The iPhone XR was announced back in 2018 with the iPhone XS and XS Max. It received a lot of criticism because of its lower resolution display before it even went on sale. But come sale time, it turned out to be a very hot seller, becoming the most selling phone very quickly. Without further ado, let’s see how the iPhone XR performs in 2020.
Hardware and Overview
To give a fair assessment to this review, I used an iPhone XR with my SIM in it for 2 weeks before noting down my observations. I would like to talk about the hardware first. The iPhone XR is a heavy, dense phone with an aluminium frame and gorilla glass on the front and the back. It is dust and water resistant. When you pick it up, it feels like a very well made, solid product. The glass on the phone does get tiny micro-scratches from time to time but apart from one huge scratch it has on the back, the glass on both sides has held up fairly well. The aluminium frame does get dents and dings when you drop it but all in all, it is a sturdy phone with a confidence-inspiring in-hand feel.
Moving on to what is definitely the most controversial feature of this phone, the display on the iPhone XR is a measly 828×1792 LCD panel. My views about this display are a bit complicated. See, on its own it is a good display and does not hinder the experience of using the phone. But as soon as you start comparing, you realise what you’re missing out on. With higher refresh rate and higher resolution displays available on similar and even cheaper smartphones, the display on the iPhone XR is a bit of a let-down. So, my two cents will be to try and have a look at the display on an iPhone XR or an iPhone 11 before you make a purchase. If you’re crazy about popping colours or crisp, sharp text, the XR is probably not the right choice for you. If you don’t care much and just want a decent experience, the XR will definitely be a good option.
The display on the iPhone XR falls short of the competition, but the performance definitely doesn’t. It is powered by the same A12 Bionic chip as the iPhone XS and XS Max but has to push a lot less pixels, which translates to blazing-fast performance. There has been absolutely no lag, no slowdowns and no scenario where I felt the phone was running out of breath. Games run smoothly, apps open quickly and even the memory management is great. I am actually fairly confident that the iPhone XR launched in 2018 is still an amazing option in 2020, even if you plan to use it for 3-4 more years.
The iPhone XR has a single camera on the back which is the same as the primary shooter on the iPhone XS. I am not much of a camera expert but I did click a bunch of sample photos. From my fairly simpleton perspective, the only 3 things I missed on the camera were an ultra-wide option, portrait mode for objects and a night mode. Apart from all this, I was actually pretty satisfied with both the photos and videos that came out of this phone.
Some other observations after using the iPhone XR- FaceID is fast and reliable, much better than TouchID. Battery is still insane, easily 1 and a half days and can even be stretched to 2 full days. The size feels perfect as the average of the iPhone XS and XS Max’s size. This might be personal preference, but I really like the clean look of the back with just a single camera instead of massive multi-camera modules.
Also read: Our roundup of the best fast chargers for iPhone XR
When anyone asks me to recommend an iPhone with a much higher budget, I still recommend them to at least check out the iPhone XR. See, I shifted from an 11 Pro Max to this XR and the experience is 95% the same. Sure, the display and the cameras are better on the more expensive iPhones but that’s about it. Everything apart from these two things is the same. So, in conclusion, I would say the iPhone XR is the most suitable iPhone to get right now. It is a perfect balance between the outrageously expensive iPhone 11 Pro and the anarchic, thick bezeled iPhone 8.