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Best iPhone in 2023: Which Apple Phone Should You Buy?

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Apple’s 2023 fall occasion is simply across the nook. This yr’s presentation has been dubbed “wonderlust” and can happen on Tuesday, Sept. 12, on the firm’s HQ in Cupertino, California. We’re anticipating the corporate to unveil its latest iPhone — the iPhone 15 — however possibly you cannot wait. So for those who’re searching for the most effective iPhone at the moment accessible then maintain studying. 
Presently, Apple sells eight iPhone fashions launched between 2020 and 2023. There is no such factor as a real “greatest” iPhone, however relying in your wants, finances and preferences, some fashions will likely be higher for you than others. Costs begin at $429 for the 2022 iPhone SE and high out at $1,599 for the iPhone 14 Professional Max with a whopping 1TB of storage. In case you’re searching for the greatest iPhone offers, we now have you coated there, too. 

This story is a part of Focal Level iPhone 2023, CNET’s assortment of stories, ideas and recommendation round Apple’s hottest product.

Navigating Apple’s iPhone spectrum could make your head spin, whether or not you are contemplating colours (the iPhone 14 is available in six), or options just like the iPhone 14 Professional’s Dynamic Island, which animates system alerts and background actions akin to taking part in music. Fortunately, I’ve examined all eight variations of the iPhone and may also help you navigate via all of the noise.

What’s the greatest iPhone proper now?

The very best iPhone is the $999 iPhone 14 Professional. It has all of Apple’s latest options, together with an A16 Bionic chip, upgraded most important digital camera, the Dynamic Island, in addition to instruments like Automobile Crash Detection and SOS by way of Satellite tv for pc. Not everybody seeking to purchase a telephone from Apple wants the 14 Professional, however if you’d like the most effective get the iPhone 14 Professional. Need one thing larger? Get the iPhone 14 Professional Max, which is the common 14 Professional in a much bigger physique.

Greatest iPhones of 2023

iPhone 14 stands on a blue surface with a red background

James Martin/CNET

After I reviewed the iPhone 14, I stated it was primarily the iPhone 13 Professional’s processor and most important digital camera contained in the physique of an iPhone 13. Little question, some will likely be disillusioned that the iPhone 14 is not radically completely different from earlier fashions. However that is a part of its allure. Familiarity has been one of many keys to Apple’s success with the iPhone. And because the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, do not repair it.”

back of the iPhone 14 Pro on a yellow background

Stephen Shankland/CNET

From the again, the $999 iPhone 14 Professional appears similar to final yr’s 13 Professional. However do not let that sameness idiot you. It is the 14 Professional’s display the place there’s one thing completely different and fantastic happening. The show notch, that outlined earlier Face ID iPhone fashions, has morphed right into a pill-shaped display cutout that may present system alerts and background actions like while you obtain a name or play music. Apple calls this performance the Dynamic Island. I do know, it isn’t the most effective title, however it’s really the most effective options.

iphone-13-and-iphone-13-mini-cnet-2021-29

Patrick Holland/CNET

The $729 iPhone 13 remains to be a superb telephone. In truth, for those who’re tempted by the iPhone 14 and need to avoid wasting cash, seize a 13. They’ve primarily the identical physique, similar display and similar A15 Bionic processor. Though technically, the iPhone 14’s processor does have an additional GPU core.

iphone-14-plus-0298

James Martin/CNET

The $929 iPhone 14 Plus is both an enormous iPhone 14 or a scaled-back iPhone 14 Professional Max, relying in your perspective. Ever for the reason that iPhone XS Max launched in 2018, there was just one choice for individuals who love large screens: Pay high greenback and get a Max mannequin with additional options you won’t essentially want (like a telephoto digital camera or a excessive refresh price show). I do know many CNET readers, pals and colleagues who’ve shelled out $1,100 or extra for an iPhone 12 Professional Max or 13 Professional Max as a result of it was the one approach to get a telephone within the dimension they wished. However that adjustments now.

iPhone 13 Mini

Sarah Tew/CNET

Who stated small telephones do not exist in 2022? The $629 iPhone 13 Mini is good as a result of it has every part the iPhone 13 has — it is simply smaller. It has the identical square-edged appears, help for 5G and the identical cameras. The 13 Mini’s defining characteristic is its 5.4-inch OLED display that helps Dolby HDR. If that sounds too small, contemplate that Plus fashions, just like the iPhone 8 Plus, had a 5.5-inch display inside a a lot bigger physique. The 13 Mini’s secret is that it lacks these big brow and chin bezels that outlined the iPhone for its first decade.

iPhone 14 Pro

James Martin/CNET

The iPhone 14 Professional Max is only a large model of the iPhone 14 Professional. It has the identical A16 Bionic processor, the identical cameras and the identical options. Nevertheless it does differ in two large methods from the 14 Professional: It has a much bigger 6.7-inch high-refresh price display and a much bigger battery. In truth, in our assessments, the iPhone 14 Professional Max had the longest battery lifetime of any telephone on this checklist.

