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Best iPhone 2022: Which is the Best iPhone to Buy?

You’ve made the decision to buy a new iPhone, but that decision isn’t as simple as it once was: while it was once a case of simply deciding on storage capacity and colour, now there are multiple models of iPhone available, each with its pros and cons.

So, which is the best iPhone to buy right now? In truth, it’ll depend a lot on what you want to get out of your smartphone. 

iPhones come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of camera options and other unique features that set them apart from the Android competition, and here, we’ve ranked the best iPhones currently available to buy. 

Note: We’re updating our chart with Apple’s latest iPhone 14 range as we review them.

Best iPhone 2022

1. iPhone 14 Pro – Best overall

Pros

Unique Dynamic Island camera cutout

Impressive 48Mp snapper

All-round camera enhancements

Always-on display tech

Cons

More expensive in the UK

Average battery life

The iPhone 14 Pro is the best iPhone for most people right now. It offers key improvements over the iPhone 13 Pro not only in terms of raw performance but new features too, with the iPhone 14 Pro sporting key new tech including Apple’s new Dynamic Island camera cutout.

Replacing the standard Face ID notch, the oblong-shaped cut-out is an impressive blend of software and hardware that brings the notch into the iOS experience, displaying timers, music controls and more without having to access your lock screen. It’s utterly charming and a true highlight of Apple’s keen eye for software and hardware design.

That’s not all though; it’s also the first iPhone to offer an always-on display, and in true Apple form, it’s much better than the Android competition. While it dims the display, you’ve still got full access to your wallpaper, time, widgets, notifications and music controls without any real impact on overall battery life.

The 48Mp rear snapper is another highlight of this year’s Pro model; using 4-in-1 pixel binning tech, the new main camera offers an impressive boost not only to overall detail but low-light photography. That’s a trend of all cameras on the 14 Pro, with Apple claiming a general 2x improvement.

The only real disappointment is battery life; while it’ll keep on going if left on standby, you’ll likely only be able to squeeze about a day’s use out of the phone before it’ll need a top-up – a stark difference to the big-screen iPhone 13 Pro Max and (likely) the iPhone 14 Plus & Pro Max.

Read our full
iPhone 14 Proreview

2. iPhone 14 – Best for most people

Pros

Outstanding battery life

Great performance

Superb dual cameras

Cons

60Hz display

Slow charging

No RAW photography

The iPhone 14 replaces the iPhone 13 in Apple’s line-up, and just like its predecessor, is the default iPhone choice for most people. It has very good cameras despite missing out on the 48Mp snapper of the Pro models, outstanding battery life that comfortably lasts all day, and a great, if 60Hz, display.

It’s big enough to enjoy the display without being unwieldy like the iPhone Plus and Max models, and it isn’t a lead weight in a pocket or bag. That’s down to the use of an aluminium frame in place of the stainless steel of the Pro models, but the aluminium sides of the iPhone 14 feel great, and they don’t pick up greasy fingerprints like the Pro models either.

Throw in other features including full waterproofing, wireless charging, satellite connectivity and car crash detection and you have a solid iPhone that will last you for four or five years.

It’s not quite enough for iPhone 13 owners to upgrade, however, and for this price should have a high refresh rate display and the ability to shoot in RAW format so people can use the camera as a professional tool – it was possible on the iPhone 13 Pro, and the iPhone 14 shares the same camera and chipset.

Read our full
iPhone 14review

3. iPhone 13 Pro Max – Best for battery life

Pros

Longest battery life of any iPhone

Gorgeous 120Hz 6.7in display

Great camera performance

Cons

Very expensive

Large, bulky form factor

MSRP:

$1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB), $1,599 (1TB)

Update: we expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to replace this entry in our chart once we review it. Check back soon for a full update.

Unlike the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there aren’t differences between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 13 Pro, making it a slightly less tempting option this time if you aren’t a fan of the large display it offers.

