iPhone XR Hands-On: Vibrant Colors, Solid Camera/Display, and Cheaper Price Should Entice Many Users

In addition to hands-on time with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, members of the media today got the chance to see the new LCD iPhone XR up close. This is Apple's cheaper alternative to the higher-tier XS models, with the XR starting at $749 in 64GB and rising from there.


In person, The Verge said that the six new colors of the iPhone XR are all very vibrant, and the site particularly liked Coral and (PRODUCT)Red. Additionally, The Verge described the iPhone XR as noticeably lighter in comparison to the XS, and ultimately said that the XR will likely become the "default" iPhone for many users this holiday season.

I just spent a few moments playing with the new iPhone XR, which feels like it will be the default iPhone for many people this season. Not only does it have a very similar design to the more expensive iPhone XS model, it has many of the same features for a considerably lower price.

The iPhone XR comes in six different colors, including very nice-looking coral and blue options. The colors are extremely vibrant in person; the coral and red, in particular, are terrific. (They’re honestly a reason to get the XR over the XS if you don’t care about the other features like dual cameras and 3D Touch.)

In terms of downgrades from the iPhone XS to make the XR cheaper, Apple went for an LCD display instead of OLED, chose a single-lens rear facing camera instead of the dual lens on the XS, and removed 3D Touch. TechCrunch, like many outlets, said that if you don't miss these features then it's easy to see why the XR will be enticing, particularly if you want more color options.


Other than those differences, the iPhone XR has an A12 Bionic chip, a TrueDepth camera system, and Face ID -- just like the iPhone XS.

For most users, I suspect most of these elements won’t really be missed — unless, of course, you’ve already gotten comfortable with the iPhone X. While $749 is hardly “cheap” by the standards of mid-range handsets in 2018, it’s a pretty good entry-level price for an Apple handset. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of colors choices in the phone-buying process.

The XR feels like less of an afterthought, unlike the iPhone 8, which was hugely overshadowed by the iPhone X released alongside it. It looks and feels enough like the premium handset that, when coupled with the $250 price drop, it seems inevitable that Apple will sell a ton of the damn things.

Mashable reported that the rear camera on the iPhone XR is still impressive, despite the fact that it's not a true Portrait Mode effect like those produced by the dual cameras on iPhone XS or XS Max.

Noticeably impressive is the camera. It's got just a single rear camera (there's no 2x telephoto lens), but it's still stunning. The Steve Jobs Theater hands-on area was relatively well-lit, so it's hard to say how well the camera performs IRL, but that adjustable bokeh effect for portrait photos looks sick. Not so great: the even larger camera bump. The thing is massive.

A couple of minutes is obviously not enough time to get to know the iPhone XR, but at first blush, it looks like a winner. The colors will suck you right in. I'd totally buy the yellow one.

The iPhone XR will go up for pre-order this Friday, October 19, ahead of a launch one week later on October 26.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
25 months ago
Removed 3D Touch in a $750 phone? Apple, if you're going to bend your customers over at least buy them flowers first.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
We will never get a flush backed phone again. Sad.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
Would be nice if they started with 128GB as standard.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
£750 for a phone with no dual camera.

Hardly cheap.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

Looks cheaper than a $50 Huawei.

Wrong. Xr looks like a deco piece of POP ART. It's almost as if the XR design team decided to think different. Steve would have approved.

EDIT: Full disclosure I will be buying the XS, but why oh why can't we get a colorful flagship? The gold is pretty but looks like every other smartphone people carry around. The XR is different, true to Apple's roots, in the best way possible.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
If you want the flyest honeys, you have to have the XS Max!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...