The iPhone XR delivers an incredible level of performance, and top of the range specs, but at a considerably lower price point than the flagship iPhone XS and XS Max.
Apple's made some seriously smart decisions with this one. You get most of the same benefits as the company's best phones, but a few smart design compromises - such as a simplified camera and lower-tech touch controls - keep the costs more manageable.
Read on, and we'll dig into the iPhone XR and explain why we're quietly impressed.
One word comes to mind for the iPhone XR's design: elegant. The device sports an aerospace grade aluminium band, with a glossy glass back that allows for wireless charging.
Apple is sometimes restrained when it comes to colours, but that's not the case here. The iPhone XR comes in no less than six finishes:
All the components, like the trim around the camera, and the aluminium band itself, are colour co-ordinated with the finish you choose - like we said: elegant.
On a more practical level, the iPhone XR splash and water resistant, more than capable of surviving an awkward dunk in a cup of tea or an ill-fated wine spill. On the downside, this water proofing means that the phone still doesn't have a headphone jack. Boo.
If you look at the raw specs, you might expect the iPhone XR to be pretty chunky, but… it's not. It's actually slightly smaller than an iPhone 8 Plus, yet the screen is considerably bigger at 6.1in. That's possible because the XR is almost all screen.
And what a screen it is. Apple has dubbed the display 'Liquid Retina' and calls it the 'most advanced LCD in a smartphone'. That pretty much sums it up. With a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (PPI), it's can produce impressively sharp images. The colour is also quite impressive, with True Tone allowing for images with natural hues.
You'll find better screens on the iPhone XS and XS Max, but you'll be surprised at how well this cheaper version holds up in comparison.
Specs and features
Want excellent specs and lots of features? iPhones have traditionally delivered both of these things - and the XR's no different.
The iPhone XR features Apple's A12 Bionic chip - the same processor featured in the much more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max. It's Apple's most powerful and power-efficient chip to date, capable of delivering extremely fast performance. It means software loads almost instantly, and you can switch between apps with barely any hit on performance.
The camera is one area where Apple has made compromises compared to its more expensive phones. That said, the iPhone XR's snappers are still pretty remarkable, capable of truly stunning images.
The rear sports a single 12-megapixel wide camera lens, with an impressive sensor that delivers fast auto-focusing, excellent low light photography and a remarkable amount of detail. Portrait photography has also been significantly improved from earlier models - you can do some pretty incredible things around depth of field effects.
If you're a keen photographer, you might be better off looking at Apple's more expensive phones, as they have a dual camera setup with bells and whistles that take photos to a whole new level. But if you just want a high quality camera that takes excellent snaps, the iPhone XR will do you right.
The iPhone XR gives you three choices when it comes to storage:
The iPhone XR has decent battery life - noticeably improved from some older models. According to the company, the phone will last a full hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8 Plus - another phone with solid battery performance.
The iPhone XR comes with iOS 12 out of the box. The operating system has been retooled slightly to support new features like augmented reality, and slicker controls for sharing photos and information. Siri's also been given a bit of a boost, and is now capable of recognising more instructions than ever before.
Apple's face-recognition software is present and correct on the iPhone XR, and it's better than ever. It uses the front camera and sensors to read your face, automatically unlocking the phone when you look at it, and even letting you authorise payments with a glance.
The iPhone XR will release on 26 October 2018 in the UK. Pre-orders will start from October 19 - check back here then to see deals.
Prices in the UK will start from £749 for the 64 GB version, the 128 GB will set you back £799 and the 256 GB wll be £899. That's still a fair amount of cash - Apple doesn't really do cheap phones - but it's actually lower than the iPhone 8 launched at.
What's the cheapest iPhone XR deal?
So, although the XR is cheap compared to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, it’s still pretty darn expensive. Good news is, you don’t necessarily need to pay out a chunk of money in one go.
Comparing offers is a great way to save money, and companies like giffgaff are likely to have cheaper deals compared to the big providers.
Also, going through a mobile reseller rather than through a network could also save you money, as they usually sell the same plans on those operators but at cheaper prices.
Which networks sell the iPhone XR?
Here is where to start looking for the best iPhone XR deals:
Vodafone - Vodafone are great at finding cheap mobile plans. They offer an array of pay monthly plans, SIM-Only offers, and its 'Red' 4G plans.
EE - are a dab-hand at providing cheap mobile offers, too. Whether you’re looking for a phone contract, SIM-Only or even a mobile broadband deal, EE have a huge selection of deals to offer.
O2 - existing customers will find an array of special offers, and a wide selection of plans.
Three - Three offer loads of SIM-only and unlimited data plans, you’ll be spoilt for choice with Three.
iPhone XR specs
|Sim Card Type||Nano|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Size||75.7mm x 8.3mm x 150.9mm|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Display Size||6.1 inches|
|Screen Type||IPS LCD|
|Resolution||828 x 1792 inches|
|Pixels Per Inch||326 ppi|
|Touch Screen Type||Capacitive|
|Processor Cores||6 Cores Cores|
|Internal Storage||64, 128, 256|
|Primary Camera||12 MP|
|2nd Camera||7 MP|