The iPhone from Apple promises the highest quality in design, workmanship, and performance. Nevertheless, there are sometimes big differences between the various models. On the one hand in terms of price and the other hand in terms of the built-in hardware and features. The question naturally arises: which is the best iPhone?
The question is difficult to answer across the board, as it depends a lot on what you expect from your new smartphone and how much you want to spend on it. That’s why we’ve divided the winners into categories: best performance and hardware, best entry-level iPhone, and best value for money. Here are the winners:
Best Performance And Hardware: iPhone 13 Pro
If you focus on performance and hardware, the iPhone 13 Pro (here with a contract) is without question the best iPhone. At its core, Apple’s newest chip, the A15-Bionic, works here. This is probably the most powerful smartphone chip on the market at the moment. In everyday life, this means that Apple’s flagship smartphone will have no problems with even the most complex apps.
The Pro version of the iPhone 13 also offers sufficient storage space for your pictures and videos. You can choose how much memory you need yourself. You have the choice between:
- 128 GB
- 256 GB
- 512 GB
- 1 TB
One terabyte is an enormous amount of memory for a smartphone; you should only choose this option if you want to take many, many photos and, above all, high-resolution videos and do not use a cloud connection. Or if you like to have a huge collection of games on your hard drive. But everyone else should be able to cope well with less storage and, for example, the iCloud.
The 6.1-inch OLED display is used so that you can see all the photos, videos, and games in their full glory. This has a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels, corresponding to a pixel density of 460 ppi (pixels per inch or pixels per inch). So that everything is shown clearly. In addition, the iPhone 13 Pro is bright enough with 1000 candelas per square meter if you want to use it on the screen when the sun is shining.
A final display highlight is the 120 Hertz with ProMotion technology. ProMotion technology ensures that the frame rate is adaptive. That means you only get as many pictures per second as the one shown needs. For example, if you look at a photo, the iPhone cuts the images down to 10 Hertz per second, while video games can go up to 120 Hertz. This saves the battery, as the smartphone does not have to display so many unnecessary images.
As a camera system, you get three cameras on the back. These are telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra-wide-angle lenses with 12 MP each. Thanks to Apple’s software, the number of megapixels is certainly not a highlight here, but you can still take good photos with it. A highlight of the 13-Pro camera is the cinema mode. With this, you can change the focus in a matter of seconds during video recordings while you are filming to create cinematic effects.
The battery also offers top-class performance. According to Apple, you can use it to play back up to 22 hours of video and even listen to music for up to 75 hours at a time. You can charge it wirelessly with MagSafe with up to 15 watts or a Qi charger with 7.5 watts. Up to 20 watts are possible with a cable. So you can charge up to 50 percent of the battery in 30 minutes.
The entire hardware of the iPhone 13 Pro enables the best performance among the iPhones. This is ensured by the Apple A15 chip, the enormous memory, the successful display, and the long-lasting battery. So if you’re after performance, the iPhone 13 Pro is the best iPhone.
Best Entry-Level iPhone: iPhone SE 2020
We have chosen the new edition of the iPhone SE from 2020 as the best entry-level iPhone. It combines good Apple hardware with a retro look at a comparatively low price. So if you want to get into the Apple world cheaply, the iPhone SE is your ticket.
But the SE isn’t just for newbies. Long-established Apple friends will be particularly familiar with the design. The iPhone SE looks very similar to the iPhone 8. It even comes with the two thick bars above and below the display and the home button – which many users sorely miss on the new models. The design of the SE, with its rounded edges, also differs from that of the iPhone 12 and 13 series and is based on older models.
It is also particularly small for an iPhone: the display measures just 4.7 inches. For comparison, the normal iPhone 13 is already 6.1 inches, and the 13 Pro Max is 6.7 inches. This makes the iPhone SE easy to handle and use with one hand, even with smaller hands. The small screen has another advantage: You get a higher pixel density and thus a sharper picture with a lower resolution. The iPhone SE has 1334 x 750 pixels, which corresponds to a density of 326 ppi. It’s not extremely sharp but perfectly adequate for everyday use.
The A13 Bionic chip powers the iPhone SE (2020). Apple also develops it, but an older generation than the A15 chip from the iPhone 13. If you believe benchmarks from Antutu 9 and GeekBench 5, the A-13 chip is around 30 to 35 percent slower than the latest chip from Apple. But with that, you still get a comparatively good performance.
And: The 64 GB version of the iPhone SE costs just 479 euros at Apple. The 128 GB version is available for 529 euros. That’s a pretty small price to pay for Apple hardware. If you also like the retro look and prefer small cell phones, the iPhone SE 2020 is the best entry-level iPhone for you.
Best Price-Performance Ratio: iPhone 12 And 12 Mini
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini share the award for the iPhone with the best price-performance ratio. The reason for this is that the hardware features of the two models are almost identical, so the decision for one or the other version primarily depends on the size. And the price is also a factor here – but more on that later.
The two 12-series iPhones offer a very good balance between current hardware and price. The A14 Bionic chip from Apple, which is only slightly weaker than the current A15 chip, works in both models. This gives you more than enough power for games, video editing, and all the other apps you need in everyday life. The storage capacity is not outstanding but quite sufficient. You have the choice between 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB. For most users, 128 GB of storage should be sufficient.
Differences between iPhone 12 and 12 mini can be found in the display and battery life. This is, of course, due to the size of the smartphones: The OLED display of the iPhone 12 is 6.1 inches, while the 12 mini gives you 5.4 inches of OLED power. The iPhone 12 mini scores here in terms of resolution. With 476 ppi, you get a somewhat sharper picture than on the iPhone 12, which has a resolution of 460 ppi.
In terms of battery, the iPhone 12 has an advantage again. According to official information, you can play videos for up to 17 hours at a time, while the 12 mini takes two hours less, i.e., up to 15 hours. But you can also get the smaller iPhone 12 mini cheaper, starting at 679 euros, while the iPhone 12 costs at least 799 euros. Both models offer a lot of strong hardware for their money.
Conclusion: Best iPhone
Which Apple phone is the best iPhone depends on what you expect from your smartphone: If you want the absolute best performance and hardware in your iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro is the phone of your choice. The iPhone SE from 2020 is interesting for bargain hunters looking for an entry-level Apple phone, as it is affordable and still offers high-quality and fast Apple hardware.
The price-performance winners are the iPhone 12 and 12 mini. The two smartphones offer the latest hardware at a lower price than the latest Apple models. This saves you money and still gets lightning-fast performance.