Which iPhone is best for me? iPhone 7 vs 7 Plus vs 6s vs 6s Plus vs 6 vs 6 Plus vs 5s vs SE

Which iPhone is best for you to buy in 2016? We compare the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s and iPhone SE, to see what the difference is in terms of performance, camera tech, features and more.

Apple is just about to launch its brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the latest Apple mobile phones fresh for 2016. However, you can still buy three previous generations of iPhone through Apple’s online webstore and its high street shops: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the iPhone SE.

You can also still buy the older iPhone 5s through UK retailers such as Carphone Warehouse, for as little as £16 per month.

So what’s the difference between these different iPhones, which is best for you, and should you consider upgrading to a new iPhone if you’re an existing owner? Here’s our full round-up of the best iPhones you can buy right now and how they compare to one another.

 

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone SE

Price: From £359 – check out the best iPhone SE deals
Release Date: Spring 2016
Screen size 4-inches
Storage 16GB, 64GB
Cameras 12MP, 1.2MP
Our Review: iPhone SE review

The iPhone SE is Apple’s 2016 throwback to its old 4-inch mobile phones of yesteryear. Although it features a chunky, compact design like the iPhone 5s and earlier iPhones, Apple has packed in some of its latest smartphone tech, also found in premium iPhones the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

So, like those 2015 flagships, you get a supreme 12-megapixel camera that can shoot detailed photos and record 4K home movies. You also get Apple’s A9 processor, which can ably handle the latest 3D games, plus a ‘TouchID’ fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone and using Apple Pay. You don’t get a choice of 128GB storage in this handset, but up to 64GB is available for apps and media fans.

As long as you don’t mind the very compact screen, the iPhone SE is a seriously impressive package. It’s one of the cheapest iPhones around, yet packs some of Apple’s best specs and features into a mini, easy-to-handle frame. Nice.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 5s

Price: From £249 – check out the best iPhone 5s deals
Release Date: Autumn 2013
Screen size 4-inches
Storage 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Cameras 8MP, 1.2MP
Our Review: iPhone 5s review

The iPhone 5s is getting on a bit now, but that also means that you can grab it at a seriously affordable price these days.

And although it’s coming up to its third birthday, the iPhone 5s is still a solid smartphone. Like the iPhone SE it sports a dinky 4-inch screen; in fact, this was the last old-school iPhone to do so. It’s still a pleasingly crisp display, although movie fans will probably prefer the bigger-screen iPhones listed below.

The Apple A7 processor can still handle iOS without too much trouble, although you’ll struggle with memory-hogging games like GTA San Andreas. Keep it light, with a bit of simple app use, messaging and so on and you’ll not see much stuttering.

That 8-megapixel camera is still great too, considering its age. It’s an easy-to-use snapper, which produces good-looking photos in everything but low-light conditions. Of course, there’s no 4K video recording.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 6

Price: From £459 – check out the best iPhone 6 deals
Release Date: Autumn 2014
Screen size 4.7-inches
Storage 16GB, 64GB
Cameras 8MP, 1.2MP
Our Review: iPhone 6 review

Apple’s first phone to boost the screen size up to 4.7-inches was the iPhone 6, launched back in 2014. This all-new bigger display was great news for anyone who likes streaming or watching movies and shows on the go, offering a more comfortable viewing experience.

That sexy, slimmer and curvier design was also a big step up compared with the chunky older iPhones, although that didn’t stop Apple from returning to the brick-like mobile frames for the iPhone SE earlier in 2016.

Apple A8 processor is still performing well, even on the latest version of iOS. We can play quite demanding games and mess around with loads of apps at once and the iphone 6 doesn’t show any signs of slowdown, not bad for a phone that’s two years old.

That 8-megapixel iSight camera isn’t a massive upgrade over the iPhone 5s’ camera however. Images are still crisp, with realistic colours and plenty of detail packed in. You still can’t shoot 4K footage, although you do get slow-mo and timelapse modes. And the smaller iPhone 6 also misses out on optical image stabilisation, which is found only in the bigger iPhone 6 Plus model.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 6 Plus

Price: From £539 – check out the best iPhone 6 Plus deals
Release Date: Autumn 2014
Screen size 5.5-inches
Storage 16GB, 64GB
Cameras 8MP, 1.2MP
Our Review: iPhone 6 Plus review

The iPhone 6 Plus is very similar to the iPhone 6, but even bigger – hence the name. While the iPhone 6 already boasted a larger screen than previous iPhones, at 4.7-inches, the iPhone 6 Plus took things a step further with a massive 5.5-inch display. Apple also bumped up the panel’s resolution, to Full HD 1920×1080 (compared with the 1334×750 resolution of the iPhone 6).

Lastly, the iPhone 6 Plus adds optical image stabilisation (OIS), a camera feature which helps to reduce blur in photos by countering any little motions. This doesn’t work for videos, however.

