iPhone SE to iPhone 13 Pro Max, which iPhone is right for you?

Apple refreshes its iPhone lineup every year with new models featuring the latest tech, while dropping the price of the previous ones, and discontinuing some old, out of date, and, at times, unpopular models. This obviously changes the buying options considerably, making it incredibly difficult for the not-so-nerdy buyers to choose the right iPhone for themselves. After the launch of the iPhone 13 series, the existing official lineup of Apple smartphones look like this: sitting right on top is the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro. They are followed by iPhone 13 and 13 mini, then iPhone 12 and 12 mini, iPhone 11, and iPhone SE. The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have officially been discontinued by Apple, but you can still find them listed on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.in and Flipkart. If, like many others, you are also struggling to find the right iPhone for you, here’s a quick guide that can help you:

Also Read: iPhone SE 3 may feature LCD display, iPhone XR-like design

Which iPhone is right for you?

iPhone SE 2020

This is a right iPhone for those who just want to join the Apple ecosystem and are not too concerned with the specs. And at Rs 30,999, the iPhone SE 2020 (review) is also officially the most affordable smartphone from Apple. The handset is powered by an A14 Bionic chipset, which shouldn’t give you performance anxiety for at least the next 2-3 years. The phone will also get software support from Apple for at least 5 years.

Reasons to buy:

  • Most affordable smartphone from Apple
  • Performance at par with more expensive iPhones
  • Software support for the next few years

Reasons to skip:

  • Huge bezels
  • Not so good battery life

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 (review) is the right model for people looking for a competent Apple smartphone that offers a decent camera, performance, and battery. In fact, iPhone 11 is a better device than iPhone 12 and 13 when it comes to battery life. However, you don’t get the 5G support and the newer design that you will get with the iPhone 12 (which costs another Rs 15,000 roughly). With a price tag of Rs 43,999, the smartphone is among the more affordable Apple smartphones you can get right now.

Reasons to buy:

  • Great battery life
  • Decent performance
  • Respectable cameras

Reasons to skip:

  • No 5G
  • Old design
  • Two years old already

iPhone 12 mini

The iPhone 12 mini (review) is nothing but a compact version of the iPhone 12. You get the same set of specs, including the A14 Bionic chipset, dual 12MP rear cameras, and iOS 14 running out of the box. Having said that, the phone has a subpar battery life, which may not last for even a day if you are a heavy user. With a price tag of Rs 42,000, the iPhone 12 mini offers better performance and camera capabilities than the iPhone 11, but you will have to sacrifice on the screen size and battery life.

Reasons to buy:

  • Ideal for one-hand usage
  • A14 Bionic chipset
  • Dual 12MP cameras

Reasons to skip:

  • No sensor-shift stabilisation technology
  • Poor battery life

iPhone 12

If there is a smartphone that deserves a second look despite a new flagship model, it’s the iPhone 12 (review). Even after a year of its launch, the smartphone still offers a lot of value. There’s a lot that the iPhone 12 has in common with the newly-launched iPhone 13, in fact. They both rock the same design (largely) and a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with 60Hz refresh rate. The 5G-capable A14 Bionic chipset, which is at the core of the iPhone 12, hasn’t aged that much and you can still rely on it for blazing-fast performance. The handset’s dual 12MP cameras may not have the new iPhone 13-like cinematic mode and focus transitions support, but that doesn’t hold them back to capture some good images. As for the iPhone 12 price in India, it’s available for a starting price of Rs 53,999 online

Also read: Want an iPhone? The iPhone 12 is a great buy even now

Reasons to buy:

  • Impressive performance
  • Great cameras
  • Available at just Rs 53,999

Reasons to skip:

  • No cinematic mode and focus transition support
  • 1.5 hours shorter battery life than iPhone 13

iPhone 13 mini

The iPhone 13 mini, probably the last mini smartphone from Apple, is worth buying for offering incredible performance in compact size. The handset should fit in anyone’s hand like a charm, thanks to its 5.4-inch near bezel-less display. This makes it ideal for anyone upgrading from an older iPhone or even an ageing Android smartphone. Of course, you can be guaranteed of the performance, camera, and connectivity since it is part of Apple’s 2021 flagship series.

