Don't buy the iPhone 11 (there is a better iPhone bargain around)

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Don't buy the iPhone 11 (there is a better iPhone bargain around)
The Apple iPhone 11 is often recommended as the go-to iPhone for the average Joe: it's a $700 iPhone after all, not as prohibitively expensive as the $1,000+ Pro series, and yet you still get basically the same outstanding camera quality and the fast performance.

But if you are looking for the best "bargain iPhone", I would recommend against the iPhone 11.

The reason for that is that the iPhone 11 feels like a compromised device in 2019: the screen might not be bad per se, but it's just not on par with modern standards. The low resolution makes text appear jittery, the LCD panel doesn't have the lush and vibrancy of a high-quality AMOLED screen, and those bezels are gigantic and make the phone overall extra wide and less comfortable to hold. Those are compromises made with the one component you interact with every single time on your phone: the screen. They are not a footnote, they are important, and switching to a Pro series iPhone makes these shortcomings very obvious, very quickly.

How to get a premium iPhone at a lower price?


So... how can you get a modern iPhone experience at about the same $700 price?

That's what I was wondering and hear me out: there is a $700 iPhone with a high quality AMOLED screen and most of the other bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, it's not sold officially by Apple anymore: it's the iPhone XS Max. But that doesn't mean you cannot buy it right now.

Last year's top-of-the-line iPhone XS Max is available for about $700 used, but in a mint condition over at popular second-hand phone sellers like Swappa. You can get the phone with all the accessories, and if you are lucky some sort of warranty too, and have it shipped just as easily as it would be buying it from the Apple Store.

Of course, you don't get to peel the plastic off and unbox it with all the delight of exploring a brand new gadget, but if you just want a great phone that will last you for years, and you are not dead set on having the ultra-wide camera of the iPhone 11, then a used iPhone XS Max is my pick for "most reasonable" iPhone purchase right now.

Just one more thing: speaking of being reasonable, did I mention that the afore-mentioned $700 price is for the 256GB version? Yep, that's the same iPhone that used to cost $1,250 last year, a cool savings of $550. Look carefully, and you will find offers that will give you additional warranty, free priority shipping and a unit with a 100% battery health. At $700, this is an absolute steal.


Or do you prefer the XS Max 512GB model? That would be around $800, much less than the $1,450 that Apple was asking for the same model brand new last year.

The prices obviously vary a little bit from seller to seller, and it would be wise to take the extra time to pick your unit carefully, but if you do, you will end up with the best bargain iPhone of the year.

FEATURED VIDEO

24 Comments

1. adecvat

Posts: 658; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Mint condition with scratches or new with new features. Hard choice.

2. mackan84

Posts: 631; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

”...The low resolution makes text appear jittery...” So iPad Pro with about a third less ppi should be garbage then? The camera improvement in 11 outweighs that oled IMO.

5. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 762; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

Viewing distance for larger devices is longer, so the same critique does not apply.

13. mackan84

Posts: 631; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

For me its an arms length with both a tablet and a smartphone. Seldom see anyone under the age of 60 holding a smartphone up to their face.

15. iushnt

Posts: 3151; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

For you it’s different, not for all

19. mackan84

Posts: 631; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

With all these warnings about future neck-issues. I’d bet most hold their tablet or smartphone about 11-15 inches (30-40cm) from your face.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31594; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I don't see this as a good enough reason to skip it.

4. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 762; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

I didn't realize that Apple discontinued the XS series once the 11 series dropped. I guess it makes sense as they might cannibalize sales.

6. markbyrn

Posts: 8; Member since: Jan 14, 2019

What's with Phone Arena these days? Just today, two more moronic articles - this Apple clickbait nonsense and the old ignorant FUD about public USB chargers.

7. vtpmt81

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 02, 2018

The only thing 'better' is the AMOLED display. Buying a new phone is much smarter than getting a used one when there are few advantages.

