Apple iPhone XR Review: a cheaper phone suitable for most of us.
In our era of skyrocketing smartphone prices, it's a relief that Apple's $ 750 iPhone is as powerful and nearly as capable as its $ 1,000 counterparts, according to our reviewer.
- In our era of skyrocketing smartphone prices, it's a relief that Apple's $ 750 iPhone is as powerful and nearly as capable as its $ 1,000 counterparts, according to our reviewer.
- A bright and vibrant display.
- Single-lens camera
- Battery, speed, thickness and colors.
Good news, Apple loyalists: you won't have to burn $ 1,000 on your next iPhone. That's because for about $ 750, you can have the iPhone XR, which is just as fast and nearly as capable as its more expensive counterparts.
The cheapest iPhone, which will be available this Friday, is the model that most people should buy. This year's other iPhones, namely the devices XS and XS Max $, which cost around $ 1,000 and $ 1,100 and are already in stores, are luxury devices best suited for enthusiasts willing to spend a premium for superior cameras or a giant screen.
For everyone else, the XR is perfectly adequate and has few drawbacks. Its 6.1-inch screen, which is based on LCD, an older screen technology, looks a bit inferior to the OLED displays on the XS phones, but you need to be a movie buff to notice the difference.
The XR's single-lens camera is also less capable than the dual-lens cameras on the XS models. However, the XR can still produce very satisfying photos of people using portrait mode, also known as the bokeh effect, which places the main subject of the image in sharp focus while gently blurring the background.
The XR is slightly less durable than its more expensive cousins. Its glass back is not as tough as that of the XS. Its casing, or chassis, is composed of aluminum rather than the more robust stainless steel of the more expensive phones. However, these differences are negligible. (I recommend that people use a case to protect those parts of the phone anyway; carrying a phone without a case is a little like driving a car without a bumper ).
All of these minor negatives add up to a win for price-conscious consumers, especially since smartphone prices continue to rise . iPhones started a few years ago at around $ 650, while prices of Android phones from Google and Samsung also shot up to between $ 700 and $ 1,000.
A bright and vibrant display.
Apple developed a new type of LCD to improve color accuracy and squeeze the XR's display into the corners of the phone. The result is what Apple calls a Liquid Retina display, which looks better (brighter and more vibrant) than previous iPhone LCDs.
I confess that I struggled to see a difference between the Liquid Retina display and the OLED display on an iPhone XS. The distinction is most obvious in the blacks: if you look at a photo taken in the dark, you'll notice that the blacks on the XR's screen have a faint blue glow, which comes from the backlight used to illuminate the screen, while the blacks on the XS look darker and more realistic because the OLED technology turns off individual pixels to make them black.
If you're debating between an XS and an XR, your purchase decision will probably come down to the camera. The XR's single lens camera takes excellent, clear photos with true-to-life color, but because it lacks a second lens, it's less capable of taking those fun DSLR portrait mode shots.
To make portrait mode with the XR's single lens, Apple used machine learning, which involves computers analyzing images to recognize people in the photo and focus on them correctly by blurring the background. Apple decided to limit its machine-assisted image processing on the device specifically to human subjects.
In portrait mode, the iPhone XR is limited to taking pictures of people. The camera software will not detect animals or objects.
When you try to take a portrait photo of a non-human, the XR camera will display the message "No person detected". This was the biggest disappointment for me as a dog owner and food lover (and what ultimately led me to buy an XS).
Battery, speed, thickness and colors.
Apple said the XR had the longest battery life among the new iPhones. It gets 16 hours of video playback, compared to 15 hours on the XS Max. In my testing, I didn't notice a significant difference. Both iPhones had long enough battery life to get me through the day.
In speed tests measuring a single computing core with a benchmarking app, the XR was as fast as the XS, 49% faster than Google's Pixel 3 and 45% faster than Samsung's Galaxy S9.
The XR's body is about half a millimeter thicker than the XS in part because the cheaper phone had to leave room for the backlight used to illuminate its LCD screen. Also, the XR's 6.1-inch screen is a bit larger than the XS with a 5.8-inch display. As a result, it felt bulkier in the pocket than the XS. (Of course, the XS Max with a 6.5-inch screen felt the most bulky).
The XR lacks 3D Touch, the iPhone feature that allows users to control some of the software by pressing down on the touchscreen. Instead, placing your finger on a button, such as the camera shortcut on the lock screen, and holding it down results in haptic feedback. This is an insignificant omission: I forgot that 3D Touch even existed because I rarely use it.