The iPhone XR is usually Great, Which Means Choosing An iPhone Right currently is usually Confusing As Hell


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The iPhone XR is usually an iPhone designed for normals. that will has the best battery life of any iPhone, takes Portrait Mode pics, includes a giant, almost edge-to-edge screen, can be charged wirelessly, along with uses Face ID facial recognition tech, just like Apple’s more expensive phones.

The XR’s best feature is usually that will that will’s an iPhone under $1,000, with the features of an iPhone over $1,000.

The XR — pronounced Ten “R” — isn’t without its faults. The thing feels big, thick, along with heavy compared to Apple’s additional, ultra-svelte phones. Occasionally, the phone’s lower-resolution LCD display, compared to the high-contrast OLED in last year’s iPhone X, along with lack of a telephoto lens were noticeable. that will also doesn’t have 3D Touch–enabled “peek along with pop,” a feature included in every iPhone since the 6S in 2015. Without that will, I missed being able to preview web links along with having a shortcut to call one of my favorite contacts through the homescreen.

nevertheless so far, after a few days of reviewing the device, the biggest problem with the iPhone XR is usually that will that will’s mostly Great — which makes picking an iPhone in 2018 more confusing than ever.

Before I dig into which iPhone you should get, here’s what that will’s like to use the XR:


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

iPhone XR vs. women’s jeans back pocket

The device’s size is usually somewhere between an iPhone 7/8 along with iPhone 7/8 Plus. that will’s significantly taller along with wider than last year’s iPhone 8, along with slightly taller along with wider than last year’s iPhone X. that will’s a bit thicker, too. For someone with tiny hands, these tiny size increases make a meaningful difference: The phone protrudes a bit more out of pockets, along with its added bulkiness makes that will that will much harder to use single-handed while standing on the bus.

nevertheless I’ve also come to accept the completely new normal. Smartphone makers seem committed to producing screens bigger while killing off smaller products (RIP, my beloved iPhone SE).

I don’t blame them. When you’re comfortably seated or standing in one place, the giant display — 6.1 inches diagonally, compared to the 8 Plus’s 5.5 inches — is usually wonderful. People with visual impairment who use large text sizes will appreciate the extra room.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The screen incorporates a much lower resolution (326 pixels per inch) than the OLED screens of the more expensive iPhone X, XS, along with XS Max products (which all have 458 ppi displays). Even last year’s iPhone 8 Plus incorporates a better-resolution screen (401 ppi).

These numbers mean that will the XR isn’t equipped to render all of the coloration of an HDR (high dynamic range) video, or all of the detail in a high-resolution video. When you’re watching 4K HDR content on YouTube or Netflix on the XR, the difference is usually noticeable nevertheless subtle. (I’ve watched This particular nearly a dozen times currently.) On the iPhone X, which can play HDR videos, scenes with sunlight looked less overexposed, along with more shades of green along with red came through, compared to the iPhone XR.

For everything else — reading the news, Instagram stalking, texting — the XR screen was completely sufficient. The contrast between dark along with light colors is usually better on the X/XS/XS Max (which isn’t surprising because OLED screens have better contrast than LCD screens, generally), nevertheless the resolution difference doesn’t feel dramatic. For the most part, you can hardly tell.

The type of people who are interested inside the XR likely don’t care about best-in-class screen specifications, anyway. They just want a Great phone that will takes Great pictures.

along with the pictures are Great. The iPhone XR incorporates a completely new feature called “Smart HDR” that will makes an image’s highlights less exposed along with its shadows less dark, like the completely new XS products.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

In scenes where the sun is usually blasting through, the photos turned out warm, balanced, along with detailed.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News



Previously, iPhones needed two lenses to take Portrait Mode photos, which gives photos a gauzy, DSLR-esque soft-focus background. The iPhone XR is usually the only iPhone with just one rear camera — one particular, 12-megapixel wide-angle lens — that will can take Portrait Mode images. that will adds the blur digitally, like the Google Pixel, to images. A completely new editing tool also allows you to adjust the blurriness of the photo.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News



Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR has its quirks. For one, that will is usually not designed to work on photos of animals or food, only humans, which is usually a real bummer if you want to take epic pictures of dogs.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News



In fact, there were numerous missed dog opportunities during the a few-day review period. I caught an actual dog SURFING (below). Tragically, because the iPhone XR has no telephoto lens, the digitally zoomed-in footage looks pixelated.

For comparison, here’s the iPhone X’s telephoto lens at work. With the iPhone XR, you need to zoom with your feet.

