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iPhone XR Review: Test Apple's new iPhone

November 7, 2018 Technology 2 Views We may never know what R in iPhone XR really means – Apple VP…

We may never know what R in iPhone XR really means – Apple VP Phil Schiller himself said R does not really matter to Apple. But I have my own guess: reboot.

Before the iPhone X Series released last year, the iPhone 8 needed a new design. It was about three years since Apple first introduced its big screen iPhones, but nothing about them changed much since the iPhone 6. iPhone 8 took wireless charging and a better camera, but it did not look or feel like a 2017 phone, any less than 2018.

But instead of scratching the thought of iPhone 8 and entering the more expensive and marginalized X, Apple returned to the drawing board to create a seemingly impossible iPhone that had the specifications of a proverbial iPhone 9, the look of an iPhone X and the price of an iPhone 8.

 iphone xr power Christopher Hebert / IDG

iPhone XR’s glass display is smooth to move but not too much slippery.

Like any reboot of a classic, the iPhone XR could have gone spectacularly. But with the iPhone XR, Apple spotted it. Chip, battery and storage are best in class. The price slides nicely between iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS. And the design is close enough to the iPhone X and XS, that the phones from a reasonable distance are identical – you might also expect some serious compromises that push people to the top models in a bite and gear movement. That is not the case.

When you take everything in mind – price, design, storage, camera, battery life and performance – iPhone XR can be the best iPhone Apple ever has done, even if it’s not technically advanced. In fact, I dare guess that more people will buy an iPhone XR over an iPhone XS. It’s just so good.

A premium design for smaller

iPhone XR is basically the iPhone XS fraternal twin. It has the same shape, same glass back, same contoured band, same rounded corner. And it has as big a chin on top of the screen. Pick it up and it feels like a slightly thicker XS.

 iPhone xr xs max Christopher Hebert / IDG

The 6.5 inch iPhone XS Max (left) is quite larger than 6.1 inch iPhone XR.

In addition to their superficial similarities, there are clear differences between the two phones. Rarely, XR’s glass comes back in a variety of colors giving it a playful personality. The sides are made of aluminum, a material downgraded from stainless steel on the XS, but they are anodized to fit perfectly according to the color you choose. It’s a subtle change that will be a matter of preference, but I actually preferred XR’s matte finish to XS shiny chrome.

XR is easily the most unique iPhone since iPhone 5c, and I suspect most will choose to use it without a fall. Apparently, Apple also makes so much that it does not sell a first-party case to XR. For that purpose, Apple claims that the glass covering the screen is stronger than any iPhone that came in front, and the rear glass, while not as splits resistant as the iPhone XS, is at least as good as the iPhone 8. It also has

Christopher Hebert / IDG

The lightning port on the iPhone XR (bottom) is a little off center compared to the iPhone XS Max.

If you’re a symmetry sticker, you notice that the Lightning port on the lower edge is ever so small at the center, probably because of the technical tricks that Apple performs under the screen to get the frameworks uniform. And frameworks are there. If there is a knock against iPhone XR’s design, the frames are distracting to the point where it almost feels like a cheap iPhone XS knockoff.

It will surely be an interruptor for some, but there is a perfect valid reason for such thick features: iPhone XR uses an LCD screen so it must be constantly backlit. As such, additional millimeters ensure no leakage or bright spots will occur. It’s a good trade-off when you think the option would have been a deeper chin and forehead. In addition, framing is a shallow matter anyway, and they will quickly melt away when you use it.

Next Best OLED

While iPhone XR’s Screen Looks Like It On XS, Make No Mistake: It’s basically a larger iPhone 8 Plus with rounded corners. This means that its 720p HD LCD screen is one step below the full HD screen on iPhone 8 and far from almost 2K OLED on XS.

 iPhone xs max white balance Christopher Hebert / IDG [19659006] The iPhone XS Max (right) screen is noticeably sharper and clearer than the iPhone XR, but you only notice if you’re holding them side by side.

But the iPhone XR is still in the Retina Zone, which is all that really matters. When Apple took the term Retina back in 2010 with 3.5-inch iPhone 4, its 326 ppi measurement was exactly the same as it’s iPhone XR. That’s when display technology has improved dramatically over the last eight years, and even giants usually have high pixel densities, such as Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (516) and Google Pixel 3 XL (523). Even if you compare apples with apples with another 6.1-inch LCD phone like the LG G7, XR becomes trounced (563 ppi to 326 ppi).

It is a major dealon paper than in practice. Over 300 ppi is basically indistinguishable for the human eye, so based solely on resolution, the iPhone XR will look as good as iPhone XS or Galaxy Note 9. Even when playing scratched HD content on Netflix or YouTube, it’s very very difficult to distinguish much of the difference in image quality between it and a higher resolution screen.

