Thu, Apr 25, 2019

By definition, the iPhone XR is lacking. Its screen resolution is less than 1080p, the bezels are thicker than on most other phones with edge-to-edge displays, and the display is an LCD instead of an OLED. It has just one camera on the back, not two. Its frame is aluminum instead of stainless steel. It’s not as thin as many iPhones, including last year’s models.

Yet, none of these “missing” or downgraded features makes the iPhone XR feel any less of an iPhone than the pricier iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max.

The iPhone XR is the iPhone for everyone. It’s every bit as powerful as the iPhone XS and XS Max. The cameras take stunning photos. It comes in six vibrant colors. And it starts at $749, which is less than a Google Pixel 3 and not much more than a Samsung Galaxy S9.
“The iPhone XR is the iPhone for everyone.”

After setting up Mashable’s review unit as my main phone, I worried whether I’d become annoyed by the iPhone XR’s extra girth in my pocket. I wondered if the thicker bezels would distract from the screen.

Mostly, though, I was curious about the camera. I wondered if I could make do without have the versatility of a secondary telephoto lens. I wanted to see if the blurred-focus portrait mode effects, which Apple popularized on smartphones with its dual-camera systems, were as good with a single lens. And I was curious just how effective it was when compared to the other big phones of the moment.

To really put the iPhone XR camera through its paces and show how effective it can be, we decided to give it a serious challenge: We used it to shoot all the product shots and video footage in this review. Typically we use either a DSLR or mirrorless camera to do product shots, so it ended up being an effective test to see how the iPhone XR fared in a “pro” level challenge. And given how far smartphone cameras have come, we think that’s fair — some professionals are even using smartphones to shoot magazine covers, after all.

The Good

  • Comes in six colors
  • Just as fast as iPhone XS and faster than any Android phone
  • Cameras take fantastic photos and video
  • Longest battery life on any iPhone
  • Big, bright, and vibrant display

The Bad

  • Thicker than the iPhone XS and XS Max
  • Portrait mode only works on people
  • No dongle or fast charger in box
  • Relatively big bezels for and edge-to-edge display

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