iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR Buyer's Guide

Alongside the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models, Apple continues to sell previous-generation iPhone 11. While the iPhone XR has now been discontinued, some customers may be wondering if it is worth getting this older ‌iPhone‌ from a third-party store instead of the ‌iPhone 11‌. The two devices have quite a few similarities, but the ‌iPhone 11‌ takes a step forward in regards to cameras, battery life, and more.

iphone 11 vs xr

Design Very Similar

The ‌iPhone 11‌ has a very similar glass-and-aluminum design as the ‌iPhone‌ XR, with one major visual difference being its dual-lens rear camera system housed in a large, square camera bump. On the back of the ‌iPhone 11‌, the Apple logo is centered, and the "‌iPhone‌" brand name is no longer shown.

Otherwise, much is the same, including the display, bezels, notch, antenna bands, volume and side buttons, mute switch, speaker grilles, and microphones. The ‌iPhone 11‌ also sticks with the Lightning connector.

The ‌iPhone 11‌ comes in six colors, including green, purple, white, black, yellow, and (PRODUCT)RED.

iphone 11 colors 1
Both devices weigh in at just under half a pound and have identical dimensions.

Displays Same

The ‌iPhone 11‌ has the same 6.1-inch LCD as the ‌iPhone‌ XR, including a resolution of 1792×828 pixels for 326 pixels per inch, 625 nits max brightness, and True Tone and P3 wide color gamut support. The LCD panel keeps costs down compared to the OLED displays used for the iPhone 12 lineup.

Like the ‌iPhone‌ XR, the ‌iPhone 11‌ relies on software-based Haptic Touch for contextual menus and shortcuts. Unlike older iPhones, there is no pressure-sensitive 3D Touch layer built into the ‌iPhone 11‌'s display.

Performance Differences

The ‌iPhone 11‌ is powered by Apple's A13 Bionic chip, which is the second-fastest CPU in any smartphone ever, behind only Apple's A14 Bionic chip in the ‌iPhone 12‌ models.

iphone 11 display 1
Based on 7-nanometer architecture, the A13 Bionic features four high-efficiency cores that are up to 20 percent faster and consume 40 percent less power than the A12 Bionic chip in the ‌iPhone‌ XR. The A13 chip also has two high-performance cores that are up to 20 percent faster and 30 percent more efficient than the A12 chip.

Battery Life

Apple says the ‌iPhone 11‌ has up to one hour longer battery life than the ‌iPhone‌ XR overall. Based on Apple's internal testing, the ‌iPhone 11‌ is rated for up to 17 hours of offline video playback, up to 10 hours of streaming video over Wi-Fi, and up to 65 hours of audio playback per charge.

Like the ‌iPhone‌ XR, the ‌iPhone 11‌ supports Qi-based wireless charging, as well as fast charging for up to a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with an 18W or higher USB-C charger.

Cameras, the Biggest Difference

The rear camera system is easily the ‌iPhone 11‌'s biggest upgrade over the ‌iPhone‌ XR. Unlike the XR, the wide-angle ƒ/1.8 lens is accompanied by an ultra-wide-angle ƒ/2.4 lens for a 120° field of view. The ultra-wide-angle lens allows users to "zoom out" to "0.5x" and capture four times more scene, according to Apple.

The ‌iPhone 11‌'s wide-angle lens also has an updated sensor that enables Night Mode for markedly improved low-light photos that are brighter and have less noise. This feature is similar to Night Sight on Google's newer Pixel smartphones.

iphone 11 colors collage
The ‌iPhone 11‌'s third-generation Neural Engine enables next-generation Smart HDR for more natural-looking photos. The Neural Engine also enables Deep Fusion, which uses advanced machine learning for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, including texture, details, and noise.

Portrait Mode on the ‌iPhone 11‌ works with not only human faces, but also objects and pets.

There are also six Portrait Lighting effects available on the ‌iPhone 11‌, including Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, and High‑Key Mono. This is up from three on the ‌iPhone‌ XR: Natural, Studio, and Contour.

‌iPhone 11‌ also features front-facing slo-mo video recording at 120 FPS.

Connectivity Compared

With both 802.11ax Wi-Fi and Gigabit-class LTE, the ‌iPhone 11‌ theoretically has faster download speeds than the ‌iPhone‌ XR, but real-world performance is typically limited by multiple factors such as location and network congestion.

The ‌iPhone 11‌ also features an Apple-designed U1 chip that enables ultra-wideband support for improved spatial awareness. The chip enables the ‌iPhone 11‌ to precisely locate other U1‑equipped Apple devices, such as other iPhones and Apple's AirTags.

