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Best iPhone in 2023: Which one is right for you?

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Does newer always equal better when it comes to iPhones? Canstar Blue investigates which iPhone is the best for your needs.

When the first iPhone was released in 2007, it revolutionised the way we interact with technology. And since then, Apple’s ingenuity and market competition has resulted in the release of faster, stronger and smarter models to fit all kinds of new technology in your back pocket.

The best overall iPhone: iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 ProIt may come as no surprise that the best overall iPhone is a part of Apple’s latest line-up, the iPhone 15 Pro. With a 6.1-inch display, up to 23 hours of video playback and an A17 Pro processor, this phone really does it all. It features a Apple’s dynamic island panel, as well as always-on display, iOS 17 and safety features such as Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via Satellite. The “Dynamic Island” feature is located at the top of the screen on the Pro and Pro Max models, showing system alerts and background activities (for example, when you get phone calls or play music).

The camera system features a triple rear camera setup, with a 48MP main, 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto lens, powered by Apple’s Photonic Engine – new camera tech designed to boost low-light photos. This is in addition to Night Mode, a feature that was introduced in the iPhone 13 series.

The following table compares a selection of 24-month 128GB iPhone 15 Pro plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The best budget iPhone: iPhone SE (3rd generation)

iphone-se

While budget and iPhone are not usually words that are put together in the same sentence, Apple does have a range of iPhones on the cheaper end of the spectrum. 

The 2022 iPhone SE is the only iPhone that still has the home button and touch ID capabilities, with a smaller screen and only one camera – however if you like the functionality of Apple devices, but don’t need all of the bells and whistles that come with the latest models, then this might be a great option for you. 

The same chip that powers the iPhone 13 is also featured in the iPhone SE, meaning that the smartphone is still incredibly powerful and is capable of handling your day-to-day requirements. 

The following table shows a range of 24-month plans for the 64GB iPhone SE as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The best small iPhone: iPhone 13 Mini

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The best small iPhone is still the iPhone 13 Mini, despite being bigger than the iPhone SE. The 13 Mini features the same A15 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 13 and 14, with a 5.4-inch display and dual 12MP wide and ultrawide rear cameras, plus a 12MP front camera. 

The battery of the 13 Mini is strong, and the phone comes in a range of colours for the artistic side of the user. Not to mention, it is significantly cheaper than an iPhone 14, potentially providing more incentive to pick one up. However, some retailers or telcos may no longer have stock available. An alternative would be the iPhone 13, which offers similar specs but on a slightly bigger screen. 

The following table shows a range of 24-month plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The best large screen iPhone: iPhone 15 Pro MaxiPhone 14 Pro Max in purple

If you have your heart set on having a big screen, then the iPhone 15 Pro Max might be the one for you – it is essentially the iPhone 15 Pro, just bigger! With a 6.7-inch display, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the biggest model in the 15 series. It also offers up to 29 hours of video playback and the same brand new features as the iPhone 15 Pro, most notably the Dynamic Island, SOS via Satellite and always-on display. 

The following table compares a selection of 24-month 256GB iPhone 15 Pro Max plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Which iPhones are currently available to purchase?

According to Apple’s official website, the iPhone models that are currently available to purchase include:

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 15 Pro
  • iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 Pro

  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone SE (3rd generation)
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone Pro
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11

Note that not all of these models are available to buy directly from Apple, or from telcos on plans, but may be offered by other retailers.

If you don’t have the cash to shell out for a brand new iPhone, but have your heart set on getting an iPhone, a good alternative is a refurbished phone. These are essentially phones that are pre-loved or were used as demo models in stores, but have been factory reset and had any faulty components replaced.


Read More: Best Phone Cases in Australia


What should I consider when choosing an iPhone?

If you’ve got your heart set on an iPhone, there are a number of factors that need to be considered before you make your final decision. Of course, the weighting of these factors will differ from person to person, based on your motivation for buying the phone in the first place. 

  • Price: An iPhone is going to be a pricey purchase, so price is a factor that you need to consider. However, if you’re set on an Apple device, then an older model or refurbished phone may be a way to keep those costs down. 
  • Screen size: For a while, there was only one or two options in terms of what size screen to get. This is no longer the case. Whether you like having a big screen to watch videos and play games or a smaller screen would work just fine, you have two display options to choose from in Apple’s iPhone 15 series, and several more if you’re considering older models. If you prefer a larger screen, expect to pay more for the Plus or Pro Max models.
  • Battery life: Generally, the newer the model, the better the battery is going to be. However, the jump in battery power between each iPhone series isn’t necessarily enough to be noticeable to lighter users, and opting for the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 could be a good money-saving choice if you’re not glued to your phone all day.  
  • Camera quality: The iPhone 15 Pro offers the best camera seen on an Apple device yet, however if you’re just after a camera for your day-to-day life, then a less exxy device is still going to perform well.
  • Internal storage: The iPhone 15 series phones start at 128GB of storage, with variations all the way up to 1TB, so if storage is important to you then it’ll be a factor. However, the bigger your phone’s storage, the more expensive it will be.

Which iPhone should I buy?

The iPhone that’s right for you is based on a variety of factors including price, aesthetics, cameras, and specification requirements. It won’t come as a surprise that the newest iPhone also tends to be the strongest iPhone; however, for a more affordable approach, Apple also offers a “budget” counterpart in the iPhone SE that has all of your basics covered if you do have your heart set on an Apple device. 

Which iPhone you decide on is in your hands, but newer is generally better with Apple. This is not to say that an older model isn’t going to do the job: it might just not be as fast or have all the fancy features found in newer models.

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Check out our selection of recent iPhone reviews below:

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Photo Credits: apple.com

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