- Apple’s current iPhone lineup includes the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
- The iPhone XR is more affordable than the iPhone XS, but there are several good reasons to consider the more expensive phone.
Apple’s iPhone X changed the smartphone landscape. It’s tough to find a new Android phone that doesn’t have a “notch,” for example.
To follow up the iPhone X, Apple announced not one, but two new smartphone designs in 2018.
The iPhone XS and XS Max continued the tradition of the iPhone X, while the iPhone XR shared similar qualities as the iPhone X, but featured an LCD screen. The LCD would be less costly for Apple to build, and less expensive for customers to buy. Win-win, right?
While the iPhone XR is an appealing option for anyone looking to have an iPhone X-esque experience for less than $US1,000, there are several reasons to consider the more expensive iPhone XS, if you’re on the fence.
1. The iPhone XR is only available in one size. The iPhone XS is available in two sizes.
If you like the look and feel of the iPhone XR, you can only get it in one size, with its 6.1-inch display.
If you like the iPhone XS, however, you have two size options to choose from: You can get the 5.8-inch model, or the 6.5-inch “Max” size, which costs $US100 more than the standard iPhone XS.
2. The iPhone XS display is significantly better-looking than the iPhone XR.
Your phone screen is important. It’s the main window for all of your content: your files, documents, photos, videos, and more. You’ll be looking at it all day, every day.
The iPhone XS features a “Super Retina” OLED screen, while the iPhone XR features a “Liquid Crystal” LCD screen.
OLED screens, in general, are brighter, show more accurate colours, and can achieve far better contrast than LCD screens. The iPhone XR has one of the best LCDs in a smartphone, but it still doesn’t come close to the iPhone XS display, which is the best way to view high-definition photos and videos.
3. The iPhone XR has thicker bezels, or borders around the display, compared to the iPhone XS.
The iPhone XR’s less-great display is made worse by a slightly thicker bezel, or border around the display.
People make a big deal out of bezels in 2019. People want to feel like their content pops out of the screen. If this is something you care about, the iPhone XS is a noticeable step up.
4. The iPhone XR is available in six beautiful colours, but if you want silver or gold, those are only available on the iPhone XS.
The iPhone XR is available in red, blue, yellow, black, white, and coral, which is kind of like orange-meets-pink.
The iPhone XS is also available in black, along with “silver” instead of white, and a gold option.
5. The iPhone XR is a heavier phone than the iPhone XS.
You might not consider weight when buying a smartphone, but when you’re lifting your phone dozens of times a day, and carrying it around all day, the weight adds up.
The iPhone XR weighs 194 grams, while the iPhone XS weighs 177 grams.
To be fair, the iPhone XR is still lighter than the larger version of the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, which weighs 208 grams.
6. The iPhone XR doesn’t have the dual-camera system of the iPhone XS, so it doesn’t zoom as well.
While the iPhone XR and iPhone XS have near-identical camera infrastructures on both the front and backs of the phone, the iPhone XR cannot perform optical zooming – only digital zooming – because it lacks the second telephoto lens that is exclusive to the iPhone XS.
What’s more, digital zooming is also better on the iPhone XS: The iPhone XR can only achieve 5X digital zoom for photos and 3X digital zoom for videos, while the iPhone XS can achieve 10X digital zoom for photos, 6X digital zoom for videos, plus that desirable 2X optical zoom for whatever you’re shooting.
7. The most storage you can get in the iPhone XR is 256 GB. You can get way more storage in the iPhone XS, which maxes out at 512 GB.
That’s more room for more photos, videos, files, apps, documents, games, and more.
8. The iPhone XR isn’t as water-resistant as the iPhone XS.
The iPhone XS has a water-resistance rating of IP68, meaning it can survive two meters of water for up to 30 minutes, while the iPhone XR only has a water-resistance rating of IP67, meaning it can survive just one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
9. The iPhone XR doesn’t support 3D Touch like the iPhone XS does.
It’s a small thing, but the ability to press into the phone’s display – to activate new menu options within an app, for example – only works on the iPhone XS.
Apple made a version of 3D Touch for the iPhone XR, where you basically just touch and hold your finger to the screen to perform an action, but it doesn’t provide the same haptic feedback, or vibration, that you get when you perform 3D Touch on an iPhone XS.
10. The iPhone XR does not support gigabit-class LTE like the iPhone XS does.
The iPhone XS, meanwhile, is capable of “Gigabit-class LTE,” which can theoretically deliver 1 gigabit per second – roughly 10 times the speed of LTE Advanced.
Of course, most regions don’t support these kinds of speeds, and terms like “LTE Advanced” and “Gigabit LTE” describe the “theoretical,” not actual, limit – most of the time, you’ll experience speeds much slower than what’s advertised – but it’s still helpful to know what your phone is capable of.
Of course, you have to pick the right iPhone for you.
While the iPhone XS is better than the iPhone XR in a handful of important areas, the iPhone XR also beats the iPhone XS in several key ways. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and which features you find particularly important in a smartphone.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.