The 10 Best iPhone XR Features

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 13 Sep 2018

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The new entry-level iPhone isn’t called the iPhone 9. We live in post iPhone X world now. So the new entry-level iPhone is called iPhone XR and it brings some of the best features from the $999 iPhone X down to a $749 price point.

I think the iPhone XR is the most interesting device from the 3 new iPhones launched this year. It’s a weird hybrid between the old iPhone 8 design and the new iPhone X. Read on to find out about the best iPhone XR features!

Must readThe 10 Best iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max Features

Best iPhone XR Features

Let’s dive in:

1. iPhone X Design

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The $749 iPhone XR looks like an iPhone X. RIP the old iPhone design with a physical home button and top and bottom bezels. All new iPhones now come with a notch, an edge-to-edge display, rounded corners, and gesture-based interface.

The iPhone XR is slightly bigger than iPhone XS, with a 6.1-inch screen. It has a 7000 series aluminum casing (instead of stainless steel). The back is still made of glass so you do get wireless charging support.

If you’ve seen the product shots, you might have noticed that the bezels on the iPhone XR are larger than iPhone XS. They’re only slightly wider but they might be a dealbreaker for some. They don’t look as bad as some of the Android phones with the huge chins. Check out the image below. On the left is iPhone XR, on the right iPhone XS.

iPhone XR vs iPhone Xs Screen Size

iPhone XR is slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus while carrying a screen that’s 0.6 inches bigger. Although it’s considerably larger when compared to the iPhone 8. iPhone XR weights 194 grams. That’s lower than iPhone 8 Plus’s 202 grams but way higher than iPhone 8’s 148 grams. It’s also 1 mm thicker than the iPhone 8.

Read moreiPhone XS vs iPhone XR: What’s the Difference

2. New Liquid Retina LCD Display

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One of the reasons why Apple was able to hit the $749 price point is the new screen. It’s an LED instead of an OLED display. Apple says it’s the most advanced LED screen in any smartphone. Apple does tend to have the best LED screens on the market and this iPhone is no exception.

It might not blow you away when it comes to specs but usability wise, it will be just fine. The screen resolution is 1792 x 828 pixels, which comes down to 326 ppi. This qualified for the Retina screen quality but it’s nowhere near the insane 458 ppi boasted by the iPhone XS.

The display does support True Tone, tap to wake, and wide color. Apple says you’ll get the same smooth touchscreen experience from the iPhone XS. Using gestures should be just as joyful because Apple has implemented a 120Hz touch-sensing technology on the new LCD panel. This means Apple can recognize your finger touch and react to it at 120Hz (twice the normal rate). There is a bit of confusion around this. This is not the 120hz screen refresh rate we’ve seen in iPad Pro’s Pro Motion display. This is just when it comes to touch sensing.

3. 6 New Colors

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This might convince a lot of iPhone users to buy the iPhone XR instead of the iPhone XS. The iPhone XR is offered in a whopping 6 color array.

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White, Black, Blue, Coral, Yellow, and a special Product Red edition. The Product Red iPhone XR might be the best looking iPhone ever made. The downside? No Gold or Rose Gold option.

4. A12 Bionic Chip

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The A12 chip inside iPhone XR is a beast. It’s the first chip to use the 7nm architecture. The system of chip houses three things: The CPU, GPU, and an Apple-designed Neural Engine. The 6-core CPU is much faster and Apple can now use all 6 cores (2 high-performance and 4 high-efficiency) at the same time. The high-performance cores are up to 15% faster than A11 and the power efficiency cores are up to 50% more power efficient.

The GPU is also 50% faster compared to the A11 Bionic chip. In the real world, this means that the 2018 iPhone XR can launch apps 30% faster than the 2017 iPhone X, which cost $999 when it was launched. That’s a significant performance increase!

5. Face ID and TrueDepth Camera System

iPhone XR TrueDepth Camera

The iPhone XR gets the same second-generation Face ID system that’s on the iPhone XS. Using new algorithms and a faster Secure Enclave means that your face will be scanned much faster.

