A year ago there were three new smartphones, and again it’s a trio again. But not for an anniversary, not because the Apple calendar deserved a ‘special edition’ outside of its usual catalog. Because you needed a phone below 1,000 euros or 1150 dollars. It is called iPhone XR and does not follow the standard of the XS and XS Max, but instead opts for a parallel path in which some technical features are conspicuous by their absence. Here there is no 3D Touch, for example, and the screen uses a different technology, inherited from the iPhone8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
Between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, there is an obvious relationship. It is not exactly like that, but they are the same scaled terminal, with the only difference that the screen has different dimensions in one terminal and in the other. The Apple iPhone XR is presented, a priori, as an intermediate option in terms of display dimensions. But if we take a look at its datasheet, and check its price, we will quickly realize that it is the worst iPhone this year. There are several shortcomings such as OLED technology, which in this terminal is IPS; also 3D Touch technology, and also the main camera, which has a single sensor.
A ‘special’ phone, the iPhone XR:
Before Apple’s smartphones were two: ‘normal’ and ‘Plus’, differentiated by its screen of 4.7 or 5.5 inches. Now Apple phones are two: ‘normal’ and ‘Max’, differentiated by their panels of 5.8 or 6.5 inches. But there have been several occasions in which Apple, having two main models in its lineup, has launched a ‘special’ model. There was the iPhone 5c when there were still two base models, and also the iPhone SE. And just a year ago, the iPhone X that we anticipated this important change in the Cupertino company cycle. Now, there is a ‘special’ iPhone and it’s called iPhone XR. And it has a 6.1-inch diagonal screen.
Design and Use:
The iPhone XR seems to be an ‘intermediate option’ for the Apple range if we focus solely on the design, for its size between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. But no, not much less. It is an inferior option to these two models, and it is evident both visually and in touch. Because this terminal has a glass for the construction of the front and back, like its catalog brothers, but the chassis is made of aluminum. A material of different touch and appearance and that is of inferior quality and shows it even in the touch of the buttons.
In addition to this earlier, as soon as we turn on the screen we see that it is not the same as the XS and XS Max. This model, the iPhone XR, has a striking black screen frame accompanying the notch, despite its ‘all screen’ format. With its dimensions of 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm, the iPhone XR is wider, taller and thicker than the iPhone XS, which registers 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm in its datasheet. And it weighs 194 grams, compared to 177 grams of the iPhone XS. On the other hand, the screen uses 79.0% of the front surface, and the iPhone XS 82.9%. The differences are remarkable.
To all the above we must add that in the back we have a single camera, and the flash occupies an independent space, is not integrated. The camera, of course, despite being a simple module continues to protrude from the body of the device. But there is something positive in the design of this terminal, and that is that we have several colors: black, white, blue, coral, red and yellow.
As we advanced, by dimensions the iPhone XR is the intermediate option now in the Apple catalog. While the iPhone XS has a display of 5.8 inches diagonally, and the iPhone XS Max reaches 6.5 inches, on the iPhone XR we have 6.1 inches of screen. Now, it is not OLED technology, as in the other two terminals of Apple, but an IPS screen. And in addition, its resolution is lower than that offered by the iPhone XS: 1792 x 828 pixels compared to 2436 x 1125 pixels.
The differences do not stop there. The iPhone XR also has a ratio of 19.5: 9, but precisely because it has a larger screen and lower resolution, the density of pixels is significantly lower. While in an iPhone XS we have 458 pixels per inch, in this iPhone XR we return to 326 pixels per inch of iPhone that we almost did not even remember. The image quality, in addition without support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, is far below that offered by any current high-end smartphone. If we focus on the screen and despise the rest of hardware, this terminal should not sell for 859 euros counting on the competitors that you have even for half the price.
It was important to pass this terminal to all screen design, but the production costs had to be kept contained to give a much lower sales price than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XR loses almost all its arguments on the screen. For the quality, for the resolution, for the technology and for the thick black ‘frames’ that mark its full contour. It is striking that Apple wants to ‘strain’ a display like that for 859 euros, although it is not the first time they do it. Just look at a year ago, with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and remember who competed with those devices.