123-iphone-12-purple-2021

Sarah Tew/CNET

The $629 iPhone 12 and its flat-sided design marked the start of the present era of Apple telephones. Of every part on this checklist, it is the oldest but in addition one of many most cost-effective, particularly if you wish to snag an iPhone with a up to date look and Face ID.

iPhone SE 2022

Kevin Heinz/CNET

At $429, you may suppose the one enchantment of the iPhone SE (2022) is its worth. And admittedly that may be a large issue. On the surface, the iPhone SE has the identical physique because the iPhone 8, which makes it the one iPhone on this checklist that also has Contact ID. On the within, the SE has the identical A15 processor because the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 14 and 14 Plus which takes the 2017 digital camera {hardware} and provides it an injection of Apple’s computational pictures magic.

Under are the assorted fashions, their launch date, the variety of rear cameras they’ve, their processor and their present checklist worth, which for some telephones features a $30 activation charge that is waived for those who activate your iPhone on a service on the time of buy.

Present iPhones, in contrast

MannequinUS beginning worthDisplay dimensionNo. of rear camerasCPULaunch date
iPhone SE$4294.7 inches1A15 BionicMarch 2022
iPhone 12$5996.1 inches2A14 BionicOctober 2020
iPhone 13 Mini$5995.4 inches2A15 BionicSeptember 2021
iPhone 13$6996.1 inches2A15 BionicSeptember 2021
iPhone 14$7996.1 inches2A15 BionicSeptember 2022
iPhone 14 Plus$8996.7 inches2A15 BionicOctober 2022
iPhone 14 Professional$9996.1 inches3A16 BionicSeptember 2022
iPhone 14 Professional Max$1,0996.7 inches3A16 BionicSeptember 2022

How we check iPhone fashions

A man holding an iPhone 14 Pro outdoors on a remote hillside

Emergency SOS could be some of the vital options to come back out on any telephone this yr.

Kevin Heinz/CNET

I check each iPhone in real-world situations specializing in its options, design, efficiency, cameras, battery life and total worth. I doc our findings in an preliminary evaluation that’s periodically up to date when there are new iOS updates or to check towards new telephones from opponents like Samsung, Google and OnePlus.

Pictures

Pictures is a significant focus for the iPhone, so we take photos and movies of varied topics in a wide range of settings and lighting situations. We check out any new digital camera modes, akin to Motion mode that debuted with the iPhone 14 line.

Battery life

Battery testing is performed in a wide range of methods. We assess how lengthy the iPhone lasts throughout a typical day of use, and observe the way it performs throughout extra targeted periods of video calls, media streaming and gaming. I additionally conduct a video playback check, which is not at all times included within the preliminary evaluation and added later in an replace.

Efficiency measuring

We use benchmarking apps to measure the efficiency, alongside our personal anecdotal experiences utilizing the telephone for our evaluation. Of specific observe are how graphics and animations look. Are they clean? Or do they lag or stutter? We additionally have a look at how rapidly the telephone switches between horizontal and vertical orientations and how briskly the digital camera app opens and is able to take a photograph.

We carry out processor-heavy duties like modifying images and movies, exporting movies and taking part in video games. We consider whether or not a more moderen model of the iPhone contains sufficient options to make it price upgrading from older fashions.

Learn Extra: How CNET assessments telephones

Key phrases

eSIM

An eSIM takes all the vital details about your telephone account — together with its quantity, wi-fi service and subscription — and shops it in software program as an alternative of on a bodily SIM card.

With the iPhone 14, Apple eliminated the bodily SIM card tray and embraced embedded SIM playing cards. This implies you cannot simply pluck your SIM card out of your present telephone and put it into a brand new one. However this should not have an effect on your expertise since all the main US carriers and a variety of smaller operators work with eSIM.

Apple has lengthy supported eSIM, courting again to 2018’s iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. When organising a brand new iPhone 14, the machine will information you thru transferring your present supplier over to the brand new telephone. An inventory of supported wi-fi networks can be found on Apple’s website.

iOS 16

Apple’s iOS 16 is the most recent model of Apple’s iPhone software program. It is on the iPhone 14 by default and can be accessible as an replace for the iPhone 8 and later. iOS 16 contains new options akin to customizable lock screens, an replace to the Messages app that permits for unsending and modifying iMessage texts and new photograph modifying instruments.

iPhone FAQs

How dependable is an iPhone?

Apple has been making iPhones for 16 years. The present lineup was launched in September 2022 and all have a mud and water resistance ranking of IP68, which implies they will survive being submerged below 6 meters of water (about 20 ft) for half-hour. The screens are coated in Apple’s Ceramic Protect which is a glass-ceramic materials created by Corning, in collaboration with Apple, and consists of nano ceramic crystals embedded within the glass matrix. It is extremely clear, and in accordance with Corning, the robust construction shaped by the crystals means it is much less prone to break.

How lengthy does an iPhone final?

One approach to measure how lengthy an iPhone will final is to have a look at the software program and safety help Apple gives for older fashions. iOS 16 can run on Apple telephones as outdated as 2017’s iPhone X, iPhone 8 and eight Professional. That is almost 6 years of software program help. Evaluate that to Samsung, who gives 5 years of Android software program help for upgrades. However software program is barely half the equation. The opposite half is {hardware} and sturdiness. Thankfully, each iPhone Apple sells has an IP ranking for mud and water resistance. Newer fashions just like the iPhone 12, 13 and 14 collection even have Ceramic Protect, a glass/ceramic hybrid, that covers the show and could be very sturdy.



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