- Apple‘s current iPhone lineup consists of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
- The real question is: Which should you buy?
- As someone who’s spent extensive time with all three phones, I’ve concluded that the iPhone XR is the best phone for most people, even though the iPhone XS beats it in many ways.
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“Which iPhone should I buy? iPhone XS or iPhone XR?”
That’s the question I’ve gotten more than any other question this year.
Each iPhone has its benefits. The iPhone XR has superior battery life, and comes in more colours than the other phones. It’s also $US250 cheaper to start. The iPhone XS, though, has a way better display and comes in two different sizes, including a large “Max” version.
I’ve spent a lot of time with all three iPhones. Here’s how they stack up, and why I think the iPhone XR is the best phone for most people.
The iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max are all powered by the same chip — Apple’s A12 Bionic — so you won’t notice a difference in speed or performance.
All three phones also run iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, out of the box.
They all support wireless charging.
The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR have the same front-facing camera for selfies and Face ID.
Their rear cameras are nearly identical, too, even though the iPhone XR has one fewer lens than the iPhone XS and XS Max.
They all have similar designs. They look like the iPhone X from 2017, with its edge-to-edge display and “notch” cutout for Face ID.
They all support two SIM cards (one physical Nano SIM card and one electronic SIM card, unless you live in China), which lets you connect to multiple carriers and networks.
But that’s where the similarities end.
The 6.1-inch iPhone XR has a slightly bigger screen than the 5.8-inch iPhone XS.
Neither phone compares to the massive screen on the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max, though.
The screens for the iPhone XS and XS Max feature OLED technology. They have two of the best smartphone displays ever made.
The iPhone XR has an LCD screen, which is still good, but it doesn’t compare to the gorgeous colours, contrast, and brightness of the OLED screens on the iPhone XS and XS Max.
The iPhone XR also has a slightly thicker bezel, or border around its display, compared to the iPhone XS.
The iPhone XS gets about 13 hours of battery life. The iPhone XS Max gets about 14 hours of life.
The iPhone XR has the best battery life, though: It gets about 16 hours on a single charge — about 15% more juice compared to the iPhone XS and XS Max.
The iPhone XS and XS Max support up to 512 GB of internal storage. The iPhone XR only supports up to 256 GB of storage.
Both phones will survive just fine in the rain, but the iPhone XS is slightly more water resistant than the iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS and XS Max support 3D Touch, where you can push into the screen to get more menu options. The iPhone XR does not support 3D Touch, but it has a similar feature where touching and holding the display can make more menu options appear.
The iPhone XS and XS Max support 2X optical zooming, meaning you can zoom in without losing any quality.
Since the iPhone XR has only one rear-camera lens, it can’t perform optical zooming.
The iPhone XS and XS Max come in just three colours: silver, black, and gold.
The iPhone XR comes in six colours: white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and red.
The iPhone XS Max is the most expensive phone. It starts at $US1,099 for 64 GB. The 512 GB model costs $US1,449.
The iPhone XS is also expensive. It starts at $US999 for the 64 GB model. The 512 GB model costs $US1,349.
The iPhone XR is more affordable than the iPhone XS models. It starts at $US749 for 64 GB. The 256 GB model costs $US899.
I personally prefer the iPhone XS, but the iPhone XR is going to be the best iPhone for most people.
While the iPhone XS has a better display, most people won’t notice a big difference between that and the LCD in the iPhone XR. The screen looks vibrant and sharp, even though it’s not OLED.
The iPhone XR also has superior battery life — and that makes a huge difference. Getting three extra hours compared to the iPhone XS is notable.
The iPhone XR may not have the same camera system, or screen, or 3D Touch, but it’s identical to the iPhone XS phones where it counts: It’s powered by the same brains (the A12 Bionic), and runs on the same operating system (iOS 12).
The biggest factor, though, is price. You can save $US250 to start by going with the iPhone XR compared to the iPhone XS. And since you’re getting the same basic experience as the iPhone XS, that’s good savings.
I personally love the iPhone XS — it’s the best form factor for my hands, and I love the OLED screen — but I can’t deny that the iPhone XR is the best phone for most people, and a clear winner when you look at all the criteria.
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