Is the iPhone XR a good deal?

Released a few months after the iPhone XS and the XS Max, the smallest, and most recent addition is surprising to say the least. It is not only less expensive, but more autonomous, better looking, and faster. Do Apple’s price concessions make the iPhone XR the best move right now?  

What are we talking about?

Before we go much farther, let’s look over the specs. The iPhone XR has:

  • A 6.1 inch LCD screen that covers 79% of the front, with a resolution of 1792 x 828 pixels or 326 ppi.
  • An A12 Bionic processor, with 6 cores at 2.49 GHz (the best on the market).
  • 3 GB of RAM and 64, 128 or 256 GB of internal storage.
  • A 2,942 mAh battery (everything you would expect).
  • A 12 megapixel rear camera with a focal length of 26 mm and a 7 megapixel front camera (the same back camera as the main camera on the iPhone XS).
  • Water-resistance certified IP67 (which simply means that it can withstand being submerged 1 meter for 30 minutes).

As the more experienced of you may have noted, the iPhone XR uses the same processor as the new Apple phones. It runs the same iOS 12, which allows it to take advantage of the latest system updates (Memojis, the most complete version of Siri, Face ID security) and has the ability to take pictures in Portrait mode (subject in focus and background blurred) despite the lack of a second front camera, by using software.

So why does it cost less?

How does the iPhone XR differentiate itself from other top-of-the-line phones? By its intermediate size, between the XS and the Max (6.1 inch screen compared to 5.8 for the XS and 6.5 for the XS Max), and by its two notable concessions: its screen and camera.

First, it has an LCD screen instead of an OLED like its fellows. On paper, this means that the iPhone XS has sharper contrast and better resolution (1,920 x 1,080, while the XR is not even full HD 😲). But in practical terms, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference, unless you have the vision of a fighter pilot (and even then, you need experience) or are going to make it your main multimedia tool.
The camera then, is what everyone is writing about. The XR’s single front camera cannot detect depth as well as the iPhone XS’s two lenses, which affects portrait mode. It cannot take photos if it can’t detect human faces (yes, we really mean portraits of your cat). On the contrast, the XR is still able to film in 4K up to 60 fps, exactly like the XS.

Do these differences with the top-of-the-line versions justify the price difference? That’s up to you, but keep reading.

More autonomous, better looking, and faster

The most surprising part of this story is that the iPhone XR is in some ways better than its elders. For one, its battery lasts a day and a half, compared to a day for the XS. For another, with the same processor and at least 1 GB of RAM, it has even higher fps than the iPhone XS, tested on the same applications. Making it, by the way, the fastest iOS device in the world, and so it goes without saying that you’ll be able to play Fortnite, Sims, or FIFA with no trouble with the background graphics.

And then it’s hard to compare the XR to the XS or any iPhone without spending some time on the vast range of 6 colors. Have you ever dreamed of a shocking yellow iPhone? Orange? There you go, now it’s possible.

So, if you have a hand large enough to hold it (not a given for everyone, true), the iPhone XR is an excellent deal. All the more so as its price is sure to decrease after the Apple keynote next September.

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