LEAD test: ten good reasons for the iPhone XR

So much praise there was not long. Even Apple’s house and yard journalists in the US seldom sounded as euphoric as their iPhone XR tests. Charlie Sorrel writes in “Cult of Mac”: “I wish I had bought the XR instead of the XS, because the XR is cooler, cheaper, and bigger than the top of the line, and the other differences will not bother anyone who buys it. “

The renowned John Gruber adds in his blog “Daring Fireball”: “At the presentation of the XR at this price, everyone asked themselves: Where is the catch? But there is no catch.” LEAD reveals ten reasons why the XR is the best choice for virtually every Apple fan among current iPhones.

The price

I Phone Xr prices

The iPhone XR with 64 GB of storage costs 849 euros. This is 300 euros less than the flagship XS with the same storage space, and 400 euros less than the XS Max, which is only 0.4 inches larger. And another comparison: even the 8 Plus from the previous year with the outdated operation by home button is 789 euros only 60 euros cheaper than the new XR. Sure thing: 849 euros for a cell phone are a lot of money, in the Android competition, there are top smartphones for half or a third of it. But if you want an iPhone, with the XR is almost a bargain.


The storage space

In contrast to the XS, in which between the entry-level model with 64 GB and the whopping 170 euros more expensive version with 256 GB gap a vulnerable gap, Apple has hit the golden mean the XR. There is a surcharge of only 60 euros, so for 909 euros, a model with 128 GB of memory. And that’s the size that should be optimal for almost every user. If 64 GB is not enough, the XS has to resort to the 256 GB model for € 1,319. With the XR the 128 GB are enough for 909 euro. Thus, the cost advantage increases to 410 euros, and compared to the XS Max even to 510 euros. The XS can not be that much better. It is not.

The screen

I Phone Xr screens
The new iPhone XR (right) next to the XS: More screen space, warmer colors, slightly less contrast (Photo: LEAD)

The XR is 6.1 inches almost exactly halfway between the XS (5.8 inches) and XS Max (6.5 inches). Because the display reaches almost to the edge, the new “saving iPhone” is no longer as clunky as the previous Plus models. The size is a good compromise of (barely) manageability and enough screen space.

Instead of the brilliant OLED display of the XS, the XR has to make do with classic LCD technology and without the particularly dynamic HDR images. And the sharpness is slightly lower than the XS with 458 ppi with the 326 ppi used by the iPhone for years.

There are differences in the LEAD test: contrasts are generally lower. Black is not that black, white is not that white. When looking from the side, the picture is a bit worse to recognize. And instead of 3D Touch, the simpler “haptic touch” – that is, a little longer press – is all it takes to access submenus.

But: All this is whining on a very high level. By itself, the screen of the XR is excellent – and the differences certainly do not justify an extra cost of 300 euros or more.

The cameras

I Phone Xr cameras
The cameras of the iPhone XR: Front identical to the XS, rear without tele (Photo: Apple)

The very bright selfie camera on the front with an aperture of f / 2.2 is identical for XR and XS. In the back, on the other hand, there is one of the few differences that could actually be painful for buyers of the XR. Because instead of the double-lens of the XS with wide-angle and telephoto Apple has installed the XR only the wide-angle camera. The option of photographing top-quality images with an optical telephoto is therefore missing.

Nevertheless, the XR dominates the popular portrait photos with depth of field. For this it uses the wide angle, while the XS sets for the portraits on the tele. This leads to the interesting effect that the cheaper XR in bad light thanks to the brighter wide-angle shooting even better portraits than the top model XS.

Downside: The portraits with depth of field work with the XR only with human faces, only on the software is (so far) trained. With the XS, this works with any object, including animals. For ambitious photographers, the XR requires some compromises that could justify the extra cost of the XS. Nevertheless: Especially who comes from an older iPhone will be thrilled by the camera of the XR.


Except for the dual camera, the iPhone XR is almost as lavish as the XS. Facial recognition Face ID, animated selfies (“memojis”) and wireless charging are included on both models. The XR can also play an E-SIM for a second phone number. And the fact that the XR has only 3 instead of 4 GB of RAM on board, is not significant in the performance, because the hardware has to push significantly fewer pixels across the screen.

The processor

The A12 Bionic processor is also identical for XS and XR. From him, “The Verge” raves: “Apple’s chips are so far ahead of the competition that the A12 still has tons of power reserves, these iPhones should feel fast for years.”

The battery

For just over eleven and a half hours, the battery of the iPhone XR in the LEAD test with normal use with surfing, mail, videos, music, tweeting and word processing through – one and a half hours longer than the XS. The XR’s larger battery and LCD screen, which uses less power than the XS OLED display, have an effect here. Overall, the XR should offer the longest battery life of an iPhone so far.

The colors

iPhone XR
Who wants a colorful iPhone? The XR is available in six colors, including the four shown (Photo: Apple)

Apart from the low-tech model 5C from the year 2013, the XR is the first contemporary “colorful” iPhone. Six colors are available, LEAD has reviewed the whole range. And except for the rather boring options black and white, the colors are really very successful.

The light blue looks much livelier than in the pictures, yellow and coral look very noble – and the bright red actually bangs. Finally a change! Own covers for the XR offers Apple so far not. But the transparent cases of Otterbox (40 euros) from the Apple Store are a good protection, and let the colors still work.

The housing

Instead of the luxurious XS case made of stainless steel, which shines like a piece of jewelery, the XR is made of plain and matt aluminum. It does not look quite so high quality, but maybe even cooler and fresher. The richly glowing glass back, in which Apple paints the colors in a complex process in seven layers, also contributes to this.

The waterproofness

I Phone Xs Waterproof
Both the iPhone XS (photo) and the XR are waterproof – at least for half an hour (Photo: Apple)

Again, buyers of the XR need not worry. Even the cheaper model lasts at least half an hour under water – but not in two meters depth like the XS, but only in one meter. This comparison is symptomatic of the differences between the iPhone XR and XS: Yes, they do exist – but they are virtually irrelevant in everyday life.

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