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Maybe you should just buy an old iPhone



Photo: Christina Warren (Gizmodo)

If you missed the note, Apple showed new iPhones this week, but it also held some older models on sale – all the way back to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which made its bow back in 2016. But maybe the iPhone does not have to be a new new new iPhone.

For convenience, we will only hold on in 2016 and 2017 iPhones that Apple still sells directly in this article, but of course you have used and refurbished alternatives to choose from, and a lot of the same arguments also apply there. (And if you want an iPhone X, here's a guide to choosing the right one.)


1) You can still run iOS 12

Image: Apple

iOS 12 drops this month with a lot of useful improvements ranging from improved reality to smartphone dependency management tools. And get this iOS 12 comes to all iPhone back to the iPhone 5S from 2013. You do not lose most of the latest software innovations by picking up an iPhone 7 or an iPhone 8.

To say there's one or two features you do not get on older hardware such as Animoji and Messenger face stickers (which requires a top-end-facing camera), but the vast majority of features available in iOS 12 are going to work fine on iPhones from 2016 and 2017 and even further back.

Certain displays and apps may flick a little faster on the latest silicone, but it will not be a huge noticeable difference (we still use an iPhone 7 Plus that works perfectly). What's more, if you return to iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, you know that you'll still get the latest iOS updates for a few years.


2) Save money

Everything is in relation to the price you pay – iPhone XS Max is without doubt the biggest and most well-built and fastest iPhone ever, but is it also the best value iPhone of 2018? Even if you have money to afford it, can the money be spent better? (You can save enough for a new Apple Watch Series 4). Let's break down the prices they currently stand on the Apple page.

A 4.7-inch iPhone 7 can be yours from $ 449 (with an indescribably bad 32GB storage) or $ 549 (128GB). Go up to 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus and share with $ 569 (32GB) or $ 669 (128GB). The 4.7-inch iPhone 8 will set you back $ 599 (64GB) or $ 749 (256GB), with 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus prices set at $ 699 (64GB) and $ 849 (256GB).

From iPhone 8 Plus, it's not a big jump to your budget, your 6.1-inch iPhone XR for $ 749 (64GB), $ 799 (128GB) or $ 899 (256GB). Then you have 5.8-inch iPhone XS at $ 999 (64GB), $ 1,149 (256GB) or $ 1,349 (512GB), and finally the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max of $ 1,099 (64GB), $ 1,249 (256GB) or $ 1,449 (512GB).

To put these numbers in a few different ways: You can bag three 32GB iPhone 7 phones and still change for the same price as a 512GB iPhone XS Max. Perhaps a fair comparison is over 256GB models starting with iPhone 8, you pay extra $ 150 for iPhone XR, an additional $ 400 for iPhone XS, and an extra $ 500 for iPhone XS Max. That makes the iPhone XR seem decent, less so the other two.


3) You may not need the latest improvements

Apple is keen to emphasize speed increases with every successful version of the iPhone-The newest A12 Bionic chipset is 15-50 percent faster and more effective than its predecessor, A11 Bionic ( in 2017 iPhones); which in turn was 25-70 percent faster and more efficient than its predecessor, A10 Fusion (in 2016 iPhones), etc.

We do not doubt Apple's technical requirements, but how much benefit do you really get? Terms of the actual daily performance? Most everyday apps seem to open more or less the same speed over the last two generations, and while the difference between subsequent years is reflected in references, as far as real-world use, the gaps do not seem to be significant most of the time.

For the requirements of video editing, high-end games and anything that involves the neural engine (introduced in 2017) – like intensive image or speech processing – the differences are likely to be larger between generations, but perhaps not so significant that it's worth hundreds of your hard earned dollar. If you want a phone that's fast instead of super fast, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 handsets are still very worth considering.

It also applies to the cameras: Newer iPhones have better cameras for sure, and Apple has more slides tires to show why, but the question is how much better? We have not gotten hands on the 2018 phones yet, but we can tell you that iPhone X hit 97 on DxOMark compared to 88 of iPhone 7 Plus using the same tests. It may be that more money is really good, but they are not worlds apart.

Unlockr made an extensive camera test between 2015-2017 iPhones, so you can take a look at yourself: While the pictures on newer phones are undoubtedly better, especially in weaker lighting conditions, the pictures included with the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6 Plus is hardly catastrophic and is pretty decent too. If you're not a Professional Instagrammer, the older iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models certainly will not let you down.


4) You do not need Face ID (or Animoji)

Face ID is smooth and secure, we would not argue for it – we're just not sure it's worth a $ 300 + markup on the price. Stick to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 areas, and you can continue with Touch ID, which also happens to be slim and safe, and also works when you pick up your phone and look in the other direction.

It's not that we do not like Face ID at all, it's just that we think Touch ID is just fine, though Apple obviously regards it as an outdated technology now. With the OnePlus 6T and Galaxy S10 both rumored to arrive with fingerprint scanners on the screen, it will be interesting to see if Apple leaves the Touch ID in the technical trash for good.

Another feature you can surely live without, even if you think you can not, is Animoji (and Memoji). These cute cartoon characters and self portraits are exclusive to iPhone X and later, due to the advanced front-facing camera technique that is required, and while they make for an entertaining distraction, you do not really need them – install Bitmoji instead if you really need to.


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