Reasons to buy:

  • Most affordable smartphone in iPhone 13 lineup
  • Fits easily in one hand
  • Pretty much the same features as the iPhone 13

Reasons to skip:

  • Not for everyone
  • Will struggle to last up to a day

iPhone 13

It’s the iPhone to buy for non-pro users. The handset has a standard 60Hz refresh rate instead of 120Hz, and has dual 12MP cameras at the back, with the same sensor-shift technology as the pricier iPhone 13 Pro models. What’s common between the iPhone 13 (review) and iPhone 13 Pro models is the A15 Bionic chipset. In addition to that, the handset runs iOS 15 out of the box and has 1.5 hours longer battery life than its predecessor. All things said, iPhone 13 is the right smartphone for most people looking for a flagship handset.

Reasons to buy:

  • Superlative performance with A15 Bionic chipset
  • Improved camera setup
  • Longer battery life than its predecessor

Reasons to skip:

  • No high refresh rate display
  • iPhone 12 seems to be better value

iPhone 12 Pro

Going up the price ladder, this is another smartphone from last year, which has been officially discontinued by Apple as well. However, it’s selling on Amazon.in and other e-commerce sites, with a price starting at Rs 95,900. Barring the additional telephoto lens, there isn’t much that would make you want to pick the iPhone 12 Pro (review) over the tried and tested iPhone 12 or the latest and more advanced iPhone 13. 

Reasons to buy:

  • Same specs as iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • A dedicated lens for zoomed up shots

Reasons to skip:

  • Pricey
  • Lacks high screen refresh rate

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple's last year ultra-flagship smartphone. The handset is currently selling online for Rs 1.2 lakh for the base 128GB storage variant. It is still a good smartphone to buy in 2021 considering its large 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display and crazy good battery life and overall performance.

Reasons to buy:

  • 6.7-inch OLED screen
  • Good battery life and performance
  • Rear camera with dedicated telephoto lens

Reasons to skip:

  • No 120Hz refresh rate display
  • Hard to justify Rs 1.2 lakh price tag

iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro (review) offers the best of iPhone 13 Pro Max but in a slightly smaller form factor. The handset packs a 6.1-inch display of the same Super Retina XDR variety, with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR support, True Tone, and more, like its bigger sibling. At its core lies the A15 Bionic chipset, while the camera setup at the back includes triple 12MP sensors with a telephoto lens that can zoom up to 3x. The smaller form factor of the iPhone 13 Pro also means a smaller battery than the Pro Max, but that's expected. Nonetheless, Apple claims the handset can last up to 22 hours on a single charge.

Reasons to buy:

  • Similar specs as the iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Perfect to use in one hand
  • Superlative camera and performance

Reasons to skip:

  • Charging speed limited to 20W
  • Average battery life

iPhone 13 Pro Max

There isn't a better iPhone than this in the market right now. The iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with pretty much all the bells and whistles one can expect from the smartphone. The handset rocks a Super Retina XDR display ProMotion technology that supports an impressive screen refresh rate of up to 120Hz, in addition to HDR, True Tone, incredibly high contrast ratio, and 1,200 nits max brightness. The phone also has the power of Apple's latest silicon A15 Bionic chipset and the biggest ever battery on an iPhone – 4,373mAh, according to third-party analysis.

As for the iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras, they have also been rated among the best. The increased aperture and pixel size, along with up to 3x zoom on the telephoto lens, all help the phone capture better images than last year's iPhone 12 Pro Max.

That said, it's worth mentioning that the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with a wallet-breaking price, starting at Rs 1,29,900. Also, the phone can be a little overwhelming for people with small hands as the screen measures 6.7-inch diagonally.

Reasons to buy:

  • Gorgeous 120Hz screen
  • Amazing cameras
  • Improved battery life

Reasons to skip:

  • Super-expensive
  • Bulky