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iPhone XR reviews: better value than iPhone XS?

We round up some expert opinions from around the world

iPhone XR starts shipping this week, and already a slew of early reviews have come in. The verdict is almost unanimous: though the iPhone XS and XS Max win out in a couple of key areas, the compromises made to drop hundreds of dollars from the XR’s price tag are relatively slight.

We’ve highlighted some passages from various reviews if you want more detail, but in the simplest of terms here are the most important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to plump for an iPhone XR.

Pros: significantly cheaper than the XS range; incredible speed and performance; excellent front and back cameras; longest battery life of any iPhone ever; range of colorful finishes

Cons: no telephoto lens for optical zoom; lower resolution display than the XS range; no 3D touch capabilities

All things considered, for the average user, those trade-offs seem worth it. Most testers agreed that this is the best iPhone for most people. Here’s why.

Reviews roundup

Daring Fireball: If you want to use the telephoto lens, the iPhone XS may well be worth a few hundred extra dollars for that reason alone. If you don’t care about the telephoto lens, on the other hand, you should almost certainly consider buying an iPhone XR instead of a XS.

It sounds too good to be true, but the XR is almost as good as the XS models at a far lower price. Dollar for dollar, the XR is almost certainly the best iPhone Apple has ever made.

iMore: While there’s no telephoto camera, the wide-angle camera on iPhone XR is the same as the iPhone XS. It’s got bigger pixels and deeper pixels, to take in more light with less cross-talk. That means better low light, again, and with Smart HDR, even better detail in light and shadows.

At $750, iPhone XR certainly isn’t a budget or even a midrange phone. It’s just on the lower end of high. But, thanks to Apple’s top-of-the-line hardware engineering and the headroom afforded by A12 Bionic, it’ll last you or anyone you sell or hand it down to a good long while to come, maybe as long as a couple of phones that are half the price.

WIRED: The iPhone XR is made of aluminum, while the iPhone XS is made of stainless steel. However, the iPhone XR is made with 7000-series-grade aluminum, the strongest that’s commercially available, and I’ve seen no indication yet that this iPhone XR will warp or bend.

Most people – those who don’t spend their lives comparing specs and staring at bezels on multiple models of new smartphones each fall – are going to be very happy with this phone if they buy it.

The Verge: I rarely take zoom photos, so I didn’t miss the telephoto lens from the iPhone XS at all – especially since the iPhone XR can still take portrait photos with its single lens. In fact, I preferred the XR’s portrait mode to the XS, because the XR’s brighter f/1.8 lens and larger image sensor is much better in low light than the telephoto camera the XS uses for portrait shots.

If one thing is clear about the iPhone XR, it’s that Apple is going to sell tons of these. They’re huge upgrades from the iPhone 6 era of Apple phones, with the latest processors and cameras, a big screen in an updated design, and a competitive opening price of $750 for the 64GB model. That’s $50 less than the smaller Pixel 3. It’s priced to move.

Engadget: When Apple launched the iPhone X last year, it quickly became the company’s most popular phone, but its price tag meant it was out of reach for a lot of people itching for an upgrade. That left the company with a new challenge: finding a way to squeeze all the important bits from its new, premium smartphones into a body that doesn’t cost nearly as much.

The XR uses the same A12 Bionic chipset as the XS and the XS Max, and it shows. This thing is fast. Big improvements to the quad-core GPU also means graphically rich games like Fortnite run like a dream. There’s enough power on tap here that you won’t have to worry about upgrading for a while.