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The 7 Best iPhones on a Budget

MUO logo MUO 5/19/2022 Jowi Morales
© Provided by MUO

iPhones are one the best and most popular smartphones around. Unfortunately, they're not exactly cheap. If you want to get the latest flagship iPhone 13 Pro Max, you better be ready to shell out more than a thousand dollars.

But is that the only way you can get your hands on an iPhone? Fortunately, no.

Several brand new iPhone models can get you within the Apple ecosystem without breaking the bank.

Here are the best iPhones on a budget available today.

Premium pick

1. Apple iPhone 13

9.60 / 10
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If you're on a budget and can't afford to drop more than a thousand dollars on a smartphone, consider the Apple iPhone 13. This model is right in the middle of the current lineup of Apple devices.

While it doesn't feature the three-camera setup of the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max, you still get the advantage of iOS and the powerful Apple A15 Bionic chip. Furthermore, you can get it with the 512GB option, allowing you to store as many photos and videos as you like.

Unless you're a power user, the Apple iPhone 13 should be more than sufficient for your needs. This phone will give you the best bang for your buck if you want to get the newest Apple smartphone.

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Key Features
  • Powered by the latest Apple A15 Bionic chip
  • Sports sensor-shift OIS for stable videography and night photography
  • Compatible with MagSafe wireless chargers
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A15 Bionic
  • Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 1170x2532
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Battery: 3,240mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 15
  • Front camera: 12MP wide
  • Rear camera: Dual 12MP (Wide/Ultrawide)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, 5G
  • Dimensions: 5.78 x 2.81 x 0.30 inches
  • Colors: Blue, Green, Midnight, Pink, Red, Starlight
  • Weight: 6.14oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, Magsafe wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP68
Pros
  • Best iPhone model for most users
  • Option for 512GB storage
  • Can record 4K video
Cons
  • Expensive
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone 13
Editors choice

2. Apple iPhone 13 Mini

10.00 / 10
Read Reviews

While many people clamor for large screens on their smartphones, some still prefer a smaller, more compact device. Unfortunately, this usually comes with reduced performance when dealing with other brands. But if you still want to get a high-performance device, you should look at the Apple iPhone 13 mini.

Despite being smaller and lighter than the iPhone 13, it still sports almost exactly the same specifications. This ensures that your experience won't degrade with the compact device.

And as an additional advantage, this model is also more affordable than the iPhone 13. So, if you're looking for a more portable and affordable smartphone, you won't go wrong with Apple iPhone 13 mini.

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Key Features
  • The lightest, most compact in the iPhone 13 lineup
  • Retains the key features of the larger Apple iPhone 13
  • Can record Dolby Vision HDR video at up to 60 fps
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A15 Bionic
  • Display: 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 1080x2340
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Battery: 2,438mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 15
  • Front camera: 12MP wide
  • Rear camera: Dual 12MP (Wide/Ultrawide)
  • Connectivity: W-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 GPS, NFC, 5G
  • Dimensions: 5.18 x 2.53 x 0.30 inches
  • Colors: Blue, Green, Midnight, Pink, Red, Starlight
  • Weight: 4.97oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, MagSafe wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP68
Pros
  • Perfect for users who have smaller hands and prefer one-handed smartphone use
  • IP68 dust and water resistant
  • With six color options
Cons
  • Shorter battery life versus the larger Apple iPhone 13
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone 13 Mini

With the Apple iPhone SE (2022), those on a tight budget can still get into the Apple ecosystem. This is perfect for those who have existing Apple products but don't want to spend a considerable amount on a handheld device. It's also perfect for parents who want to track their kid's smartphone usage on their iPhones.

Despite being much more affordable than the cheapest iPhone 13, this device is more than capable. It's powered by the same A15 Bionic chip and has 4GB Ram, similar to the iPhone 13. And while it does not have Face ID or MagSafe wireless charging, you still get the essential feature of any Apple smartphone—the iOS.

Those who are saving money or who find it excessive to spend more than $500 on a smartphone but still need an Apple device should pick the Apple iPhone SE (2022).

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Key Features
  • The most affordable smartphone option from Apple
  • IP67 environmental protection rating
  • All-aluminum frame with a glass front and back
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A15 Bionic
  • Display: 4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD, 750x1334
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: 2,018mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 15.4
  • Front camera: 7MP
  • Rear camera: 12MP wide
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, 5G
  • Dimensions: 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches
  • Colors: Midnight, Red, Starlight
  • Weight: 5.08oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, Qi wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP67
Pros
  • Uses the same Apple A15 Bionic chip as the higher-end models
  • Lighter and more compact than the iPhone 13
  • Fast charging, up to 50% in 30 minutes
Cons
  • No Face ID
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Those in love with the notch design of the latest iPhones but can't spare the resources for the latest models can still get the smartphone they want. The Apple iPhone XR delivers the thin bezels of the latest iPhones while still maintaining affordability.

Despite being launched in 2018, the phone is still pretty capable. It's powered by the 7nm Apple A12 Bionic chip, has an IP67 environmental protection rating, and has the option for 256GB of storage. Furthermore, Apple's long update support window means your device is likely to stay updated until 2025.

The Apple iPhone XR allows you to enjoy a premium device without the premium price tag. This phone is for those who value a large screen while maintaining affordability.