What the iPhone XR does have is usually a monster battery. Caveat: All completely new batteries perform well, along having a few days is usually definitely not enough time to fully test its limits. nevertheless Apple says This particular iPhone has the best battery life of any current iPhone (15 hours of internet usage). Most days, I went to bed with about half of the battery left, with Saturday as the exception because, by the time I had gotten home, that will was Sunday. I used the included a few-watt power adapter to charge the review unit, nevertheless you can “fast-charge” the phone using a 30W USB-C adapter, or charge that will wirelessly having a Qi accessory.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The XR comes in four different ~fun~ colors (blue, yellow, coral, along with red), along with also black or white. I gravitated toward the coral because I was nostalgic for my iPhone 5C through years ago inside the same shade. Coral is usually actually more of a salmon than a pink. that will’s bright, that will’s loud, along with that will immediately attracted the eyeballs of everyone around me whenever I whipped that will out.

If you want something more inconspicuous, I’d get the black or white. You should be protecting the phone having a case anyway, so the coloration won’t matter.

One logistical note: At launch, the XR must be purchased with your carrier. The unlocked along with SIM-free product, which might allow you to easily switch wireless services or use local SIMs while traveling abroad, isn’t available yet. Most US carriers do unlock devices, nevertheless only after a certain set of criteria is usually met, including an often months-long wait period.

Apple will offer an unlocked iPhone XR at a later date, along with that will will roll out eSIM compatibility that will allows you to have two numbers (including a local one while traveling abroad) on one device at the same time. Apple hasn’t yet announced when that will feature is usually launching, only that will that will’s coming “later This particular fall.”

The bottom line is usually that will the iPhone XR makes Expensive iPhone features more accessible. While the XR’s $749 cost tag isn’t exactly chump change, that will’s certainly more palatable than the XS’s $1,000. Apple’s previous “cheap phones” — the iPhone 5C ($99 on contract!), along with the iPhone SE (just $399!!) — had clear trade-offs. They had smaller screens, significantly less storage capacity, along with worse cameras. The XR, meanwhile, doesn’t feel like that will’s compromising on the stuff that will matters to normal people: performance, battery, along with photography.

Apple is usually currently selling *seven* different phones, not including recently discontinued (along with currently discounted) products, like the iPhone X. They’re all Great Phones, along with what you should get depends on what you can afford along with what you need.

First, consider whether you actually need an upgrade. You may not — plus you’ll save money along with reduce the amount of toxic e-waste that will ends up in our landfills.

If your iPhone is usually starting to feel sluggish, that will’s likely that will you don’t need an upgrade — just a battery replacement ($29 until Dec. 31, after which that will will cost $69 for iPhone X along with newer, along with $49 for additional products).

Check your Settings App > Battery > Battery Health, which shows your battery’s maximum capacity. After 500 charge cycles (about 1.5 years), the battery starts to degrade along with only retains up to 80% of its original capacity. When your phone hits 79% capacity, you need a battery replacement. (After a year, my iPhone X’s capacity is usually at 95%.)

There are a few ways to get the most out of your current phone. Add Low Power Mode as a shortcut to your Control Center. Go to Settings > search “Control Center” > Customize Controls > add Low Power Mode — along with use that will liberally.

Next, use a protective case, gosh darn that will! The case should extend across the port along with speaker mesh (Apple’s silicone along with leather cases don’t). Tech21’s Pure Clear cases offer great lightweight protection, while Lifeproof’s Next along with Otterbox’s Symmetry collections are more heavy-duty.

If you do, in fact, need an upgrade, here’s where the iPhone XR fits in Apple’s current lineup.

Budget + tiny hands + don’t care about wireless charging = iPhone 7
Budget + big screen + don’t care about wireless charging + Portrait Mode = iPhone 7 Plus
Budget + tiny hands + decent processor = iPhone 8
Budget + big screen + Portrait Mode + battery life = iPhone XR
Serious about photography + tiny hands + super high-res display = iPhone X (probably used)
*Very* serious about photography + tiny hands + super high-res display = iPhone XS
*Very* serious about photography + mega big screen + super high-res display = iPhone XS Max

Which phone is usually the best for you, depends largely on your 1) budget along with 2) needs. Do you want all the *completely new* iPhone features along with great battery life without spending $1,000? The iPhone XR is usually probably your best bet, especially if you plan on reselling or trading in your phone inside the next few years.

nevertheless last year’s iPhone X is usually also compelling. You can buy a preowned iPhone X with 256 gigabytes, in mint condition, inside the $710–$825 range, while completely new units are sold at carriers along with Best Buy for about $900– $1,050.

There are risks to buying a used smartphone nevertheless, with the iPhone X, you’d get nearly every iPhone feature Apple has to offer (except for Smart HDR along with adjustable depth of field) for a sub-$1,000 cost, even at the largest storage capacity. Because I have tiny hands along with actually love that will 2x optical zoom, a used iPhone X might be my pick.

Note: Many Swappa sellers include a screenshot of the phone’s battery health. Look for battery capacity inside the 0%–99% range.

If you’re unsure, here’s a chart:


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

If budget is usually your priority, the iPhone 7 (a dang Great phone! along with water resistant!) is usually available for $449. If you want the BEST, NEWEST thing, the XS or XS Max is usually more your speed.

Ultimately, when that will comes to buying an iPhone: Upgrade only when you must, along with (obviously) buy only what you can afford.

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