Apple iPhone XR is now official: LCD screen, Face ID, plenty of colors
Apple has just taken the wraps off its 2018 smartphone line-up, featuring the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Of the three, the iPhone XR is easily the most affordable model.
The LCD display here is what Apple calls 'Liquid Retina' and describes as "the most advanced LCD ever put in a smartphone". It's a 6.1-inch "Retina" screen, so you get the same pixel density as on earlier iPhones, but since the aspect ratio has changed, you now have a resolution of 828 x 1792 pixels.
On the back, you have a single 12-megapixel camera with a larger sensor, featuring larger and deeper pixels for better low-light photography. This is the improved main camera module that will be found on the iPhone XS and XS Max, only without the company of the secondary telephoto lens. The big feature here is that Apple has enabled Portrait mode with bokeh effect, even though the phone only has a single camera. This means that you'll be able to enjoy fancy portrait images with blurred backgrounds, but without the advantage of the closer lens with narrower field of view. In order words, your portraits will be less dramatic and in-your-face, but will still look quite good with an in-focus subject accentuated by a blurred background. Another new feature is that users will be able to control the amount of bokeh effect for each portrait shot from the Photos app.
Available in a variety of fresh colors, the iPhone XR looks a lot like the iPhone XS, with an edge-to-edge screen, Face ID, and a gesture-based navigation, but unlike the XS and XS Max, it only has a single camera on the back, and features an LCD screen rather than an OLED one.
Design and Colors
Nobody knows what the R in XR stands for, but it's one colorful phone!
Following the same design language as the XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR comes with a similar, modern edge-to-edge look with a notch. The XR has toughened glass up front to protect the screen, and Apple says it is the most durable ever used in an iPhone, while the frame in the middle is made of aluminum frame. The aluminum frame with its matte look is one of the obvious differences between the XR and the XS series, which use stainless steel with a glossy look.
In stark contrast with all other recent Apple phones, the iPhone XR comes in 6 vivid colors: white, black, blue, coral, yellow and Product Red.
- The new "white" model looks much brighter and cleaner than the white on the iPhone X;
- then, there is an even darker "black" model that looks straight out of a Batman movie and is also really cool;
- the cheerful "blue" color almost looks like a sky-blue shade;
- there is a peach color that Apple calls "coral," and you may also call salmon, that looks very delicate and lovely;
- then, you have a very interesting and different "yellow" model that is almost this lemony yellow, which we are not sure how we feel about;
- finally, you get a stunning, saturated, deep shade of "red" under the product red series that is really something special.
All the models come with a black finish on the front, but the red is the one really stands out from all the rest and is easily our favorite. Looking back at history, never have iPhone customers had so much color choice since the iPhone 5c!
The XR also has IP67 water and dust protection, meaning it can withstand a drop in 3-foot deep water, while the XS series can survive a 6-foot drop and are rated IP68.
Display and Face ID
"Most advanced LCD screen put in a smartphone," says Apple
One compromise made here is that there is no 3D Touch, but instead you have haptic touch, similar to what Apple does on its MacBooks with ForceTouch trackpads, and this is what you use to start the camera or the flashlight from the lockscreen. It remains to be seen if other features designed to work with 3D Touch will be usable on the iPhone XR's display. You don't get the same high dynamic range colors as you do on the XS series, but you do have support for Apple True Tone that automatically adjusts the white balance of the screen to the ambient light.
Up front, the iPhone XR has Face ID and a True Depth camera, and they all work just as well as on the XS series. Naturally, this means that there is no home button here and you rely on the new gesture-based iOS interface.
Under the hood, the XR runs on the same Apple A12 Bionic chipset, the world's first 7nm CPU, which is the same silicon as on the more expensive XS and XS Max. This chip is a topic on its own and it really is a big step forward for smartphone productivity. Put shortly, it provides a 15% bump in performance, while at the same time drawing 50% less power. Both the CPU and GPU are Apple-designed, and the Neural Engine that was introduced last year is improved in a huge way to recognize patterns, make predictions and provide advanced, real-time machine learning on board.
A single rear camera, but with Portrait Mode
The improvements in dynamic range translate to video as well, and you now finally have stereo sound recording on the XR. The front camera is a 7-megapixel one and in addition to regular selfies, it can also take portrait mode shots with the option to adjust the bokeh after you shoot the image.
The best battery life of any iPhone ever
In terms of battery life, Apple is promising 1 hour and a half better battery life than the iPhone 8 Plus, which is amazing news. The iPhone 8 Plus was already a marathon runner, so we can't wait to experience the kind of longevity the XR is going to offer. In its official tech specs, Apple is listing up to 15 hours of internet use and up to 16 hours of video playback – possibly the best battery life ever on an iPhone so far.
Price and release date
Coming this October
The price of the iPhone XR price starts at $750 and it will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB versions. Here is how all the prices break down per model:
The release date, however, is a bit later than that of the XS and XS Max. While the new premium models will arrive on September 21, the iPhone XR will be available for pre-order on October 19th, with shipping beginning on October 26th.