The Best iPhones of 2021
With new models of iPhones coming out every year, it can be hard to keep up with what’s worth buying on release day or waiting to score a better deal on an older model that will still last for at least a few years before needing an upgrade, especially internationally outside of the United States where the cost factor is affected by exchange rates (Hello, Canada!)
Most users don’t need the newest iPhone right at launch and sometimes it is better to wait and see how the overall performance holds up as the year goes on instead of potentially burning a hole in your pocket for a so-so handset when last year’s model is still better for half the cost. The choice comes down to when to upgrade, how much money you want to spend on a new device, and what size works best for you.
If you don’t know where to start with iPhones, this full guide will make things easier for you. Read on to find out which are the best iPhones currently available in Canada.
Our top picks
How to choose the best iPhone
When it comes down to choosing the best iPhone, the factors most users should consider are:
- Compatibility: Do you exclusively use Apple products already, a mix of iOS and Android, or is this your first iPhone? Consider whether or not your new iPhone will be compatible with whatever other devices you may have just in case you encounter any problems.
- Size: Are you content with a smaller phone for the basics, a middle ground that fits comfortably in one hand (and pockets) without any issue, or do you prefer a large device that can rival some tablets in size?
- Affordability: It goes without saying that if you’re looking to purchase an Apple product there’s generally a noticeable price tag that goes along with it. That being said, there are some iPhones out there that still work great and hold up well, regardless of budget if you know where to look.
- Lifetime: Since Apple releases new phone models every year, wondering if you’re buying a phone that will just need upgrading within six months after you just spent a good chunk of change on it happens. Keep in mind that most newer iPhones will be just as useful at least a few years down the road from purchasing without having to scramble to get the newest one immediately.
Why trust us
With new iPhones on the market every single year, it can be overwhelming to decide on which one to purchase. Our team spent over 10 hours researching which iPhone models stand out as the best for every budget or need.
Using peer-reviewed articles from trusted sources, plus user reviews from Amazon and other online retailers, we’ve narrowed down the best current iPhones worth looking into.
Best iPhone for 2021 in Canada
iPhone 11 Pro
With its triple-lens rear-facing 12MP cameras that include Night Mode, upgraded battery life, and rave reviews since it was released in September 2019, the iPhone 11 Pro will most likely be a strong competitor for at least a few years to come.
One of the first and foremost most talked about features mentioned in reviews is the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera capabilities. Touting one of the best low-light capabilities ever in a handset, 12MP triple-lens rear-facing cameras that include regular, telephoto, and ultra-wide settings. Night Mode still shoots rather clearly during low-light situations, and portrait mode is beautiful.
Camera aside, the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro is the one to get if you want the most advanced iPhone (next to the upcoming iPhone 12 models) packed into a moderately sized device that’s easy to use with one hand and can fit into a pocket.
With rave reviews across the board, even still as the iPhone 12 models are being released soon, the iPhone 11 pro seems to be the one to buy if you can afford the extra few hundred dollars to step up from the regular iPhone 11 and get yourself the extra features that lack if they suit your needs, like the telephoto lens and missing OLED screen of the entry-model iPhone 11.
- Great camera.
- Good battery life.
- One-hand use size friendly.
- Aesthetically similar to iPhone XS.
Best budget iPhone
If you want a big-screen iPhone for less, the iPhone XR has your bases covered. While this phone was released around two years ago, it still holds up well against newer models.
Newer iPhone models do have a faster processor, but the A12 Bionic still holds its own with no issues. The XR has an LCD panel as opposed to new models that have OLED, and you’ll have to get by with a single rear-facing camera. For most users, however, those aren’t significant sacrifices for what you get in return.
On par with the iPhone 11 and lasting only about 15 minutes shorter than the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s testing, the battery life of the iPhone XR lasts for nearly 12 hours. It will last you all day and then some, taking the stress off of having to make sure that your phone is constantly connected to a power source or having to carry around portable chargers all the time during your day-to-day life.
An additional point worth noting is that the iPhone XR comes in a rainbow of six colour options for those who value design or simply want a brighter pop of colour for their phone, as opposed to the usual shades of grey or silver.
- Big screen.
- Excellent battery life.
- Multiple colour options.
- No 2x optical zoom.
- Bigger bezels.
Best iPhone for camera use
iPhone 12 Pro
With Apple’s most advanced handset to date, the iPhone 12 Pro steps up the already incredible camera of the previous years iPhone 11 Pro, includes the lightning-fast A14 Bionic chipset, and the new LiDAR scanner technology – this might be Apple’s most impressive release so far.
Starting storage space is 128GB, you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of space at the base level like with previous models that started at only 64GB. Plenty of space for any photos or videos you take even at the full capabilities of the iPhone 12 Pro, like shooting In 4K video.
The iPhone 12 Pro has an upgraded RAM from 4GB to 6GB, ensuring that if you need to edit any photo or videos within the handset, you can do so with minimal issue if any at all. No lag or crashing. Worth noting alongside the video capabilities is the audio quality that the iPhone 12 Pro brings to the table. It can blast audio at full volume without sounding tinny or dull. As with most iPhones lately – there is no headphone jack, so if you still use wired earbuds or headphones, you’ll need to get an adapter.
