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Review

Apple iPhone XR first impressions: The less expensive iPhone available in many colors, including good old Black

The Apple iPhone XR top-model is priced Rs 8,000 less than the 64GB variant of the iPhone XS (Rs 99,900).

  • Updated: October 23, 2018 8:43 PM IST
Apple iPhone XR (38)

Image credit: Rehan Hooda


Highlights

  • Apple iPhone XR prices start at Rs 76,900.

  • Unlike the high-end iPhones, this comes with a LCD display.

  • Like the Pixels, the iPhone XR features a single camera at the back.

After announcing the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max earlier this year, Apple is finally making the iPhone XR available in India starting October 26. There are a few things that are different on paper when you make a comparison, but other than that how does it feel? I try to answer these questions in my initial impressions of the new iPhone XR.

The display and screen

Among the new iPhones currently available in the market, the iPhone XR is the only one to retain an LCD display. While the Android world had moved to OLED years ago, Apple seemed to have taken its time to make the switch. Till last year’s iPhone X, all iPhones implemented an LCD. Currently, the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max all use an OLED screen instead of LCD. All said and done, OLEDs are typically preferred over LCDs, and it makes sense why the higher end iPhones opted for an OLED display. This follows Android flagships that have impressed consumers through vivid and rich displays, in most cases being OLED or some variant of that technology.

This year with the iPhone XR, Apple has decided to opt for LCD, which it has christened Liquid Retina Display. It’s a rich 326ppi, still less than the impressive 458ppi display seen on the other two iPhones this year. But truth be told, you’d not be able to tell the difference between the two unless you’re trying to justify the Rs 20-25,000 odd premium you’d pay over the higher-end iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Apple has very effectively dealt with an LCD to create an OLED experience. What’s noticeable though, is a broader black outline, or bezel along the four sides of the display, when compared to the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. It resembles a thick black marker used to draw an outline around your display.

3D Touch

The iPhone XR is an iPhone XS sans 3D Touch, and a few other things. But this is a feature you’d not miss. UI compensations mean you can still interface with the device in a way you’d do with 3D Touch. The only difference being that instead of pressure applied, iOS can determine the time you press the screen, and the region on the screen occupied by your skin to infer relative pressure. It’s a tricky compensation to do away with pressure detection and associated complexities including cost, yet preserving the UI principles that Apple has laid out.

Watch: Apple iPhone XS, XS Max Hands On

Performance and specs

The iPhone XR features the same A12 Bionic chipset under the hood that powers the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. We’d get an idea of the device performance soon, but for now, it does appear to be just as fluid as the iPhone XS. Adding charm to the device is a set of stereo speakers at the top and bottom.

Camera

How can we talk about smartphones these days without a mention of camera? It’s a topic of popular discussion these days. A factor where the more the better. We’re talking about phones these days having four cameras on the rear, and some have even come to feature two upfront. That’s half a dozen cameras on your smartphone. But similar to the Pixel, we have just the one on the iPhone XR. The way forward is AI and efficient algorithms to do its visual creative magic.

You get to make shifts to the depth of field. That means portrait mode is much more fun despite not paying for the more expensive iPhones. What you don’t get though are the effects like Stage Light and Stage Light Mono effect that you’d find on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. You can still enjoy Natural Light, Studio Light and Contour Light effects on the front thanks to the TrueDepth camera for necessary effects. With the selfie portrait, you get all five lighting effects you’d see on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Color options

What’s different (read better) with the iPhone XR compared to the iPhone XS and XS Max is the variety of colors the device is available in. Some of us don’t prefer cases, and then there are some of us who believe that life in black and white is dull and boring. And many of them would want their phones to extend their belief as well. The iPhone XR is available in a range of exciting colors. Beyond that, you can choose from black and white as well. However, the yellow and coral variants do stand out from the lot.

Final Thoughts

The iPhone XR is the least priced iPhone this year. But it’s not losing out on feature list by much. Unless you’re obsessed by the dual-camera setup, and would not regard anything less than that, the iPhone XR increases the probability of buying a new iPhone this year. Unlike the case of the iPhone 5C when an iPhone was offered at a lower price point, with color options, there’s nothing inferior compared to the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max from a premium design point of view. It’s the same glass back enabling wireless charging, yet maintaining a premium finish.

In addition, the lack of one primary camera is compensated by smart software work. The LCD over OLED is also very effectively compensated by some impressive tuning of the display to bring out the right color. Not too much, not too less. Apple has also paid close attention to the specs of the iPhone XR.

To put this in perspective, you get a 256GB iPhone XR for Rs 91,900. That’s Rs 8,000 less than the 64GB version of the iPhone XS at Rs 99,900. What is reassuring is the hardware in terms of processor chips is the same. Stay tuned for a more detailed review at BGR India.

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  • Published Date: October 23, 2018 8:37 PM IST
  • Updated Date: October 23, 2018 8:43 PM IST