The iPhone XR delivers fast performance, great cameras and long battery life for a good price.

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ByMark Spoonauer18 February 2021

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Our Verdict

The iPhone XR delivers fast performance, great cameras and longer battery life than other flagship phones, all in a colorful and affordable package.


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The iPhone XR went on sale Oct. 26, 2018. It now starts at $499 for 64GB of storage, và it"s available through Apple & all of the major U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile và Verizon. You can also buy the iPhone XR through US Cellular & Xfinity, as well as through retailers such as Best Buy & Sam"s Club.

iPhone XR review: Design

If you think most iPhones look too conservative sầu, the iPhone XR will change your mind. Apple achieved a look that"s fun yet elegant via a seven-layer color process.


The glass backs are available in blaông xã, Trắng, xanh, yellow, coral & red. I"m partial lớn the cerulean xanh. All of these hues have color-matched aluminum bands, which blkết thúc together with the baông xã seamlessly. I"ve sầu also been spending some time with the yellow & coral models. The yellow isn"t as bright as the photos would have sầu you believe; it"s more of a lemony yellow.


Again, as a phone snob, I can"t help but notice that the bezels are slightly thicker on the iPhone XR than on the iPhone XS, but typical users won"t care. The TrueDepth camera is up front, along with the notch, to help you log in via Face ID, as well as have fun with Animoji và Memoji & capture portrait selfies.


If you"ll allow me to geek out for a moment, OLED screens are much easier khổng lồ manipulate than LCDs, so it"s a pretty impressive feat that Apple was able to deliver a near full-screen thiết kế on the LCD-based iPhone XR that curves toward the edges.

Apple pulled this off through a combination of precision milling, advanced pixel masking & subpx anti-aliasing. That means that the very edges of the screen that look lượt thích bezels are actually part of the display & are made to look blaông chồng.

iPhone XR review: Durability

In terms of ruggedness, the front of the iPhone XR has the same durable glass as the iPhone XS, but the baông xã is not as tough, so you may want to get an iPhone XR case. The iPhone XR is IP67 water-resistant, which means it can withstvà 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, compared lớn 2 meters for the same amount of time for the IP68-rated iPhone XS.


If you need to lớn repair a cracked screen on the iPhone XR, it costs $199/£196.44 if you don"t have AppleCare+. It costs $29/£25 if you vày pay for AppleCare+ service, which for the iPhone XR is $149/£149.

iPhone XR review: Size

I"ve been switching between the 5.8-inch iPhone XS & the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max over the last month, so the 6.1-inch iPhone XR feels just right khổng lồ me. It"s big enough lớn deliver the immersive experience smartphone buyers want these days for Netflix bingeing, Instagramming and gaming, but it"s not so big that it"s unwieldy.


iPhone XR (left) & iPhone 8 (right)

The kiến thiết will take some adjustment for those stepping up from a puny, 4.7-inch iPhone 7 but not those stepping up from an iPhone 7 Plus. That"s because Apple squeezed a bigger display inlớn a kiến thiết about the same kích cỡ as the iPhone 7 Plus by banishing the trang chủ button.

As you might expect, the iPhone XR"s size và weight (6.8 ounces, 5.9 x 3 x 0.3 inches) is in between that of the iPhone XS (6.2 ounces, 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches) & that of the XS Max (7.3 ounces, 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches). Google"s Pixel 3 XL (6.5 ounces, 6.2 x 3 x 0.3 inches), with its 6.3-inch screen, is a bit lighter but noticeably taller than the iPhone XR.

It"s worth noting that the Galaxy S10e delivers a colorful kiến thiết in a more compact package, as it sports a smaller 5.8-inch display.

iPhone XR review: Display

The iPhone XR"s 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD is one of the brighter và more colorful điện thoại thông minh displays out there. It"s just not OLED-great. On the plus side, the 1792 x 828-pixel screen delivered excellent detail when I watched the trailer for Aquaman, as I could make out every scale in his superanh hùng uniform. (Yes, even though this panel is not technically full HD.) And the laser beams being shot at Amber Heard were an intense xanh.

This LCD fared well in our lab tests as well. It registered an excellent 589 nits of brightness, & I had no trouble reading this screen in direct sunlight. That number blows away the Pixel 3 XL"s 362 nits. The iPhone XS (606 nits) and Galaxy lưu ý 9 (604 nits) are even brighter, though. The Galaxy S10e hit 603 nits.


The iPhone XR"s screen registered a good 123.4 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is on par with the iPhone XS"s result (123 percent) but is behind showings from the Pixel 3 XL (170.2 percent) và Galaxy chú ý 9 (224 percent). The Galaxy S10e registered 148 percent.

The color accuracy is great, too, as the iPhone XR turned in a Delta-E score of 0.28 (0 is perfect). That beats results from the Pixel 3 XL (0.35) và Note 9 (0.34) và is comparable lớn the iPhone XS" showing (0.25). The Galaxy S10e was behind at 0.57.

