iPhone XR Review in Late 2020
Who is the iPhone XR Right for?
The iPhone XR is the right phone for Apple users who want a snappy, modern iPhone but don't want to spend over a thousand dollars on the latest, greatest Apple flagship. You'll save hundreds of dollars and still get the full Apple iOS experience, minus a few of the latest flagship hardware improvements. The iPhone XR is a pleasure to use and will handle all of the tasks the average smartphone user throws at it with ease.
iPhone XR: Pros
- Battery Life - The iPhone XR has larger battery and is more power efficient than the iPhone XS.
- Lower Price Point - At $599 brand new, the iPhone XR one of the most budget friendly iPhone options
- Slow Depreciation - The iPhone XR has depreciated at $13/month since launch, which is considerably less than the $18/month average for iPhones and $44/month average of Samsung smartphones
iPhone XR: Cons
Display - On paper, the iPhone XR's resolution is quite poor compared to competitors at this price range, though in person the display looks just fine and actually helps improve battery life.
iPhone XR: Release Date and Current Outlook
The iPhone XR is one of Apple's current offerings in their budget lineup. Released in late 2018, it remains a popular option in 2020 and should remain a more than capable phone for the next several years.
iPhone XR: Pricing
The iPhone XR was priced starting at $749 for the 64GB variant and $799 for the 128GB variant when launched, but has since dropped in price to $599 and $649 for the respective storage capacities.
The iPhone XR has depreciated in price by roughly $13 per month since its launch date. You can currently pick up a used iPhone XR on Swappa for around ~$450 at the tiem of writing this article. You can view our entire smartphone depreciation report here:
iPhone XR: Design + Build Quality
Design (Color + Size) + Build Quality (Frame + Screen)
The iPhone XR is available in 6 colors: white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and red. Though the XR is considered a budget iPhone, it still maintains the premium build quality that we've come to know and expect from Apple.
Aluminum Frame + Glass Finish
The back of the iPhone XR has a glass finish and an aluminum frame just like the iPhone 11, a step down from the steel frames of the iPhone XS and 11 Pro. That being said, the aluminum frame still feels and looks great, and most won't be disappointed by or even notice the difference in quality. It becomes particularly irrelevant for those who plan on putting their phone in a case.
The XR is a medium sized phone at just under 6 inches tall and just under 3 inches wide. For most, this is the perfect sized phone in terms of striking a balance between comfortable one-handed use and a large enough screen to be both usable and enjoyable.
iPhone XR: Display
The iPhone XR's screen measures 6.1 inches diagonally which translates to a 1792 by 828 pixel resolution (328 pixels per inch). At 328 ppi, this display was the center of some controversy and criticism having the lowest pixel density for any phone released at this price range. On one hand, as consumers we should reasonably expect a higher resolution screen that competes on paper with Android competitors at this price range.
On the other hand, from a practical perspective the iPhone XR's display looks good. It's not the best display, but it's good enough that the vast majority of people wouldn't have a second thought about it's quality. In fact, even when it's side by side with the 458 ppi iPhone XS display, it's difficult to tell the difference in quality. Part of the reason for this is the XR's high 625 nit max screen brightness, which is an area that iPhones excel in over the competition.
iPhone XR: Battery + Charging
Battery + ChargingThe iPhone XR is equipped with a 2,942 mAH battery that is 11% larger than the iPhone XS's battery. While some may see the iPhone XR's lower pixel density LCD screen as a drawback, it is actually much more power efficient and ends of saving the iPhone XR a lot of battery life.
The iPhone XR is is compatible with wireless Qi charging and can be used with an 18W charging brick to charge up to 50% in 30 minutes.
iPhone XR: Speakers
The iPhone XR's speakers are just fine. They are louder and better quality than previous iPhone models, but at the end of the day they are still smartphone speakers. You aren't going to want to use them to play music for a room full of people but they'll work just fine for watching videos and movies on your device.
iPhone XR: Camera and Video
The iPhone XR has the same main camera unit as the iPhone XS and takes very nice point-and-shoot photos that are almost always indistinguishable from photos taken on the iPhone XS. Here are some photos taken on the iphone XR:
The main difference is that the iPhone XR lacks the rear telephoto lens so it will struggle in comparison to the XS when it comes to zooming in. If most of your pictures are of people or objects at a close to medium range, you won't notice much of a difference. However, if you find youself taking photos of landscapes, buildings, and other far away objects, the iPhone XS will take considerably better photos as it has the extra lens for capturing crisper detail when zooming in.
iPhone XR: Operating System
Like all other iPhones, the iPhone XR runs on iOS and enjoys the benefit of some beloved Apple features such as iMessage, AirDrop, and FaceTime.
iPhone XR: Complaints
My biggest, and only, gripe with the iPhone XR is the same complaint that most other tech reviewers have with the device. The 1792 by 828 pixel LCD screen is a bit of a let-down in a phone that costs this much. That being said, after handling the phone in person and seeing that it's actually a good looking screen, I completely understand why Apple did this.
It sacrifices a bit of screen quality, but saves a ton of battery life, and helps the phone come in at a lower price point than it's flagship counterparts. This is a trade-off that many, if not most, iPhone users will gladly make.
Where to Buy the iPhone XR:
Still not sure which phone to buy? Checkout our smartphone depreciation report so you can understand which smartphones depreciate the least.