Apple’s iPhone XR ($749+ preorder at Apple.com) officially releases on Friday, but the first wave of reviews landed today. Those lucky enough to get an early look at the new handset all agree on one thing: It was worth the wait. While plenty of people have spent a thousand dollars and up on the iPhone XS and XS Max, those who held out might very well end up with an extra $250 in their pocket.
Brian X Chen of The New York Times writes that the iPhone XR is “just as fast and nearly as capable as its more expensive counterparts.” In praising the screen, camera, and processor, Chen concludes that the iPhone XS and XS Max are “luxury devices better suited for enthusiasts willing to spend a premium,” and the iPhone XR is “suited to most of us.”
Nilay Patel at The Verge had a similar experience with the iPhone XR. He also points to the display as biggest differentiator between the iPhone XR and XS, but thinks most people will find it “totally acceptable.” While the XR’s screen has a lower resolution and pixel density than the OLEDs on Apple’s other phones, he says that “you have to really care about displays to notice some of these things, and even then you might have to go looking.” As far as the camera, Patel runs it through a series of tests and concludes that “most people who are in the market for an iPhone XR will be happy with its camera—it’s a significant update from previous iPhone cameras.”
In Gizmodo’s review, Alex Cranz says “Apple has gotten its take on an affordable device right.” She, too, notes that the iPhone XR’s display looks “a little washed out” when compared to its OLED peers and laments that “the notch sticks out in a way it doesn’t on iPhones with an OLED display,” but concludes that it’s an “acceptable” compromise. The same goes for the camera, which Cranz as “impressive,” though she wasn’t as impressed with portrait mode, mainly in that it only works with human faces.
Similarly, Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal “rarely noticed the difference” between the LCD on the iPhone XR and the OLED the iPhone XS, but was one of the few reviewers to lament the loss of 3D Touch. She says the Haptic Touch replacement system, “is more limited and was slow to respond.” She also says the human-only portrait mode is a “deal-breaker.”
Finally, Lauren Goode at Wired calls the iPhone XR “great in the way that a bunch of already-possible things have been packaged together cleanly and nicely.” However, she praised the iPhone XR’s battery life, which lasted her “almost an entire weekend, from early Saturday morning through Sunday evening.”
The iPhone XR is available for pre-order through Apple.com and other retailers, and will be in stores on Friday, October 26.