Tempted by one of the new iPhones? There’s no need to aim too high. we think the XR is just as good as its pricer siblings.
There’s a good reason why Apple staggered the release dates of its latest iPhones: it needed to get its more expensive, top-of-the-range XS phones into people’s pockets before they realised just how good the XR is.
Not that the iPhone XR is what you’d call cheap –at £749, it’s pricier than many flagship Android devices. But that’s still £250 less than the equivalent iPhone XS, which is a significant saving.
XR vs XS:
Where it counts, the iPhone XR isn’t hugely different from its larger and more expensive siblings. It has a similar full-screen notched display to the XS and XS Max; it’s clad in glass both front and rear; the internals are identical; and it runs iOS12.
The differences are subtle. at 6.1in across the diagonal, the iPhone XR has a slightly larger display than the XS, but uses IPS technology instead of OLED. It’s also available in different colours –black, white, coral, blue and red –with a single camera at the rear, rather than two.
It also has two fewer antenna bands around the edge –aclue that it has only a 2×2 MIMO antenna and can’t reach the same gigabit Wi-Fi download speeds as the XS and XS Max. The XR is slightly less
Water-resistant than the XS, at IP67 (which means it can be dropped in waterupto1m deep for half an hour) instead of IP68 (up to 1.5m for the same time), although it will still shrug off alight shower and a dousing in tea or coffee.
Lastly, it’s available in different storage configurations to the XS –64GB, 128GB and 256GB, instead of 64GB, 256GB and 512GB.
The XR contains Apple’s latest hexa-core processor: the A12 Bionic. This is currently the fastest chip to appear in any mobile phone and, backed by 3GB of RAM, it powers the iPhone XR to some impressive benchmark results, as you can see in our tables, opposite.
It feels as responsive as You’d expect a new iPhone to be, and it’s fast enough to run any game at a smooth frame rate, although the display is capped at 60Hz, so it can’t increase the frame rate above 60fps (frames per second).
Battery life is better than Last year’s iPhone X, largely thanks to the more efficient processor. It sits halfway between the XS and the XS Max, lasting 13hrs 29mins. This isn’t amazing, as you can see from our chart, but it should comfortably get through a fairly demanding day of use.
Screen and camera:
Despite having a lower pixel density than the XS (326ppi vs 458ppi), the XR’s screen doesn’t look at all fuzzy, and colour accuracy is near perfect, as we would expect from an Apple iPhone.
Brightness reaches 684cd/m2 (candles per square metre), viewable on even a bright, sunny day, and the contrast ratio is unbelievably good at 1,736:1. Colour accuracy is excellent, too: we measured 93% coverage of the sRGB standard. While it isn’t quite up to the level of the OLED displays on the XS and XS Max, it’s not far off.
The main camera is the same on all three iPhones but you don’t get the second camera that the XS models have, which means losing out on some of the advanced features that come with it.
Even so, this is a great camera that’s easy to use, reliable and takes superb photos. Let’s be clear, though: you still get more for your cash with Android phones.
The Samsung Galaxy Note9, for instance, is £799 and includes a dual camera with a 2x zoom and a stylus. Alternatively, the price of the Samsung Galaxy S9 has now fallen to below £500, and is still as wonderful as when it first launched. Elsewhere, the HuaweiP20
Pro costs £600 and gets you three rear cameras; there’s the recently launched Google Pixel 3priced at £739; the LG G7, which has fallen to a ludicrously low£420; and the just-launched OnePlus 6T, yours forjust£499.
The XR is not the best iPhone that money can buy, and it’s not even the best-value handset available if you’re happy to cough up £749.
However, if you’re dead set on a new iPhone and you’re not willing to spend £999 or more, this is definitely the phone for you.
It’s far cheaper than the XS and XS Max, and although the screen isn’t as good, the camera doesn’t have a zoom and it’s ever so slightly less water-resistant, the £250 saving is well worth it. You won’t be disappointed.
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