Released in the USA in September 12, 2018, the iPhone XR is, for the fourth consecutive quarter, the best-selling smartphone in the world. This was confirmed by analysts from Counterpoint Research, who released the sales ranking for the period July-September 2019. In the third quarter, the iPhone XR represented 3% of global smartphone sales, and contributed more than a quarter to Apple’s overall sales. This good performance was possible also thanks to the price decrease practiced by Apple in China and in some other markets.

In second and third places there are the Samsung’s Galaxy A10 and A50 respectively, Samsung also having the A20 in seventh. Just off the podium is Oppo with the A9 smartphone. The company can also count on other two of the ten best-selling phones – the Oppo A5s in the sixth place, and the Oppo A5 in the eighth place. Fifth in the sales ranking is the iPhone 11 launched on the market in September. In ninth position is Xiaomi with the Redmi 7A, and in tenth place is Huawei with the P30 also penalized by Trump’s position on Huawei company and products.

iPhone XR Review

From the construction point of view, the real difference of the iPhone XR lies in the use of aluminum instead of steel for the side frame. The back remains instead in glass and, since the shapes are substantially unchanged, it is really easy for an inexperienced buyer to exchange it for an iPhone XS. Facing the device, the power / Siri key is still on the right, while the volume keys and the switch for the ringtone, that lets you quickly and easily turn the ringer off and put the iPhone into vibrate-only mode, are on the left. It is larger than an iPhone XS, it weighs 194 grams, but in the hand it is not excessively thick and heavy. The smartphone is IP67, so it is resistant to water and dust. The glass is declared more resistant, exactly like on the iPhone XS which, to date, is resisting much better than its predecessor. The selection of colors is varied: black, white, red, blue, yellow and coral.

The main reason why this XR is not an iPhone SE is that we have a real top-of-the-range smartphone here, with much of the hardware in common with the more expensive XS. We have the brand new and very powerful Apple A12 Bionic hexa-core 7nm processor to start. The quad core GPU and the octa core Neural Engine are still in place. We have 3 GB of RAM and three internal memory cuts 64, 128 and 256 GB, non-expandable. The iPhone XR can also be dual SIM thanks to the support of eSIMs, unfortunately not yet available in several countries. The iPhone XR does not support gigabit-class LTE like the iPhone XS does. But according to Apple, the iPhone XR can support up to “LTE Advanced,” which is designed to deliver 4G speeds, or around 100 megabits per second, that is not bad at all. There is NFC for Apple Pay and the same fast Face ID unlocking system also available on company’s other smartphones. The FM radio and the audio jack are absent. The stereo sound is very good, more powerful than many other smartphones in the same range.

With its 12 megapixel ƒ / 1.8 camera optically stabilized, with larger pixels that capture more light and a new smart HDR mode that shows an important contribution in all the shots you will do, the iPhone XR can manage in a much better way than in the past any conditions of light. The photos taken by the iPhone XR are certainly among the most enjoyable around, with well-calibrated and soft colors, without ever encountering exaggerated contrasts. It is not perfect and the competition in the high end is very tight in the field of cameras, but this is an iPhone, and we must always consider the whole picture when buying one. The second zoom camera is missing, but this does not prevent the iPhone XR from taking pictures in portrait mode. It also offers excellent videos in 4K at 60fps with electronic stabilization. Super slow motion is present too. The iPhone XR’s front-facing camera is identical to the iPhone XS. The iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max all feature the same 7 megapixel ƒ / 2.2 camera on the front to power Apple’s TrueDepth Camera system for Face ID.

The real difference when it comes to iPhone XR and XS is the display. Apple designed a new “Liquid Retina” display for the iPhone XR, which is a 6.1-inch LCD with a 1792 x 828 resolution that spans from edge-to-edge and top to bottom with minimal bezels and it does a good job of delivering sharp lines and vivacious colors. The technology is then IPS and not AMOLED as on the company’s most expensive smartphone. In daily use, these differences are objectively imperceptible and this is an excellent result for Apple, which essentially offers the end user the same experience of use on a less expensive smartphone. But the black reproduction is somehow poorer and the sharpness isn’t the same either. The feeling that something of the XS display is better remains.

The most tangible difference instead, the one that definitely makes XR seem the cheapest of the two are the edges around the display, decidedly more marked, although always symmetrical and therefore aesthetically not annoying. There remains the display support for True Tone technology and the restart on lifting. Force touch is missing. Honestly no big deal and Apple shows that many of the things could be done objectively even with prolonged pressure – but not everything.

All the software is exceptional and the user experience is excellent, also thanks to the new gestures slightly refined with the latest software release. The integration with the various Apple services and other devices is obviously at the highest level, but you will appreciate the smartphone even if it were the only Apple device you will have. There is also support for ARKit 2, the new animated Memoji, the option to reduce the display downwards and the control center from the top right corner.

The battery is a 2942 mAh that guarantees better results than an iPhone XS and not too far from those of an iPhone XS Max and this is certainly an excellent result when considering the battery size.

The iPhone XR prices are certainly high, but in line with the Apple price lists and much lower than those of the iPhone XS, making this product much more attractive for a large part of the public.

Conclusion

The iPhone XR user experience is basically the same as an iPhone XS, but you will keep in your pocket some extra money and maybe you will also buy it in the color you like the most. You will also gain some battery as a plus.

Pros

  • Top camera
  • Dual SIM in supported countries
  • Excellent (3D) facial recognition system
  • Excellent performance

Cons

  • No audio jack
  • No FM radio
  • Bezels around the display
  • Apple USB-C to Lightning cable with adapter (Apple 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapter) for fast charging not included in the package