Apple’s marketing strategy is to immediately discontinue old iPhone Pro models when the new generation arrives. You can still find them on third-party retailers, but if you are picking up an older model why not get a refurbished unit?
Note that Amazon UK has different tiers, e.g. “renewed” and “renewed premium”. Both come with 1-year guarantee and technical support, the “premium” version also promises that the battery will have at least 90% life left.
We’ll start with the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro, the 2022 flagships. These are the last with the Lightning port. Also, the 14 Pro Max has 77mm tele lens, whereas the 15 Pro Max got a longer 120mm lens (3x vs. 5x zoom). And, of course, the new models got a newer, faster chipset with 2 extra gigs of RAM. On the other end of the scale is the higher prices for the 2023 models, a new 15 Pro Max is £1,200 and the 15 Pro is £1,000.
The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are still available new, but a 128GB unit will cost you £700 and £800, respectively, so there are savings to be had going the refurbished route. You will lose out on the Dynamic Island action and, more importantly, on the upgraded 48MP main camera (the 14 and 14 Plus were the last to use a 12MP main).
What if you go a generation older? Well, the iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t have an LTPO display like the 14 Pro Max and has a notch instead of the Dynamic Island. Also, the main camera is a 12MP unit, not 48MP like on the newer models.
Even the iPhone 15 Pro doesn’t have the 120mm lens of its Max sibling, so if you want a smaller phone, you’re missing out on less with the iPhone 13 Pro.
Apple.com also sells refurbished iPhones, however, an iPhone 13 Pro (256GB) is listed at £760 with 1-year warranty. There are no 13 Pro Max units available at the time of writing and the 14-series isn’t even an option.
The iPhone 13 is the oldest model still available new from Apple.com. This 2021 model will set you back £600 for a 128GB unit, which sounds a bit bonkers. A refurbished unit goes for £410, which is still a high price, but easier to swallow.
Apple ditched the iPhone 12 series, but you can still find refurbished units on Amazon. It’s probably not worth it to pay the “renewed premium” tax for a 2020 model, which leaves the regular “renewed”. The price gap is more than enough to pay for a battery replacement if you need one.
With that in mind, you can get an iPhone 12 Pro Max for under £500. In other words, it costs less than a refurbished iPhone 14. While it seems old, the Pro Max is only a generation behind in terms of chipset and has a 65mm tele camera (the iPhone 14 only has in-sensor zoom from its 48MP main camera).
The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 are between £300 and £400 if you look at “renewed” prices. The price difference between them is small enough that it makes sense to pick up the more capable Pro model as they are the same size-wise.
The iPhone SE (2022) looks much older than it is – it’s a year and a half old, while its design is a throwback to the iPhone 8 series. Still, it’s good enough for a kid’s first iPhone.
While you are getting equipped with refurbished Apple gear, check out the iPad 10.9. This is the 2022 model and does have a USB-C port. It also supports a stylus, but note that the display runs at an old-school 60Hz.
The Apple Watch Series 7 was launched in late 2021 and is missing some of the latest developments. It does offer ECG, though. And if you check the comparison between Series 7, 8 and 9, you will see that not all that much has changed in the last couple of years.
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