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The best 2020 iPhone models for every user and budget

This week, Apple finally announced its long-awaited iPhone 12 — and there were plenty of surprises in store for Apple fans. For starters, the iPhone 12 isn’t one phone but several, with four unique models available to pre-order in the coming weeks.

Want to see all of the new features and upgrades found in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro? Tap or click here to see everything Apple announced during its iPhone 12 event.

Now that you know your options, are you ready to settle on a new iPhone? If not, don’t worry — we’re breaking down each iPhone 12 model to find the best device for every budget. Believe it or not, you don’t need to break the bank to get a phone you’ll love.

Apple’s latest and greatest: The iPhone 12 series

At Apple’s iPhone event, the company announced four separate iPhone 12 models for users to pick from. Each one has different benefits and drawbacks in terms of speed, size and power — so make sure to choose a phone that fits your needs and lifestyle.

A word of advice: Apple revealed it would no longer include EarPods and charging adapters with new iPhone models. This means you need to factor in the cost of headphones and a USB-C adapter when you go to purchase your phone. If you already have either of these, you won’t need to buy another unless you want to.

A stacked view of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in the blue aluminum finish.
Source: Apple Newsroom

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 is the standard-bearer of the new product line and features an all-new aluminum-edged design in five colors (blue, green, red, white and black). The OLED screen comes in at 6.1-inches, and the rear glass is protected by a durable ceramic coating. It also includes the new A14 Bionic chip, 5G capabilities, a dual-lens 12-megapixel camera and 17-hour battery life.

The iPhone 12 starts at $799 for the 64GB model and costs $100 more for upgraded storage.

iPhone 12 Mini

The iPhone 12 Mini features a smaller screen than the basic iPhone 12, but it’s not skimping on any tech. It has the same exact guts — including the OLED screen, camera, chip, 5G antenna and ceramic coating — but in a smaller package at just 5.4-inches. And because the phone is smaller, the battery life is slightly less at 15 hours.

The iPhone 12 Mini starts at $699 for the 64GB model and costs $100 more for upgraded storage.

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Source: Apple Newsroom

iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro is the second most expensive phone in the lineup and includes a better camera than the basic iPhone 12 and 12 Mini. The camera includes LiDAR, which is a special laser technology that scans your surroundings for depth and distance. The result is clearer, better-defined photos in low light. The stainless steel body comes in four colors (blue, grey, gold and white).

The iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999 for the 128GB model and costs $100 more for upgraded storage.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone Pro Max is Apple’s new flagship phone, and it’s a powerhouse in its own right. It features the best camera of them all — a triple-lens LiDAR camera with up to 2.5x optical zoom and auto-stabilization for steadier video. It’s also got a massive 6.7-inch screen, and its larger size means its battery lasts up to 20 hours. It’s the biggest phone Apple’s ever made!

The iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1,099 for the 128GB model and costs $100 more for upgraded storage.

Older phones mean bigger savings

If the prices you see above aren’t working for you, Apple has several older and discounted phone models that are much cheaper. These devices still pack plenty of punch, and all of them are compatible with iOS 14. But keep in mind none of the older models are 5G compatible.

iPhone 11

This is the hottest phone from last year and features the powerful A13 Bionic chip and a dual-lens 12-megapixel lens. Its screen is an older LCD model, which means it won’t look as sharp or crisp as the iPhone 12, and it doesn’t include 5G. You still have several colors to pick from, though: black, green, yellow, purple, red and white.

The iPhone 11 starts at $599 for the 64GB model and costs $50 more for upgraded storage.

iPhone XR

The iPhone XR is the cheapest iPhone you can get that still has Face-ID, and it comes in plenty of cool colors like white, black, blue, yellow, coral and black. It has the same screen as the iPhone 11, but slightly larger at 6.1-inches. Its camera is also weaker than the iPhone 11’s thanks to its single lens. Still, it’s a good deal on a discount phone with a slightly larger display.

The iPhone XR starts at $499 for the 64GB model and costs $50 more for upgraded storage.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE was released earlier this year as a budget-model iPhone that doesn’t skimp on the internals. It mostly lives up to this promise by using the same exact A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11, but it lacks the powerful camera of its higher-end cousins. It also uses Touch-ID instead of Face-ID, so you won’t be able to use your face to unlock it.

The iPhone SE starts at $399 for the 64GB model and costs $50 more for upgraded storage. It’s the least expensive iPhone Apple makes.

Tap or click here for our review of the iPhone SE.

Which iPhone is right for you?

Picking a phone depends on how much power you need and what you plan on using it for. There’s also the factor of future-proofing yourself, which is especially important with widespread 5G on the horizon.

The iPhone lineup
Source: Apple Newsroom
  • The best iPhone for those on a budget:
    We’d say the iPhone SE is a solid choice for a low-cost iPhone. Its camera and performance are on par with the iPhone XR, and you save hundreds of dollars compared to the iPhone 12. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, pick this phone.
  • The best iPhone for power users:
    There’s no comparison to the iPhone 12 Pro Max in terms of power. It features the best camera of the bunch by a longshot, and its screen is the biggest one Apple’s ever made. If you want everything and the kitchen sink, get this phone.
  • The best iPhone for most people:
    Out of all the iPhones Apple sells now, we’d recommend the base model iPhone 12 to most users. Unlike budget-model iPhones, it’s the most affordable one you can buy that still has 5G — which means it should last you for several years. And in a world where gadgets can become outdated in a matter of weeks, what could be better than that?

New smartphones aren’t the only things Apple has up its sleeves this fall. There’s a range of new iPads and Apple Watches to pick from, too!

Tap or click here to see all the other products Apple announced at its fall event.

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