However, the displays are more than the sum of the pixels and the color accuracy and the saturation of the iPhone XR’s LCD screen is not far from good as a high-quality HDR-certified OLED. It’s not so noticeable in everyday life as it’s when comparing it with XS or Pixel 3, but the LCD screen on iPhone is definitely a downgrade from premium OLED phones.

Christopher Hebert / IDG

The frameworks of the iPhone XR are noticeably thicker than the iPhone XS Max.

But in its own context, XR’s LCD screen is quite remarkable with excellent white balance and amazing brightness. It may not be OLED’s deep black, but as iPad Pro, XR still feels like a modern smartphone display, especially with True Tone.

Apple’s 120Hz sampling makes elements appear faster when dropped and touched and while animations are not as fast as they are on iPad Pros ProMotion screen, it goes far to make XR feel faster than it should. And the rounded corners and balanced full screen design really believe the price tag. You lose 3D Touch, but something like icon routes can be added later with the help of haptics.

When I used the iPhone XR, I did not really have my OLED phones at all and the only criticism I can compare is the viewing angle, which is significantly narrower than older LCD iPhones. What I missed from the Android OLEDs was a surrounding screen. Despite the introduction of OLED screens, Apple has consistently refused to ever implement the display on any of their phones. As such, the screen lights up every time a message arrives, and the lock screen needs to be fully lit just to check the time. I would like to see a surrounding display for iPhone XR in iOS 12.3 as part of Apple’s custom midcycle feature extension.

Incredibly fast, amazing battery life

With fewer pixels to power, the iPhone XR can actually beat the iPhone XS and XS Max in a key category: battery life. Even with a battery capacity of 3,000 mAh, the iPhone XR is one of the longest phones in this or some price range, and it ran circles around Pixel 3 XL and Galaxy S9.

It also gave Galaxy Note 9 and its 4000 mAh battery a run for their money. I had consistently 7 to 8 hours of hard-pressed screening time (games, movies, streaming, etc.) and close to 10 on less stressful days. I never had to charge iPhone XR before my day was over, including a very long while you streamed Apple Music and used turn-turn navigation.

 iPhone xr xs pencil Christopher Hebert / IDG

Despite a smaller battery, the iPhone XR (right) stays longer than the iPhone XS Max.

Apple has not cut performance to increase iPhone XR’s battery life either. XR has the same A12 Bionic chip as XS, and it’s a straight-up screamer. Apps and animations fly over the screen due to a combination of processor speed and standard iOS optimization, and anyone upgrading from an iPhone 6 or earlier – which I suspect will be a major part of sales – will see a huge speed increase. Even if you move from an iPhone 7, there will be a profound improvement.

In our Geekbench 4 tests, we found that iPhone XR’s speed is falling in line with Phone XS and XS Plus. Compared with iPhone X, XR is 13 percent faster in single core performance and about 10 percent faster in multiple kernels. You can get the full story of our reference results (which includes several other tests) in our iPhone XR Reference Article.

 iphone xr benchmarks geekbench4 IDG

Higher points / longer bars indicate better performance. Click to enlarge.

And that’s a small thing, but I appreciate the storage levels of XR as well. While it has the same 64GB bass level as the advanced phones, Apple forces customers to spend an extra $ 150 for 256GB of storage on XS, which artificially blows up the price for more storage than most people need. On XR, you can double the storage space to 128GB for just $ 50, which is much more tasty.

Facial ID Leads The Way

A rear fingerprint sensor would have been an easy way out for iPhone XR and offers a well-known biometric while allowing a even smaller hack on the front. Instead, Apple puts a next-generation True Depth camera in XR, and as a chip and design, Apple’s cheapest phone equals the most expensive.

 iphone xr notch Christopher Hebert / IDG

] The IPhone XR hides the same True Depth camera and sensors as the iPhone XS.

Face ID on iPhone XR is as extra as it’s on XS, and a bit faster and more forgiving than iPhone X. It’s not just an improvement over Touch ID on iPhone 8, it gives the same surprisingly nice user-friendliness as I felt The first time I used the iPhone 5 fingerprint sensor or the original iPhone’s slider. You will not understand how clunky reaches for a fingerprint sensor until you experience Face ID for the first time.

On iPhone XR, Face ID feels much more than it did on iPhone X. You can add a second face, and the integration with password manager and other apps makes it much more useful than just a unlock mechanism. But most people who buy this phone will care more about Animoji and Memoji, both of which work just as well on iPhone XR. For most people, the True True camera is more likely a bonus than a reason to buy XR, but the presence of XR goes far beyond raising it to the top level.

This is mainly due to iOS 12. There is nothing here that you can not get with iPhone 7 or 8, but iOS 12 feels right at XR in combination with the A12 Bionic chip. Gesturing is smart and fluid, Face ID is crazy fast and appbyte is incredibly smooth. I would still like to have multitasking and an app box, but iOS 12 just shines on XR.

