Best iPhone 2016: how to choose the right one for you

Desperate for an iPhone? Here's how to get your perfect choice

Update: Fancy a great new iPhone over the Black Friday period? Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are perfect choices, but there are many other, cheaper iPhone models to choose from too. Read on below to find out more.

You've woken up, looked out the window and then looked down at the crumbling smartphone that you've been using for what feels like ever.

Some part of your mind decides that it's time for an upgrade, and if you're set on owning an iPhone, then you've got some big choices to make. You can spend a fortune on the powerful iPhone 7 Plus that's a part of our best phones list, or spend some time in the secondhand market looking for a cheap iPhone - but will get you just what you need?

With a bewildering selection of different specs, screen sizes and price points each of these handsets has something to offer every type of Apple fan - so we've boiled down the choices for you in a simple-to-read format.

From the superpowered iPhone 7 to the affordable 4-inch iPhone 5S, these are the best iPhones for a variety of budgets and requirements.

1. iPhone 7 Plus

The best iPhone money can buy

Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels | CPU: Apple A10 Fusion | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Battery: 2900mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Heaps of power for slick performance
Excellent camera
Very expensive
No headphone jack

The iPhone 7 Plus is the best iPhone Apple has ever made. It's large though, so if you're after a smaller phone this won't be the best choice for you with its 5.5-inch 1080p display.

The big upgrades are the waterproof design and a phenomenal new dual-lens camera that allows you to snap with two 12MP lens at the same time. It allows for better optical zoom as well as a Bokeh mode to blur the background of your photos and put the main focus on the foreground.

Battery life on the iPhone 7 Plus is much improved upon the iPhone 6S Plus too, plus it comes stocked with iOS 10 software right out of the box.

You probably already know there's no 3.5mm headphone jack. It means you'll have to use Bluetooth headphones or the Lightning cable converter, which comes in the box with the iPhone 7 Plus.

The biggest problem you'll likely have will be the price. It's a costly option, but the upgrades are worth the extra money and this is the phone to go for if you're looking for the best iPhone in 2016.

Read the full review: iPhone 7 Plus

2. iPhone 7

Your first waterproof iPhone

Weight: 138g | Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 750 x 1334 | CPU: Apple A10 Fusion | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128/256GB | Battery: 1960mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Good low light camera
Water resistant
Lacks clear upgrades
Same design for last three years

Don't fancy the large iPhone 7 Plus above? Why not opt for the iPhone 7, which comes in at position two on our best iPhone round-up.

Again there's no headphone jack on the iPhone 7, but it does come with a waterproof design that means your phone is likely to survive the odd dip in the sink rather than just being frazzled right away.

There's no dual-lens camera on the iPhone 7, but you can still take some absolutely incredible photography with the 12MP sensor.

If you own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S, you may not see much difference with the new phone but the new processor and camera tech may be enough to entice you to buy the latest iPhone from Apple.

Read the full review: iPhone 7

iPhone SE

3. iPhone SE

Compact, relatively affordable and very powerful

Weight: 113g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 4.0-inch | Resolution: 1136 x 640 pixels | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB | Battery: 1624mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Great power
Lower price
Tired design
Old screen technology

As the first 4-inch iPhone since 2013's iPhone 5S the iPhone SE has been a long time coming, but although it's slotting in at the bottom of Apple's range, it's in many ways more a successor to that phone than to the cut-price iPhone 5C.

Because, despite the iPhone SE's small size and relatively modest price tag, it's very close to being a flagship.

It has the same boxy, yet premium design as the metal-clad iPhone 5S and the same powerful Apple A9 processor and rear camera as the iPhone 6S.

It lacks the 3D Touch features and higher-resolution front-facing camera of the iPhone 6S. The screen is also less impressive all round, thanks in large part to a lower contrast ratio. But it compares well to many mid-range handsets.

It's the most powerful 4-inch iPhone you can get, so for fans of compact form factors this is an obvious choice.

But while it's not as cheap as the discontinued iPhone 5S, it's also still something of a bargain by Apple standards, so it's worth considering if you're on a budget too.

Read the full review: iPhone SE

iPhone 6S

4. iPhone 6S

The best iPhone from 2015

Weight: 143g | Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 1334 x 750 pixels | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 1715mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Great design
3D Touch impresses
Battery life low
Price high for a low-res screen

The iPhone 6S, as you probably know, is Apple's flagship from 2015. The Apple A9 processor and a chunky 2GB of RAM, up from 1GB on the previous model, make it far superior in raw power to 2014's model, and it's got some other tricks too.