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Key Features
  • Comes with Face ID
  • Upgradeable to the latest iOS 15.4.1
  • Robust build
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A12 Bionic
  • Display: 6.1-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD, 828x1792
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: 2,942mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 12, upgradeable to iOS 15.4.1
  • Front camera: 7MP
  • Rear camera: 12MP wide
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, LTE
  • Dimensions: 5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches
  • Colors: Black, Blue, Coral, Red, White, Yellow
  • Weight: 6.84 oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, Qi wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP67
Pros
  • Option for six different colors
  • Compatible with Qi wireless charging
  • Available at up to 256GB storage capacity
Cons
  • Only offers one rear camera
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone XR

The Apple iPhone 11 is nearly identical to the iPhone XR in size and shape. Despite that, it's more powerful, featuring a dual-camera setup, better IP68 rating, and a more powerful Apple A13 Bionic chip. It also has a better selfie camera sensor paired with a wider lens.

You should pick this option over the iPhone XR if you can afford a little more. That's because this model is expected to get one more year of additional support over the XR, plus it has bigger RAM for better multitasking.

The additional features you get with the Apple iPhone 11 is well worth the extra you pay over the iPhone XR. So, if you can afford it, go for it.

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Key Features
  • Features a wide and ultrawide main camera
  • Records up to 4K video
  • Powered by the 7nm Apple A13 Bionic chip
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A13 Bionic
  • Display: 6.1-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD, 828x1792
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: 3,110mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 13, upgradeable to iOS 15.4.1
  • Front camera: 12MP wide
  • Rear camera: Dual 12MP (Wide/Ultrawide)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, LTE
  • Dimensions: 5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches
  • Colors: Black, Green, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
  • Weight: 6.84oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, Qi wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP68
Pros
  • Improved environmental protection rating over the iPhone XR
  • Protected by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass
  • Uses a gyro-EIS front camera for stable selfie video
Cons
  • No fingerprint reader
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone 11

The Apple iPhone 12 mini remains a capable device, despite being one generation behind the Apple iPhone 13. However, since a new model has already arrived, you'll find that its prices have fallen versus the latest model. So, if you're looking to save some money but still want to enjoy the latest design, you should pick up this phone.

Its features are nearly identical to the latest iPhone 13 mini, but it's much more affordable. The Apple iPhone 12 mini delivers the same experience as the latest version but at a much lower price and imperceptible performance difference.

It's the model to choose if you want a compact premium device but are sticking to a budget.

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Key Features
  • Lighter, more compact, and much easier to use
  • Uses optical image stabilization for the rear primary camera
  • Captures 4K video
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A14 Bionic
  • Display: 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 1080x2340
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64Gb, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: 2,227mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 14.1, upgradeable to iOS 15.4.1
  • Front camera: 12MP wide
  • Rear camera: Dual 12MP (Wide/Ultrawide)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, 5G
  • Dimensions: 5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 inches
  • Colors: Red, Black, Blue, Green, Purple, White
  • Weight: 4.76oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, MagSafe wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP68
Pros
  • Ideal for one-handed use
  • One of the lightest iPhone models available
  • Compatible with MagSafe wireless charging
Cons
  • No 512GB option
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone 12 Mini

When you need all the screen real estate you can get but don't want to splash out a massive amount of cash, then consider the Apple iPhone 12. Despite coming out a year earlier than the current model lineup, you'll find its specifications and features nearly identical to the latest generation.

It's powered by the Apple A14 Bionic chip, which uses the same 5nm process the current chips are using. And while it has a slightly less bright screen and a smaller maximum storage size of 256GB, you'll find that it would perform just as well as the Apple iPhone 13.

Getting the Apple iPhone 12 is like getting the Apple iPhone 13 at a discount. It has the same build and feels like the latest model but is more affordable.

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Key Features
  • Available with up to 256GB of storage
  • Equipped with the still-powerful Apple A14 Bionic chip
  • Comes with a wide and ultrawide rear camera
Specifications
  • Brand: Apple
  • CPU: Apple A14
  • Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 1170x2532
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: 2,815mAh
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 14.1, upgradeable to iOS 15.4.1
  • Front camera: 12MP wide
  • Rear camera: Dual 12MP (Wide/Ultrawide)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, 5G
  • Dimensions: 5.78 x 2.81 x 0.29 inches
  • Colors: Red, Black, Blue, Green, Purple, White
  • Weight: 5.78oz
  • Charging: Fast charging, MagSafe wireless charging
  • IP Rating: IP68
Pros
  • IP68 environment rating
  • Available in black, white, red, purple, green, blue, or red
  • Records 4K video
Cons
  • Doesn't include a telephoto lens
Buy This Product
Apple iPhone 12

FAQ

Q: What Is the Cheapest iPhone Right Now?

The most affordable brand new Apple smartphone available today is the Apple iPhone SE (2020). However, this model is being phased out in favor of the Apple iPhone SE (2022).

Q: Which iPhones Are 5G?

The first iPhones to sport 5G technology are the iPhone 12 series. You also get 5G with the iPhone 13 line and the iPhone SE (2022).

Q: How Long Does Apple Support iPhones With Updates?

Most iPhones get five to seven years of software updates. So, if you have an iPhone XR, which launched in 2018, you can expect the phone to be supported with iOS updates until 2025.

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