We still have True Tone to compensate for color aberrations and control the temperature dynamically, based on ambient lighting, but there is no 3D Touch on this device. The first to introduce it was the iPhone 6s and Apple has disposed of this technology in this terminal to reduce costs. It is not an essential technology of the iPhone and is replaced by long presses for some of the contextual menus, but it is a lack more to emphasize in the hardware of the terminal and its experience of use.
Analysis of the iPhone XR camera :
When it seemed that Apple was finally going to have a double camera on all their smartphones, suddenly the iPhone XR came with a single sensor. The main camera of this smartphone is a simple module, with a 12-megapixel sensor and aperture f/1.8, with optical image stabilizer. Apple does not specify it in such a way, but according to its data sheet should be the same sensor of the iPhone XS and XS Max for the wide-angle camera – the absence is in the telephoto-. And that is what explains why, although it is a more limited camera, it has a very good quality.
But, then, is there no portrait mode? Yes, there is, but the bokeh effect is carried out thanks to the processing of the image. By having the single camera, the information about the scene is lower, and the iPhone XR has to ‘invent’ the depth of field. However, as we have seen that is achieved in the Google Pixel, in the iPhone XR this processing is done correctly and the results are similar to those of an iPhone X, an XS or an XS Max. On the front, we have a secondary camera, of course: a 7-megapixel sensor with aperture f/2.2. Now yes, exactly the same camera of the XS and XS Max. However, it is curious because the iPhone XR shows – for the moment – a better quality in selfies than the XS and XS Max because it does less aggressive processing and does not soften the skin excessively. In the iPhone XR, we have more natural photographs, as the Cupertino company had always offered us.
With a single sensor on the back, the iPhone XR has a somewhat more limited camera than its catalog brothers. It is remarkable, although little, in the portraits. And also in shots with limited lighting, which ultimately are situations in which the lack of information about the scene, in front of the other terminals, play against the iPhone XR. However, the general results in the field of photography are very adequate.
The iPhone XR has a larger battery than the iPhone XS, but smaller than the iPhone XS Max; Again, here is between the two key models of Apple. However, it has a burden: its IPS LCD screen, which is not as efficient as the OLED mounted by the other two terminals. So the iPhone XR has a good autonomy but is slightly lower than the iPhone XS, enough – not for all users – to meet a day if we do not demand the maximum of itself.
The Apple A12 chip and its 7-nanometer manufacturing process are particularly relevant in this regard. This hardware is really efficient, despite its power, and in combination with iOS 12 gives a quite correct autonomy. Right now, the reference terminal by Apple, in terms of autonomy, is still the iPhone XS Max, which continues the legacy left by the iPhone 8 Plus and that, in reality, all the ‘Plus’ Apple have maintained.
Other details to comment:
Since we have put a sorry screen on the iPhone XR, we have removed the stereo sound, we have given a camera significantly lower quality and we have left without 3D Touch, at least Apple has introduced its Face ID technology in this smartphone. The facial unlocking system is just as flawless on the iPhone XR as on the X, XS or XS Max, and is used to unlock the terminal or to make mobile payments or to log on to online services among other issues. And at least, we also have resistance to water, although in this case according to IP67 certification.
In the analysis of the iPhone XS, we could only be critical of Apple. It is a rehash of the iPhone X for which, obviously, it is not worthwhile to spend the money again. In the analysis of the iPhone XS Max, however, we applauded the evolution of Apple from the Plus to this new Max taking its maximum to 6.5 inches, and still offering a compact design and a very good balance between power and autonomy.
With this new iPhone XR, you have to go back to being ‘tough’ with Apple, because it is not what is expected of them. At the performance level, it is an impeccable terminal; the Apple A12 is his biggest argument. And in terms of design, Apple has introduced the ‘grace’ of a richer and more attractive color range for the younger audience. But if we buy this phone we must be aware that, without a doubt, it is one of the phones in the history of Apple that is worth less than it costs; above all, because we can still get an iPhone X for 900 euros, or even less, and it is much more worthwhile.
- Exceptional performance.
- Good autonomy.
- Terrible screen.
- Without 3D Touch.
- No stereo sound.
- Aluminum chassis.