Apple iPhone XR Review: Is cheaper better?
Are you thinking of getting a new iPhone but having trouble picking a model to buy? There are so many iPhones to choose from (you can still get the 2-year-old iPhone 7 and even the 4-year-old iPhone 6 in some places), it can be quite overwhelming.
But we’re here to give you a simple answer: Get the iPhone XR.
A couple months ago, Apple released its latest iPhones: the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. The iPhone XR is the “budget” option among the three, but after having experienced using this phone, we can tell you that it does not feel downgraded or less-than-premium at all.
Why is that?
While the iPhone XR is missing some of the more glitzy features of the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything (well, except maybe the telephoto lens). If you are upgrading from an iPhone 6, 7, or SE, the leap to the iPhone XR will already feel monumental. The extra perks offered by the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max will feel unnecessary, especially given the price jump from the iPhone XR.
Read on for more of our iPhone XR review.
The great thing about the iPhone XR is that while it’s the least expensive of Apple’s three latest phones, it actually offers some improvements over its pricier siblings. For one thing, the iPhone XR screen (6.1 inches) is bigger than that of the iPhone XS (5.8 inches). It has the best battery life of any iPhone Apple has ever made. And it comes in the most number of colour variants (a total of six versus the three offered by the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max).
In terms of size, the iPhone XR is like the Goldilocks of the new iPhones. If you’re not a fan of the width of the Plus-size iPhones, you’ll have a hard time with the iPhone XS Max. But for its price, the iPhone XS doesn’t offer enough screen real estate.
The iPhone XR is smaller than the iPhone XS Max but offers a bit more screen than the iPhone XS. It’s big enough for comfortable multimedia viewing but not too big that it’s impossible to use with one hand.
The sound coming from the iPhone XR is definitely better than that from any of the iPhones that came out before 2018. The speakers produce a clean, sharp, and undistorted sound.
The iPhone XR is water-resistant and can survive a dip of up to half an hour in water up to 3.3 feet (1 meter). Please note that this doesn’t mean you should bring it with you into the ocean.
All of the latest iPhones have dual-SIM support, which means you get to have two phone numbers in a single phone. However, your phone has to be unlocked so you can use it with different carriers.
As mentioned, the iPhone XR comes in six different colour variants. There’s the standard white, black, and red, of course, but now you can also have an iPhone in cheerful yellow, brilliant blue, and trendy coral. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, meanwhile, come in gold, silver, and space grey.
The iPhone XR is a top-notch device but it does have some shortcomings. The one feature we really wish it had is a rear telephoto lens. Its rear camera doesn’t have optical zoom and it doesn’t offer additional levels of digital zoom. You can take Portrait photos with the iPhone XR, but the feature is limited without a telephoto lens.
Granted, this phone does take good photos. But without the rear telephoto lens, close-up shots just aren’t as crisp as they are with the iPhone XS or the iPhone XS Max.
Another thing missing here is the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch feature of the older iPhones. Apple replaced this with a new Haptic Touch feature that, for some people, is just as good. This only becomes an issue if you were a big fan of 3D Touch.
If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S, note that this iPhone does not have a headphone jack. Apple does not include Lightning-to-3.5 mm adapters in the box anymore, but the iPhone XR does come with Lightning-tipped EarPods.
Finally, the aluminium body of the iPhone XR just isn’t as sturdy as the stainless steel one of the iPhone XS. But you’re likely getting a case for your new iPhone XR anyway, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
Even without the rear telephoto lens, the camera is still stunning. It has the same camera sensor as the other new iPhones and the same front-facing TrueDepth camera. The main camera is wide-angle, just like the one in the iPhone XS.
It offers the best battery life of any iPhone available today. Apple says that compared with the iPhone XS Max, it gives you an hour more for video playback and two hours more of internet use.
As mentioned, this is a good-sized phone — not too big, not too small. Even with a phone case, it slips easily into a back pocket.
The iPhone XR supports wireless charging on Qi-supported contactless charging devices. Unlike the latest Android phones, none of the new iPhones can be fast-charged via wireless charging. But they do charge quickly using a USB-C-to-Lightning adapter.
While we all wish Apple would come out with a less expensive model, the iPhone XR does cost considerably less than the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. It has about 95% of the features of the pricier iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max but just 75% of the cost.
Who says cheaper can’t be better?
While it’s the least costly of the latest bunch of iPhones, the iPhone XR is no slouch. With an excellent screen, a great camera, fast performance, wireless charging, and fun new colours, the iPhone XR offers nearly all of the features of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max for hundreds of dollars less. This is a worthwhile phone for its price.
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