What are the important differences to know before you choose which new iPhone is right for you? iPhone XS MAX has the same performance as iPhone XS, except size. So, here I leave out iPhone XS MAX, just compare iPhone XR with iPhone XS. Please look at the following chart as the comparison between iPhone XR and XS.
There’s no denying the most significant difference between both iPhones is the price. If the price isn’t your primary determining factor, you’re more likely to want to select the iPhone XS. If there’s a color you really must have (hi, coral), you have no choice but to buy the iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS comes in gold, space gray and silver.
The iPhone XR comes in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red.
Screen Type and Size
The big things that stand out here are the OLED vs. LCD comparison. The iPhone XS has an OLED screen, with amazing colors and 3D Touch. The iPhone XR gets a new LCD display, which ditches 3D Touch.
XS with OLED screens are richer and more colorful, and these screens are famous for their infinite blacks that lend them their signature high-contrast look. And XR can’t display full 1080p content. This is particularly evident when watching video as the iPhone XS and XS Max support both of the main standards for high dynamic range video, Dolby Vision and HDR 10.
Weirdly, the cheaper iPhone XR has a larger screen than the iPhone XS — 6.1’’ versus 5.8’’. That makes the $1,323.65 XS the smallest of the new lineup, but not by much.
Both the iPhone XS and XR can hold out for up to a half-hour underwater, enough for a few quick submarine selfies. But the iPhone XS can do this at a depth of 2 meters, versus just 1 meter (3 feet, 3 inches) for the XR.
The most critical difference between both handsets: the dual camera found on the iPhone XS and the single model located on the iPhone XR. The XS boasts two cameras in the back (one wide-angle with an ƒ/1.8 aperture, one telephoto with ƒ/2.4 aperture). The XR gets just one, but it’s the exact same unit as the wide-angle camera in the XS.
The iPhone XR can realize Portrait mode, previously only available in iPhones with two cameras. One caveat: It only works on people.
The Portrait Lighting feature on iPhone XS offers five effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono). On iPhone XR, you only get three (Natural, Studio, Contour).
Battery Life and Charging
The lower resolution is far less demanding and the larger size means Apple has more space to fit a bigger battery. iPhone XS - 2,658 mAh iPhone XR - 2,942 mAh
The consequences of this are perhaps the biggest deal maker for the iPhone XR. It can outlast the iPhone XS in most areas by as much as 25%, and even the flagship iPhone XS Max:
"iPhone XR battery life is better than the iPhone XS, and even the iPhone XS Max." -Apple
- Apple claims the iPhone XR will last 90 minutes longer than the iPhone 8 Plus it replaces.
- The iPhone XS will last 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X did.
- The iPhone XS Max has the largest battery it's ever used in an iPhone and that it will last up to 90 minutes longer than the iPhone X.
However, it's worth pointing out that the iPhone XR has the best battery life of the three, with Apple quoting up to 16 hours of wireless video playback, compared to 15 hours on the iPhone XS Max and 14 hours on the iPhone XS.
Storage and Price - XR Marks the Spot
Here is where the iPhone XR seals the deal:
iPhone XS - 64GB ($1,323.65), 256GB ($1,522.40), 512GB ($1,787.40)
iPhone XR - 64GB ($992.41), 128GB ($1,058.66), 256GB ($1,191.16)
128GB is also a great storage option as the iPhone XS range appears to provide too little (64GB) then too much (256GB) for the average user.
XS vs. XR: Which iPhone should you get?
With iPhone sales easily outstripping every other brand, it seems the biggest threat to sales of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is Apple’s own iPhone XR.
For some, there will be an essential feature missing (OLED display, dual camera, bezel size) that forces them to pay more for the iPhone XS, but for most buyers the iPhone XR is a well-priced phone with all the excess clutter removed. It’s the most interesting iPhone Apple has made in years…