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iPhone XR Review Roundup: “There’s Got to Be a Catch”

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Ahead of the release of the iPhone XR later this week, the first wave of reviews for the device were published by a number of media outlets this morning.

iPhone XR pre-orders began last Friday in over 50 countries, while the first deliveries to customers and in-store availability will begin this Friday, October 26. Featuring Face ID, an edge-to-edge LCD display, a single-lens camera, a glass body for wireless charging, and an A12 Bionic processor, the colourful smartphone starts at $1029 in Canada.

Here’s what Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch had to say about the iPhone XR’s 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD display:

While the screen is one of the best LCDs I’ve ever seen, it’s not as good as the other models. Specifically, I believe that the OLED’s ability to display true black and display deeper color (especially in images that are taken on the new XR cameras in HDR) set it apart easily. 

That said, I have a massive advantage in that I am able to hold the screens side by side to compare images. Simply put, if you don’t run them next to one another, this is a great screen.

In response to the controversy that the iPhone XR’s display is being criticized for having a lower resolution than the iPhone X, The Verge‘s Nilay Patel thinks the display is just fine:

The display on the iPhone XR is… fine. It’s fine! It has lower resolution and pixel density than the OLEDs in new flagship phones like the iPhone XS, Galaxy S9, and Pixel 3, but it’s the same 326 pixels per inch as Apple’s previous non-Plus LCD iPhones. Anyone coming to this phone from any iPhone save the iPhone X will not notice a huge discrepancy in resolution.

Here’s what Pocket Lint‘s Stuart Miles has to say about the iPhone XR’s A12 Bionic processor, the same featured in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max:

Since getting the phone in the office we’ve been playing Fornite and Asphalt 9 to put it through its paces with no issues whatsoever. Having extensively used the iPhone XS prior to testing the iPhone XR , it’s clear there is no difference in terms of processing power or capabilities. The experience hasn’t been subdued in terms of power or performance.

Alex Cranz of Gizmodo was pleasantly surprised by the iPhone XR’s battery life:

In day-to-day use app use, like web browsing and checking your email, you won’t notice a difference between what it can do compared to the pricier phones or versus the A11 in last year’s iPhones. One exception is battery life. The A12 has worked wonders on the battery life of the phones that contain it. We saw this with the XS, which lasted about an hour and ten minutes longer than the X in our tests, and we see it again with the XR which lasted quite a bit longer than the 8 Plus, despite the 8 Plus having a larger battery.

Mark Spoonauer writing for Tom’s Guide on the iPhone XR’s battery life:

On the Tom’s Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the iPhone XR lasted 11 hours and 26 minutes. That beats the times from the iPhone XS Max (10:38) and iPhone XS (9:41) by a significant margin. The Pixel 3 XL lasted only 9:30, while the Galaxy Note 9 also endured for 11:26. 

In everyday use the iPhone XR ‘s endurance also impressed. After unplugging at 100 percent at 7 a.m., I used the phone intermittently to play games, check Facebook and email, and stream Spotify and capture photos and videos, and I still have 24 percent battery left at 9 p.m.

Wired‘s Lauren Goode says that the iPhone XR’s camera isn’t too far off from the iPhone XS’s:

But, if you’re comparing the XR with the XS, the camera capabilities on the iPhone XR are nearly the same as those on the XS, both when it comes to capturing still images and recording video. It has that wide-angle 12-megapixel rear camera, a 7-megapixel front camera with 3-D sensors, and dynamic range that has been improved from the HDR in last year’s phones. Overall, it’s an excellent camera.

Overall, John Gruber of Daring Fireball believes that the iPhone XR is so good, there’s got to be a catch:

There’s got to be a catch.

That’s what everyone has been thinking ever since Apple announced the iPhone XR alongside the XS and XS Max on September 12. Right? The iPhone XR seemingly offers too much of what the XS provides at a significantly lower price.

Well, there is no catch.

The iPhone XR is everything Apple says it is, and it’s the new iPhone most people should buy. I’ve been using one as my primary phone for the last week, and it’s a lovely, exciting device. Even some of the things I thought were compromises don’t feel like compromises at all in practice. Overall, yes, the XS and XS Max are better devices, but in a few regards the XR is actually better.

It certainly looks like the initial reviews of the iPhone XR are glowing, and we’ll continue to add more as the days pass. Stay tuned for the latest iPhone XR information.

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