iPhone 11 vs iPhone XR: should you upgrade? Which one to buy?

iPhone 11 vs iPhone XR: should you upgrade? Which one to buy?
Well, iPhone Day 2019 is well behind us and we are still processing all of the cool announcements. From the very reasonably priced Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ to the $699 on the iPhone 11’s tag — great job, Apple! It’s an aggressive, saturated market out there and Cupertino definitely made the right calls in order to not estrange its fans.

But the iPhone 11 is not just about the price — it comes with some upgrades. Camera, processor, the likes. Is it worth to ditch your iPhone XR in order to get this model? Let’s ponder this a while:

Design and display

Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11


5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.4 mm


6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR


5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm


6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11


5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.4 mm


6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR


5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm


6.84 oz (194 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page

Apple loves to stick by its designs for years on end and it’s no surprise that the iPhone 11 reiterates the design of the iPhone XR, which itself was mostly based on the iPhone X design. In other words, you won’t be upgrading for the looks of the handset. Yeah, the iPhone 11 does come in a bunch of new colors, but that doesn’t mean that the iPhone XR’s vibrant paintjobs are now obsolete, right? Right?

And what about the display? Nope, nothing new here. Same old LCD panel, 324 pixel-per-inch density, same bezels, same notch on top. Of course, that’s not really bad — Apple’s LCD panels are great in terms of color, detail, and luminosity.

Hardware and camera

Yeah, it’s a new iPhone, it’s “the fastest iPhone ever”, it has a new chip. Snide sarcasm aside, the Apple A13 Bionic is yet another impressive SoC that’s going to put the competition to shame. But last year’s A12 Bionic is still a very, very powerful processor. In other words — the iPhone 11 is super-powerful… the iPhone XR is still nothing to snark at.

Still, the iPhone 11 has some nice touches here and there. Like the new U1 chip — it’s an “extra sense” for your iPhone, which allows it to do more with wireless signals around you. Right now, you can use it for AirDrop — if you point your iPhone 11 to a specific friend (who also has a U1-equipped phone), your AirDrop menu will put them on top, making sharing even easier than before. This is just the beginning, Apple says, and we are curious what else the U1 can be used for.

The camera department is where the huge updates are. The iPhone 11 now has two lenses on the back — a regular wide-angle and an ultra-wide-angle. Yep, keeping up with the trends, Apple also has that 120-degree, action-cam-like lens on the back, which allows you to capture more stuff in both photo and video. It also has improvements behind the scenes with the image processor now juggling even more frames as you take a single photo, stitching them all together for those “computational photography” results.

We also — finally — get a "Night Mode". When it's dark out and the iPhone 11 detects that there's not enough light to grab a nice photo, it will automatically engage Night Mode. It looks like it works just like the implementations of Google and Samsung. We will surely test that. The demonstration did not state whether or not Night Mode will be coming to older generation iPhones and we have a feeling it might not.

In reality, the iPhone XR’s camera is still quite good. The 11 is a great improvement, but we are not sure it’s so much better that you need to dump your XR right now, here, on the spot.

Other tiny tidbits

Hey Face ID has been improved — Apple says that it’s now even better at detecting your face at wider angles. In practice, this should mean that you shouldn’t need to lean over your iPhone like you are threatening to smother it in its sleep in order to unlock it. We will see just how wide that angle is when it’s time for a review!

What we did find interesting is the new Audio Virtualizer, which Apple talked briefly about. Apparently, the iPhone 11 will be able to push sound out of its stereo speakers in such a manner that it sounds more convincingly big and spatial. Of course, we can’t say anything about it before we get our hands on the phone and get to reviewing it.

So yay or nay?

Here’s the thing — for anyone that owns an Apple iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 is not really a huge upgrade. In fact, Apple didn’t mean it to be. It’s supposed to be an upgrade for people who are still hanging on to their iPhone 8 or even iPhone 7. The them, we say — go ahead!

Now, if you look at the Apple Store page, you will notice that you can have an iPhone XR for $600 and an iPhone 11 for $700. Maybe you are wondering — which one of these to get? In this case, we’d say absolutely go for the iPhone 11. It has a bunch of small and not-so-small improvements sprinkled throughout that make the extra $100 worth it. The new camera, the improved Face ID angle, the supposedly improved stereo speakers, the faster processor… yeah, we would pay an extra $100 for all of that. If you are really, really strapped for cash and can’t go a cent beyond $600… save up. Really, there’s very little reason to get the XR for $600 with the iPhone 11 so close to that.

