iPhone XR Reviews Roundup: Best LCD Display Yet, Decent Single-Lens Camera, Excellent Performance and Battery Life

The first round of iPhone XR reviews were published by media outlets this morning. Below we've highlighted some of the key takeaways from around the web ahead of Apple's official iPhone XR launch day this Friday.

Priced starting at $749, the iPhone XR is Apple's lowest-priced flagship iPhone and is available in several colors. It features Face ID, an edge-to-edge LCD display, a single-lens camera, a glass body for wireless charging, and an A12 Bionic processor.


On the 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD display:

The display on the iPhone XR is… fine. It's fine! It has lower resolution and pixel density than the OLEDs in new flagship phones like the iPhone XS, Galaxy S9, and Pixel 3, but it's the same 326 pixels per inch as Apple's previous non-Plus LCD iPhones. Anyone coming to this phone from any iPhone save the iPhone X will not notice a huge discrepancy in resolution.

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.

That said, I have a massive advantage in that I am able to hold the screens side by side to compare images. Simply put, if you don't run them next to one another, this is a great screen.

On the iPhone XR's single-lens camera:

The XR's single camera is a very good one: It's the exact same 12-megapixel wide-angle camera Apple uses in the XS and XS Max, and it still produces some lovely photos. You'll find a lot of detail and some excellent colors in the resulting stills, and it's been surprisingly handy in low-light thanks to its f/1.8 aperture and sensor with deeper tranches between those pixels.

Since the iPhone XR only has a single-lens rear camera (it has a wide-angle lens, but not a telephoto lens), it doesn't capture as much depth information as the dual-lens camera on the iPhone XS.

This means that when you swipe to Portrait mode in the Camera app, the background-softening effect will only work if you're snapping a picture of a person, since Apple has decided to train the camera's machine learning on human shapes. Try to snap a Portrait photo of your food, or your cat, or a pumpkin (because it's pumpkin season) and "No person detected" will appear at the top of the photo frame. The iPhone XR also only has three lighting options in Portrait mode, versus five on the iPhone XS.

Regarding Haptic Touch:

When and where it works, it feels enough like 3D Touch that I sometimes find myself forgetting it's not 3D Touch. Until I try to use 3D Touch in other places — which I've gotten used to using fairly often over the last few years. Yeah, I'm the one. You're welcome.

It uses a system closer to the MacBook Trackpad, but with the Taptic Engine that still makes most competing haptics seem totally crude by comparison, but it only works on the Lock screen icons for Flashlight and Camera, the Control Center icons that spring up additional options, and the keyboard when you long-press the space bar to switch to trackpad mode.

Everything else, from Live Photos on the Lock screen to shortcuts on the Home screen to peek and pop… are simply not there. Like you might as well be using an iPhone 6 or iPhone SE or, yeah, iPad, not there.

On the A12 Bionic processor's performance:

Since getting the phone in the office we've been playing Fornite and Asphalt 9 to put it through its paces with no issues whatsoever. Having extensively used the iPhone XS prior to testing the iPhone XR, it's clear there is no difference in terms of processing power or capabilities. The experience hasn't been subdued in terms of power or performance.

On battery life:

Apple believes you'll be able to get 90 minutes more battery life out of the iPhone XR than the 8 Plus, which is a big jump in real terms.

Well – and we don't want to spoil the surprise a little later – we'd say it's even better: the iPhone XR finally achieves the holy grail of all-day battery life in an iPhone.

On the Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the iPhone XR lasted 11 hours and 26 minutes. That beats the times from the iPhone XS Max (10:38) and iPhone XS (9:41) by a significant margin. The Pixel 3 XL lasted only 9:30, while the Galaxy Note 9 also endured for 11:26.

In everyday use the iPhone XR's endurance also impressed. After unplugging at 100 percent at 7 a.m., I used the phone intermittently to play games, check Facebook and email, and stream Spotify and capture photos and videos, and I still have 24 percent battery left at 9 p.m.

Be sure to check back, as we'll be adding more links below to online reviews of Apple's iPhone XR as the day goes on.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
19 months ago
Seriously, we need a smaller hand-friendly version of this design.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago

Seriously, we need a smaller hand-friendly version of this design.


I think people should just give it up. It’s not going to happen.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago

Still laughing at the pricing - $749 for the basic version of an "entry level" phone? Talk about about taking the piss!

But lots of people will buy it . . .


Trouble is there are a lot of people who believe that the real “taking the piss” is the iPhone XS & MAX. I have a friend who is still on an iPhone 6. She earns over £100,000 per year and has just spent £40,000 on a new car. So money is hardly the issue. When I asked why she hasn’t upgraded yet the answer is basically - “£1,000 or more on a phone. And no 128GB version. That’s taking the piss!”. She is getting an XR. I think that there a a lot of people like that.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago

Still laughing at the pricing - $749 for the basic version of an "entry level" phone? Talk about about taking the piss!

But lots of people will buy it . . .


This reminds me of Ballmer laughing at the original iPhone introduction.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago

Still laughing at the pricing - $749 for the basic version of an "entry level" phone? Talk about about taking the piss!

But lots of people will buy it . . .

iPhone 7 at $449 is the entry level Apple currently sells.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
19 months ago
I have got the 2019 iPhone Xs Mini primeur; oled edge to edge screen in an iPhone SE casing :D:D

#instantbuy

Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...