How to pick the right iPhone for you

Q: I’m ready to upgrade my iPhone, but I can’t decide which phone to choose. Any tips?

A: There has never been a better time to be in the market for an iPhone as the current selection includes eight different models: the entry-level iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and their top-of-the-line X. The phones range in price from $349 to $1,149.

Start with screen size

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you hold the phones in your hand and slide it into your pocket or purse to determine, which fits best.

Budget-minded consumers who don’t care about larger screens can opt for the 4-inch SE — the size of the original iPhone — for the newly reduced pricing of $349 to $449 depending upon your storage needs (options range from 32 GB to 128 GB).

If you want a slightly larger screen, like the 4.7 inch, then your choices are between the iPhone 6s, 7 and 8.

If you want a phone with the largest screen size, then choose among the 6s Plus, 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X.


IPhones have long been heralded for their camera technology, and unless you’re really into photography or super high resolution video, every model has a 12 megapixel camera that can shoot 4K video — that’s video with a resolution of 4,000 pixels across — at 30 frames per second.

If you’re a big selfie or FaceTime fan, you’ll want to stick to the iPhone 6 or better because the front-facing camera on the SE isn’t great.

Water and dust ratings

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially near water and you want something that can take a bit more abuse, you’ll want to go for an iPhone 7 or higher as they all have superior water and dust resistance ratings.

Despite the ratings for leaving your phone in 1 to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes, you really shouldn’t plan on swimming with them. Exposing your expensive phone to salt and chlorine water isn’t something I’d recommend without something like a LifeProof case.

Newest features

If features like wireless charging, fast-charging, 60 frames per second and 4K video or the most powerful processors available are important to you, then you’ll probably be able to justify buying the iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X.

Apple’s comparison site is an easy way to compare up to three different models at a time to help you weed through the specs:

Purchasing options

There are a plethora of options for buying new, used or refurbished iPhones, starting with Apple itself.

Apple offers an annual iPhone Upgrade Program, which is best for those who want to have the latest model every year.

Look into their trade-in program for your older iPhones: Trade Up.

Or shop for deals in Apple’s refurbished inventory.

If your current phone is tied to a specific cellular provider, check to see what current promotions they offer based on your eligibility.

If you don’t mind a used iPhone, in addition to your cellular provider, there are a number of reputable resources that I’ve used to pay cash for a used phone including Glyde, Swappa and Gazelle.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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