which iPhone to choose in 2021?

Do you want to buy an iPhone in 2021? The models are plentiful on the official online store of Apple, but ultimately the best products stand out without difficulty. Especially since the prices do not change much from one year to the next. Numerama guides you to find the iPhone that suits you.

In 2021, the iPhone lineup was made much simpler: like the iPhone 13 and 13 mini, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are exactly the same smartphones with a different size. And the iPhone XR is finally out of the range sold new! So there are only the iPhone 12, an iPhone 11 and the small iPhone SE of 2020 left. In short, rather recommendable products, depending on the budget.

That said, looking at the prices of these items and having spent time on the entire range of iPhones in our various tests, we know precisely that iPhone models stand out and that all budgets now have a precise choice. , quality.

If you have decided to opt for a new iPhone this year, this guide will help you in your reflection. And so that you can see it more clearly, we have decided to break down this overview according to your uses – the safe bet that we recommend is easily identifiable, if you have no time to waste.

The best choice: iPhone 13 Pro

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

Yes, the iPhone 13 Pro is expensive. We will not make you say otherwise. But if last year, the iPhone 12 was really a “quasi-pro”, this year, the iPhone 13 Pro is the real evolution in the smartphone market. The iPhone 13, next, seems to be a small evolution of the 12 borrowing very good technical characteristics from the iPhone 12 Pro Max on the photo side. So if you want something new, fun new things to do and a truly smartphone radically different, it is towards the 13 Pro that it will be necessary to go in 2021.

Why ? Its photo module, for example, which combines good ideas. The 77 mm (x3) lens will allow you to take shots impossible to achieve with the iPhone 13 and its ultra wide-angle opens the door to macro photography. The main sensor, on the other hand, has never had such important photosites and will be able to take magnificent shots at night. And all three can be used on video – only two with the new Cinematic mode, flawed but interesting to use.

We can also mention the ProMotion screen (120-10 Hz) which brings unparalleled fluidity, monstrous autonomy, iOS 15 and its new features, MagSafe, Face ID, Apple Pay, the future ProRes mode … in short, everything that makes this iPhone 13 Pro the worthy representative of its range.

That’s why we make it our default choice: the one that will please you, whatever smartphone you had before buying it.

A small diagonal smartphone: iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone SE 2

Apple iPhone 13 mini // Source: Numerama / Louise Audry

2020 marked the big comeback of small smartphones. And that’s good. Unlike other manufacturers, Apple has chosen not to really discriminate on the diagonal of the screen and offers in 2021 two more models perfectly suited to small hands and small pockets.

The iPhone 13 mini is a nice evolution of the iPhone 12 mini and frankly has good arguments. Already, the first: money. For the same storage (128 GB minimum on the iPhone 13 mini), it costs only € 50 more than the iPhone 12 mini in new version and excluding promotion. These 50 € offer you:

  • Apple’s A15 Bionic chip on the processor side
  • The main wide-angle sensor of the iPhone 12 Pro Max (excellent)
  • The iPhone 12 Pro screen
  • A better ultra-wide-angle sensor
  • A smaller notch
  • A better 5G chip
  • Probably an additional year of iOS (Apple updates its smartphones more or less 6 years)
  • Kinematic mode
  • Better autonomy

Clearly, it is quite the smartphone that we can recommend today for who would like a small diagonal and an object that fits equally well in the pocket, in a bag or in a hand. It doesn’t have the iPhone 13 Pro’s trio of sensors or the ProMotion display, but it’s still a great choice in 2021. Alternatively, the regular iPhone 13 may be an option (these are exactly the same characteristics) but it remains more common.

A single sensor // Source: Julien Cadot for Numerama

Longer and narrower, the iPhone SE 2 is above all a smartphone of choice for entering the Apple galaxy without breaking the bank. With a price starting at 489 € excluding promotions, it is a colossal competitor to mid-range offers on Android. It embeds one of the fastest processors in the world (the A13 of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro) to display games and applications on a 4.7-inch screen. It is also the last iPhone in the range to be unlocked by Touch ID, on the finger – perhaps an argument in these times of wearing the mandatory mask. It’s clearly not the iPhone to buy if you like having the latest tech in your pocket, but neither is it a iPhone sub. Far from there.

iPhone 11, an iPhone to watch on sale

Granted, the iPhone 11 is two years old. But with its two photo sensors, FaceID, an excellent processor and a well-defined screen, it clearly hasn’t said its last word. The price displayed by Apple of 589 € tells us that we will find periods of destocking of this model quite frequently and that we will be able to see it go under 500 € in the coming months. It is therefore an iPhone whose price is to be watched, but which can really bring into the high-end Apple at a low price. Released in 2019, it will at least be updated until 2025.

Only problem for durability: it is not 5G.

IPhones not to buy in 2021

Apple has finally got rid of the iPhone XR in its new range!

In 2021, the iPhone offered new by the manufacturer are therefore rather well chosen and really adapt to all budgets. We have recommended the iPhone 11 in this guide, but the iPhone 12s are very good bills for anyone who wants a 5G smartphone at a less premium price than the 13 range. That said, maybe it is this 12 range that we are looking for. find a bit shifted this year: it remains expensive compared to the 11 and the SE.

On the other hand, do not buy a used or refurbished iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max: most of the evolutions of these smartphones are found in the iPhone 13 and 13 mini. Unless you have a very low price (but beware of scams), it’s not worth it compared to the new “normal” iPhones of the year.

Some links in this article are affiliate: they have no impact on the editorial choices of Numerama’s editorial staff and the angle of the articles. We’ll explaine everything here.

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