Should iPhone 8 Plus users upgrade to the iPhone XR? Five pros and cons

Should iPhone 8 Plus users upgrade to the iPhone XR? Five pros and cons
Apple's iPhone XR, the most affordable new iPhone revealed this September, is coming to a store near you this Friday. With humbler features and a design that's ever-so-slightly-less premium than the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR would still undeniably prove to be a fan favorite due to the lower entry point to the Apple ecosystem. Of course, long-time Apple users might also be tempted to grab that one and upgrade from their aging iPhones for all the same reasons - admit it, you know a cheaper iPhone would sell a lot.

But is the XR going to be an upgrade for just about all owners of older iPhones? Well, given that it's powered by a chipset that's easily miles ahead of the Android competition and has all the bells and whistles that made previous iPhones a great deal in the first place, most users of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and to some extent owners of the iPhone 8 and even the 8 Plus might be tempted to splurge on an XR.

In most of these cases, a potential upgrade is a no-brainer - you get a much more future-proof device, powered by the best mobile chip right now, as well as gain entry into the big iPhone design overhaul started with the iPhone X. However, if you're donning an iPhone 8 Plus, the case might not be as logical. Here's why you might want to abstain from "upgrading" to the XR.

5  reasons to skip the iPhone XR

#1. You're losing a couple of key features

Hey, do you love 3D Touch? The useful tech that everyone loves to forget about shortly after the novelty wears off? Well, provided that you're actually unironically enjoying the extra layer of functionality 3D Touch offers. Pressing hard on app icons and certain interface elements enabled additional options that are useful, but ultimately, it ended up being a feature that few users knew about and actively used in their day-to-day activities. How does the iPhone XR emulate the funcitonality that's still a part of iOS? By long-pressing the screen and getting some taptic feedback, of course! While it's different in the way it works, the faux 3D Touch of the iPhone XR provides a similar functionality.

Still, it's easy to see how the removal of 3D Touch might rub some people the wrong way.

#2. Display

Yes, you've heard that argument before - the iPhone XR only comes with a 720p display, which is definitely a downgrade from the one on the iPhone 8 Plus, which pegged in at a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels. Essentially, you're getting a less crisp display, which is still considered Retina-compliant with its pixel density of 326ppi. You shouldn't have issues with the overall sharpness of the display, but if you're a display nerd and actually care about the overall quality of your screen, the lower resolution of the iPhone XR could irk you the wrong way.

#3. RIP Home Button, you might be missed

Prepare that eulogy for the iPhone home button, which is just one of the latest staples to get ditched in favor of innovativeness and forward-thinking. The future belongs to gesture navigation and Apple knows that, but not just everyone might be ready to embrace it. Conservative iPhone users might be very much against the removal of the hardware element, which was used to house the fingerprint scanner. This leads us to another notable omission...

#4. The fingeprint sensor

Apple is all about Face ID these days, having phased out hardware fingerprint scanners from its iPhones. While it's yet unclear if in-display fingerprint sensors would ever be employed
on a future lineup of iPhones, for the time being TouchID is dead. Sure, Face ID is just as secure and quick to act as TouchID ever was, if not better, but there's always the possibility of many users not being keen on the substitute biometric technology. And it's true that they have valid arguments - with TouchID you can unlock your device from an unconventional position while Face ID requires you to have a direct vantage point at the TrueDepth camera system in the notch.

#5. Secondary telephoto camera

You will be losing the telephoto camera on the back if you go for the iPhone XR. That's no biggie for the camera's portrait mode since the phone can do this one with a single camera only, but those who enjoyed the lossless optical zoom feature are likely to miss it.

But are there reasons to get the iPhone XR if you're already donning an iPhone 8 Plus? Sure thing!

5 reasons to get the iPhone XR

#1. You get much better performance

The Apple A11 Bionic chipset of the iPhone 8/ 8 Plus / iPhone X was in a league of its own and the same thing applies to the Apple A12 Bionic, which is even faster than last year's flagship chip. Of course, the difference is mainly in synthetic benchmarks and wouldn't be that easy to spot in real-life usage - both the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XR would be super-snappy whatever you throw at them.

#2. You get much better battery life

The iPhone XR will generally last you longer than the iPhone 8 Plus did in its best days. Officially, Apple promises that the iPhone XR would last up to 90 minutes more than the 8 Plus. When it comes to battery life, more is always welcome, there's no second opinion about that. The improvement in battery endurance can be attribiuted to both the larger battery (2942mAh vs 2691mAh) and the more efficient chipset of the iPhone XR.