8. adeelzsoomro

Posts: 34; Member since: Jan 07, 2019

Go with Galaxy S10 and your problem will be solved Excellent Display Excellent Built Quality Excellent Stereo Sound Quality 128GB Base Storage IP68 Ratings Dual Sim or 1TB Card Supported Excellent Form Factor Wireless Charging Wireless PowerShare

11. Vokilam

Posts: 1367; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

One big con (for many) - it runs android.

16. wickedwilly

Posts: 743; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

That is a huge advantage, an OS that is more feature-rich, gets features first, does not have IOS's terribly buggy updates, is far more flexible and phones running it are way ahead of iPhones.

18. TS020

Posts: 62; Member since: Feb 16, 2019

And you can sideload apps easily. Since August Blokada has blocked over 210,000 ad service requests on my phone.

20. Vokilam

Posts: 1367; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

feature-rich from my experience was 12 android features I dont use but have, but missing one ios feature i need but dont have features first from my experience was more of a miss, and ios version which came later was what I want (not always but nearly most of the time). i've been with iphone x for two years now (moved from my samsung 6, 7 and 8 in a row) and believe me, just because apple hits a patch for every little glitch or bug as soon as it's discovered is better than never getting a patch or fix for every little glitch or bug when it's on android. But to be honest - read a lot of bugs and glitches about android and ios - but i dont experience them on my device 99.9% of the time either android/samsung or iphone. flexibility is subjective ahead of iphones - where? my photos are much better on iphones than samsung devices. sharpness is hit and miss on both devices, but beautiful photos are mostly iphone. very often andoid fans claim "all these features" but never say that it takes 2-3 phones just to have them all. Updates and camera - pixel, desing -samsung... and so on...

28. wickedwilly

Posts: 743; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Just because you say you do not use or need features does not mean they are not useful for millions of others. I know for a fact that you are using features that were on Android well before IOS and you are now using many as every major update since IOS has been adding features like this. The point of the feature being a miss on Android yet fine when it finally comes to Android was debunked years ago as with many other Apple myths iFans still foolishly cling too. I am not talking about small glitches or bugs, every OS has those, but ones that go from stopping existing functionality working, reduced user experience up to bricking phones. Flexibility is not subjective, it is fact. I can arrange my desktop in a way that makes using a large phone much easier to use or more efficient for the way I use my phone. First Photos are not better on iPhones, iPhone cameras have been behind for a few generations including the ones you mention, the latest is just catchup in this (and many areas). Look at larger screens, wireless and fast charging, ingress protection, OLED screens and a myriad of other features that Android users enjoyed way before iPhone users got them. Remember too these features are being used and lauded by iFans, nor are they better implemented on iPhones. Of course, not all Android phones have these features, but many phones are far less expensive. Compare the flagships and direct competition and most Android phones in this area have all or most of these features. You may be happy with what IOS gives you but that does not make it a better OS.

26. adeelzsoomro

Posts: 34; Member since: Jan 07, 2019

To be honest I am waiting for iPhone 11 but it costs way too much in my country it's official price is 1108$ So I took my iPhone 8 and buy New Galaxy S10 last month in just 756$ with an official Samsung warranty and I am happy with my decision, One Ui is as awesome as S10 design

9. yalokiy

Posts: 1101; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

iPhone 11 is still the better iPhone because of native night mode support and ultrawide camera.

10. Vokilam

Posts: 1367; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I only buy new, just because I have no clue how sick or disgusting the previous owner was. He might have coughed on it, or dropped it in his toilet for all we know.

12. thxultra

Posts: 472; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

I would rather have the Iphone 11 the 10xs max has last years processor, Inferior camera, a 1 year old battery. All you gain with the xs max is a better screen meh.

14. Ikechukwu

Posts: 262; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

Lol, I'd buy the 11 in this case.

27. Vega007

Posts: 92; Member since: May 18, 2017

I gotta say...I don't even really care about the iphone 11 but just because an article says to not do something, it makes me now want to go buy one in spite. NO ONE TELLS ME WHAT TO DO!

29. jmonteiro829

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Don't reply to my reply of your comment!

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.