Since the debut of the iPhone in early 2007, the various iterations of the device have become an everyday essential for more than 1 billion people worldwide. Apple has continued to innovate, keeping its customer base loyal and enticing new users through the addition of more advanced and impressive features with each successive iPhone generation.
Benefits Of Using An iPhone
There are myriad reasons for what some have dubbed the ‘Cult of iPhone’. The primary is the user experience. Apple’s iOS operating system is a marvel of sleek and intuitive design. It takes almost no time for even someone who is uninitiated to become a fluid and adept iPhone user.
There is a pleasing feeling of consistency and continuity that comes from Apple devices. The iPhone, iPad, and Mac are capable of seamless synchronization, allowing users to have an effortlessly streamlined quality of their digital life. With Apple ID and iCloud functions, new or replacement devices are integrated smoothly into the rotation. There is also the security element. iPhones are subject to regular security updates through downloads of the iOS operating system. Apple has also introduced features such as Touch ID and Face ID, technology beyond what other smartphone brands have been able to offer.
Top 3 iPhones Under $400
One barrier to potential consumers that iPhone has sought to eliminate is cost. Initially considered a high-end product, Apple knew the future success of the iPhone would be predicated on getting it into as many hands as possible. With the introduction of more affordable models like the SE and the iPhone 11, all of which are now available to purchase for under $400, Apple has been able to reach customers who may have previously searched for a smartphone option elsewhere. In 2023, the options for the Top 3 iPhones under $400 are the iPhone 11, the iPhone SE 2, and the iPhone SE 3.
1. iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 is the thirteenth generation of the iPhone and was first presented to the public on September 10, 2019, alongside the iPhone 11 Pro.
When released, the iPhone 11 was priced at a relatively low $699 for the 64GB storage model. The 128GB model sold for $749, and the 256 GB option for $849. This made it an attractive alternative to the iPhone 11 Pro, which started at $999 for the minimum 64GB storage option. One variable was in the camera function: The Pro model featured a more advanced camera, with an additional telephoto lens allowing for 2x optical zoom, increased depth of field control, and features like night mode and Deep Fusion. There are also differences in the display; while the iPhone 11 has a high-quality 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD, the iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with a higher resolution and increased contrast ratio.
The Pro also boasts a slightly longer battery life (18 hours of video playback compared to 17 hours on the standard iPhone 11 model), and a higher water resistance rating, with the ability to withstand submersion in up to 4 meters of water for up to 30 minutes, compared to the iPhone 11’s 2 meters of water. Ultimately, a refurbished iPhone 11 Pro will still set you back up to $600, making the iPhone 11 an excellent option for those seeking to keep their purchase under $400.
2. iPhone SE 3
The iPhone SE 3 was introduced on March 8, 2022, and became available to the public on March 18, 2022. Part of the 15th generation of iPhone, it was launched in conjunction with the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, and iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max models. While its predecessor, iPhone SE 2, had the distinction of being the most affordable iPhone on the market at $399 upon release, the iPhone SE 3 came with a price increase of $30. In return, the SE 3 boasts the addition of 5g capabilities.
It also includes Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip, the same processor used in the far pricier iPhone 13 models. Like the SE 2, the iPhone SE 3 has a 4.7-inch screen, preferred by many users for the ease with which it fits into one’s hand and pocket. With its 12-megapixel rear camera and 7-megapixel front-facing camera, the quality of photos and videos is still very high, albeit without the bells and whistles of the more expensive models. Not everybody wants to be a videographer; if you don’t necessarily need the widest lens on the market, or the most advanced, the SE capabilities are more than enough.
Skeptics of the iPhone SE models may say that the iPhone SE 3 looks too similar to the iPhone 8, released in 2017. Complaints like these are a matter of taste; some prefer their phones to appear as up-to-the-minute as possible. Storage comes into consideration for some prospective consumers. The SE 3 offers a choice of 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB options, compared with the SE 2, which only offers 64GB and 128 GB.
The iPhone SE user is typically someone who desires or requires a smartphone and enjoys the intuitive nature and user-friendliness of Apple products but doesn’t necessarily need the latest capabilities and all the functions used to justify, in some cases, a price point upwards of $1000.
3. iPhone SE 2
The iPhone SE2 was announced by Apple on April 15, 2020, alongside the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro/Pro Max. Having discontinued its original iPhone SE in 2018, the revised version was Apple’s way of filling the need for a high-quality device at a price point that wasn’t prohibitive for many of its prospective consumers. Some news outlets reported on the original SE’s discontinuation by saying it was disadvantageous to women and users with smaller hands, and that the larger models were less ergonomically sound.
In response to this demand, the iPhone SE 2 was born. With a price of $399, it instantly became the most accessible option. It fits into almost every user’s hand with ease, and its small and sleek form makes it unobtrusive in purses and pockets. It also contains Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, the same utilized in the iPhone 11, meaning previous users of the more expensive device could switch to the smaller SE 2 with no dip in the quality of their user experience. As with the SE 3, the main complaints of users are of the 4.7-inch screen being too small for their gaming and streaming needs. Some also feel inconvenienced by the lack of Face ID, finding Touch ID less convenient.
Then, of course, there’s the lack of a headphone jack. The only port the SE 2 and 3 offer is the Lightning port, which means users are required to purchase Lightning Earpods for $20, rather than simply using their wired headphones from previous models. Users with another variety of wired headphones they’d prefer to use can integrate them using a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter.
While certainly not insurmountable hurdles, this caused some frustration amongst consumers who, having purchased the ‘budget’ version of the iPhone, found themselves having to pay for extra gadgets just to be able to use one of their new phone’s basic functions.
Added Benefits To Using an iPhone
Other reasons people remain devoted to the iPhone include the App Store. With the Apple App Store, all applications are subject to a stringent review process, ensuring the protection of its customer base.
Apple has also cultivated a stellar reputation for customer support. Anyone hired to be part of the Apple Genius team undergoes a rigorous, industry-leading training program and is held to exceptionally high standards. The Apple customer base is notoriously loyal, and one of the primary reasons for this is that help with any iPhone issues you may have is so readily available.
Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to replacing your iPhone or making your first iPhone purchase. Refurbished iPhone 11s are frequently listed for sale at around the $400 mark, while a refurbished SE 2 can list for as low as $135. The SE 3, being the latest model, is available brand new from Apple at just $429.