Review: Apple iPhone XR
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 11:24PM
Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla in Apple, Apple Beat, Apps & Launches, Breaking news, Buyers Guide, Canada, Review, Reviews, iPhone Xr

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Apple’s third iPhone release for 2018, the colourful and perky iPhone XR, may have been relegated to second-class citizen status behind the pricier iPhone XS and XS Max and the new iPad Pro, Mac mini and MacBook Air unveiled today.

On any other year, a device like the iPhone XR would shine and stand alone as a worthy and worthwhile iPhone release. There’s a lot to the iPhone XR that will endear it to many users whose iPhone 6, iPhone SE or iPhone 7 handsets may be on their last legs.

Yes, it is more affordable than the premium iPhone XS family and if you can get over some of the manufacturing compromises (i.e. aluminum over stainless steel, LCD technology over OLED, 3 GB of RAM instead of 4 GB, single 12-megapixel rear camera instead of two) then the iPhone XR still has plenty to offer.

Apple did not scrimp on the important stuff. You still get an edge-to-edge 6.1-inch display, which, while not as bright in direct sunlight as the iPhone XS, is still a superb display and is the largest LCD display shipped in an iPhone.

This also has the True-Tone functionality that makes using the display in various conditions more pleasing to the eye.

At 6.1- inches, the iPhone XR is smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus class of devices, so people who have been chugging along with their older, larger iPhones do have a newer device that brings the larger display goodness. 3D touch is not available on the iPhone XR, it does have Haptic Touch which works in a similar way but is less tactile.

The advantage of having a lower resolution LCD instead of an OLED panel on a smartphone this size is twofold.

You get a bigger battery and improved performance because the phone is moving less pixels around. This means that battery life on the iPhone XR is exceptional and even more dramatic than the larger, more powerful iPhone XS Max.

The lack of a second, 2X zoom camera may seem like a big step back, since Apple’s been putting dual cameras on similarly sized iPhones since the iPhone 7.

I like what the iPhone XR’s single 12-megapixel camera with a f/1.8 aperture can deliver for most types of photography.


The camera sensor on the rear iPhone XR camera lets in more light, has larger pixels and can manage better low light photography.

There’s also that neural engine which can perform five trillion operations per second to ensure that the best possible version of a photo is captured.

Apple does this by shooting various frames of the same subject, including over and underexposed shots. It recomposes all this information into the best possible image.

I found the quality of the iPhone XR’s photos and videos to be impressive in most lighting conditions.

Apple still makes the best camera phone for most people, and save for the lack of 2x optical zoom, the iPhone XR is right up there with the more expensive models. In terms of pricing, iPhone XR starts at $1029 (as opposed to $1379 for iPhone XS).

What the iPhone XR lacks in more premium materials, it more than makes up for in personality.

Granted this is made in the mold of the iPhone X, the range of fun colours makes it a more accessible device for people who don’t take themselves, or their smartphone choices, too seriously.

With colours that remind us of the iPhone 5C and coloured iMacs of years past, the choice of white, black, blue, yellow, coral and the requisite red should cover most people’s requirements.

If you’re a gearhead or a car freak, you’ll notice that some of the choices for iPhone XR colours seem to correspond to exotic sports cars. My blue review unit looked a lot like the Gulf blue on a Ford GT. The coral and orange colours are reminiscent of Porsche and Lamborghini hues as well.

Having had the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR at the same time, I’ve gravitated towards the smaller iPhone XR. It sits better in the hand, has a good display, reliable camera and astounding battery life never before seen on an iPhone.

In many ways, the iPhone XR is uncharted territory for Apple. This company that cannot, will not make a cheap smartphone.

The iPhone XR is no budget handset. It does bring all the best features of Apple’s iOS as well as a very different and fresh take on design and materials that sets it apart from any other iPhone.




The iPhone XR will appeal to almost any iPhone user looking for a bigger, more affordable iPhone X.

People who don’t need the ultimate in cameras and who find the iPhone XS Max too large or the iPhone XS too small, will feel right at home with the iPhone XR.

Apple’s done something remarkable here and created a fun yet serious iPhone with all the key features of the XS line as well as the best battery life we’ve seen on any iPhone thus far. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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