Storage and Pricing Differences

‌iPhone 11‌ is available in 64GB and 128GB for $499 and $549 respectively, while the ‌iPhone‌ XR will be available in similar storage configurations for prices around $100 lower than this.

Tech Specs Compared

Below you'll find tech specs for ‌iPhone 11‌ and ‌iPhone‌ XR, with each difference bolded.


iPhone 11

  • 6.1-inch LCD display

  • 1792×828 resolution and 326 PPI

  • True Tone display

  • Dual 12-megapixel rear cameras (wide and ultra-wide lenses)

  • Single 12-megapixel front camera

  • Portrait Mode with Depth Control: humans, pets, and objects

  • Six Portrait Lighting effects

  • Next-gen Smart HDR

  • A13 Bionic chip with third-gen Neural Engine

  • Face ID

  • ‌Haptic Touch‌

  • Lightning connector

  • Fast charging capable: up to 50% charge in 30 minutes

  • Qi-based wireless charging

  • IP68-rated water resistance to a depth of 2 meters for up to 30 minutes

  • 64/128/256GB

  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM and eSIM)

  • Gigabit-class LTE

  • VoLTE

  • 802.11ax Wi‑Fi with MIMO

  • Bluetooth 5.0

Plus…

  • ‌Night Mode‌ photos

  • Front-facing slo-mo video recording at 120 FPS

  • QuickTake video recording shortcut

  • Dolby Atmos sound

  • U1 chip for spatial awareness

iPhone XR

  • 6.1-inch LCD display

  • 1792×828 resolution and 326 PPI

  • True Tone display

  • Single 12-megapixel rear camera (wide lens)

  • Single 7-megapixel front camera

  • Portrait Mode with Depth Control: humans only

  • Three Portrait Lighting effects

  • Smart HDR

  • A12 Bionic chip with second-gen Neural Engine

  • ‌Face ID‌

  • ‌Haptic Touch‌

  • Lightning connector

  • Fast charging capable: up to 50% charge in 30 minutes

  • Qi-based wireless charging

  • IP67-rated water resistance to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes

  • 64/128GB (256GB discontinued)

  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM and eSIM)

  • LTE Advanced

  • VoLTE

  • 802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO

  • Bluetooth 5.0

iPhone 11 vs iPhone XR Verdict

The ‌iPhone 11‌ is a rather iterative update to the ‌iPhone‌ XR, but users who take lots of photos may find the camera advancements worth spending an extra $100 on. The ‌iPhone 11‌ is also one year newer than the ‌iPhone‌ XR, so it should receive an additional year of iOS updates.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

NickName99 Avatar
37 months ago
I have an XR. The only thing I want on the 11 is night mode. Not enough to upgrade. Feels good for once to skip, actually.
*edit* just like with Google Night Sight, this isn’t for moving subjects, you have to hold still a few seconds using this app!

Here’s a good Night Mode solution for $2.99, I bought it for my iPhone X and it works really well:

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/neuralcam-night-mode-camera/id1474856599

Quick test I did last night, standard Camera app vs NeuralCam:


Attachment Image
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TracesOfArsenic Avatar
37 months ago
Exclusive to 11. Requires the better cameras.
Does it though, or is that what Apple want you to believe? They were pushing how important AI was for many (if not all) of these "pro" features and if the competitors' night modes are anything to go by they're done through computation rather than "the latest lens that our old camera didn't have".
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
37 months ago
Have to add for advantages for the Xr is the blue color. Was planning on getting a blue 11. :(

Would not be surprised if the spatial awareness stuff and the wide angle 2nd camera gets used for AR stuff in the future (was really surprised they didn't do something with it during the keynote - cause otherwise a zoom camera would be a no brainer choice for a 2nd camera).

I'm tempted to finally upgrade my 8 Plus and I'm tempted by the iPhone 11 but will I notice the difference with the lower resolution screen?
It's still retina resolution (the same resolution (dots per inch) as the base 8). I had a 8 Plus and didn't notice the difference with the Xr.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ryecoke Avatar
37 months ago
Question about Night mode.... is this a 11 and 11 pro exclusive or is it going to be a software update for the Xr?
Exclusive to 11. Requires the better cameras.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
37 months ago
I never understood the power efficiency gains in relation to battery

So the 11 with a13 has 40 percent efficiency gains but only yields one hour more battery (and that’s the marketing claim, too) with same screen and resolution and all the rest except a dual camera? How does that make any mathematical sense?

Still xr gets excellent battery life and I’d expect no less of the 11
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
37 months ago
I need a Product(RED) iPhone Pro. It would be beautiful.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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