Apple’s relatively budget friendly iPhone XR launched yesterday, and we’ve got a hands-on look at the colorful device’s top new features. Starting at $749, this 6.1-inch iPhone is significantly cheaper than the iPhone XS, yet comes with many of the same features. Is the iPhone XR the iPhone you should consider purchasing? Watch our video walkthrough as we explore the top iPhone XR features.
$749 starting price
The biggest advantage of the iPhone XR when compared to the iPhone XS is its starting price. At $749, the 64GB iPhone XR is $250 less expensive than the cheapest iPhone XS. If you’re on a budget, but you’re in the market for a new iPhone, then the iPhone XR is strongly worth considering.
$50 storage upgrade
If 64GB of storage isn’t enough for you, the iPhone XR can be configured with 128GB of storage for a mere $50 extra. More times than not, Apple storage upgrades are available at $100 increments, but you can double your iPhone XR storage for just half of that.
The iPhone XR, with its 6.1-inch screen, sits between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max as far as screen size goes. Even though I’m a fan of the 6.5-inch display found on the iPhone XS Max, there’s no denying that it can be a little unwieldy, and I have fairly large hands. 6.1-inches is a more manageable size for operating a smartphone with one hand, while being slightly larger than the iPhone X and iPhone XS display.
A12 Bionic processor
The iPhone XR might be the so-called “budget” phone, but there’s no getting around the fact that it shares much of the same DNA with the flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. In fact, you’ll find the same A12 Bionic processor in the iPhone XR as you do in the iPhone XS. Not only is the A12 faster than the A11 in last generation’s iPhone X, but it’s significantly more capable when it comes to machine learning, graphics, and image signal processing.
Enhanced wide angle camera
Although it lacks the dual camera setup of its higher-end cousin, the iPhone XR features the same wide angle camera found in the more expensive iPhone XS. A 32% larger 12MP sensor yields bigger pixels that result in noticeably better low light performance.
60 FPS front facing camera
Joining the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR features the ability to shoot 1080p video at 60 frames per second with the front-facing TrueDepth camera.
Animoji isn’t new, but given the iPhone XR’s price, it just became a lot more accessible. The launch of the iPhone XR marks the first time that Animoji has appeared on an iPhone that wasn’t the high-end flagship.
Single lens Portrait Mode
Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR is impressive, given that the device features a single wide angle lens instead of the dual lens camera housing of the iPhone X and iPhone XS. Because Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR relies on the wide angle lens, it makes it easier to capture portrait selfies, and comes with enhanced low light performance.
Adjustable depth of field
You can adjust the background blur of Portrait Mode photos by using the Edit function in the Photos app. A future iOS update will also allow you to adjust background blur in real time within the Camera app.
Smart HDR was one of my favorite new features found on the iPhone XS, as it enables better looking photos that contain dark subjects, bright subjects, or a mixture of both. Smart HDR lets your photos retain detail that might have otherwise been lost, and it does this automatically.
Record Stereo Sound
The iPhone has had stereo playback capability, but just got the ability to record video in stereo with this latest generation of devices. Stereo recording for videos allows you to hear left and right stereo separation directly on your iPhone.
Extended Dynamic Range
If you shoot video at 30 frames per second, the iPhone XR can automatically dip down to 24 frames per second to help out in low light situations.
Advanced Face ID
Thanks to the inclusion of the TrueDepth camera on the front of the iPhone XR, users can enjoy Face ID, the biometric security technology that allows you to unlock your iPhone and authenticate using your face. And because the iPhone XR uses the same advanced Face ID found in the just-released iPhone XS, unlocking and authenticating with your iPhone XR is even faster than it was on iPhone X.
Six color options
The iPhone XR is the first iPhone since the under-appreciated iPhone 5c to feature a wider array of colors. If you’re tired of the same old space gray, silver, and gold colors, then the iPhone XR, with its white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and red finish options is a breath of fresh air.
Several new iPhone XR-centric wallpapers help accentuate the colorful nature of Apple’s “budget” iPhone. If you have another iPhone model, though, we’ve extracted the wallpapers for download right here.
Liquid Retina Display
The most interesting thing about the iPhone XR is its nearly edge-to-edge wide-color LCD display. In order to save money, Apple utilized LCD technology instead of more expensive OLED panels. Pulling off such an all-screen design using LCD technology was no easy feat, and Apple notes this by labeling the Liquid Retina display as the most advanced LCD display found in any smartphone.
The Liquid Retina display is also the largest LCD that Apple has ever produced for the iPhone. It’s larger than the iPhone 8 Plus display, yet the overall device is physically smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus.
When considering the top iPhone XR features, this one might be the most impressive of them all. The iPhone XR features the best battery life of any iPhone ever. It even features better battery life than the high-end iPhone XS Max flagship device.
No Home button
The iPhone XR is the first iPhone sporting LCD technology to ship without a Home button. Just like the iPhone X, intuitive gestures are employed to control many of the vital aspects of your iPhone.
Tap to wake
Tap to wake first appeared with the iPhone X, but this is a feature that’s been a staple of Android phones for years. Once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back to having to physically press a button in order to wake your phone.
3D Touch is nowhere to be found on the iPhone XR, so Apple employed the use of haptic feedback for certain interactions. Dubbed, Haptic Touch, this glorified long press operation is handy for invoking the Lock screen flashlight or the various elements within Control Center.
The iPhone XR offers the best bang for the buck of any iPhone. Its price, battery life, processor, camera, and color options, make it a strong contender for the best iPhone in Apple’s current lineup. We’ll be back with a more in-depth comparison between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR. Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts on the top iPhone XR features.
Also, be sure to watch our hands-on video with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, where we explore over 20 of its best qualities.