Other than the amazing camera and audio, it’s business as usual for the iPhone 12 Pro, with a lot of the same specs as the iPhone 12. If you want a phone that has all the extra oomph and the added camera quality is worth it, this is a must-have.
- Top-tier specs for photo and video.
- Solid battery life.
- Only 2x optical zoom.
Best iPhone for a teenager
If you’re in the market to get your teenager a phone and don’t want to spend a substantial amount of money on an iPhone just so that it’ll get wrecked within a short few weeks (or even days, you never know) – The iPhone 8 has you covered.
With the iPhone 8 still standing strong amongst Apple’s other handsets, the iPhone 8 is still a decent buy for the now cut costs since newer models were released. Instead of dropping the iPhone 8 and not updating it, Apple has stated that it will receive the update to iOS 14 sometime at the end of 2020, ensuring that it will still work for years to come.
Unlocking the phone with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanning might be at an advantage with the current state of things as opposed to face unlock that can be obscured by masks and be frustrating.
If you want to get an iPhone that can handle some bumps, still work well, and include all of the usual bells and whistles iPhone is known for a great camera, video capabilities, and won’t break the bank if it gets broken or lost like what can happen with most teenagers – this is a good deal to go with. Especially knowing that if it does last, you won’t have to get a new one anytime soon as it won’t be obsolete or out of the running.
- Battery-life could be better.
- Older model.
Best high-end iPhone
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Rounding out Apple’s newest iPhone line with the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 mini, and iPhone 12 Pro Max – There’s a lot to take in, and even more to love with this large-sized handset.
If money is no object and you want to get the best and latest iPhone, the iPhone has your interests in mind. With the same specs as the iPhone 12 Pro, but within an even bigger package with a 6.7-inch display, and while the camera is similar to the iPhone 12 Pro, it allows for even more close-up zooming.
Whether your day mostly consists of work or play, the iPhone 12 Pro Max won’t let you down. Streaming videos, binge-watching your favourite TV shows, taking immaculate high-resolution photos and 4K video, or just emailing and transferring work from the office, this beast of a handset will not disappoint.
Across the board, all three iPhone 12 models have OLED displays, are IP68 rated for water-resistance, have magnetic backings that work with the newest MagSafe chargers, and have newer updated ceramic glass screens that offer up to 4x the durability of previous iPhone models. Worth noting about the body is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max has the same stainless-steel body that the iPhone 12 Pro does making it even more durable than the iPhone 12 that has a body made from aluminum.
- Best iPhone to date.
- Amazing specs and battery.
Best iPhone for value
NOTE: This iPhone was discontinued, meaning you may not be able to find a brand new model. Most online retailers, including Apple, offer only refurbished iPhone XS models.
The iPhone XS Max was once the best iPhone you could get your hands on if you were looking for a large handset. It’s still a great speedy, big phone if you don’t care about having the newest model of iPhones.
With an expansive 6.5-inch OLED screen with HDR10 support to make colours really pop, it’s worth the price to grab if you don’t want to or can’t afford to get a newer iPhone 11 Pro Max. With a 12MB dual-lens camera and Smart HDR, you aren’t sacrificing much image quality with this older model. The TrueDepth camera has faster face ID recognition and the front-facing camera boasts 7MB, so you don’t have to worry about any selfies being grainy or obsolete anytime soon.
As mentioned by the name, it’s a large phone. If you like big screens for videos, games, or just in general – the iPhone XS Max is a great value for the specs and size now that it’s been discontinued by Apple and newer models are out, making it possible to find these phones for much cheaper than they were at launch.
It’s a good option if you want lots of power and good specs, but don’t want or need the latest iPhones.
- Dual-SIM support.
- Speedy processor power.
- Average battery life.
- No headphone adapter included.
How we picked the best iPhone
For this buying guide, we reviewed the best iPhones for 2021, comparing and researching from multiple trusted comparison websites.
In order to select the best iPhones for all ranges of budgets and needs, we went through all current still available models and upcoming new models. We want users to be able to find an iPhone that suits their needs, whether that’s budget-friendly or wanting the highest-end camera.
Frequent iPhone questions
Which is the best iPhone for me?
Which iPhone is best for you personally differs from person to person and what you need from a phone. Do you want a fast 5G network connection for work? An amazing camera for photography and video with larger storage? A simple device mostly just for the basics like calling and texting?
What is the best-selling iPhone model so far?
The iPhone 6 and 7 were Apple’s top-selling models in the past, with the iPhone 11 currently ranking the most sold phone model in the world as of early 2021.
What is the newest iPhone?
In early 2021, the latest iPhone model is the iPhone 12 models.
Which iPhone is the most durable?
The iPhone 11 and 12 models have the most durable glass out of any iPhone to date, according to Apple, with 4x the durability against drops and falls.
Now it’s time for the honourable mentions…
One caveat about buying older iPhone models is how quickly Apple updates their OS and also takes them off of their official website for purchase directly from them, making older models obsolete and can even prove to be a waste of money in the end if your phone isn’t compatible anymore with newer technology, or if you need to shop around to try to find an older model you’re interested in.
iPhone 7: Discontinued by Apple, and similar to the 8. If you find this one for cheaper than a new iPhone 8, it’s still worth looking into.
iPhone X: The iPhone X was discontinued and replaced by the iPhone XR, but it’s still a decent device to grab if you can find it for cheap.
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