iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Is Spending the Extra Money Worth It?

2018 was a productive year for Apple thanks to the release of three new iPhones: the iPhone XR, iPhone Xs, and the iPhone Xs Max. While iPhone names have definitely become more confusing since the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, that’s not the only thing Apple changed.

iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Is Spending the Extra Money Worth It?

To help you get to grips with which iPhone might be best for you, we’ve compared the less expensive of the three models, the iPhone XR and iPhone Xs, although these are by no means “cheap” options. If you’re torn between the iPhone Xs and its larger sibling, the iPhone Xs Max, we’ve put that comparison together too.

iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Design

Appearance-wise, not much has been radically changed from last year. The iPhone XR’s screen is larger than the iPhone 8, sporting an impressive 6.1in display. Because Apple has eliminated the home button and introduced the iPhone X’s edge-to-edge screen, the iPhone XR still manages to be lighter in weight than its predecessors. If you want to get precise, the exact dimensions are 76mm x 8.3 x 151mm, weighing just 194g. You’ll just have to get used to that notch blocking the top part of your screen, though.


And as far as colors go, the iPhone XR gives you six options: Black, blue, coral, red, yellow, and white. Not quite enough to have for every day of the week, but it’s a start.

The iPhone Xs looks an awful lot like the iPhone X– same screen size, and the same notched design. The changes to this phone are mostly internal improvements. Waterproofing has been upgraded to IP68, and the 12MP dual-camera has a smattering of enhancements. The iPhone Xs is just a little bit smaller than the XR, at 71mm x 7.7mm x 144mm, and weighing 177g.


iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Display

The display is the biggest difference between the iPhone Xs and iPhone XR. Apple is calling the XR’s 6.1in screen the “most advanced” LCD screen it’s put out so far, and with a resolution of 1,792 x 828-pixels and a density of 326 ppi, that’s not a bad claim to make – even if it won’t have Android users quaking in their boots.


The 5.8in Xs is still the winner here, however, with its 2,436 x 1,242-pixel, 458ppi OLED display. The difference between these two displays might be hard to detect at first, but the real power of the Xs comes through in its colors, which are much better defined than on the XR.

iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Camera

Both the iPhone XR and Xs share the same basic primary camera. Apple upgraded its hardware this year, giving its phones a 12-megapixel camera with a larger sensor and more pixels than the iPhone X; 1.4um pixels, to be exact. The cameras also sport a f/1.8 wide-angle lens, Smart HDR technology, and an adjustable bokeh.


If this is a contest between camera prowess, the iPhone Xs would win. Not only does it sport the same 12-megapixel snapper of the XR but it also has a second  f/2.4 aperture 12-megapixel telephoto lens to utilise.

iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Face ID

Apple has abandoned its Touch ID technology entirely, completing a process that started last year when Touch ID failed to make it onto the iPhone X. So, now that neither the Xs nor the XR have it, Face ID is the primary biometric login for both phones.


iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Price

While a slightly older model iPhone is still expensive, it’s nothing compared to the latest models. The cheapest option for the iPhone XR is the 64GB version, which costs around £229. The highest spec, and most expensive, XR comes with 256GB and costs from £229 to £389.

The cheapest Xs, starts at around £254 for the 64GB model, £279 for the 256GB, and if you want the 512GB model, you’ll need around £349. While they’ve definitely gotten cheaper, you’re still going to be spending at least £229 for an iPhone XR or Xs.


iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs: Verdict

By virtue of the fact the iPhone XR was designed as a budget version to the iPhone Xs, it’s natural that the XR isn’t quite as good. However, that doesn’t mean it’s bad, and Apple’s trademark quality of hardware and design rears its head in both cases. The iPhone Xs is what you’ll want if you need a high-end phone – it has faster performance (in our reviews of the iPhone Xs and iPhone XR we compare their speed and battery life, so take a look for specifics), and its camera uses cutting-edge technology to be the best.

While there’s not much difference in price anymore, if you’re just looking for something to use to listen to music, check social media, and watch Netflix on the bus, the iPhone XR is what you’ll want, and it’ll do you well.

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