The iPhone X is expensive, no matter how you slice it. But though we always caution people not to spend money they don’t need to, we think that if you are going to spend more, you should do so on the things you use the most. For many people, the smartphone has eclipsed the personal computer as the most important piece of technology in their lives—it’s something they use every day, throughout the day, for everything from communication to productivity to entertainment. Many people spend more time with their cell phone than in their car, their bed, and even their home. So it may be worth spending more on a phone if you think that phone’s features and overall experience are compelling.
|Price**||Sales tax†||Monthly payment‡||Total cost|
|SE (32 GB)|
|6s (32 GB)|
|6s Plus (32 GB)|
|7 (32 GB)|
|7 (128 GB)|
|7 Plus (128 GB)|
|8 (64 GB)|
|8 Plus (64 GB)|
|X (64 GB)|
|X (256 GB)|
And thanks to widely available finance and “upgrade” programs, you can spread the cost of a more expensive smartphone over monthly installment plans that make the higher price somewhat easier to stomach. (These programs amount to an interest-free loan, so you’re not paying any more over time than if you bought the phone outright.)
Still, if you’re on a tight budget, an extra $10 to $15 per month isn’t inconsequential, so we’re not suggesting you overextend yourself if you don’t want to or can’t afford it.
The confusing array of models in Apple’s current lineup means that now is not the time for budget-minded buyers to purchase an iPhone. But if you’re set on buying something new, and you’re on a budget, an iPhone 7 makes the most sense out of the current lineup—it’s the least you can pay for a great iPhone experience. You might also consider buying a refurbished phone from a reputable source, including Apple.
If you’re willing to spend some money for the latest specs but simply aren’t interested in Face ID or new gestures, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are closest to the X, but in a more familiar wrapper (though like all flagship smartphones, they are expensive).