Should I Buy an Apple iPhone X from the USA?

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On the the 13th September 2017 Apple announced the launch of their most eagerly awaited product ever, their new mobile phone: a new iPhone. This iPhone which has an edge to edge screen and famously facial recognition, is called the iPhone X – doing away with the numerical ordering system of previous models. You may have noticed the price? $1000 in the US and the same in pounds in the UK. So it begs the question: is it cheaper to buy the iPhone X from the USA and ship it the UK?

We’ll take a look at buying a SIM only iPhone and compare the prices and costs of doing so in the UK and the USA. As well as the X Apple also announced 2 cheaper iPhones called the iPhone 8 and the 8 plus.

Here are the prices:

 UK PriceUSA Price£/$ Price
iPhone X£999$999£756
iPhone 8£699$699£529
iPhone 8 Plus£799$799£605

Exchange rates were taken on the 14th September from, and are subject to fluctuations. 64GB models compared.

The £/$ prices shows what the US price is in GBP £. Although this is not the rate you would probably get at your bank or on your credit card, you can see that there is a significant difference. The iPhone X costs £999 in the UK and yet $999 in the US is only £756 when exchanged. Apple have just used the same numbers and changed the currency sign.

So it is cheaper to buy an iPhone from the US?

Well not necessarily. There will be, of course, other costs to factor in. For example the US charges sales tax which is not included in the cost of the phone. Sales tax in the US varies from state to state. I believe that in California sales tax is 6% and in New York it is over 8%. But there are 5 states where there is no sales tax, these are, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. So you could save a few pounds by shopping in one of those states.

Customs Duty

Next would be customs duty and VAT when you bring it in to the UK. UK VAT is 20% and customs duty is a bit more difficult to calculate but items under £630 have a duty of 2.5%. So you are looking at a minimum of 22% extra that will be added to the cost. 


Next, you have to physically get the phone from the US to the UK. Shipping is not cheap. Apple won’t sell you one direct, so you will have to look at a package forwarder. These won’t be nearly as expensive as they have cheap shipping and an iPhone is small, although the value will push up the price. We used a shipping calculator on and got a quote of about $60 for shipping from Oregon to London for a $999 value iPhone X.

Will it work?

The last thing to consider is will it work? We have answered this question here, will an iPhone bought abroad work in my country? The short answer is maybe, but not definitely.


So we think that we can estimate that it might cost about £756+£49+£180=£985 that’s iPhone cost, shipping and sales and customs duty. Other services required such as extra insurance will bump up the price more. So in reality despite the initial cost looking cheaper it works out at about the same. Our conclusion is it is probably not worth buying an iPhone X from the US with international shipping.

Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments!






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