This is another new iPhone. It’s Apple’s version of a budget phone. And it’s kind of complicated. It’s slightly bigger than the last new iPhone. But it’s slightly smaller than the last new iPhone, too. It’s also cheaper. But don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. Let’s talk about what makes the iPhone XR so special. Like the XS and the XS Max, the XR has a new A12 processor, and better cameras than older iPhones, especially the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. So let’s focus on what’s actually different, and boil everything down to the five most essential things to know about the XR.The first is the most obvious. This thing is colorful. It comes in six different colors. That’s twice as many as any iPhones since the 5C. They’re really attractive, though aluminum sides aren’t as vibrant as the color of the glass back, so they look just a little cheap. And as we’ve already discussed, the XR has square in the middle, size-wise, between the new XS and the XS Max. And really, price-wise, the 8 Plus is what it should be compared to…Not the 8, which is $150 less, or the XS or XS max, which are $250 more. The XR is $50 more than the 8 Plus. But it’s smaller. Despite being physically smaller than the 8 Plus, it has a 6.1-inch display. But the XR is not small enough. If you find the Plus or the Max too big, you’re gonna find the XR too big, too. So your thumb has to move up and down a lot more. Apple did include a feature that lets you slide the top of the phone’s display down to under your finger. The glass back is nice, especially because it means wireless charging. And notch just screams luxury, but don’t confuse this for a XS Max. It’s 14 grams lighter than the Max, and eight grams lighter than the 8 Plus.The lack of weight in a phone this large is noticeable. It ends up feeling like something older, like a 7 or a 6 Plus. And it’s kind of balanced weird. Like most of the weight is on the top of the phone. This is definitely a phone you’ll want a case for But let’s go back to the display. Apple calls the one in the XR a Liquid Retina display. That’s the Apple fancy term for LED. And the hardware is just a little different than the 8 Plus’s. But if you’re already using an LED phone from Apple, like the 8 or earlier, you’re not gonna notice that much of a difference. The 6.1-inch screen goes nearly from edge to edge. And the notch gives you the same sense of luxury you get from the XS, but it isn’t the more expensive
and visually superior OLED display found in the XS. You’ll notice the blacks aren’t as black, which means that the notch is more noticeable when watching some content. The colors just aren’t as vibrant as on the XS or even the X. It’s not ugly by any means. But it is an example of how this phone is cheaper than the other new iPhones.The final example of how much cheaper it is is the camera on the back. The cameras found on the front of the phone are the exact same as the ones on the other new iPhones, which means you get Face ID and Portrait Mode. You don’t like the XS, XS max, or 8 Plus, this one only has one camera on the back. It’s the exact same camera lens and sensor as the wide angle one on the XS. So it takes very nice sharp photos with great color rendition, but it means there are some limitations.In the past, one camera on the back of the phone meant no Portrait Mode. But this time, Apple included a limited Portrait Mode for this back camera. But I mean it. It’s limited. It has to use software to do all the heavy lifting, so it can’t take a Portrait Photo unless it’s of a person. It also means you only get three of the five Portrait Modes found in the 8 Plus and other portrait-capable phones. There’s Natural, Studio, and Contour Portrait Lighting modes. But no Stage Light, or Stage Light Mono mode, which isn’t that much of a bummer. Personally, I only ever use Natural mode. Even limiting the portraits to humans doesn’t feel terrible. Taking photos of pets is already a real challenge with the Portrait Mode found in other iPhones. But the fact that there’s only one lens does present some challenges.There’s no optical zoom, which means you have to get up and closer to subjects, or suffer with a blurry digital zoom. It also means the portraits you take use a much less flattering focal length of about 26 millimeters. The zoom lens on dual camera iPhones is more of a 56-millimeter, which is a lot closer to what actual portraitists views. And just frankly, more flattering for people’s faces. But at the end of the day, the XR is more flattering for your wallet. If you can handle the size, this is a great upgrade for the 7 Plus or earlier.If you can handle the size. Remember, this is a big phone. But it’s a better big phone than the 8 Plus. The display looks prettier at a glance. Face ID is a definite treat after years of Touch ID. And it gets well over an hour and a half more battery
life. As for anyone still trying to decide between this, a XS or a XS Max, if you can handle the shortcomings necessary for the lower price tag, this phone is worth the consideration. .