iPhone XS vs XS Max vs XR: all the differences


Apple has hit us with three new iPhone models: the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR, and by now, you probably already know that the XS is the successor to last year's iPhone X, the XS Max is the larger version, while the XR looks similar but makes some compromises and it's more affordable, but which one should you choose and what are all the differences?

We look at all the big and obvious differences, but we also highlights little details that are different, so that you get a complete picture of how all three new iPhones differ between each other.

And to make it all easier to see, we have put it in the table right below:

*Apple does not provide official RAM numbers. RAM numbers provided here are estimates from benchmark apps.

One thing that we could not fit in this table is that the iPhone XR also has slightly, but noticeably bigger bezels around the screen. The reason for these bezels is that the XR uses an LCD screen and Apple just cannot bend and fold this screen as much as the OLED screen on the XS, so you end up with bigger bezels.

We double checked to see that Apple indeed uses the same main camera in all three iPhones, and this is indeed the case. Also, for the first time, a single-camera iPhone can now take Portrait shots. The XR uses software to recognize the subject and put it in sharp focus, while blurring the background.

We were also pleasantly surprised to see that the iPhone XR has the longest lasting battery of any iPhone so far, even beating the XS Max. Apple says that the XR lasts an hour more than the XS Max in video, and compared to previous iPhones, it lasts half an hour longer than the iPhone 8 Plus, the previous champ, while the XS Max lasts an hour and a half on top of the iPhone X.

One minor thing you might have skipped is that the XR is a hair thicker at 0.33 inches, compared to the 0.3-inch iPhone XS, and it weigh quite a lot for an aluminum phone at 6.84 ounces. We have a detailed size comparison that puts the physical size of all three new iPhones against their Android rivals here.

Final Words

The more we look at the differences, the more we see the similarities


Overall, the more we look at the differences, the more we realize that this new crop of iPhones are actually very, very similar, all sharing the world's first 7nm chip, the Apple A12 Bionic, all have similar welcome improvements in the camera, including portrait mode and depth control, all have improved battery life and actually the XR has some new colors that you won't find on the XS.

The only thing keeping you from buying an iPhone XR right now is that Apple is running a bit late with manufacturing and pre-orders for the $750 new iPhone start on October 19th, while pre-orders for the XS series are already live.

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28 Comments

1. wtmana

Posts: 56; Member since: Nov 27, 2013

Iphone Xsr is 1.5 hour more that iphone 8 plus, no 1.5 more that X

4. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Thanks! Fixed it now!

8. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Also there is less ram in the XR. You should include that in your comparison as well Victor.

10. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Good point! Will do!

14. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Since your going by geekbench information, then the XR shows 3 gb of RAM.

15. CandyBar

Posts: 43; Member since: Dec 08, 2017

Why can' they just state the time the battery lasts - I don't know how long the X battery lasted of the 8 Plus nor do I care - just give me the time please.

2. dubaiboy78

Posts: 442; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Wow iPhoneArena is soo obvious, this your 10000000th post with icrap xs, xs max and xr!

6. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

We basically do this for every new flagship phone.

9. midan

Posts: 2749; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Why so bitter?

22. pego99

Posts: 121; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Fanboys hoping for free phones

24. cocoy

Posts: 456; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

If you don't like the article then you are free not to read or comment on it. This is there job.

3. MroziQ

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 02, 2015

What about dual sim option (eSIM)? Does Xr have this chip or Xs only?

5. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

Yes, the XR also has dual SIM with eSIM.

7. redmd

Posts: 1926; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

It's really more of the same. I wish Victor also included the iphone X.

11. Telemike

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

Retina 326ppi (828 x 1792 pixels) That's something I'd expect on a $100 BLU phone, not a $750+ iPhone. LOLz My Honor View 10 is 2160 x 1080

13. gamehead unregistered

Apple gets away with anything. Think I'll wait for the Razer Phone 2

19. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Don’t compare iphone with android trash. You don’t have a class.

21. sissy246

Posts: 7087; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LOL note 9 is a wayyyyyyyyyyy better buy. And some of us are not the only one saying so. Apple craped out this year on innovation and price. https://youtu.be/ZUmhgdOASyg

12. gamehead unregistered

So the only real difference is the screen, camera, size and color variants?

17. mootu

Posts: 1503; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Modem as well, XR version is not gigabit. Ram is also reported to be lower. XR has an aluminium frame instead of stainless steel.

16. mobileRRX1

Posts: 8; Member since: Dec 08, 2015

I think there are more differences. iPhone XR will have less camera features!

18. JMartin22

Posts: 2369; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I’m so glad that these phones embody the very definition of “incremental” - I don’t have to worry about scurrying to pick one up this year. I can look forward to, and save for the Galaxy S10; we’ll see what the 2019 iPhone offers by then.

23. pego99

Posts: 121; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Fanboys will buy icr@p before food and water

25. cocoy

Posts: 456; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

It's their choice and money so let them do it. We have no right to question their decision if we are not affected.

26. perry1234

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Hardware wise , all the three are pretty much a dud. Sells only because people like the simplicity of iOS / are tied to the ecosystem.

27. EmilyBaker

Posts: 30; Member since: May 08, 2018

If you need to change your iPhone, first remember to back up important data.

29. viktoriya.m

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 31, 2018

Isn't it a good idea to backup everything on iCloud and then just sync?

28. CecicliaGarcia

Posts: 27; Member since: May 08, 2018

I like iPhone XR more.

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