It’s a big 6.7in Super Retina XDR OLED display with the same 120Hz ProMotion tech as the iPhone 13 Pro, able to jump between 10- and 120Hz depending on what you’re doing. There’s also the same A15 Bionic at its heart, although with a suspected bump in RAM compared to the other models. 

Like the iPhone 13 Pro, it’s the camera department where the iPhone 13 Pro Max shines. Sporting a 12Mp main snapper with the same sensor-shift OIS and wider f/1.5 aperture, the 13 Pro Max is capable of taking great photos both during the day and at night. It also benefits from improvements to the ultrawide and telephoto lens, and there’s Apple ProRaw video recording available for pro-level videographers too. 

Where the iPhone 13 Pro Max truly shines is in the battery department; it offers an extra 2 hours compared to the already-impressive 12 Pro Max, beating not only every iPhone before it, but keeping up with some of the best Android competition too. 

The downside is that the larger display and battery means the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a bit of a beast to hold one-handed, and it’s noticeably heavier too. Pair that with the added starting cost and the fact that there isn’t anything unique about the latest Pro Max, it’s only for those that really want the large display. 

Read our full
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Maxreview

4. iPhone 13 – Still a strong contender

Pros

Gorgeous design

Great battery life

Strong performance

Cons

60Hz display

No telephoto lens

Despite being replaced by the iPhone 14, the iPhone 13 remains a solid choice for those that can get hold of it. It sports the same general form factor as the updated iPhone 14, and boasts a similar level of performance with the same A15 Bionic chipset at its heart.

There’s also great camera performance, sporting the Sensor-Shift OIS previously exclusive to the top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max, though it doesn’t get the autofocus tech on the front-facing camera like the newer model. There’s also a 2-hour jump in battery life compared to its predecessor too.

But while the overall experience is still strong, there are certain areas where the iPhone 13 is lacking. It’s capped at 60Hz, down from 120Hz on the Pro models, and while you’ll get an ultrawide camera with macro photography capabilities, you won’t find a telephoto lens for close-up portrait shots. There’s also a slower maximum charge speed to consider.

However, none of those are complete deal-breakers, and if you’re not too fussed about having the very best of everything, the iPhone 13 is still a great smartphone at an even more attractive price. 

Read our full
Apple iPhone 13review

5. iPhone 13 mini – Best small-screen iPhone

Pros

Perfect small-screen experience

No compromise on performance

Great cameras

Cons

60Hz display

Small battery gains

Slower MagSafe charging

If the 6.1in display of the iPhone 13 is a little too big for your liking, the iPhone 13 mini is the iPhone for you.

It offers the same iPhone experience as the standard model, complete with an A15 Bionic at its heart, Apple’s Super Retina XDR display (albeit at a smaller 5.4in) and improved main and ultrawide lenses, sporting sensor-shift OIS like the more premium models, but in a much smaller form factor.

The iPhone 13 mini is the perfect iPhone to use one-handed, but the smaller display also means it’s not the best suited to watching YouTube videos and movies on Netflix.

The small dimensions mean that while battery life has improved compared to the 12 Mini, it can’t quite compete with the larger models overall. It also still suffers from the same capped 12W MagSafe charging, compared to 15W from the rest of the range. 

Read our full
Apple iPhone 13 minireview

6. iPhone SE (2022) – Most affordable iPhone

Pros

A15 Bionic chipset

5G connectivity

Affordable price

Cons

Dated design

Small 720p LCD display

Single rear camera

Apple’s iPhone SE range is devoted to function over form, prioritising raw performance over design or aesthetics, and that’s just as true with the latest 2022 variant – but possibly to its detriment.

Sporting the same A15 Bionic chipset and 5G connectivity as the iPhone 13 series, the iPhone SE outperforms every Android competitor in its price range and 5G connectivity is a welcome addition, but that performance comes at a cost.

The dated design of the iPhone SE feels older than ever, and the 720p LCD display seems not only small but increasingly unable to render apps and webpages designed for bigger mobile displays. 

There’s also the single 12Mp snapper on the rear. It’ll take decent photos in good and even marginally low light, but it lacks advanced shooting modes like Night Mode and Cinematic Video mode despite featuring a chipset more than capable of doing so. 

