The official launch of the iPhone XR is still a few days away, but that doesn’t mean some of the chosen few haven’t already gotten units to play around with. Indeed, a swath of national US tech sites have begun posting their reviews of the iPhone XR. The big question is what are they all saying?
The phone is unique in Apple’s lineup in that it has a bigger screen than the iPhone XR, Apple’s flagship, but that screen is of a lower quality (LCD vs OLED), which means Apple can sell it for less. Without further ado, here’s what the tech world is saying about the iPhone XR:
“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 cheaper iPhone, which becomes available this Friday, is the model that most people should buy. This year’s other iPhones — namely the XS and XS Max devices, which cost about $1,000 and $1,100 and are already in stores — are luxury devices better suited for enthusiasts willing to spend a premium for superior cameras or a jumbo screen.
“For everyone else, the XR is perfectly adequate and has few downsides. Its 6.1-inch screen, which is based on LCD, an older display technology, looks ever so slightly inferior to the OLED screens on the XS phones — but you would need to be a movie buff to notice the difference.”
“These days, lots of smartphone makers are trying to offer more for less, and Apple is no exception. Its new iPhone XR features a lot of what makes the more premium XS and XS Max special, squeezed into a glass-and-metal package that costs significantly less. This is, as you would expect, an exercise in compromise: the XR retains the high-performance A12 chipset and delivers the best battery life we’ve ever seen in an iPhone in some time. But the Liquid Retina display and single camera might not be up to snuff for everyone. That said, everything Apple offers here is much, much better than just “good enough.” The XR is the iPhone we’d recommend to most people.”
“If one thing is clear about the iPhone XR, it’s that Apple is going to sell tons of these. They’re huge upgrades from the iPhone 6 era of Apple phones, with the latest processors and cameras, a big screen in an updated design, and a competitive opening price of $750 for the 64GB model. That’s $50 less than the smaller Pixel 3. It’s priced to move.
“When I first picked up the iPhone XR, it felt like the big questions would be about what the XR was missing compared to the XS. But now that I’ve used this thing for a while, that seem like the wrong way to think about it. The real question for iPhone buyers is whether the high-res OLED display on the XS is worth $250 more than the XR. Because otherwise, the XR offers almost everything you’d want in a 2018 phone.”
“The iPhone XR is not the most technologically advanced iPhone; many of Apple’s superior components have been reserved for the costlier device. But the iPhone XR is still a moderately great phone. It’s great not in the way that super-futuristic, game-changing technology devices are. It’s great in the way that a bunch of already-possible things have been packaged together cleanly and nicely.
“Most people—those who don’t spend their lives comparing specs and staring at bezels on multiple models of new smartphones each fall—are going to be very happy with this phone if they buy it. Especially if those people are upgrading from an older iPhone, which I believe will be the case for a lot of people buying the iPhone XR. They’ll have a phone that’s running on Apple’s top-of-the-line processor. They’ll have FaceID, and they’ll experience the learning curve that comes with an iPhone without a home button, which feels like a small price to pay for an edge-to-edge display.”
“The iPhone XR has shockingly few trade-offs compared to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max given that it costs $250 to $350 less. In fact, many may prefer the iPhone XR over Apple’s pricier flagships for two reasons beyond the cheaper price: more color options and longer battery life.
“There are reasons to splurge for the iPhone XS and XS Max, including 2x optical zoom for the camera and a more vibrant OLED screen with wider viewing angles. But the vast majority of shoppers will be fine with these concessions.
“If you prefer a smaller display than the one on the 6.1-inch iPhone XR, the $799 Pixel 3 is a great alternative, boasting an even better camera. The Galaxy S9 ($719) and S9+ ($839) are also great options, but they lack the ease of Face ID and are slower than the iPhone XR. Overall, if you prefer iOS and want the best iPhone for the money, the iPhone XR is it.”
“Just like the XS and Max, the XR has a notch, and as with those phones, it gives it a sense of ostentatious luxury. At a glance, this phone looks expensive. The True Depth camera embedded in the notch gives the phone the ability to use Face ID which is just a hair faster than the Face ID introduced in last year’s iPhone X. If you’ve been reluctant to upgrade because you prefer Touch ID, you’ll need to come to terms with that on your own. Touch ID is gone. This phone, and likely all iPhones going forward, will rely on your face to unlock, and I for one am entirely okay with that. (You can use an old-fashioned passcode if you don’t like your phone looking at you.)”
“Only for a video purist who can detect the blackest of blacks, the richest, most true-to-life colors, not to mention a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, compared to 1400:1. Don’t get me wrong. The XS screens are better, and the fact that the XR display is of a lower resolution is enough of a deal-breaker for some techies.
“But this trade-off is a major reason the XR costs a lot less. And many of you would only notice the display discrepancies if you laid an XS or XS Max next to an XR, side by side, if even at that. I’m sure most of you will be perfectly satisfied with the display on the XR, which Apple dubs ‘Liquid Retina.’
“Keep in mind that the XR also has a display size of 6.1 inches, putting it in between the XS screen (5.8 inches) and the XS Max (6.5 inches). Accordingly, the phone is slightly larger than the XS and slightly smaller than the XS Max. In case you were wondering, thanks to the narrower bezels bordering the screen, the XR has an overall footprint that is smaller than the 8 Plus, though that phone has a 5.5-inch display.”