Related phones

iPhone 11
  • Display 6.1" 828 x 1792 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 12 MP front
  • Processor Apple A13 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2650 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3110 mAh
iPhone XR
  • Display 6.1" 828 x 1792 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2942 mAh(25h talk time)



1. gadgetpower

Posts: 155; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

It will be the best selling smartphone for September 2019 to 2020.

3. ijuanp03

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Why does it matter to you?

5. oldskool50

Posts: 1531; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Because it has nothign else to offer, so all he can do is brag about sells. It's gonna be the best selling of the 3 models, and that is gonna take Apple ASP down quiet a bit and the iPhone sales between now and the next model are gonna drop a total close to 40% year over year. he can't brag about anythign else about the phone, because Android phones actually ahve the bragging rights on features. They will just hang on to dear life about the A-series SoC benchmark faster than android phones, while turning a blind eye to the fact Android SoC bench slower because they are doing considerably more. Everythign an iPhone has, other phones have had for at leats 3 years running, so there is nothgn to get excited about. And for me, no phone has been exciting for quite awhile. For me the last exciting iPhone was the 5S. For Samsung the last exciting Note was the 7 and last exciting S was the 8. The S10+ is very nice and I may get it as my Note backup, but I won't be buying the Note 10, and since all i have now are iPhone 4's which I keep for 32bit app support, I need to get a newer iPhone. But it won't be this one. I will get an iPhone X, which I can get for $400 used. That's good enough for me.

6. whatev

Posts: 2260; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Hi techie, are you looking so fast for a ban by moderators after you were limited??? :)))) Please keep going, you’re doing great like this

9. Mike88

Posts: 401; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Maybe Galaxy Fold if it wasn’t so unsafe. It’s next gen but it’s still android.

10. Elvis358

Posts: 227; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Why wouldn't. Is your reaction like this because it's Iphone. Like seriously how long people will hate other people choice's. It is a smartphone be happy that you own one. No matter the brend.

16. Vega007

Posts: 78; Member since: May 18, 2017

Yup, I will be getting one.

22. Deadeye

Posts: 66; Member since: Jul 26, 2019

That´s kinda logical when you have 3 options on iOS vs 1000 options on Android.

23. kplayon

Posts: 55; Member since: Mar 02, 2018

I just want symmetrical bezels like this on android phones. Can any manufacture do this?

2. ijuanp03

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

If anything, at least iPhone fans now get decent cameras. It's really surprising how Apple is playing catch up in the camera department. Not sure what the hundreds of camera engineers have been doing the whole time. And pls don't give the excuse that "first isn't always better" because it just goes to show how incompetent the people are inside.

4. mackan84

Posts: 454; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

The excuse is they held back on computational photography to give as much of a natural photo as possible. They have finally caved in and is full on post-processing.

7. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

8. Poptart2828

Posts: 394; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

But so does everyone else in this day and age. The price at 699 is the biggest news.

13. Tipus

Posts: 868; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

11. Elvis358

Posts: 227; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

It is a upgrade. Two new cameras, new processor, more ram, bigger battery, better ip rating and it is even cheeper than xr when it came out!

12. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Some of my friends still want to rock on their iPhone 6/6s for another year!

14. snowman21

Posts: 3; Member since: May 14, 2018

I ll stoke with my galaxy S8

15. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Meh. I wouldn't even think about moving from my XR. This is such a minor upgrade that it;s completely not worth it. Heck, I'd probably suggest most people get the XR over the 11 and save the hundred bucks.

17. SmartPhoneMobiles

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 16, 2016

everything is fkin same when it comes to iphones

18. Vancetastic

Posts: 1302; Member since: May 17, 2017

I think it's still too expensive for a mid-range device, especially if you want a decent amount of storage.

19. rkoforever90

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

Iphone XR should have to be 499$ , if apple had put a 1080P display with a smaller notch Iphone 11 should has been a good deal for 700$

20. sunnyfpy

Posts: 281; Member since: May 12, 2013

Refurbished XR with new chipset,,,, boring

21. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2186; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

The iPhone 11 is a better value than my XS Max 512. It comes down to cameras...That is how Apple positioned the 11 vs 11 Pro. Personally, I go with the top of line as this represents better resale value.

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