A camera does the work of two

Other than the display, the other semi-powered iPhone XR does is with the camera. Instead of a dual array like the one that is iPhone XS, the XR has a one-sided lens on the back. Apple did the same to separate the iPhone from the Plus models, and just like the phones, you lose the zoom lens.

 iPhone xr xs max camera Christopher Hebert / IDG

One of the biggest differences between iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max is the camera.

While the lack of a 2x optical zoom can certainly be an interrupt switch for some, I found that XR’s digital zoom was perfect in most situations. Yes, it’s quieter than optical zoom and sometimes the zoom algorithm failed white balance, but the digital single results are hardly unusable.

 iphone xr portrait nature compare Michael Simon / IDG

Because the iPhone XR can not take portrait without person, Pixel 3 XL (center) and Galaxy Note 9 (right) handled the depth of this photo of a flower a lot better. In the pictures below, you can see the iPhone XR portrait engine at work. The digital broadcasting is as good as Pixel 3 XL (center) and Galaxy Note 9 (right).

 iphone xr portrait compare Michael Simon / IDG

To compensate for the zoom lens bokeh data, Apple has built up his computing game to let XR take portrait, a first for a single camera iPhone. And they are pretty good. Compared to Not 9’s dual camera system, XR could also distinguish the background from the subject equally well (and usually better), and was mostly able to keep up with Pixel 3 XL’s exceptional capabilities as well. [19659002] It’s a bummer that portrait mode is not working with anything but humans, but it’s interesting to see how Apple improves its machining engine, providing future iterations of the XR pin with a single lens.

 iphone xr color compare Michael Simon / IDG

iPhone XR (left) manages consistent and better contrast than Pixel 3 XL (center) and Galaxy Note 9 (right).

When you take common pictures, XR is basically an XS, which is to say that it is one of the best cameras you will get in a smartphone. Even in a season of serious thousand dollar standouts, the $ 750 iPhone XR does not give up anything for its comrades, and I consistently took top-class gallery-worthy shots. Apple’s professing engine often shares the difference between Samsung’s light overexposure and Google’s artistic underexposure to capture crisp, detailed and hyperrealistic images that needed a little re-touching. XR featured in all kinds of light and while it’s a bit of light mode is not really good than Pixel 3 XL’s amazing Night Sight, I would not hesitate to recommend XR to anyone debating between it and a higher priced phone

 iphone xr zoom compare Michael Simon / IDG

iPhone XS Max (right) takes clear and color-corrected photos when using 2X optical zoom, but iPhone XR’s digital version is not horrible. [19659007] Some other observations:

  • I snapped all my pictures with Smart HDR turned on, mainly because Apple makes it unobtrusively complicated to shut down if it’s closed. Instead of switching to the app, you must go to Camera Settings in the settings app.
  • Apple has given XR the same ability to adjust portrait as on XS: You can adjust the depth of field before shooting a shot (by pressing the “f” button in the upper right and then (by clicking Edit in the Photos app)
  • You can not use stage lighting on XR.
  • Even without optical zoom, I missed the one-button 2X zoom button above the shutter. It’s much smarter than squeezing.
  • Apple’s stock camera app still lacks an outstanding set of manual controls, but there are a variety of third-party applications that will provide this functionality.

Bottom line

While iPhone XR obviously takes its signals from Apple’s thousands of dollar flagship phones, it’s priced like an iPhone 9 would be. In an alternative reality where iPhone X never existed, XR would be the most exciting iPhone this year, and people would manage to buy a

 iPhone xr xs max back [19659081] Christopher Hebert / IDG </small><figcaption> <p> iPhone XR (right) is not as good with a screen or camera as the iPhone XS Max, but you can not beat the value it provides. </p> </figcaption></figure> <p> As such, iPhone XR receives other billing for iPhone XS and is seen as a smaller option. It is definitely not. It may not be as exciting as XS, but it's a huge improvement over the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and even with a single camera, XR can take starviews, even portraits. Simply, the iPhone XR is the best input level that the iPhone has ever done, and it's not much to say that iPhone XR is the best iPhone that Apple has done so far, with a perfect blend of good, better and best. </p> <p> If you upgrade from an iPhone 7 or earlier and beam to spend a thousand dollars on a phone, the iPhone XR is really a no-brainer. The new design is a huge improvement compared to home-centered, and battery life is the best I've ever experienced in an iPhone. And iOS 12 brings just everything together. </p> <p> Frankly, everyone on the iPhone Upgrade Program should consider XR as well. It includes people who use an iPhone X. I switched my 256GB iPhone X for a 128GB XR, and I saved $ 15 a month in the process, and I have not regretted it. So you can add higher payments to the list of things you will not miss with the iPhone XR. </p><div><script async src=

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