About a month after Apple released the iPhone XS and XS Max out into the world, the more affordable iPhone XR is finally available for pre-order (and it’s set to ship and hit Apple stores on 26 October). For many of us, the iPhone XR is actually the most interesting new iPhone this year, not because it’s a cheap – Apple doesn’t make cheap smartphones, as the iPhone XR starts at $749 and is only $50 less expensive than Google’s new flagship Pixel 3 – but because it’s the only “all-new” iPhone that Apple released this year.
So what’s different or what are you sacrificing if you opt for the iPhone XR? Or rather – let’s start with what you don’t sacrifice. The iPhone XR has the same snappy A12 Bionic processor as the iPhone XS. It has the same exact 7-megapixel front-facing camera (ƒ/2.2) as the iPhone XS, that can capture portrait selfies and unlock just by looking at it thanks to FaceID. And yes, you can create your own Animojis and Memojis on the iPhone XR, too. The iPhone XR is also water-resistant (though, IP67 instead of IP68) and can wireless charge. None of the new iPhones have headphone jacks.
The iPhone XR is undoubtedly different, though. It’s colorful and, like the iPhone 5c of old, the iPhone XR also comes in a bunch of colors: white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red. The iPhone XR doesn’t have an OLED display like the iPhone XS, opting for a cheaper LCD display instead. The LCD display still looks really nice, even if it might not quite be able to achieve the same vibrant colors and dark blacks, but the main sacrifice is that needs larger bezels. You still get the large screen and the notch on the iPhone XR, but you’re not getting quite the full, edge-to-edge display.
The iPhone XR is also the Goldilocks iPhone – its 6.1-inch display sits right in the middle of the iPhone XS’s 5.8-inch display and the iPhone XS Max’s 6.5-inch display. In the hand, the iPhone XR feels slightly wider than both iPhone XS models, too.
Another major difference is the rear camera. The iPhone XR only has one rear-facing camera, which has the same 12-megapixel lens as the iPhone XS, but even with the omission of the rear telephoto lens, the iPhone XR is still able to take Portrait mode photos. Undoubtedly the camera on the iPhone XR will be worse than on the iPhone XS, but until we actually test one out (which will be soon) it’s difficult to know. It’s also worth pointing out that both the iPhone XR and XS support Smart HDR, so the processor is able to combine multiple images at different exposures to get a more dynamic image, which is good thing (especially for low light photos).
Lastly, the battery life. The iPhone XR has a 2,942 mAh battery, which is bigger than the iPhone XS’s 2,658 mAh. That, combined with the fact that the lower-resolution LCD display doesn’t drain a charge as quickly, means that the iPhone XR will be able to last longer. Apple claims that it’ll last 25-percent longer than the iPhone XS.
Again, the iPhone XR poses a pretty interesting question. If it’s just an iPhone you want, the iPhone XR is definitely the value play. It feels similar to the flagship, just with the downgraded display and camera. So how much do you value the best possible camera and display? And is it worth paying several hundred dollars more?
For further spec comparisons between the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR – check out Apple’s website, here.
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