhone 15 Pro Max. While it may be, feature-wise, the best iPhone on the market, it’s not as wallet-friendly as an iPhone 13 or 14 Pro.
Sometimes, buying last year’s model can help you access the same features of the newer iPhone line without paying the total price for a new phone.
Of course, the best way to get an affordable deal on a new iPhone, even an iPhone 15 Pro, is to shop for used, renewed, and refurbished devices.
A refurbished device performs just as well as a factory-new product, meaning you can access the best iPhones without paying full retail prices.
That being said, you should only shop for refurbished or renewed devices from a trusted retailer. Sites like Gazelle make it easy to get an estimate for your current device and trade it in for credit toward a refurbished model. We also put every device through rigorous testing protocols to meet our high standards.
Which iPhones have Touch ID and headphone jacks?
Are you a fan of having a headphone jack on your phone? Sometimes, it’s the easiest way to listen to Apple services like music, podcasts, and other content.
While the old iPhone families still have headphone jacks and lightning port capabilities, the new iPhone launch did away with both in favor of USB-C connectivity to meet modern charging standards.
From the base iPhone 15 to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, every newly released device in September 2023’s lineup now has USB-C charging, which can be used for some compatible headphones. Much like the lightning port, of course, you can only have one cable plugged into your iPhone at a time (unless you use a USB splitter).
Also, you can invest in a USB to 3.5mm adapter if you still need a traditional headphone jack instead of USB headphones.
Find the best iPhone for your needs when you shop with Gazelle.
Whether you’re saying goodbye to one of the older iPhone models in favor of the iPhone 15 Pro Max with its enhanced battery life, or you’re trying to save money with an iPhone SE as your new iPhone, Gazelle is here to help you get the best deals on the best iPhones in our inventory.
From Pro models to budget-friendly devices, we have something for everyone. Each Apple iPhone in our lineup comes backed by our thorough 30-point inspection and quality guarantee. Browse our available iPhone models, trade in your old device, and find a new handset to meet your needs. To get started, explore our inventory today.