Budget Beast

The iPhone XR Is Really Affordable, and Still Totally Feature-Packed


September 12, 2018 Announcements By Photo by Eric Yang
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I’m an Apple user, happily, but I’ve never been one to go out and buy the latest and greatest Apple releases. The iPhone in my pocket is a 7; the laptop I use at home is a 2013 MacBook Air. So I didn’t expect to get excited about anything Apple released today, but a few things have me bright-eyed. And the iPhone XR — spiritually akin to the beloved SE — is one of those things.

In keeping with the form factors that made the iPhone X so successful, the XR looks a lot like the X, except with more colors (plus the internal updates we’ll cover here). Dimensions are similar. You’re getting that gorgeous edge-to-edge display. You’re still without a home button, and you’re still looking at a screen notch where the front camera, sensors and earpiece all sit, but is that really so bad? Overall, for someone like me — someone who downright demands that a phone fit neatly in their palm, but still wants a big, pretty display — the XR is just the ticket.

The XR is also rated to IP67 for ingress resistance, meaning it’s more water- and dust-resistant than previous generations of iPhone. A lot of moisture-related damage issues we experienced in years past, like the toilet-drop or beer spill or sudden rainstorm, aren’t going to be issues anymore.

This lower-cost option, meant to shine as a beacon of semi-affordable practicality, forgoes the OLED used by its pricier brethren and features a 6.1-inch LCD screen instead. It also forgoes the 3D Touch system, opting instead for a haptic feedback engine that’s purportedly the same as what’s being used in new Mac trackpads. While the choice to use an LCD and to eschew 3D Touch help to keep costs down, it’s worth noting that Apple’s new Liquid Retina display is very much the best kind of LCD available, with the most color-correct display we’ve ever seen (according to Apple).

More good news: the XR boasts the same A12 Bionic chip that powers the XS and XS Max. It also features the 12MP camera you’re probably used to by now, but unlike previous single-camera iPhone systems, the XR is able to generate depth of field with a combination of hardware and software, thanks to image segmentation tech. Yes, that means you’ll be able to use Portrait Mode and get that creamy background bokeh without taking a bigger, more expensive iPhone model home with you. This might go without saying, but the imaging setup we find in the XR is the best single-camera system Apple’s ever made.

Storage options are also more scale-friendly than the preceding generation of iPhone, which insisted if 64GB was too small you could kiss Apple’s collective ass and pay for the upgrade to 256GB. Customers can, should they choose, get the Goldilocks 128GB size in the XR. And while the wallet-friendly XR won’t be offered with the whopping 512GB of storage you can get with the XS and XS Max, well, there’s always iCloud.

Quick Specs

• Battery life is improved to 90 minutes beyond the iPhone 8 Plus

• iOS 12

• 6.1″ Liquid Retina display

• A12 Bionic chip — same as XS & XS Max

• IP67 water & dust ingress resistance rating

• 6 entirely new color finishes

• Aerospace-grade aluminum construction

• Priced starting at $749 for 64GB option

• Available to order 10/19, expected deliveries one week later on 10/26

This post will be updated as we receive more information. We hope you’ll check back for more updates on everything Apple announced today.

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