What you don"t get on the iPhone XR"s screen are the perfect blacks & ultrawide viewing angles that OLED displays offer. I noticed the difference when I put the iPhone XR & iPhone XS side by side with an aquarium screen saver. The OLED panel is just more vibrant, & blacks can look more gray on an LCD.

iPhone XR review: No cảm ứng 3 chiều an issue?

The iPhone XR"s display doesn"t offer Touch 3D capability lượt thích the iPhone XS và iPhone XS Max bởi, which means you can"t long-press on apps on the home screen to lớn reveal shortcuts. But the XR does tư vấn what"s called Haptic cảm biến, which delivers haptic feedback và a lot of the same functionality.


So, instead of deep-pressing to lớn launch the camera from the lochồng screen, you long-press with a soft touch. And instead of pressing hard anywhere on the keyboard lớn control the cursor while you"re typing, you just long-press gently on the space bar. This change took some getting used lớn for me after I"d been using 3 chiều Touch-capable phones, but overall, I don"t think most iPhone owners will notice the difference between Haptic cảm ứng và cảm ứng 3 chiều.

iPhone XR review: Audio

With wider stereo sound, the iPhone XR"s dual speakers delivered excellent audio chất lượng when streaming Post Malone"s "Better Now." The vocals & instruments were rich & full, so good that my family told me to keep it down. More importantly, there"s a true volume boost over the iPhone X, which I appreciated when getting turn-by-turn directions via Google Maps while I was driving. I could even hear the directions over my oto stereo played at moderate volume.

iPhone XR review: Cameras

If you"re worried that the single-lens iPhone XR won"t capture photos that are as good as those from the dual-lens iPhone XS & XS Max, you can stop worrying now. This phone has the same stellar wide-angle camera sensor as its pricier siblings & the same Smart HDR functionality, which delivers better highlights in the shadows.


You can even shoot Portrait mode shots with the rear lens, complete with artistic bokeh effect, but there"s a catch: For now, the back camera can snap Portraits only of people, & if you try something else, the iPhone will tell you that it"s waiting for a person lớn enter the frame. The Pixel 3 doesn"t have sầu that limitation.

The good news is that the iPhone XR"s people portraits look pretty convincing. Plus, the iOS 12.1 update lets you tweak the depth control in your portraits in real-time pReview as you shoot, not just after the fact.

Take this shot of my colleague Sherri. The street scene lớn her left is artfully blurred, and yet the edges of her jacket look crisp. The iPhone XR"s camera delivered good results in uneven sunlight, though the left side of Sherri"s face could be brighter. Just keep in mind that because the iPhone XR doesn"t have a telephokhổng lồ lens lượt thích the iPhone XS has, your results will look more zoomed out than they would on Apple"s dual-camera phones.

How about food? The iPhone XR took a more appetizing shot of this dessert than the Pixel 3 did. The raspberry on top is much brighter on the iPhone"s photo, và the chocolate topper is more in focus.

When shooting pink flowers, the iPhone XR"s camera delivered less of a gradient in the color than the Galaxy lưu ý 9 did, so I actually preferred the results from Samsung"s phone.

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The Pixel 3 outperformed the iPhone XR on this shot of a lion in bright sunlight. There"s more contrast in the Pixel 3"s shot, & the shadows don"t get lost. There"s also a bit of lens flare in the iPhone XR"s phokhổng lồ.

Because the iPhone XR lacks the 2x optical zoom of the iPhone XS Max, I took this shot of the facade of the Thành Phố New York Public Library with the XR"s digital zoom. As it turns out, the iPhone XR"s image looks pretty sharp, though the text on the iPhone XS Max"s photo is more defined và has better contrast when you zoom in further. Same thing goes for the stone figures lớn the left.

To demo low-light performance we took the iPhone XR và Pixel 3 XL inlớn our đoạn phim studio and shut off all the lights, leaving just a bit of light coming in from the hallway. The iPhone XR captured a brighter shot, making the Cappy hat, Unicorn Meat tin & white water bottle more visible. The Pixel 3 XL’s image was dimmer with more noise.


The 7-MPhường front camera did an excellent job taking selfies. There"s good detail in my blue-and-red checkered shirt, as well as in my hair, & the lamp post and street in the background are artfully blurred. Just as with the iPhone XS, you can tweak the depth effect & change lighting effects, although the Contour Light option made me look lượt thích I was wearing makeup.

MORE:Pixel 3 vs. iPhone XS Camera Face-Off: Why Google Wins

Apple is also issuing a bug fix in iOS 12. 1 that can result in selfies with a so-called skin smoothing effect. According khổng lồ The Verge, this was because the iPhone XR"s & iPhone XS" Smart HDR feature was selecting the wrong base frame for the shot.

iPhone XR review: Performance

No surprise here: The A12 Bionic processor in the iPhone XR is just as fast as those in the iPhone XS và XS Max, which means you"re getting a phone that beats the best Android flagships for hundreds of dollars less. I enjoyed silky-smooth performance when playing the augmented reality puzzle game AR Blast, which has you shoot colored blocks in front of you. Plus, other people can join in on the AR action for multiplayer fun, something you can"t bởi on Android (at least not yet).

On Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, the iPhone XR scored 11,312, which is comparable to lớn the scores from the iPhone XS Max (11,515) and iPhone XS (11,420). That beats scores from the Galaxy lưu ý 9 (8,876) & OnePlus 6 (9,088) và blows past the Pixel 3 XL"s result (7,684).

The Galaxy S10e, which has a fast Snaprồng 855 processor, scored 10,513 on Geekbench 4.

The iPhone XR also excelled in our video-editing thử nghiệm, taking just 40 seconds to convert a 4K clip to lớn 1080p. That"s only a second behind the iPhone XS and way faster than the Pixel 3 XL (2:42), Galaxy S9+ (2:32) và OnePlus 6 (3:45). The Galaxy S10e finished in 2:26.


On 3DMark"s Slingshot Extreme Unlimited chạy thử, which evaluates graphics performance, the iPhone XR notched 4,416. The Pixel 3 XL was just a bit behind, at 4,396, but the Galaxy chú ý 9 reached a higher 4,639.

The iPhone XR pulled ahead in everyday tasks lượt thích opening apps, too. For example, it took the phone 12.3 seconds to open the Tekken fighting game, compared to lớn 21 seconds for the PIxel 3 XL. The gap was a lot narrower on the Asphalternative text 9 racing game, with the iPhone taking 4.98 seconds lớn the Pixel 3 XL"s 6.4 seconds.

While the iPhone XR doesn"t support the fasdemo Gigabit LTE network standard that the iPhone XS và XS Max bởi vì, it delivered excellent data rates in our testing. On the Speedtet.net phầm mềm, the iPhone XR averaged 58.4-Mbps downloads, compared lớn 58.2-Mbps down for the iPhone XS. However, the iPhone XS offered about double the upload speeds, at 25.4 Mbps versus 12.87 Mbps for the XR.

iPhone XR battery life

One of the best reasons to choose the iPhone XR over the iPhone XS Max và XS is longer battery life.

On the Tom"s Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous website surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the iPhone XR lasted 11 hours and 26 minutes. That beats the times from the iPhone XS Max (10:38) và iPhone XS (9:41) by a significant margin.

The Pixel 3 XL lasted only 9:30, while the Galaxy lưu ý 9 also endured for 11:26. The Galaxy S10e endured for 9:41.

In everyday use the iPhone XR"s endurance also impressed. After unplugging at 100 percent at 7 a.m., I used the phone intermittently to lớn play games, kiểm tra Facebook và gmail, và stream Spotify và capture photos & videos, & I still have 24 percent battery left at 9 p.m.

Unfortunately, Apple once again doesn’t offer fast USB-C charging on this phone. You’ll have to pay about $50/£50 for a USB-C charger and USB-C to lớn Lightning adapter if you want khổng lồ get to 50 percent in 30 minutes. The iPhone XR does tư vấn wireless charging.

iPhone XR review: iOS 14

The iPhone XR runs iOS 14. The top features of iOS 14 include widgets on the trang chính screen to lớn give you more info at a glance, as well as App Library for automatically organizing your apps. Other enhancements include compact incoming gọi notifications (so they don"t take over your whole screen, picture in picture, pinned conversations in Messages, a Translate app và more.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 11

The iPhone XR remains a good value, but there are reasons lớn consider stepping up to the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 has a more durable kiến thiết with tougher glass & a faster A13 Bionic processor, but the biggest reason khổng lồ opt for the iPhone 11 over the iPhone XR is its new camera system.

The iPhone 11"s camera takes much better pictures in low light & has a sophisticated Night Mode that takes stellar shots. On the other h&, the iPhone 11 starts at $599, so if you want lớn keep the price low on your next phone the $499 iPhone XR is still a good buy.

For more info see our iPhone XR vs iPhone 11 face-off.

iPhone XR vs iPhone SE 2020

Our iPhone SE vs iPhone XR face-off has more details, but here"s the gist if you"re on the fence between these two phones. The cheaper $399 iPhone SE is faster, thanks khổng lồ its A13 Bionic processor, và that same chip enables several photography features, including Portrait mode for the rear & front cameras và Smart HDR. The iPhone XR makes due with an older A12 Bionic chip.

On the other h&, the iPhone XR has a larger display than the iPhone SE (6.1 inches vs 4.7 inches), longer battery life and Face ID. The iPhone SE uses a Touch ID sensor.

iPhone XR review: Verdict

The iPhone XR has shockingly few trade-offs compared to pricier iPhones. You get a big & bright display, very good cameras, fast performance & long battery life for a very affordable price. Overall, we prefer the newer iPhone 12 because of its better cameras, OLED display & 5G, but if you"re on a budget you should be very happy with the iPhone XR.

A tougher choice is between the $499 iPhone XR & even cheaper $399 iPhone SE 20trăng tròn. The iPhone XR offers a larger screen và Face ID, but the new iPhone SE has a faster A13 Bionic chip và better cameras in a more compact kiến thiết. See our iPhone XR vs iPhone SE face-off for more info.

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Some may want to lớn wait to see if Apple launches a new iPhone SE 3 later this year. But, overall, the iPhone XR remains a great value.


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