#3. Higher screen-to-body ratio

Overall, the iPhone XR is much more efficient in terms of real estate - you get a larger display in a phone that's actually way shorter and narrower than the 8 Plus. The numbers speak for themselves - 67.47% vs 79.24% in favor of the newer device is pretty important. Of course, having such a large display on a such a small body meant that Apple had to once again resort to using the notch, which might not be just everyone's cup of tea, but seeing how 9 out of 10 new phones come along with a notch, consumers will gradually have to learn to live with these until the technology evolves further.

#4. Colors!

Available in Black, White, Blue, Red, Yellow, and Coral, the iPhoe XR is a much more vibrant gadget than the play-it-safe iPhone 8 Plus, which is available in Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Red.

#5. Better stereo speakers

Apple says the iPhone XR's stereo speakers have much wider audiop presentation than the iPhone 8 Plus, which should definitely be seen as a, hmm, plus by those media consumers that seldom use earbuds or the likes.

Related phones

iPhone 8 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256GB
  • Battery 2691 mAh(21h 3G talk time)
iPhone XR
  • Display 6.1" 828 x 1792 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 64GB
  • Battery 2942 mAh(25h talk time)



1. Jrod99

Posts: 781; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Resolution and no wireless charger might be a issue for some.

4. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

The XR can charge wirelessly

2. Venom

Posts: 3966; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I don't think it's worth it imo. So many steps taken back than forward with the new iPhone Xs. I would stick with the 8 Plus if I was even remotely interested in the iPhone. It sucks that Apple didn't follow up with a successor to the 8 Plus, but I suppose it's future proof enough to last a few years. Now the absence of TouchID and the 720p screen is an absolute no no. Use 1080p. This is 2018 Apple.

3. emcdonald75

Posts: 169; Member since: Nov 07, 2012

Why didn't Apple simply put a 1080p screen on the XR? That would have made the decision easy for me.

5. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

It would've made a more appealing phone overall. Maybe Apple wanted to focus the sales on the XS rather than the XR.

6. slashas

Posts: 147; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

Seems they bought cheap tech of old displays and making even bigger profit margin including it on XR :)

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31757; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You should ask Apple that. I’m sure they’ll be very forthcoming.

7. Vancetastic

Posts: 1866; Member since: May 17, 2017

Why does one have to be a “display nerd” to expect a display at least as good as the old Plus series?

8. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Because regular Joe and Jane won't care about the screen specs, they'll just buy it because it's the "cheap" iPhone. Most tech-savvy people out there in the wild immediately point that spec in their rants, hence "display nerds".

9. monkeyb

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

Please don't call it cheap. I feel cheap if someone tells $750 is cheap. lol.

18. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

If the regular Joe and Jane won't care about the screen specs. Then why have a much better screen on the XS/XS Max. Why even go with OLED then? Just stick with LCD for the XS/XS Max. There is a big difference in screens, period. Articles like this are made to show that there isn't a big difference in the 1080p plus display to the XR display. But there certainly is a big difference. Besides the display is the most important part on any smartphone, period.

20. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I don't work for Apple so I'm afraid I'm unable to answer those questions, I'm agree as well that the screen is the most important thing on a phone, they definitely should've put at least 1080p res on the phone for the price asked. Maybe it'll happen on the iPhone XRII? If you poll random peeps about the screen size/res their phone have they won't even know how to measure it. That's why I mentioned regular Joe and Jane won't care because they don't know.

16. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

The difference is obvious. Especially if you already used to 5.5" FHD screen for a whole year (assuming you use 8+ since launch), you'll notice 6.1" HD screen is worse on the first sight.

10. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

As an iPhone 8 plus user myself, I consider this a downgrade. Can't let go of the fps and the telephoto cam, and I suppose the 8 plus is cheaper so it's a win.

11. ShadowWarrior

Posts: 170; Member since: Aug 08, 2017

Anyone should clearly be able to tell that the reasons to stay outweigh the reasons to switch.

12. whocar3s

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

You also get a better camera! Smart HDR + selfie portrait + animoji + memoji....

17. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

But telephoto.

13. amir1999 unregistered

Used iPhone X is better

19. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012


15. syntaxlord

Posts: 239; Member since: Oct 01, 2018

The XR has a smaller form factor as well (better suited for one-hand use)...

21. tntwit

Posts: 86; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

The XR has the same ppi as the smaller 8 with both at 326. I don't recall users complaining about the 8's resolution, or anyone saying that the Plus had a superior display. I would have to see them side by side to judge. I do agree though, that it should be higher, just not sure it will be noticeable.

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