Best iPhones in 2021 (December Reviews)

Written by:Gadget Review Last Updated: 19 Jul 2021

To help you find the best Apple iPhone model for your specific lifestyle, we have tried out all of the top releases, testing them along a variety of metrics, including speed and display size. We tended to prefer products with fantastic cameras as well as those with long-lasting batteries. Finally, we liked newer products that were available in plenty of color options, as well as those that had the capacity for large internal hard drives.

The best model we tried was the iPhone 11, which is still the best Apple phone for most consumers, with many of the same features as the higher priced iPhone 11 Pro models. It is somewhat budget-friendly, compared to the higher end models, and boasts the blazing fast A13 Bionic processor. We also liked the excellent battery, which will get you around 11 hours of use on a single charge. Keep reading to learn more about the Apple iPhone 11 and the other models on this list.

Top 5 Best iPhones

 #1  Apple iPhone 11


WHY WE LIKE IT: This is still the one to beat, despite recently receiving a significant price drop, with the renowned A13 Bionic processor, 11 hours of battery life on a single charge and a relatively light and compact form factor.

Read Full Review: Apple iPhone 11 Review

  • Powerful A13 Bionic processor
  • 11 hours of battery life on single charge
  • Light and compact, at under 15 oz
  • No telephoto lens
  • No fast charger included
  • 64GB of storage in base model

The Apple iPhone 11 is the perfect phone for most consumers, featuring the ultra-powerful A13 Bionic processor, which can load a multitude of intensive apps with no noticeable slowdown, and a fantastic battery that gets around 11 hours of use on a single charge. We also loved the light and compact form factor, as it weighs under 15 ounces, and the ability to access the same high end photo editing features as found with the pricier iPhone 11 Pro line.

Though the photo editing features are on point, this model does not feature a telephoto lens, which may be a deal breaker for some photography enthusiasts. Additionally, it does not come with a fast charger, so you’ll have to purchase an adapter to get the quickest charging speeds. You’ll also want to look at the best iphone cases to protect it.

 #2  Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max


WHY WE LIKE IT: The best iPhone money can buy, with a trio of impressive cameras, including a telephoto lens, a stunning 6.5” display and an included fast charger, in addition to the same powerful A13 Bionic processor found with our top pick.

Read Full Review: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Review

  • Best camera
  • Expansive 6.5” display
  • Included fast charger
  • Most expensive model
  • 64GB of storage in base model
  • Tough to use with one hand

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best iPhone model so far, if price is no object, featuring the same A13 Bionic processor found with our top pick and a whole suite of additional bells and whistles. It features the best iPhone camera we tried, which is actually a trio of cameras that include a 12MP telephoto lens, and a suite of powerful photo software to make the most out of the hobby. We also loved the included fast charger and the extremely powerful battery, which gets around 11 hours of use on a single charge.

All of these features do come with a price, however, as this is the costliest iPhone model currently available for purchase. Also, the base model comes with just 64GB of internal storage, which is certainly on the low end, though upgradeable. The best iphone battery cases let you have more power on the go as well.

 #3  Apple iPhone SE 2020


WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly model that still contains plenty of high end features, including the same A13 Bionic processor found with our top picks, a decent rear camera and an incredibly light form factor, weighing around 5 ounces.

Read Full Review: iPhone SE 2020 Review

  • Fingerprint security (no annoying Face ID)
  • Incredibly light at around 5 oz
  • Rear camera is surprisingly effective
  • No night mode on camera
  • Bezels are on the large side
  • No face ID

The recently released iPhone SE 2020 model is sold at an extremely budget-friendly price point, while still containing many high end features that have, before now, only been available with the most expensive phones. It contains the same A13 Bionic processor that is found with both of our top picks, so you’ll have no trouble loading intensive apps, and is incredibly light, weighing around five ounces. We found that the weight and form factor combined for easy one-hand usage, a feature not shared by our number two pick.

There are some things missing from the higher end models, however, such as the lack of a night mode feature for the camera. Additionally, it lacks the option for facial recognition, so no Face ID, though it does have Touch ID. You may also be interested in 8 of the best budget apps for iPhone.

 #4  Apple iPhone 11 Pro


WHY WE LIKE IT: Boasts a waterproof design, up to 4 meters, and features a gorgeous Super Retina XDR display and a more compact form factor than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, as it can be operated with one hand.

Read Full Review: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Review

  • Gorgeous Super Retina XDR display
  • Waterproof up to 4 meters
  • Comes with fast charger
  • Battery life shorter than top picks
  • 64GB of storage with base model
  • Ultra-wide camera lacks night mode

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro comes somewhere between the features found with our top picks and fills a consumer niche neither top pick can lay claim to. Namely, it is the perfect high end phone for those who are attracted to smaller devices. This model boasts the same A13 Bionic processor of our top picks and the same ultra-bright Super Retina XDR display as found with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, just in a smaller package. It can easily be operated with one hand, has three amazing cameras and is waterproof up to four meters.

Though it does come with the fast charger adapter, which is much appreciated, we found the battery life to be somewhat shorter than what is found with our top picks, though the difference was rather negligible. Also, the ultra-wide camera lacks a night mode functionality, though night mode excels with the phone’s other two cameras. You can also read about 10 of the best waterproof iPhone 6 cases.

 #5  Apple iPhone XR


WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic battery, which gets almost 12 hours of use on a single charge, with a budget-friendly price tag, a large 6.1” display and the availability to be purchased in a wide variety of color options.