Besides those little differences, the iPhone 6 Plus is the same solid smartphone as the iPhone 6. That A8 processor gives dependable performance once again, while the 8-megapixel camera produces good-looking snaps and Full HD video.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 6s

Price: From £539 – check out the best iPhone 6s deals
Release Date: Autumn 2015
Screen size 4.7-inches
Storage 16GB, 64GB, 128GB
Cameras 12MP, 5MP
Our Review: iPhone 6s review

2015’s iPhone 6s was a significant step up from the iPhone 6 in most areas, although it sported a very similar design as well as a 4.7-inch screen again.

For a start, Apple’s A9 processor is an absolute power house, smashing through the very latest memory-hogging games and apps with no sign of slowdown. And for the first time, you can also pick up an iPhone in a meaty 128GB model. That’s particularly handy if you shoot loads of video, download tons of apps and carry around a lot of movies and music.

While the iPhone 6s’ display doesn’t appear any different, Apple crammed in its new 3D Touch technology. This can actually measure the pressure you apply when you poke the surface, giving you an extra layer of control. Check out our 3D Touch guide for more info.

The iPhone 6s also introduced Apple’s excellent new 12-megapixel iSight camera. This was the first Apple phone to shoot 4K video, while adding bonus features like Live Photos (utterly pointless). Detail levels have seriously improved over previous iPhone generations, giving you supremely sharp photos even when blown right up to poster size.

You also get an upgraded 5-megapixel FaceTime camera, which captures much better selfies than before. Apple’s Retina Flash feature can even light up your face by making the screen super-bright, to reduce blockiness and grain.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 6s Plus

Price: From £619 – check out the best iPhone 6s Plus deals
Release Date: Autumn 2015
Screen size 5.5-inches
Storage 16GB, 64GB, 128GB
Cameras 12MP, 5MP
Our Review: iPhone 6s Plus review

The iPhone 6s Plus is again a minor upgrade over the iPhone 6s, beyond that bigger, sharper screen (which like the iPhone 6 Plus, is a 5.5-inch Full HD display).

You can pick up the iPhone 6s Plus with up to 128GB of storage, and the processor is once again Apple’s own A9 chipset. However, the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera boasts OIS, something once again missing from the smaller model. And unlike the iPhone 6 Plus, the 6s Plus’ OIS works even when shooting video.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 7

Price: TBC
Release Date: Autumn 2016
Screen size 4.7-inches
Storage 32/128/256GB
Cameras 12MP, 7MP
Our Review: Coming soon

The iPhone 7 has just been launched by Apple, tweaking the design a little while also adding in a whole new camera, water resistance and a few more new features.

Once again you get a sharp 4.7-inch screen that boasts realistic image reproduction, as well as a new wider colour gamut. That gorgeous panel is packed into a slightly slimmer metallic frame, which has lost its antenna bars that previously stretched across the back. You also get a new ‘Black’ model and a super-black ‘Jet Black’ model if you’re an Ultra Emo, joining the existing grey and rose gold models.

Apple’s removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack means you’ll need to use a set that plugs directly into the iPhone 7’s Lightning port, or else a Bluetooth pair. If you’re still rocking a wired pair, you can however buy an adapter from Apple which plugs into the Lightning port.

The new Force Touch home button also adds another layer of input for developers to take advantage of, measuring exactly how hard you push it for different effects.

Thankfully the 16GB models of yesteryear have been scrapped. The iPhone 7 starts at 32GB, so you’ll have enough storage to carry around plenty of apps and media, and still leave space for those massive update downloads.

You also get Apple’s new A10 Fusion processor, which should happily handle the latest apps and games for some time to come. It’s 35 percent more powerful than the Apple A9 in last year’s iPhone 6s, so this handset shouldn’t show any signs of ageing any time soon.

The iPhone 7’s camera tech has also been massively overhauled compared with the iPhone 6s optics. Apple has added in Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), to reduce the risk of blurry shots in low light conditions. That’s something previously only found on the ‘Plus’ iPhone models. You also get a new f/1.8 aperture lens and imaging system, for impressive results. Check out our iPhone 7 camera feature for more info.

Best iPhones in 2016: iPhone 7 Plus

Price: TBC
Release Date: Autumn 2016
Screen size 5.5-inches
Storage 32/128/256GB
Cameras 12MP dual-lens, 7MP
Our Review: Coming soon

The iPhone 7 Plus is once again a 5.5-incher like the 6 Plus and 6s Plus before it, and Apple’s 2016 big boy sports much the same specs of the iPhone 7, as well as that fresh new design. Once again there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, while the handset is a mite slimmer so it can slip more easily into pockets and bags. You can also grab the iPhone 7 Plus in the new ‘Black’ and ‘Jet Black’ colour choices, just like the standard iPhone 7.

Inside you’ll find a bigger battery, but much the same components including Apple’s new A10 Fusion processor. The 5.5-inch screen sticks with a Full HD resolution too, rather than bumping up to Quad HD.

However, Apple has reworked its mobile camera tech especailly for the iPhone 7 Plus. This new dual-lens camera can capture impressively detailed shots, just like the similarly designed Huawei P9, as well as adding a telephoto optical zoom. Check out our iPhone 7 Plus camera feature for more info.

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