Apple iPhone XR Review: This year Apple decided to break convention again with a third phone. While the iPhone X was a higher-specced, more expensive, smartphone last year, this year it is offering the iPhone XR, a lower-specced, more affordable phone along with its flagships. Apple seems to be thinking that this phone will appeal to a lot of users who don’t really need the top-end camera or display of its XS range. But interestingly this phone seems to have garnered more eyeballs ever since its launch and is highly anticipated even in the Indian market, where it will continue to be a premium phone.
Apple iPhone XR specifications: 6.1-inch LCD display with IPS (1792 x 828 pixel resolution at 326 ppi) | A12 Bionic chipset with 3GB RAM | 64, 128 and 256GB storage variants | 12MP wide-angle camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture, Digital zoom up to 5x and 7MP TrueDepth Camera (front) | Dual-SIM with eSIM as second option
Apple iPhone XR price in India: Rs 76,900
The Apple iPhone XR looks like an iPhone. There are no surprises there. From the front it is like the iPhone XS, or just a larger version of the iPhone X. Remember, this phone has a 6.1-inch display compared to the iPhone X. Since it is larger, it also weighs about 20 grams more. The edges blend into the sides, but the bezel is a bit more prominent than in the iPhone X and this phone has a lower screen-to-body ratio.
The power button is on the right and volume rockers on the left. The phone has a glass back for wireless charging, but better quality than the iPhone XS, though not as tough as the XS. So getting a good cover is recommended. In the rear panel you see the big difference: the camera. The iPhone XR has a single camera and not a dual setup like in the other phones announced this year. There is a sensor and flash just under the lens.
The iPhone XR will appeal to a lot more people primarily because it is offering a bunch of colour options, like Apple did with the iPhone 5C. I found the red stunning, and the others a bit too loud. The white and black are better for someone like me.
Apple iPhone XR review: The LCD is not OLED, not bad either
Apple’s intention was clearly to offer a phone that is more affordable. So it has cut some corners to bring down the cost of the phone. Hence a significant change is the use of an LCD display instead of OLED, what Apple calls a Liquid Retina display. Also, this display is not full HD at 828 x 1792 pixels. With the different types of content I would regularly consume, I could not really see much of a difference in comparison to the iPhone XS Max.
Yes, the colours on the latter appear slightly more richer and the darks a bit deeper, but only when you have really scrutinised the two. The experience of consuming video on this phone will not be below par in any way. The stereo speakers, like with the iPhone XS, add more value to video viewing.
Apple iPhone XR review: Just one lens, but still good
The other change, is of course with the camera. There is no dual camera set up here. Apple has opted to go with just the f/1.8, 26mm wide angle camera here. However, it uses the latest sensors from the iPhone XS range. The photos are good with a lot of detail and natural colours.
It offers portrait mode on both sides, but no stage lighting at the back. But the other modes are available. And like in the iPhone XS you can control depth. Also, bokehs are possible and they look good, again not much different from the iPhone XS range. So, if you are willing to forgo some of the features the dual camera offers you, like optical zoom and more controls with portraits, this camera won’t disappoint you.
Apple iPhone XR review: As powerful at the iPhone XS
Apple has been stressing the point that when it comes to the real experience of using the phone, the iPhone XR does not lack in any way. That is true. For iPhone XR uses the same A12 Bionic processor as the other phones this year, and that shows with anything you do on the XR.
It is as fast the iPhone XS with everything from growing to processing Smart HDR on the camera. It also handles augmented reality apps well. Despite all the heavy lifting, the XR manages to stay cool most of the time.
The iPhone XR, interestingly has a larger battery than the XS because of its size. But the battery life is roughly in the same range and not drastically more. In Indian conditions you will need to charge the phone by end of day.
Apple’s iPhone XR also debuts the eSIM technology for iPhones. However, the feature has not been rolled out yet.
Apple iPhone XR review: Who should buy?
Now, to answer the big question: Who should buy the Apple iPhone XR? Well, the iPhone XR is in a strange space, where it is a more affordable Apple phone from 2018, but is still among the more expensive phones out there. Ideally, this phone makes sense for those on iPhone 7 or earlier models looking for an upgrade, but without spending as much as an XS. Also, for those who don’t really need a dual camera or an OLED screen, this phone makes good sense.
But do remember you can get a dual camera with the iPhone 8 Plus, which is still a great phone and at a much cheaper price point. For those looking at the iPhone XR as competition to Android flagships, I would just say the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 offers much more at the moment.
The Apple iPhone XR is a very capable phone that will not disappoint you, but be sure that you are making some compromises because of your budget.