Apple has given its iPhone lineup a radical refresh this year. The iPhone XS, which is the successor to the iPhone X from last year, is joined by two new models: the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. While the iPhone Xs Max is a bigger version of the iPhone Xs, there iPhone XR is quite different from the iPhone Xs.
What’s the difference between iPhone XS and iPhone XR?
While both handsets might share the same set of internals, the iPhone XR cuts corners in plenty of areas. Read on to find out the difference between the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.
- iPhone XS – 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm and 177g, IP68 certified
- iPhone XR – 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm and 194g, IP67 certified
The iPhone XR really steps down in terms of the design department when compared to the iPhone Xs. Firstly, unlike the iPhone XS, it features a Series 7000 aluminum chassis and IP67 certification while the iPhone XS comes with a stainless steel chassis and IP68 certification. The improved IP certification means the iPhone XS can be submerged in up to 2m depth while the iPhone XR can only go as deep as 1m.
Also, since the iPhone XR comes with a 6.1-inch LCD display, it is taller and wider than the iPhone Xs. However, its also important to note that the device has slightly larger bezels which means it is not as attractive to look at from the front like the iPhone XS. The bigger display also makes the iPhone XR heavier than the iPhone XS by a fair margin — 194gms vs 177gms.
One area where the iPhone XR has an advantage over the iPhone XS is in terms of colors. While Apple offers the iPhone XS in three colors — Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, the iPhone XR comes in six (!) different colors — Blue, White, Black, Yellow, Coral, and (Product)RED.
- iPhone XS – 5.8-inch True Tone OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi), 3D Touch, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 3D Touch
- iPhone XR – 6.1-inch True Tone Liquid Retina LCD display, 1792 x 828 pixels (326 ppi), No 3D Touch
The second biggest difference between the iPhone XS and iPhone XR is in terms of display. Despite coming with a Liquid Retina display, the iPhone XR’s display is a step down when compared to the iPhone XS. The LCD display not only has a lower resolution, it also has a lower contrast ratio and it is not going to be as vibrant as the OLED panel on the iPhone Xs. This is more to do with the panel being an LCD one, while the iPhone XS uses an OLED panel. The iPhone XR also lacks 3D Touch, though Apple has tried to replace it with Haptic Touch.
The iPhone XR’s 6.1-inch LCD display also lacks Dolby Vision and HDR10 support. For an LCD display though, the iPhone XR’s panel is impressive and comes with excellent color accuracy, True Tone, and tap to wake.
- iPhone XS – A12 Bionic, 7nm chip, 6-core CPU which is 15 percent faster, 50 percent faster 4-core GPU, 8-core Neural engine
- iPhone XR – A12 Bionic, 7nm chip, 6-core CPU which is 15 percent faster, 50 percent faster 4-core GPU, 8-core Neural engine
Despite the price difference between the two devices, the iPhone XR comes with the same A12 Bionic chip as the iPhone XS. The chip is based on the 7nm fabrication process and comes with a significantly faster 8-core Neural engine and 50 percent faster GPU when compared to the A11 Bionic inside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
- iPhone XS – 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
- iPhone XR – 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Being the more premium and expensive iPhone, Apple rightfully offers the iPhone XS with up to 512GB storage. While the iPhone XR is also available in three different storage capacities, it tops out at 256GB which should still be good enough for most users.
The iPhone XR comes with 3GB RAM, while the iPhone XS features 4GB RAM.
- iPhone XS – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture, new sensor with larger 1.4um pixels, OIS for both sensors, Smart HDR, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control
- iPhone XR – Single 12MP camera setup with f/1.8, 1.4um large pixels, OIS, Smart HDR, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control
The iPhone XR has the exact same primary camera as the iPhone Xs. It only lacks the secondary 12MP telephoto lens which means it does not offer 2x optical zoom. However, other features like Portrait mode with depth control, Smart HDR, improved TrueTone flash, and OIS are all onboard on the cheaper iPhone. The new camera sensor on the iPhone Xs and iPhone XR allows for wider dynamic range while recording videos in 30fps, with both phones also capable of recording stereo around while video recording.
- iPhone XS – 7MP TrueDepth Camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Smart HDR
- iPhone XR -7MP TrueDepth Camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Smart HDR
The front camera setup on the iPhone XS and iPhone XR remains the same. This means both phones are capable of recording Full HD videos at 60fps with cinematic video stabilization, support Smart HDR, Portrait mode with Depth control, and extended dynamic range.
Other features which the iPhone XS front camera shares with the rear camera include extended dynamic range while recording videos at 30fps, bokeh and depth control for Portrait photos.
Like the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR comes with faster Face ID made possible by a faster Secure Enclave chip, A12 Bionic, and improved camera sensor.
- iPhone XS – Dual SIM/eSIM, Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode
- iPhone XR – Dual SIM/eSIM, LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode
The iPhone XS and iPhone XR largely offer the same connectivity experience, though the iPhone XR does make one compromise. It offers slower LTE-A speeds, while the iPhone XS has a Gigabit LTE modem.
Surprisingly, the iPhone XR also has dual-SIM capabilities like the iPhone XS. However, Apple is not launching a special variant of the iPhone XR for China with two SIM card slots. Instead, the phone has one regular SIM slot and relies on eSIM technology for the second SIM. This essentially means that if you live in China and want an iPhone with dual-SIM connectivity, the iPhone XS or iPhone XS are going to be your only option.
Battery Life and Charging
- iPhone XS – Lasts up to 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X
- iPhone XR – Lasts up to 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 8 Plus
Now, this is where things get really interesting. The iPhone XR actually offers better battery life than the iPhone XS and even the iPhone XS Max. While the iPhone XS offers 20 hours of talk time, 12 hours of internet use, and 14 hours of video playback, the iPhone XR can last for up to 25 hours, 15 hours, and 16 hours while doing the same thing. It also supports fast wired charging and wireless charging just like the iPhone XS, though just like the latter, the iPhone XR also comes with a 5W adapter.
- iPhone XS – Fast wired charging, 7.5W wireless charging
- iPhone X – Fast wired charging, 7.5W wireless charging
Pricing & Availability
- iPhone XS – Starts from $999
- iPhone XR – Starts from $749
All the compromises that Apple has made with the iPhone XR in terms of design and camera ultimately pay off when it comes to price. The iPhone XR has a starting price of $749, while the iPhone XS starts from $999 — that’s a difference of $250. The difference is big enough for most people to reconsider their decision of buying the iPhone XS altogether.
There’s one catch here though. The iPhone XS is going to be available for pre-order from later this week itself (September 14) and hit the retail stores on September 21. However, the iPhone XR is going up for pre-order on October 19 and hit the retail stores on October 26.
What do you think about the iPhone XR when compared to the iPhone XS? Do you plan on buying the iPhone XR and save some money in the process? Or are your eyes and heart all set for the iPhone XS?