iPhone XR Review: A High-Performance Phone with a Relatively Cheaper Price Tag

iPhone XR Review - Display

iPhone XR saw its debut in 2018. However, it was not launched with the iPhone XS and the XS Max simultaneously. The revelation was a bit delayed, which created a mystery around. During the debut, the iPhone XR was tagged with $749. While the price was lower than the two counterparts, it was still not affordable for most of the Apple lovers. But with the recent launch of iPhone 11, the price has been dropped to $599. As a result, it has become more affordable than ever before. But can it make the best use of your hard earned money? Read this iPhone XR review to find the detailed answer.

iPhone XR Review: Design

iPhone XR Review: Design

The design of the iPhone XR is pretty similar to the predecessor. It looks really elegant. The rounded edges look really cool. It feels really smooth to touch them. The iconic home button is no longer there. But on the bright side, its disappearance has turned the iPhone XR into an amazing looking phone with the all-screen front.

The rear of the iPhone XR looks stunning. Instead of the stainless steel, it comes with the metal glass back, which delivers a premium feeling. The glass back is available in black, white, blue, yellow, coral and red. The hues have color matched aluminum bands. They blend together with the rear smoothly, creating an eye catching look. For these reasons, Apple has been admired in the iPhone XR reviews of all the top online publications.

There are some differences between the iPhone XR and iPhone XS. The bezels around the iPhone XR display are slightly thicker than the iPhone XS. However, most of the users will not be able to notice it. Like the predecessor, the iPhone XR retains the notch on the front.

Also, the iPhone XR is slightly less water resistant than the iPhone XS. It features IP67 resistance rating, while the counterpart comes with IP68. However, you will have no problem using it during the light shower. In fact, the device will not be damaged even if you douse coffee or tea accidentally.

iPhone XR Review - Display

iPhone XR Review: Display

Instead of the OLED screens like the counterparts, the iPhone XR comes with the Liquid Retina LCD display. The move is pretty obvious. Apple tries to keep the price low by removing some of the premium features in the iPhone XR. However, it doesn’t make it a device with a dull display.

The Liquid Retina LCD screen is one of the most colorful smartphone displays on the market. Despite having a relatively lower resolution of 1792 x 828 pixels, it manages to view everything with a plenty of details. You will be blown away watching YouTube videos and movies on it.

Like the displays of the current generation iPhones, the iPhone XR display is very responsive. While the panel remains 60 Hz, the touch layer is 120 Hz. As a result, you will tap and swipe smoother than ever before. Everything is registered instantly.

The iPhone XR screen delivers a mighty performance in various tests of the top online publications, which publish their own iPhone XR reviews. In the brightness test of GSMArena, it delivers 700 nits, which is significantly higher than Huawei Mate 20 (491 nits) and Xiaomi Mi 8 (458 nits). But more importantly, it is even higher than both the iPhone XS (660 nits) and iPhone XS Max (653 nits).

The color accuracy is really high. The iPhone XR display delivers a Delta-E score of 0.28. As a result, it manages to beat Google Pixel 3 XL (0.35) and Galaxy Note 9 (0.34).

There are some obvious lacking in the iPhone XR display. You don’t get the hardware support for Dolby Vision HDR-10. You only get software support. Also, there is no 3D touch. Moreover, it doesn’t manage to deliver perfect blacks and ultra wide viewing angles as the displays of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The blacks look gray.

Nonetheless, when you consider about the lowered price tag in 2019, the overall performance of the iPhone XR display is pretty strong. It can go toe to toe with any phone on the market that costs under $600. That’s why, we were really happy with it while writing this iPhone XR review.

iPhone XR Review - Camera

iPhone XR Review: Camera

The iPhone XR comes with a single 12-MP wide-angle camera with f/1.8 aperture lens. Unlike the other flagship phones on the market, including Galaxy S10, it doesn’t have three lens. It doesn’t have the secondary telephoto sensor. So, you can’t jump into 2x zoom and take detailed shots from distance. However, that doesn’t mean that iPhone XR is a bad camera phone. Thanks to Apple’s brilliant optimization effort.

The iPhone XR camera deals with the portrait mode shots differently from the iPhone XS and XS Max. Unlike the counterparts, it doesn’t create a depth map, separate subject from the background and analyze the area that needs to be focused. Instead, it utilizes software to blur the background. Also, the iPhone XR camera allows you to adjust the strength of the blur. It works really well in most of the conditions. In the good lighting condition, the blur looks really natural.  However, while writing this iPhone XR review, we find that it struggles to maintain the sharpness of the hairs. Here is a sample shot:

iPhone XR Review: Daylight Portrait Shots

The daylight portrait shots look absolutely stunning. But sometimes, the camera can’t maintain the sharpness of the hair.

