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Choosing the right iPhone for you

Choosing a new phone can be tough as there is a huge range of makes and models available. Even once you have narrowed it down to an iPhone, there are still several different models and capacities to choose from. If you haven’t done so already, read our guide to the iPhone range so you can see the differences between the different models.

Which iPhone?

There are currently 4 different models of iPhones available. Each one does different things and has a different price. Here, we will explain the pros and cons of each iPhone, together with a pricing guide for both the latest handsets and previous models.

The original iPhone 2G was the first iPhone released to the market. It was the first of it's kind, combining, phone, camera and iPod with an amazing touch screen and a fantastic user interface that controls the device by tapping and touching. You can no longer buy the iPhone 2G directly from Apple, but it is still available from several sources. On eBay, you’d be looking at paying around £40 or £50 for an iPhone 2G, which is a very fair price to pay for a great phone like this. The disadvantage of the original iPhone is that it doesn’t have a lot of the newer features such as a video camera and is only capable of transferring data using EDGE (384kbps maximum) and the processor isn’t as fast so performance is slower.

The iPhone 3G is heavily based around the internet. With the introduction of 3G transfer rates (up to 700kbps) you can do all your favourite internet activities such as watching videos or simply browsing the internet quickly. The 3G has a lot more features than its predecessor and is designed for a better fit in your hands. The prices for this handset vary as they are available with an 8GB or 16GB hard drive. For a second hand 8GB iPhone 3G you’d be looking at paying around £130 to £180, but for the 16GB version the prices range from £200 to £250. The operating on the system can be upgraded to iOS 4, however with the hardware being older and not designed for the new software features, several 3G owners have had problems upgrading to iOS 4.

If you want more power and a better camera, the iPhone 3GS is for you. It features the same applications as the 3G (with the addition of a compass) but is nearly twice as fast. The phone has built in Wi-Fi and 3G for really fast internet browsing. You can buy a brand new iPhone 3GS for about £300. The second hand 3GS isn’t that much cheaper, coming in around £270. You can upgrade the operating system on this phone to the new iOS 4 for free so it will work similarly to the iPhone 4 but obviously without some of the hardware features. The camera doesn’t have a flash and most people who own one will point out its tendency to be scratched.

The latest model of the iPhone currently on the market is the iPhone 4. It has iOS 4 pre-loaded and an even more powerful processor making more things achievable. Directly from Apple, the 16GB version of the iPhone 4 costs £499, which is fairly expensive, and the 32GB version is £100 more at £599. For your money you’re getting the latest hardware, most up to date software and high definition video recording in 720p. Since this phone is only a couple of months old, there aren’t that many second hand ones available. On eBay, a search for the handset shows that the prices are similar to those of Apple, if not more. Ranging from £500 to £800, the iPhone 4 is a costly but powerful bit of technology.

New or secondhand?

This is really entirely up to you. You’ll be able to buy a second hand iPhone a fair bit cheaper than a new one but if you like that freshly opened feel and being the first one to touch the product then a new handset is probably for you. Being strictly practical though, a second hand one should be good enough, especially at the reduced rates. Just make sure you check the age of the phone as if any hardware parts were to fail it could be costly to get your iPhone repaired.

Pay as you go or pay monthly?

Buying a pay as you go handset costs more, but you won’t be tied into any lengthy contracts. However, browsing the internet may be quite costly. With the pay monthly contracts you receive free minutes, free texts and a free internet allowance. Since you will be paying between £30 and £60 a month the amount of freebies you get differs. The price of a handset on a monthly contract is significantly reduced and paying, on average, around £35 a month will get you the handset for approximately £150 to £200 depending on the model. Be careful though as with the pay monthly iPhones you may end up being tied into a 24 month contract.