For the first time, the entry-level iPhone gets access to the TrueDepth camera system. This means that you can now use Animoji and Memoji on every new iPhone! Plus, you get access to Portrait selfies and Portrait Lighting as well.

Read more: How to Create and Use Memoji on iOS 12

6. Haptic Touch

The one thing that iPhone XR doesn’t have is 3D Touch. It was first introduced in iPhone 6s. You’d press deeper on the screen to get additional functionality. iPhone XR has something similar, but not the same.

iPhone XR has a feature called Haptic Touch that mimics 3D Touch functionality. You long press on certain buttons to get functionality like 3D Touch. You’ll get haptic feedback when the action happens. Apple says this is similar to the technology they have used in the latest MacBook trackpads.

7. Smart HDR

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iPhone XR has a single 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle camera on the back. The sensor as twice as fast as the iPhone 8, there’s Optical Image Stabilization built-in and you can capture 4K video up to 60fps. Specs wise, the camera is the same as the iPhone 8.

But what’s more interesting is Apple’s new approach to photography. Apple is using Computational Photography to deliver photos that are way better than what a 12MP mobile sensor can take.

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Apple is using the processing power of the A12 Bionic chip, the built-in Neural Engine, and the Image Signal Processor to do some amazing things to the pictures. The ISP alone is capable of doing 1 trillion operations on every image you capture. The one thing that will set iPhone XR apart is the new Smart HDR feature.

When you tap on the shutter button, it will take 4 full frame snaps, and 4 medium frame snaps in between. Plus, it will take a long exposure photo before these 8 snaps. Then it uses the A12 chip to merge the best elements from all the photos. The resulting image looks good even in bad lighting conditions. It takes care of overexposure to the sun and low light conditions as well. Apple insists that there’s zero shutter lag in iPhone XR.

Speaking about the video capabilities of the phone, you can still record in 4K at 60 fps. But what’s more interesting is the fact that you can now record audio in stereo as well. When played on the iPhone’s new stereo speakers with wide stereo sound, you get an immersive experience.

8. Portrait Mode on Single Camera

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iPhone XR can capture portraits using the rear camera. Apple uses the new Image Signal Processor to bring facial recognition, facial landmarking, depth mapping to the iPhone XR. The front-facing camera can also click portraits thanks to the True Depth camera system. Apple has improved its bokeh features and depth sensing technologies. Now, it should deal with glasses and hair much better.

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What’s more interesting is that you can go in later and change the bokeh effect. You can change the intensity of the background blur from f/1.4 all the way to f/16 levels.

9. Dual SIM

Apple is bringing Dual Sim support to the iPhone. But it’s not what you think. Apple is using the eSIM technology from iPad and Apple Watch to give you access to a second number without actually having to install a second SIM. The functionality will only be available in your country if a carrier supports it. Apple does have major carriers like Vodafone, T-Mobile, AirTel and Jio on board.

10. Longer Battery Life

iPhone XR is slightly larger than iPhone XS. It gives you a bigger screen than the iPhone 8 Plus in a smaller package. But it lasts for up to 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 8 Plus in day-to-day usage. That’s internet usage for up to 15 hours, and video playback for 16 hours.

Will You Buy The iPhone XR?

When it comes to the physical size, iPhone XR sits somewhere in between iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It’s a bit smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but quite a bit larger than the iPhone 8. The cheapest new iPhone in 2018 has a screen size of 6.1 inches.

The iPhone XR starts at $749 for the 64GB model. The 128GB model will run you $799 while the $256GB model costs $899. As 64GB becomes increasingly small for all the awesome photos we take on our iPhones, the 128GB model is the most cost-effective option here.

But the iPhone XR isn’t shipping until October 26th. The iPhone XS on the other hand, will start shipping on September 21st.

Do you think the iPhone XR is for you? Or will buy the cheaper iPhone 8 instead? Perhaps stretch for the new iPhone XS? Share with us in the comments below.