It's got a 12MP rear camera and an tried-and-true 8MP front-facing camera, making it the best selfie shooter Apple's put on a phone.

It does sport largely the same design and screen as the iPhone 6 though and the latter in particular is starting to feel a bit dated in the face of super sharp QHD screens from rivals.

Apple has at least added a new feature to the display, in the form of 3D Touch, which makes it pressure sensitive and offers new tricks for enhanced emailing and shortcuts around the homescreen.

Read the full review: iPhone 6S

iPhone 6S Plus

5. iPhone 6S Plus

An improved iOS phablet

Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 2750mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

3D Touch has potential
Bright, vibrant display
Big and heavy
Expensive

The iPhone 6S Plus is essentially an iPhone 6S with a bigger and sharper 5.5-inch screen.

That makes it more unwieldy than the iPhone 6S, but a big screen also has a number of advantages, making movies and games more immersive - and the extra resolution really helps make apps look even better.

It also has a longer-lasting battery, matching the iPhone 6 Plus in terms of longevity.

It's big, powerful, feature-packed and going to last the longest of all the iPhones, making it the best Apple handset for phablet fans with money to burn. Plus, as it comes in sizes of up to 128GB you can store your entire movie collection on it, if that's your thing.

Read the full review: iPhone 6S Plus

iPhone 6

6. iPhone 6

A big change in 2014

Weight: 129g | Dimensions: 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 1334 x 750 pixels | CPU: Apple A8 | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 1810mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Great design
Better battery than previous models
Still pricey
Screen too low-res

The iPhone 6 was a big change for Apple. Not only did it sport a curvier chassis than the last few models - complete with a change from metal and glass to all-metal - but it was also bigger, with a 4.7-inch screen.

Even that's not massive by smartphone standards, but it's substantially larger than the 4-inch iPhone 5S, bringing Apple into line with the trend of bigger screens that the rest of the competition was peddling.

The iPhone 6's screen is sadly no more or less sharp than the 5S though, as the resolution went up in line with the size, where rivals were shoveling in pixels at a rate of knots.

It is, however, far more powerful than the iPhone 5S, with an A8 processor giving it extra grunt. It's since been beaten by the iPhone 6S, iPhone 7 and even the iPhone SE, but the iPhone 6 is still one of the slickest performers around for most top apps.

Read the full review: iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus

7. iPhone 6 Plus

Apple's first phablet has a stunning design

Weight: 172g | Dimensions: 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Apple A8 | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 2915mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Great full HD display
Strong camera
Too big to use one handed
Expensive

If 4.7 inches isn't enough for you - you're in luck. Apple launched the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus alongside the iPhone 6 to give the phablet market something to chew over.

The extra size makes it a better option for watching movies, browsing the web and generally wasting time on your phone with. It's also sharper than the iPhone 6, with a 1080 x 1920 401ppi screen, in place of a 750 x 1334 326ppi one.

In most other ways it's a match for the iPhone 6, with the notable addition of optical image stabilization for the camera offering better snaps, and the improved battery life is something a lot of iPhone owners crave.

Read the full review: iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 5S

8. iPhone 5S

An affordable alternative to the iPhone SE

Weight: 112g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 4.0-inch | Resolution: 1136 x 640 pixels | CPU: Apple A7 | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB | Battery: 1560mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Touch ID
Good camera
Battery suspect
Dated screen tech

Apple followed up the iPhone 5 with the iPhone 5S. It has the same size and resolution screen, so it's a compact 4-inch phone, making it ideal for anyone who doesn't like lugging around an undersized tablet.

The premium design is much the same too, with a two-tone metal and glass construction. But it's a little more powerful, with a newer processor under the hood. We're still not in top-end territory here, (not by 2016 standards anyway), but it's slightly nippier under the finger.

The camera was also rather improved over the iPhone 5, with the 8MP snapper still taking decent photos despite its age. But perhaps the biggest change from the iPhone 5 is the addition of Touch ID, allowing you to secure the phone with your fingerprint.

You can't get the iPhone 5S direct from Apple any more, but it can be found in other stores from around $335/£270/AU$425. You'll struggle to find a cheaper iPhone in 2016.

Read the full review: iPhone 5S

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