I have iPhone XR for about a week now and I’m going to be sharing my experience. I will not going to be going over specs and things like that. Those have already been covered in my unboxing video, which I’ll be linking in the cards. So let’s initially start off by talking about the build and design. I’ve heard a lot of people online comparing this to the iPhone 5C and I don’t think that’s a correct comparison to make because the 5C was very different to the XR; the 5C didn’t have the same specs as the flagship device that year, which was the 5S.
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The XR is very different and it’s also priced quite a bit higher. That’s because the XR does have a very premium build and design. We’ve got the same glass panels that we’ve got on the XS and the XS Max so, some of the most durable glass out there. The biggest difference being is the fact that we’ve got an aluminium, or I know you American’s like to say aluminum, band around the XR instead of the stainless steel on the XS and the XS Max.
Now aluminum is still very premium and some people might actually prefer this to the stainless steel because we have a matte finish which does look quite slick. It’s not going to pick up scratches and fingerprints as much as stainless steel is. Of course stainless steel is more durable, but I really do think it’s going to come down to personal preference. I think the main reason why a lot of people are comparing the XR to the 5Cs is because of the color options. You’ve got six different colors on the XR. Now here’s the thing, in my opinion if you want to go for more of an elegant look, then you can go for either the black, the white, and the Product(RED). The Product(RED) in my opinion does look the best. However, if you want to go for something more funky, more vibrant, then we’ve got the blue, there’s the yellow, and the coral. Now because the colors are a bit more flashy to some people they might appear to look a little cheaper.
It is going to come down to personal preference. It is nice that we’ve got six different color options to suit your needs. However, if you do want to be safe and want to go for more elegant color options, such as the black or white, you can always customize the look at a later point using a dbrand skin, who are our channel sponsor. That way you don’t have to be stuck with the same color. You can customize the color and texture of your smartphone as time goes by. I’m going to be leaving a link to them in the description below. Now thanks for the glass back, the XR does support wireless charging, which works really well. We’ve got IP67 water, and that’s resistance, we don’t have IP68, like the XS and XS Max. What does that actually mean? Well, it means that you’re only going to be able to submerge the XR into up to one meter of water; not two meters, like the XS and XS Max. How much of a difference is that going to make to you? Personally to me it doesn’t make a massive difference.
I like to have water and dust resistance in case I have a bit of a splash on it or something. I’m not somebody who’s going to take this swimming. Now let’s move on to the display, which has probably been the biggest talking point around the XR recently. Let me just go ahead and say this: The XS and XS Max have much better displays. You’ve got AMOLED technology on those, and blacks are deeper, colors are more vibrant, contrast ratios are much, much higher on those displays. In comparison, the XR has an LCD display, Apple call this a liquid retina display. And here’s the thing, although it’s not as good as a XS and XS Max, it’s not a bad display. The colors are very, very accurate. Apple have said that this is the most color-accurate, LCD display in the industry; and I would have to agree with them. We’ve also got a very similar design language on the XR compared to the XS and XS Max, so we’ve got small bezels all around with a notch.
These bezels are slightly larger compared to the XS and XS Max. This is something that I personally noticed just because I’m coming from a XS Max. This isn’t something that you’re going to notice. Well, if you’re coming to this from something, like an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, then I think you’re really going to appreciate the screen to body ratio that you get on here, which is much higher compared to those devices. The only real time I think you’ll notice the difference in bezel size is if you actually put this side by side with a XS or XS Max, which I don’t think many people will be doing.
Now the resolution of the XR is also lower compared to the XS and XS Max; this is something that people have been going crazy online about. We’ve got right about an 2830P display on this, not 1080P. Now I personally would’ve have liked the 1080P display and I do notice that this display is not as sharp compared to something like the XS and XS Max, which is where I’m coming from.
But how much is a regular person going to notice this difference? I don’t think very much. If you’re coming from something like an iPhone 6S or an iPhone 7, then you are not going to notice a difference in terms of sharpness because it has the same ppi pixel density: 326. Now I’ve said this before, but if you are somebody who is complaining about the resolution of the XR, then it’s very likely that you’re currently an Android user and you had no intention of buying the XR anyway.
For the people who this is targeted at, people who are upgrading a previous iPhone, I don’t think this is going to be an issue. Right, now that we’ve got past that, let’s talk about the cameras. So the front facing camera on the XR is exactly the same as the XS and XS Max, so you’re not going to be missing out on anything here.
You’ve still got great dynamic range, which is something that I’ve been very impressed with. You still got the Portrait mode from the front-facing camera with depth control so you can adjust the blur for effect. It also works pretty well. Probably not as well as some of the competition out there in terms of edge detection, but it’s still very, very good. You’ve got great improvements in the video side of things. So you’ve got stereo audio recording as well as stabilization now from the front-facing camera. Not optical stabilization, digital stabilization, but it still works pretty well. So if you’re somebody who likes to vlog, you’re really going to notice the difference on the XR compared to some of the previous iPhone models. Now when it comes to the rear-facing camera, as you can see we only have a single rear-facing camera, not two rear-facing cameras like you have on the XS and XS Max.
