Can’t afford Apple’s latest iPhone? A refurbished phone can save you hundreds.

If you're budget doesn't stretch to a new phone, a refurbished is a great option....

If you are thinking of buying a new iPhone, you may want Apple’s latest and greatest flagship phone, but unfortunately not everyone can afford that, with the price out of reach for many budgets. This means you’ll need to consider alternatives.

One option is to look at older models of iPhones from Apple, however there is a fairly limited selection to choose from, so looking outside Apple’s new phone offerings, to refurbished iPhones, becomes a really inviting option.

If you were to step back a bit and look at their entire line-up, you will find a few gems that you could get for a fraction of the price of the new one. On the refurbished market, most of the older iPhones have been repaired to function just a new, and they are a source of great value if your need doesn’t require the absolute bleeding edge of mobile technology.

If you plan on going for a refurbished device, sites like Phonebot make it easy to compare models and offer great prices, often saving you hundreds of dollars compared to prices for brand new devices. What I like is that each refurbished phone has been rated for condition and that allows you to make an informed choice, often trading off visual appearance with price).

You may be comfortable living with ‘Grade A’ rating that features ‘minor scratches or scuffs not visible at arms length’, or pay a little more for a phone in ‘Like new’ condition, while still being far cheaper than new.

iPhone 8/8 Plus

If you are not a hardcore gamer in 2021, then you will need a phone that nails all the basics spot on. The iPhone 8 is the phone to get if you want your phone to be functional, simple, and reliable.

In terms of performance, it is more like the iPhone X as it has the same A11 Bionic chip. Internal storage options range from 64GB to 128 GB on both devices, but RAM is 2GB on the iPhone 8 and 3GB on iPhone 8 plus.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are broadly similar, with the main difference between them being the camera setup and screen size.  The iPhone 8 has a 4.5-inch Retina IPS LCD, while the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch Retina IPS LCD and a dual-camera layout compared to the single camera on the iPhone 8.

Both phones can be updated to the latest iOS 14, which means it’s also future-proofed.  Both phones still use TouchID and have IP67 water and dust resistance. 

iPhone X series 

Comprising the iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, the iPhone X range marked a significant shift in Apple’s design language. That said, the iPhone X is a facelifted iPhone 8 with the same A11 Bionic chip and much of the internal specs.

It’s the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max that benefit from the performance of the Apple A12 Bionic chip.  RAM on the iPhone X and XR is 3GB and 4GB on the iPhone XS and XS Max.

The iPhone X, XS, and XS Max have a Super Retina OLED, and the iPhone XR is the only phone with a Liquid Retina IPS LCD. All of them have a water and dust resistance rating, but none offer 5G support.

Siri continuously gets better with every iOS update, and all of them use FaceID hidden in the characteristic notches of the range. Both the A11 Bionic and A12 Bionic chips are robust and deliver a fantastic user experience on the iPhone X range. If you don’t buy the range for affordability, then their performance will be convincing enough.

iPhone 11 Series 

Only recently replaced by the iPhone 12, this range features the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max.  All the phones in the range share the same platform—the Apple A13 Bionic chip and have 4GB RAM. 

Certainly, most of the differences come from the camera setup, display size, and display type.  All of them feature iOS 13 but can be upgraded to the latest iOS at least for the next four years; hence any phone in the iPhone 11 series is a phone worth investing in for the long term.

FaceID remains the primary mode of securing all iPhone 11’s and all of them are also IP68 water and dust resistance rated.  The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have a rear triple camera setup comprising 12 MP, f/1.8 wide, 12 MP, f/2.0 telephoto and 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚ ultrawide, while the base iPhone 11 has a dual set up of 12 MP, f/1.8 wide and 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚ ultrawide lenses.

All three use the same 12 MP, f/2.2 selfie camera and are capable of 4K video at 60fps. Given that they have only been replaced by the iPhone 12, they will continue being supported for longer than the iPhone X range, making them great devices for long-term use.

iPhone 12 Series

The iPhone 12 is a modern refresh of the gorgeous iPhone 5, but the performance is definitely up to date.  All four phones in the range—iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, have a similar design featuring a notch and squared-off edges. That said, it is easy to differentiate each because of size, exterior finish, and camera array.

All of them are 5G capable and use Super Retina XDR OLED panels with HDR10 and Dolby Vision functionality. In addition, these smartphones can reach 1200 nits’ peak brightness.

They are powered by Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which is even faster and more efficient than the A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11’s. It is the iPhone 12 Pro Max that has the top-specs, with 6GB RAM and 512GB internal storage options. However, the others have 4GB RAM with storage options for all, starting at 64GB to 256GB.  As the latest iPhone, you get the best of the best, and the option of buying one as a refurb is a deal worth taking.

There are so many reasons to buy refurbished iPhones. Refurbished iPhones are unlike direct second hands. You will find almost perfect factory-grade iPhones, and you also get a warranty from the dealer. Even better is that you avoid being bound with contracts giving you flexibility with the choice of mobile plan. 

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
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