Meet Apple's best-value iPhone ever: The $499 Android flagship killer

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Welcome (back) Apple's best-value iPhone ever: The $499 Android flagship killer
The time has come! Yes, the time for Apple’s new iPhone 13, but also the time for a discount on Apple’s older iPhones, including the iPhone 11! Before we dive into the already well-known iPhone 11: It’s not a topic that comes up a lot, but value for money is indeed a thing in Apple’s universe.

This isn’t going to be very extensive, scientific, or based on solid research, but if I was to list some of the best-value Apple products (ever?!), I’d probably go with:

  • M1 MacBooks - hard/impossible to find this package elsewhere
  • AirPods - a long-term investment, which will discourage you from going back to wired earbuds
  • iPhone 6S - six years of OS updates!
  • iPad Air 2 - seven years of OS updates!
  • iPad Pro (2018) - Apple’s new flat-edge design was born with the iPad Pro 2018, so really - there aren’t many reasons to get a new iPad in 2021, and probably even in 2022-2023.

So, yes! Despite being known as an ultra-premium brand (which does hold true), Apple can offer great value. Of course, the $700 Mac Pro wheels or even the pricey iPhone 13 Pro Max won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, one of them is totally ridiculous. We’ll leave you to be the judge... But it’s the wheels!

The point is - Apple does deliver great value, in one way or another - whether it’s the long software support, unmatched customer service, or discounts on older devices, which the company chooses to keep around. This seems to be part of Apple’s business strategy, which we might discuss in a future story.

iPhone 11: The best-value iPhone (ever?) vs iPhone 13 and iPhone 12

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So, the iPhone 11 was a pretty good buy when it launched and even a better value purchase last year, when it came down to $599 following the iPhone 12 release.

However, now, at just $499, it’s getting pretty hard to ignore! Why? Well, for starters - it’s a proper flagship phone, but at a price that’s more fitting for a mid-range device. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up against the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 to give you some context:

So what does the iPhone 11 give you? The iPhone 11:

  1. Packs a very powerful chipset, which will be going strong for at least another 2-3 years
  2. Brings Apple’s legendary software support which will probably give you another four years of updates on a phone that’s already two years old
  3. Has a primary camera with support for Night Mode, which is pretty much essential today
  4. Gives you an ultra-wide-angle shooter, which can be fun
  5. Delivers excellent front camera experience with 4K 60fps video recording
  6. Boasts arguably better video recording capabilities than most Android flagships released in 2021, thanks to… well, that’s always been the case with iPhones
  7. Comes with a big enough battery to last you a whole day

And, finally - the iPhone 11 comes with wireless charging and IP67-rating, in case you want to take it underwater. These extra features are otherwise reserved for more expensive devices. If you want them at the $500 price mark, you’d have to make a bunch of other compromises - perhaps settle for an Android device with a mid-range chipset, a plastic build, or even mediocre cameras.

In the end: There are some compromises you'll have to make, if you go with the iPhone 11

  • The most significant feature for a truly better user experience you’d be missing out on with the iPhone 11 is a high-refresh screen like on the iPhone 13 Pro series. However, no other iPhone has it - even the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is still much more expensive (and not officially sold by Apple - not that it matters all that much).

  • Please, do bear in mind that the iPhone 11 doesn't carry the new flat design, and has the biggest battery, compared to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. Therefore the phone weighs 194 grams compared to  the 164-gram iPhone 12, and 174-gram iPhone 13! While this might not be a deal-breaker for many, it certainly will be for those who don't like heavy phones - me included.

  • Don’t forget you get only 64GB of storage with the iPhone 11 - just like with the 12 series. Therefore, you might want to splurge for that $549 model with 128GB storage, which by the way, is now the base variant on the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini!

  • Of course, there's no 5G support on the iPhone 11, but I'd argue this (still) shouldn't be the deciding factor, if you are on the market for a new phone - 5G is far from ready.

But! All in all, if you are in the market for a solid iPhone that will last, but you are looking to get it brand new, and most importantly, at an affordable price - the iPhone 11 is tough to beat. Plus - it comes in colors! Why not get a green or a purple one… You know - because you can!

If you want an Android flagship candidate around that $499 mark, take a look at the OnePlus Nord 2, which fairs well against the iPhone 11 with a better screen, but no IP rating or wireless charging. Google is also a good option, thanks to the Pixel 5A - the catch here is - Pixel 5A is only available in the US and Japan. Samsung can offer you the well-balanced Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72.

Let us know in the comments - which phone would you choose at around $500? If you don't need an iPhone, there are even more Android options amongst the best mid-range phones of 2021.

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