But this rear-facing camera is the same primary camera that we’ve got on those devices. What does this mean? Well it means that the XR has a great rear-facing camera. It takes really nice shots. We’ve got Smart HDR once again, so dynamic range is on point. Video is also really good where you’ve got 4K at up to 60 frames a second. Dynamic range in video is probably some of the best that you’re going to find out there. What you’re essentially missing out on is the optical zoom. So you’re not going to get two times optical zoom on the XR like you’ve got on the XS and XS Max. How often do you use zoom on a camera? If it’s very often, then that’s something you’re going to have to consider with the XR. If it’s something that you don’t use often, then it’s something that you’re probably not going to be too bothered about.
The other difference is Portrait mode. You do have Portrait mode on the XR, but it only uses the one lens. It actually works really well in my opinion. Edge detection is definitely good, not as good as the XS and XS Max in my opinion. Of course with those phones, you do have the additional camera for depth information. Portrait mode on the XR only works with people, so you’re not going to be able to use it with objects and animals and things. It is going to be looking for people to apply that blur effect in the background for. Now I went out and did some test shots to compare this to the XS Max. The main difference that I noticed was in terms of the angle of view. With the XS and XS Max, you are going to be using the optical zoom lens for the Portrait mode.
This is approximately 50mm in terms of photography. Now without going into too much detail, if you speak to a portrait photographer, they’ll normally shoot portraits at 50mm or above. That’s just more of a flattering angle. Our eyes will also see roughly around 50mm, as far as I’m aware. Now if you shoot wider than 50mm, things can still look good but generally things will start to look a little bit distorted towards the sides and you’ll be a little bit stretched towards the sides too.
If you look at this comparison of Portrait mode between the XS Max and the XR, personally I prefer the XS Max image much more. It’s more of a flattering image. With the XR, although it looks pretty decent, it is a little bit stretched over the sides. It makes me look a lot slimmer, which I personally don’t like. This is something that you might personally like. But generally speaking, in my opinion, you will be getting better portraits on the XS and XS Max compared to the XR. Moving on, XR has a lot of the features that you’ve got on the XS. This is one of other reasons why you can’t really compare it to something like the iPhone 5C. We’ve got the same Apple A12 Bionic chip inside here, which is super fast so performance on this has been absolutely great.
We’ve got less RAM on the XR compared to the XS. I don’t think the general person is going to really notice this. Performance is very, very good. You’ve also got Face ID. The exact same Face ID that you’ve got on the XS and it works really, really well. Just check this out. It’s so fast and snappy. It’s also very, very secure.
And thanks to those Face ID senses, you’ve got Animoji and Memoji, these are things that you didn’t have on something like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. And with iOS 12 and the lack of a home button, you do have all your swipe gestures. So you can swipe up to go Home, you can swipe down from the right-hand side for the Control Center, and you can swipe down from the left-hand side for notifications. However there is no 3D Touch on the XR. Something you’ve got on many other iPhones, including all the ones like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Now it’s going to come down to how important 3D Touch is for you. You do have Haptic Touch, which works on certain areas. For instance in the Control Center, I can push down a little longer on something, like the brightness toggle here, it’s going to give me a slight vibration to give me that feedback.
It seems to work okay, but I can’t press down on icons and things like that. That does not work. Personally the area where I’ve used 3D Touch most is within the keyboard and that is to move the cursor around. This is something that I really like 3D Touch for. Now you’ve still got a version of this here on the XR. All you have to do is press down on the space bar and you can still move your cursor around like you can do in 3D Touch. So personally 3D Touch is not something that I’ve missed much using the XR, but it might be something that you do miss and something to bear in mind. Now let’s talk about battery life.
I have been using this for a week, so I can’t give a definitive opinion on battery life. This is something that I think we need to use a device for a long period of time for. Around a month, before you can really assess the battery life; but in my experience of using this for a week, the battery life has been very, very good, better than the XS Max. I’ve been able to get through the full day using the XR pretty easily. I think most people will be able to do that as well. That’s one of the advantages that you get with the XR in comparison to the XS ans XS Max. You are not pushing out as many pixels as you are doing on those devices.
And this is where low resolution actually has a benefit. You might notice that on many Android smartphones, they have a low resolution setting, which helps with battery life. Most people that I speak to that use those devices, use a low resolution because battery life is very, very important. If battery life is important to you, then the compromise of a low resolution might be something that you’re willing to accept here on XR. That is my summary of the XR after using it for one week. Who do I think the XR is for? Well, we have to look at the price. The XR starts at around 750 pounds or $750, which is 250 less compared to the XS. Is the XS a better phone overall? Yes, it totally is. I think especially when it comes to that display. If you’re somebody who appreciates a better display like I do, and you can afford that higher price tag, then I would advise: Go for the XS.
However, if you’re somebody who appreciates better battery life, doesn’t necessarily need a zoom camera, doesn’t mind a low resolution LCD display, and wants to save a bit of money, then I think the XR is a great option. 750 pounds is still a lot of money, and not considered budget by any means; however it is lower compared to 1,000 pounds. Now if you’re on the Android side, I know you’re going to be crazy in the comments, and yes, there’s lots of Android options available that are cheaper than this, offering better displays and such, but as I’ve said previously if you’re somebody who is currently using Android, then chances are you are not considering the XR anyway.
In my opinion, the XR is targeted to iPhone users who are maybe considering upgrading from something like the iPhone 7, maybe the 7 Plus, maybe the 6S or 6S Plus. If you’re one of those people and you don’t have the budget to go for something like the XS or XS Max, which are very expensive devices, then the XR is going to be a great option.