Except the portrait mode, the performance of the iPhone XR camera is pretty identical to its counterparts. The quality of the shots looks pretty similar. Also, it comes with the same HDR technology as its more expensive counterparts. The system adjusts contrast, white balance and other settings automatically by utilizing computational knowledge. It can be very useful for capturing detailed landscapes.

Unlike the competitors, like Google Pixel 3XL, there is no dedicated mode for low light photography. But still, the performance under the dim light is outstanding. While creating this iPhone XR review, we were really impressed by its capability. There are a plenty of details present in each of the shots. You will be amazed to find how well it manages to retain the bright colors at night. Here is a sample shot:

iPhone XR Review: Night Shots

The night shots are generally good.

The iPhone XS camera has a strong video recording capability. It can capture 4K footage at 24 fps, 30 fps and 60 fps. Also, it can record, 1080p videos at in either 30 fps or 60 fps for slow-mo action. The quality of the footage is outstanding. Everything looks sharp and colorful. The stabilization is really great.

The 7-MP front camera is really impressive. It can capture stunning selfies. Also, it can blur the background effectively to make the subject look more focused. Here is a sample selfie:

iPhone XR Review: Portrait Selfie

Here’s portrait selfie. The quality is much better than the ones taken with the iPhone X.

Even in the low light, the front camera is able to deliver a pretty blur background. So, you will love to use it.

iPhone XR Review - Hardware and Performance

iPhone XR Review: Hardware and Performance

iPhone XR comes with the same A12 Bionic chipset as the iPhone XS. The 64-bit CPU comprises with the two high performance cores, known as Vortex, and four high-efficiency cores, called Tempest. The former one is 15% faster and consumes 40% less juice than the Monsoon core of the A11 Bionic chip. The latter one consumes 50% less power than the Mistral cores of the last year’s chipset. As a result, the battery can survive significantly longer. Also, it has made iPhone XR significantly more powerful than its predecessor.

The power of the iPhone XR has been reflected in various benchmark tests. In the Geekbench 4 (multi-core) test, it scores 11437 points. It is higher than not only iPhone X (10215 points), but also Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (90216 points) and Huawei Mate 20 Pro (9882 points).

The graphics performance is also outstanding. In the GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen) test, the GPU of iPhone XR delivers 60 fps, leaving Galaxy Note 9 far behind (25 fps).

The top results have been reflected in our daily usage while preparing this iPhone XR review. All the apps and games run flawlessly. There is no stuttering. So, you will enjoy a silky smooth performance.

The Neural Engine has been updated in the A12 Bionic chipset. It features a smart compute system, which determines the right component among CPU, GPU and NE for processing the task for the best performance and highest level of efficiency.

iPhone XR comes with three internal storage options – 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. Like the predecessor, there is no microSD card slot.

iPhone XR has only 3 GB of RAM. While the capacity is significantly lower than the other phones in its class, you will never experience any stuttering. So, there’s absolutely no worry.

iPhone XR Review - Battery and Charging

iPhone XR Review: Battery and Charging

While launching the iPhone XR, Apple promised an outstanding battery performance. In fact, it claimed that the device offers much better battery performance than almost all the predecessors. The claim has been proved true in our test, which we performed while writing this iPhone XR review, along with the tests of various highly popular online publications.

We took the iPhone XR off the charge in the early morning. Throughout the whole day, we played games, watch YouTube videos, surfed online, head to the social media apps and made both audio and video calls. Even after being used moderately, the iPhone XR still had 30% charge remaining at midnight. And it manages to deliver such an amazing performance without utilizing the low power mode. The standby time is outstanding. The battery drops only 2% overnight.

In GSMArena’s endurance rating test, the 2942 mAh battery of the iPhone XR survives 78 hours. As a result, it manages to outsmart iPhone XS, which survived only 72 hours. Also, it manages to go toe to toe with the Samsung Galaxy S9 battery, which has as endurance rating of 78 hours.

In the test of Expert Reviews, the 2942 mAh battery of the iPhone XR lasted 13 hours and 29 minutes. It is much better than the iPhone X, which survived only 9 hours and 22 minutes. All the credits go the A12 Bionic processor, which is significantly more power efficient than the A11 chipset.