Read Full Review: Apple iPhone XR Review

  • Best battery life
  • Budget-friendly price tag
  • Large 6.1” display
  • Single rear camera
  • A12 processor
  • Bezels on the larger side

The Apple iPhone XR features the best iPhone battery life to be found on this list, getting around 12 hours of use on a single charge, while still coming in at a relatively budget-friendly price tag. The large 6.1 display is bright and colorful, though features a LCD panel, as opposed to the OLED panels found with our top picks. We also loved the wide variety of color options available, with some colors only able to be purchased via this model.

The cameras on offer are of a slightly lower quality than what is found with our top picks, however, as this iPhone only features one rear camera and no 2X optical zoom. Additionally, the processor included is the older A12, and not the A13 Bionic, though this model is still more powerful than most Android phones and can easily handle intensive applications. To help protect your phone even more, read about 10 of the best waterproof iPhone 5 cases.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we tried out all of the models currently available for purchase, making sure to choose a wide variety of products to suit the needs of different consumers. To that end, we have picks for budding photographers, as two of our picks boast three cameras, and for those looking for the biggest and brightest display available. Four of our picks also include the brand new, top of the line A13 Bionic processor, which can handle even the most intensive applications.

You may notice a distinct lack of older iPhone models, including the iPhone X. This was conscious on our part, as we felt that the features contained within older models were matched, and occasionally exceeded, by the recently released iPhone SE, which boasts a budget-friendly price point and comes with the same warranty that accompanies all brand new Apple products.

All of the above items feature the attention to design and quality that has made the iPhone line so popular for so many years. The batteries are all top notch, with a minimum of ten hours of use on a single charge and a maximum of 12 hours. Finally, because all of these products can be purchased new, they can qualify for AppleCare, which can drastically extend your warranty.

Best iPhone Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Processor
    To decide which iPhone is best for you, you’ll first want to check out the processor. The newest models, including our top picks, feature the blazing fast A13 Bionic processor, whereas the iPhone XR comes with the slightly older, yet still functional, A12 processor. The A12 still has plenty of power and outperforms most Android phones in head to head tests. In short, you’ll be fine with either the A12 or A13.
  2. Display
    Apple products are known for their gorgeous displays and iPhones are no different. Two of our picks boast top-of-the-line Super Retina XDR displays, which truly must be seen to be fully appreciated, while the rest feature large and gorgeous OLED displays. There is one exception, however, as the iPhone XR features a LCD display, though we found it to easily hold its own against the other displays on this list, aside from some minor viewing angle issues.
  3. Weight and Form Factor
    The ultra-large display found with our number two pick has one significant drawback, as the phone cannot easily be operated with one hand. If you are looking for something light and easy to maneuver, we’d recommend something like the iPhone SE, which is extremely light and compact, easily sliding into any pocket, while coming with the same A13 Bionic processor that is found with our top picks.
  4. Cameras
    If you are really looking to kick your photo game up a notch, we’d recommend going for our number two pick, which comes with three cameras, including a telephoto lens, and access to a full suite of updated photo editing software. If you can’t afford the iPhone 11 Pro Max, however, do not fret, as any of the above products take stellar photos and many feature access to night mode and related photo-enhancing software.

Many consider the iPhone to be the best smartphone and there are a lot of accessories available like the best iPhone battery cases,  the best iPhone cases and is compatible with the best Apple watches.

iPhone FAQs

What is the best iPhone ever?

The best iPhone ever changes with each consumer. If you are looking to max out the specs, for the purpose of future proofing, you’ll wanna go with our number two pick, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. If you are looking for a budget-friendly model that still boasts plenty of bells and whistles, go with the recently released iPhone SE. There is an iPhone to suit nearly every taste and budget.

What are the best iPhone deals?

Gone are the days of iPhones having to cost an arm and a leg. If you are looking for the best iPhone deals, the above list has two options for you to check out. First, there’s the recently released iPhone SE, which features the same advanced A13 Bionic chip as our top picks, while coming in at a very attractive price point. There is also the iPhone XR, which still brings a lot to the table, despite being a couple of years old.

Which iPhone is the best value for the money?

If you are wondering which iPhone is the best value for the money, look no further than our top pick. The iPhone 11 recently received a drastic price cut, yet still offers an advanced feature set, including the A13 Bionic processor, a gorgeous display and a battery that gets 11 hours of life on a single charge. You lose the advanced cameras found with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but everything else is on point.

What is the best iPhone 11?

The iPhone 11 has several variants, so sussing out what the best iPhone 11 is depends on personal taste. The iPhone 11 Pro Max features three stunning cameras and a large OLED display, though is the most expensive of the lot, while the standard iPhone 11 is plenty powerful but significantly cheaper. Somewhere in the middle is the iPhone 11 Pro, which doesn’t boast as large a screen as the Pro Max, but comes with most other high end features intact.

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Are you looking for the best iPhones to buy and advice on how to pick the latest iphone features and apps? Gadget Review is here to help with up-to-date iPhone reviews, how to jailbreak your iPhone without a computer, top lists for apps, features, and much more, including the best iPhone 5 wallpapers! It doesn't matter if you want to learn more about how the Apple Watch connects to iPhones or are interested in learning more about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, Gadget Review has the information and comparisons that you are looking for with our expert cell phone reviews. In addition to covering the newest generation of iPhones, we can also provide you with information on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5s, along with what changes to expect on these older devices when Apple updates iOS or releases new products and app versions – so you can learn when it is finally time for an upgrade. We'll also cover everything we know about the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, including the expected screen changes, prices, and more. For all your iPhone news and reports, head over to Gadget Review and take a look at our unbiased, up-to-date reporting and advice. We can also help you fine iPhone 6 cases, iPhone 6 battery cases, lightning cables, and more!

You can also play the best RPG games for iPhone and your iPhone works well with the best Apple laptops. And don't forget about the best iPad case since we always carry our tablets with us too.