The first wave of reviews of Apple’s iPhone XR published on Tuesday, and they’re pretty positive.
It seems like Apple’s more colorful new phone has some charm, especially when it comes to battery life. The reviewers also liked the device’s colors, speed, and camera.
But for most reviewers, the phone’s banner feature is its price – starting at $749, it’s $250 less expensive than Apple’s other new phone, the iPhone XS.
- Kif Leswing
Wall Street Journal: “The XR has the same great wide-angle camera as the XS phones, but lacks the second telephoto lens for true optical zoom. Only once this week was I bothered by that: when I spotted the evil squirrel who has been eating through the pumpkins on my front stoop. I caught it orange-handed, but when I moved in to snap a picture, it scurried away.”
Gizmodo: “But while the camera quality is impressive, there is one major shortcoming-the XR has the full Portrait Mode on the front cameras, but not on the back. Portrait Mode allows the phone’s cameras to mimic the creamy bokeh found in larger standalone cameras giving you a nice blurry background that better highlights your subject.”
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Daring Fireball: “Apple goes out of its way to disguise this in its iPhone tech spec comparisons, but the iPhone XR has the longest battery life of any iPhone ever made. The primary reason is that the XS and XS Max’s OLED displays use more power. All three new iPhones get good battery life, but it’s really interesting that the lower-priced XR gets the best.”
USA Today: “I did not conduct any formal tests, but, in mixed use, I got well past the full workday with juice to spare. I charge my phones every night anyway, and the XR would be no exception. As with other recent models, the phone supports wireless charging (through an optional charger). Apple claims marginally better for the XR compared to the XS and XS Max.”
Wall Street Journal: “That’s why I was surprised to find that, thanks to its lower-resolution screen and big battery, the XR has the longest battery life of any iPhone I’ve tested in recent memory.
I was constantly surprised at how much juice I had left when I’d look at the battery meter. In general it lasted one to two hours longer than the XS and XS Max. In my video-streaming tests, the XR played Netflix for nearly 13 hours, along with the XS Max. Meanwhile, the XS lasted just 10.5 hours. “
Gizmodo: “One exception is battery life. The A12 has worked wonders on the battery life of the phones that contain it. We saw this with the XS, which lasted about an hour and ten minutes longer than the X in our tests, and we see it again with the XR which lasted quite a bit longer than the 8 Plus, despite the 8 Plus having a larger battery.”
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
New York Times: “The body of the XR is about half a millimeter thicker than the XS partly because the cheaper phone had to make room for the backlighting used to illuminate its LCD screen. In addition, the XR’s 6.1-inch screen is a bit bigger than the XS with a 5.8-inch screen. As a result, it felt bulkier in the pocket than the XS. (Of course, the XS Max with a 6.5-inch screen felt the bulkiest.)”
TechCrunch: “Apple’s industrial design chops continue to shine with the iPhone XR’s color finishes. My tester iPhone was the new Coral color and it is absolutely gorgeous.
The way Apple is doing colors is like nobody else. There’s no comparison to holding a Pixel 3, for instance. The Pixel 3 is fun and photographs well, but super “cheap and cheerful” in its look and feel. Even though the XR is Apple’s mid-range iPhone, the feel is very much that of a piece of nicely crafted jewelry. It’s weighty, with a gorgeous 7-layer color process laminating the back of the rear glass, giving it a depth and sparkle that’s just unmatched in consumer electronics.”
- Stephen Lam/Reuters
The Verge: “The XR also comes in a bunch of colors – our all-black review unit looks extremely sleek, but I’ve gotten a chance to play with all the other colors and they’re all very pretty. I like the blue and the coral the best, and the Product Red model is striking.”
CNET: “Colors are nice. My review unit was white, but the colorful iPhones — lighter blue, coral, red and bright yellow — look cheerful and well done. It’s a return to the candy-color days of the iPhone 5C and the iPod Mini, and a refreshing break from silver, black and gold.”
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Washington Post: “Second, the XR’s body isn’t quite as sturdy. Apple says it has the newest, most shatterproof glass on the front, though not on the back. And its frame is made of aluminum, not steel. I didn’t have any damage when I (accidentally) dropped the XR on hardwood and carpeted surfaces or (on purpose) into a toilet. A drop onto concrete or from on high could be more of a problem.
Call quality and data download speeds were similar, though slightly superior on the XS, which supports a faster style of connection. The XR also comes in more colors – hurray, a lovely blue! – but you’re probably going to cover it in a case anyway. If you have your heart set on gold, that only comes in the XS.”
The Verge: “The only major performance difference between the XR and XS is LTE: the XS supports Gigabit LTE speeds, and the XR does not. Gigabit LTE can provide faster network speeds if your carrier supports it, but even if it doesn’t, phones with gigabit are traditionally better at holding onto a connection in weak signal areas. I’m not equipped to test this head-to-head, but if network performance is a concern to you at all, it might be worth spending more for the XS.”
- Stephen Lam/Reuters
Wired: “In many ways, the iPhone XR’s display is functionally the same as the iPhone XS’s, but it’s not materially the same. It’s also not as high-resolution as the screens that have shipped on other flagship phones this year.”
TechCrunch: “The iPhone XR’s screen is an LCD, not an OLED. This is one of the biggest differences between the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS models, and while the screen is one of the best LCDs I’ve ever seen, it’s not as good as the other models. Specifically, I believe that the OLED’s ability to display true black and display deeper color (especially in images that are taken on the new XR cameras in HDR) set it apart easily.”
TechCrunch: “Instead it’s offering an ‘affordable’ option that’s similar in philosophy to the iPhone 8’s role last year but with some additional benefits in terms of uniformity. Apple gets to move more of its user base to a fully gesture-oriented interface, as well as giving them Face ID.”
New York Times: “Good news, Apple loyalists: You won’t have to burn $1,000 on your next iPhone. That’s because for about $750, you can have the iPhone XR, which is just as fast and nearly as capable as its more expensive counterparts.
The cheaper iPhone, which becomes available this Friday, is the model that most people should buy. This year’s other iPhones – namely the XS and XS Max devices, which cost about $1,000 and $1,100 and are already in stores – are luxury devices better suited for enthusiasts willing to spend a premium for superior cameras or a jumbo screen.”
Wired: “The newest Phone is the iPhone XR, and it’s Apple’s attempt to convince you that you can buy a new phone without going broke. The iPhone XR starts at $749, a full $250 less than the new flagship XS. (Don’t get me started on the price of the iPhone XS Max-the larger handset starts at $1,099.)
The iPhone XR is not the most technologically advanced iPhone; many of Apple’s superior components have been reserved for the costlier device. But the iPhone XR is still a moderately great phone. It’s great not in the way that super-futuristic, game-changing technology devices are. It’s great in the way that a bunch of already-possible things have been packaged together cleanly and nicely.”
USA Today: “Still, the price, which undercuts the XS by at least $250 and the XS Max by $350, unquestionably hits a sweet spot, of sorts, in range of two worthy rivals on the Android side, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Google’s Pixel 3. (I won’t get into the religious war of Android versus iOS here.)”