Apple’s next iPhone, the XR, will hit the market on October 26th, offering a balance between performance and value not seen yet in this year’s releases, according to a CNET preview.
Apple already released the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max this year, with the Max essentially just a larger screened version of the XS, which was itself an evolution of the iPhone X from 2017. Given its lower price point starting at $749, compared to $999 for the XS and $1099 for the XS Max, the XR will act as the new entry level iPhone. At the same time, it will also offer improvements in addition to compromises.
The new XR shares some specifications and features with the XS, such as the advanced A12 Bionic processor. The XR will also include the wide-angle camera and improved sensor, which takes in more light, and offers improved contrast and reduced blur, introduced on the XS. The front-faced, True Depth camera will also be included in the XR. Finally, it will also come equipped with iOS 12, wireless charging, and dual-SIM capability.
Despite the lower price point, the XR will offer some key improvements. Though not as large as the 6.5-inch XS Max, the XR will boast a 6.1-inch screen, improving on the 5.8-inch screen of the XS. Apple also says the XR will offer the longest battery life of all of this year’s releases, with 15 hours of internet use and 16 hours of video playback. Both figures are several hours ahead of the XS and XS Max, and make the XR the most powerful iPhone yet when it comes to battery life.
Unlike the prior releases, the XR will be offered in multiple colors. And with a price range of $749 (64GB) to $899 (256GB), the XR will offer an iPhone option as affordable as the iPhone 8.
Overall these features make the XR a good value compared to the earlier models. However, it does have some drawbacks that will mean some customers will want to stick with the XS models. The phone uses a lower resolution LCD screen instead of the OLED in the XS phones. With a single 12MP camera instead of a telephoto, it is missing the 2x optical zoom and more powerful digital zoom on the pricier models. Without the dual cameras, its “Portrait Mode” is software based and more limited.
Instead of the gigabit LTE, the new model uses the “Advanced LTE” seen in iPhone 8 and X models from the last year, costing some degree of speed. It’s also the first iPhone since the 6 to forgo 3D touch.
The body is also aluminum instead of steel, with 1 meter of water resistance instead of 2.
Unless any of those sacrifices are absolutely necessary for the way you use iPhones, however, the XR is not only a great value, but improves on several XS features as well. With a lower price point, Apple may find itself regaining its share of the smartphone market following a recent decline.