Apple iPhone XR review
What is it?
The entry-level variant of the latest iPhone range. It’s not exactly cheap or feature loaded, but recent price drops have made it a strong contender. Let’s see why…
Design & Construction
- The XR is the first iPhone since the 5C to come in vivid colour options. However, unlike the latter, which faced a lot of rants thanks to its plasticky built, the XR is built with premium materials.
- It has a glass sandwich design with an aluminium frame. On paper, that aluminium frame may be less sturdy and premium than the stainless steel on found on the XS series, but it’s a lot more scratch resistant and, personally, we find it aesthetically better as well.
- In terms of overall footprint, the XR is smaller than the flagship XS Max, but it isn’t a small phone by any means. Those looking for a compact form factor should still consider the regular XS or even the iPhone X.
- The 6.1-inch IPS LCD display has a resolution of 828×1792 px, which sounds a bit ridiculous on paper since it’s slightly higher than 720p and not even full HD. Then, the 326 PPI is a bit old school as well.
- While Android users might find this screen a bit ridiculous considering the XR’s price, the fact is that most XR buyers will be upgrading from an older iPhone 7 or 8, so they’ll feel right at home here.
- By LCD standards though, the screen is really good, although it’s quite reflective under direct sunlight. Another thing to note is that the bezels surrounding the display on the XR are slightly thicker as compared to those on the XS.
User Interface & Performance
- Performance, in one word, is outstanding! Everything on the phone, right from multitasking to loading heavy apps is fast and super smooth which makes up for a great user experience
- The XR may be the least expensive of the new iPhones, but it’s still powered by Apple’s latest A12 Bionic chip which is one of the fastest and most energy efficient mobile chips as of now.
- The phone has 3GB of RAM which may not sound much on paper, but software optimisations and that powerful processor more than makeup for it.
- The phone runs iOS 12 and uses gesture-based navigation that debuted on the iPhone X. Going by Apple’s record, the XR should get newer versions of iOS for a long time to come.
- The iPhone XR has a single rear camera because Apple has eliminated the telephoto lens on this one. However, the main camera is the same 12MP f/1.8 sensor found on the XS.
- Many of you won’t mind the telephoto lens’ absence because it’s useful in only a handful of scenarios and it’s an inferior sensor when compared to the primary shooter anyway.
- Generally, all iPhones with dual rear cameras use the telephoto lens for portrait mode photos, but since the XR doesn’t have it, it uses the main sensor along with a software-based bokeh instead. Consequently, you get wider portrait photos with a well-sorted bokeh in most scenarios.
- The only problem is that portraits on the XR can only be taken with people in the frame, it won’t allow you to use bokeh on objects, which may be a bit disappointing for some.
- Other than that, the primary shooter is just as capable as the that on the XS. It produces quality photos with wide dynamic range and true to life colours. Photos turn out really good even in low light and there is absolutely no over processing here.
- For videos, the XR can shoot up to 4k 60 @ fps and the videos are well detailed and have very good stabilization.
- Even the selfie shooter is the same 7MP sensor like that on the XS. It too takes crisp selfies, but its portrait mode is all over the place. The edge detection here is not very good, while the studio portrait photos look like an absolute mess.
Camera samples of the iPhone XR can be seen below:
- The 2,942mAh battery on the XR, though insufficient on paper, provides great battery life. You can easily go through a full day with medium to heavy calling, gaming and photography before looking for the charger.
- Talking of that bundled charger, it’s still a 5W adapter which was the standard in 2014. The XR does support fast charging, but Apple won’t supply a compatible adaptor inside the retail package. So, prepare to wait forever for your XR to fully recharge.
- The XR also supports dual SIMs where one is a physical SIM slot while the other one is an eSIM. The network reception with both SIMs activated is good and so is the voice quality via the microphone.
- This phone is IP67 water and dust resistant. The XS series, on the other hand, has a slightly better IP68 rating.
- Apple no longer includes a dongle inside the retail box to compensate for the lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack on iPhones.
- The second-gen Face ID for unlocking the phone is super quick and accurate. However, there’s a learning curve to it because it won’t work at all angles.
The iPhone XR was launched in India at Rs 76,900-91,900 last year. However, lacklustre sales have forced Apple to give discounts/ cash back on the phone since the very beginning. At the time of writing this review, the phone costs between Rs 59,900-74,900 – now that’s a substantial price drop!
- The iPhone XR should be your choice if you want a phone with quick performance, consistent software experience and great cameras.
- In fact, with iPhone XS range price so ridiculously high, it makes no sense to go for those phones unless an OLED display and a telephoto camera are high on your priority list.
- Of course, even at discounted prices, the XR isn’t the most feature-rich phone and Android alternatives provide much more for a similar price. But, if iOS is your choice of operating system, then the XR is hard to beat for what it offers.
Check out our iPhone XR video review below: