iPhone XR: The verdict

The iPhone XR might sit at the bottom of the latest iPhone X range, but that's not to say it should be overlooked. It still got a powerful processor, large screen, a good camera and great battery life.

Let us understand in detail about the phone.



Design

Th iPhone XR is available in six colour options: white, black, blue, yellow, coral and (Product) Red. Dimensions being: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm All glass and aluminium design. Single lens camera on rear and IP67 rated.

The iPhone XR features the same design language as its more premium siblings, with an all-glass back and a notched screen dominating the front (yes, that black-out dip in the screen, as introduced in the 2017 iPhone X). It delivers this with an aluminium frame, making it slightly thicker than the XS models - although the thickness isn't noticeable in the hand, only that it's a smaller device than Max model - and it has a slightly lower IP rating too at IP67.

There is a single lens camera on the rear, while hidden beneath the glass cover is wireless charging. Like its predecessors, the iPhone XR is compatible with Qi wireless chargers. If you prefer the speed and convenience of wired then there's still the Lightning port on board for at-the-plug charging - that's default anyway, as there's no wireless charger included in the box.

LCD display

6.1-inch LCD display, 1792 x 828 resolution (326ppi 'Liquid Retina') True Tone and Haptic Touch and not a 3D Touch.

The Apple iPhone XR has a 'Liquid Retina' display - read that as an LCD display if you step away from Apple's language. Or look at it this way: it's not the 'Super Retina' OLED display that you'll find on the XS models.

Now, if you're looking to upgrade from the iPhone 6, 7, or 8 ranges, then LCD is what you've been using all along. The XR's pixel density is the same as the iPhone 6, 7 and 8 too, so clarity is one and the same.

This panel also caters for the P3 wide colour gamut, meaning strong blacks and good colour vibrancy, while True Tone technology uses sensors to change the screen colour according to the ambient light in the room (in the same way as many of Apple's other screens) for greater eye comfort.

For the XR 3D Touch replaces with Haptic Touch. This works in the same way as the trackpad on an Apple MacBook - making you think you are moving something even though you aren't. It doesn't offer the same functionality as 3D Touch - you can't press down hard on an app icon and be presented with shortcuts for example - but given 3D Touch struggled to catch on, we're not sure many will miss it or even know it existed in the first place.

There are still some concessions to those who like long-pressing on the screen. Mobile HDR is another feature absent from the iPhone XR, so no high dynamic range compatibility for available content. So while the XR will do its best to deliver an 'HDR-like experience', it's not the real deal. That means you're Smart HDR pictures aren't going to pop as much when viewing on screen, nor will you be able to see as much detail on a dark TV show or movie that's available in HDR.

Performance

A12 Bionic processor same power as iPhone XS and XS Max. The Apple iPhone XR might compromise in a couple of areas, but power and performance are most definitely not one of them. The XR runs on the same A12 Bionic processor as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, which means it has plenty of power for running augmented reality apps, playing graphically demanding games, processing photographs or 4K video, or simply managing day-to-day tasks.

Apple claims the iPhone XR will last 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 8 Plus in terms of battery life, which should give you more than enough charge to last a day. Light to moderate use would easily see you get through the day and a good way through day two as well.

The XR also supports Dual SIM using eSIM for the second SIM.

The single rear camera

12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture wide-angle lens, 1.4µm pixel size Smart HDR and Portrait Mode with Depth Control and 7-megapixel front facing Face ID camera

The iPhone XR features a single lens camera sensor on the rear. No dual-lens offering here. But don't let that put you off - because the iPhone XR still offers plenty in the camera department.

1/11Pocket-lint

For starters, the wide-angle view and sensor is the same as found in the XS models, offering optical image stabilisation, wide colour capture for photos, and Live Photos. The difference compared to the XS models, however, is you don't get the extra 12-megapixel telephoto lens, meaning the XR is only capable of digital zoom - not optical zoom - and it is therefore slightly restricted with some of the camera features.

Portrait Mode allows users to deliver blurred-background shots, but there's even more control in the XR. The Depth Control function allows users to play around with the bokeh effect after taking a shot. The results are as good as the iPhone XS and can certainly save or ruin a picture depending on how you use it.

It's also worth noting that because you don't have the second telephoto lens on the iPhone XR camera you are shooting portraits with the 24mm wide-angle rather than 50mm lens.

In terms of the front camera, the iPhone XR has the same 7-megapixel TrueDepth front-facing camera as found on the iPhone XS models, with Face ID. You'll also be able to apply Portrait mode, depth of field, and Smart HDR to pictures taken with the front camera, as well as use the Stage Light effects.

Verdict

Sure, the iPhone XR doesn't offer a screen or camera setup that's as good as the top-of-the-range, but that's the play in having a more affordable handset. Besides, many will be perfectly happy with what's on offer, especially as there's no compromise in power.

As an upgrade option over, say, the iPhone 7, the XR's larger display, bright colour finishes and considerable power will appeal. For those who want Apple's latest design without spending a fortune, this is the iPhone for you.

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