The iPhone SE is really only for those who must have an iPhone, but can’t afford the iPhone 13 Mini or can’t say goodbye to Touch ID. For practically everyone else, there’s a better iPhone available. 

Read our full
Apple iPhone SE (2022)review

What should I consider when buying an iPhone?

Screen size

One of the biggest deciding factors when on the market for an iPhone is the screen size you want, or most feel comfortable using – we don’t all have huge hands to use the iPhone 14 Pro Max one-handed, do we? 

If you’re suited to smaller displays, your best bet is the iPhone 13 mini with its 5.4in display. It might’ve been ditched with the iPhone 14 range, so you’ll miss out on the latest features, but it’s the most portable iPhone in Apple’s collection. The 4.7in iPhone SE does technically have a smaller display, but it’s actually slightly bigger than the 13 mini because it has much larger bezels.

It then jumps up to the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, both at 6.1in. If you want the biggest display possible, you’d be better off with the iPhone 14 Plus or iPhone 14 Pro Max at 6.7in.

Performance

Performance is another element to consider when buying an iPhone, as you’ll likely want to get the most out of your device – especially at Apple’s prices.

The bad news is that, unlike with previous generations of iPhone, the iPhone 14 range has a processor split. The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus get the same A15 Bionic as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, while the upgraded 4nm A16 Bionic is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. If you want the best performance, you’ll have to splash out for Apple’s top-end models.

Cameras

If cameras are important to you, then you’ve got a tough decision to make as it’s one area where the iPhone collection differs greatly. If you want the best possible camera experience, the combination of a main 48Mp sensor, a 12Mp ultra-wide sensor and 12Mp 3x telephoto sensor available on the iPhone 14 Pro range may be best for you.

If you can live without the upgraded 48Mp snapper and 3x telephoto lens, you can opt for the standard iPhone 14 and its dual 12Mp main and ultrawide snappers.

The iPhone SE has a single 12Mp camera on the rear, meaning it’s quite limited compared to the more recent iPhones. The single lens will do if you’re not too fussed about photography, but don’t expect the same level of detail on offer from Apple’s high-end options. 

Battery life

Traditionally, battery life has been a bit of a problem when it comes to iPhones, especially when compared to Android counterparts and their huge batteries.

But with that said, Apple has come leaps and bounds over the past couple of years when it comes to battery life, with the 13 Pro Max offering all-day battery life with average use – and then some – and we expect the same from both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the new iPhone 14 Plus.

Battery capacity is somewhat tied to display size, as that’ll dictate how large the battery can be, so expect better battery life from Apple’s big-screen models.

5G

Apple introduced 5G support with the iPhone 12 range, so if you want the fastest connection speeds you’ll have to buy one of the newer iPhones.

5G availability is still limited in many countries and regions, but remember that it is improving, so upgrading to 5G might be seen as futureproofing – so long as you expect to stick with the same iPhone for at least another two years.

Price

Of course, the biggest factor to consider is your budget: how much do you want to spend on your iPhone? The iPhone 14 Pro is a phenomenal smartphone, but starting at $999, it should be – and that’s not considering the £150 increase compared to the 13 Pro in the UK, now starting at £1,099.

Incredibly, that’s not even the most expensive iPhone; that award goes to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which starts at $1,099/£1,199 and goes all the way up to $1,599/£1,749.

The iPhone 14’s $799/£849 price tag is much more attractive if you want flagship specs, while the 14 Plus offers the big-screen experience at a more affordable $899/£949.

The cheapest iPhone is the iPhone SE at $429/£449, and although it does offer the same A15 chipset as the iPhone 13 range, there’s a compromise not only in terms of design but other areas too.

But hey, if you want to get into the iOS ecosystem at the cheapest price possible, the iPhone SE could be the one to go for. 

Before you take the plunge, we recommend taking a look at our selection of the
best smartphones right now to get a better understanding of the wider smartphone market and be sure you’re making the right decision. 

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