The iPhone XR supports the fast charging technology. So, you can get the battery topped up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. Also, like the iPhone X, it comes with the Qi wireless charging system. According to Apple, the technology is even faster than the predecessor.

iPhone XR Review - Software

iPhone XR Review: Software

When launched, the iPhone XR was powered by the iOS 12. It was the most advanced operating system in 2018. There are several key features. The most notable one is the enhanced Augmented Reality (AR) technology, allowing you to AR games in a more enjoyable way. Also, it paved a new way for enhancing the shopping experience. Memoji was another big addition. It allows you to map your own face during the video call. Thanks to the highly advanced A12 chipset.

Recently, Apple has launched a new version of its mobile operating system, called iOS 13. It is also supported by the iPhone XR. It comes with a variety of new features, including “Dark Mode” for inverting white and light gray colors for less eye-straining, and “Peak Performance Capability” for throttling the CPU whenever the battery begins to degrade.

Make sure to update your new iPhone XR with iOS 13. It will take the capability of the 2018 smartphone to a whole new level. We have already experienced it while preparing this iPhone XR review.

iPhone XR Review - Speaker

iPhone XR Review: Speaker

Apple has included stereo speakers at each end of the iPhone XR. So, you get a true stereo experience while holding the device in landscape. In fact, you will feel that the sound is moving to either side of your head! The way the speakers offer the feeling of being right inside the sound is really impressive.

The speakers have become louder than the ones in the iPhone X. Whether you are playing games or watching movies, you will notice a much wider sound, along with the highly improved stereo projection. It results in an amazing experience. You no longer need to have the portable speakers to get the best experience.

While writing this iPhone XR review, we find that the speakers are exceptionally clear. Even at the max volume, everything can be heard in an incredibly clean way. There is absolutely no crackling. The sound balance is one of the best out there.

Other Features

Other Features

The iPhone XR doesn’t support the 3D Touch technology like its two counterparts. As a result, you can’t reveal shortcuts by long pressing the home screen apps. Instead, the iPhone XR comes with the Haptic Touch technology, which offers pretty much the same functionality as the 3D touch, along with the haptic feedback.

Now, you no longer have to deep press to get into the camera app from the home screen. A long press with soft touch will do that. Also, there’s no need to press hard on the keyboard to control the cursor. Simply long-press on the spacebar in a gentle way. It might take some time to get used to the haptic feedback. But it’s not difficult to use at all.

There is no physical home button. So, the only way you can interact with the iPhone XR is by using gestures. Swiping up from the bottom will take you to the home screen. Pulling down from the top left will show the notifications. However, it will take some time to learn the gestures. After that, everything will be pretty straightforward.

The iPhone XR features LTE Advanced, rather than gigabit LTE like the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. It’s slower than the technology used in the pricier counterparts. Nonetheless, it’s still pretty fast. However, while preparing this iPhone XR review, we find that the download speed varies with respect to different carriers.



The iPhone XR starts at $599, with 64 GB of storage. As said earlier, it was being tagged with $749 at the time of being launched. Right now, the price has been dropped significantly. If you have a relatively lower budget, the 64 GB model can be a great choice for you.

However, the iPhone XR has hit the sweet spot with the 128 GB model. While the 64 GB of storage is fine for the base users, the 128 GB variant gives you more freedom for storing photos, videos and music without pushing the iCloud to the limit. Also, you have to spend only $649 to get it, which is just $50 higher than the base model.

In this sense, we recommend you to go for the 128 GB model, as you are getting more freedom and space with the $50 upgrade.

The Verdict

The Verdict

If you want to have an iPhone with a relatively cheaper price, the iPhone XR is the device to get. Despite costing less money, it doesn’t compromise with the hardware performance. The high scores in various benchmark tests say it all.

However, being a cheaper phone, it lacks some of the “wow” factors as the pricier models, like iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. For instance, the shots taken with the portrait mode don’t look as stunning as the ones taken with the counterparts. However, with respect to the cheaper price tag, the camera performance is really amazing. Also, the battery life is higher than the iPhone XS. Also, it lasts almost the same amount of time as the iPhone XS Max.

But more importantly, the iPhone XR delivers 95% of the same performance as the more expensive iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max while costing you 75% less money. So, it can make the best use of your hard earned money. It’s the biggest selling point that we discover while writing this iPhone XR review.

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