Apple iPhone XR: Better than expected
October 24, 2018

The iPhone XR is currently the cheapest smartphone in Apple’s 2018 lineup.

I was skeptical when I first saw the iPhone XR along with the introduction of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max last month. The iPhone XR is supposedly Apple’s less expensive iPhone – I’m saying less expensive because with a starting price of 3,179 AED it still cost more than other flagships.

That being said, I can see the iPhone XR having its own audience – for users who prefer getting the fancy features of the XS without having to pay more than 4,000 AED for it. If you want the least expensive iPhone, the iPhone XR is the choice – else you can go for last year’s iPhone X or the iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone XR feels like the iPhone 8 – an aluminum frame with a matte finish that surrounds two pieces of glass. From an angle, it still retains the elegance that iPhones are usually known for and its dimensions make it a tad larger than the iPhone XS but smaller than the iPhone XS Max. It also comes in a variety of colors too: black, white, blue, yellow, coral and my personal favorite the Product RED version.

The iPhone XR forgoes the fancy features of the XS so you’ll get an LCD screen instead of OLED, one camera lens instead of two and Haptic touch instead of 3D Touch. That being said, it still bears the same specifications like the XS including the A12 Bionic chip, Smart HDR on the camera, stereo speakers, dual SIM support, wireless charging and of course, Face ID. It runs iOS 12, so the experience from other iPhones will pretty much be the same.

There has been some criticism about the iPhone XR’s display when it was first announced. First off, you get an LCD-based all-screen display measuring 6.1-inches with a resolution of 1792-by-828 pixels at 326 ppi (pixels per inch). If you look at those numbers, the resolution actually is less than what last year’s iPhone 8 Plus has (1920-by-1080). It may be a cause for concern for some that’s for sure, especially since other lesser-priced smartphones offer more pixels.

Apple did point out that the ppi is exactly the same as last year’s iPhone 8, so your eyes won’t tell the difference. I was using the iPhone XR for a couple of days and I didn’t really notice any loss of detail because of the low resolution. My only annoyance is that since I was spoiled by OLED screens on the iPhone X and the iPhone XS Mas that I was using previously, I miss seeing the pure dark blacks and increased contrast when using the iPhone XR.

The iPhone XR’s size feels much better on the hand compared to the iPhone XS Max. I can easily use it with one hand, including typing on the keyboard and navigation. The shiny glass exterior is a fingerprint magnet, so invest in a case if you want it smudge-free.

You’ll find a single camera setup on the iPhone XR. It’s a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with a f/1.8 aperture with True Tone flash. As mentioned, Apple also incorporates the Smart HDR feature on the XS here on the iPhone XR. The TrueDepth camera at the front of the device contains the 7-megapixel sensor that also houses the sensors used for Face ID.

The iPhone XR’s camera still produces wonderful images, colors are properly-represented without being oversaturated, and detail is clear and consistent. Competing Android smartphones could probably produce better images, but you’re still getting a top of the line smartphone camera on the iPhone XR.

Once complaint I may have is that the iPhone XR’s Portrait mode only works with human subjects. Unlike on the iPhone XS where you can put any object in focus, the iPhone XR won’t initiate Portrait mode if the subject isn’t human.

The same goes with video – at the moment, only iPhones has the capacity to continuously record 4K 60 fps video without any hiccups. Combine that with the smartphone’s ability to immediately edit that footage in the smartphone is one of the reasons why I still prefer the iPhone.

The iPhone XR comes in 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB capacities costing 3,179 AED, 3,389 AED and 3,809 AED respectively.

Overall, I was surprised how capable the iPhone XR still after it was stripped off of some features from the XS. For users looking to get an all-screen iPhone without breaking the bank, the iPhone XR is for you.

We Love:

+ Excellent performance

+ Decent camera

+ Plethora of color options

+ Cheaper than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

+ Liquid retina display is better than expected

We Hate:

– Low-res screen might be an issue for some users

– Portrait mode only works with human subjects

Final Rating: 4/5

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. Has passion for all things tech - you’ll normally find him tinkering with the latest gadgets and computer peripherals. He is an avid collector of Blu-ray discs and occasionally plays campaigns on his Xbox.
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