Updated on June 24, 2020.
If you’re an Apple enthusiast, you probably can’t wait until the newest iPhone model drops. But there’s a problem – you can’t always justify paying full price for the latest release. On top of that, the last few versions of the iPhone haven’t exactly had many game-changing features – making it even harder to know which one is best for you based on value.
If you are looking to buy an iPhone, the X and the XR are two fairly new models that probably come to mind. But what is the difference between the iPhone X and the iPhone XR, and which one is better for you?
In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about the X and the XR models, including features, reviews, pros, cons, pricing, and more – in order to help you make the best decision. If you stick around to the end of the post also, we give you access to some crazy good deals on new and premium used iPhones too!
Overall, the iPhone X and XR are both phenomenal phones that have hailed highly regarded reviews from the Apple community. Both have their place, each fitting a certain type of user. Determining which one is best for you really comes down to price point, features, and personal preference.
It’s 2020, and though the iPhone X still feels relatively new, it’s been awhile since its release. If you’re wondering whether you’d be better off with the XR, you’re not alone! Let’s break down the features each phone has to offer in order to get to the bottom of which iPhone is best for you – the X or the XR.
iPhone X vs. iPhone XR: What’s the difference?
|Feature(s)||iPhone X||iPhone XR|
|Price (Premium Used)||$479.99||$489.99|
|Colors||Silver, Space Grey||White, Black, Coral, Yellow, Blue, (Product) Red|
|iOS||iOS 11||iOS 12|
|Carriers||ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon||SIM-free|
|Front Camera||7-megapixel (f/2.2)||7-megapixel (f/2.2)|
|Rear Camera||12-megapixel (f/1.8, 1.22-micron) + 12-megapixel (f/2.4, 1.0-micron)||12-megapixel (f/1.8)|
|Video Camera||4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps||4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps|
|Dimensions||143.60 x 70.90 x 7.70||150.90 x 75.70 x 8.30|
|Screen Size||5.8 in||6.1 in|
|Battery||21 hrs||25 hrs|
|Processor||Apple 11 Bionic||Apple 12 Bionic|
The iPhone X marks the departure of the home button, which created a self-contained phone protected from water and dust like none before. Both can survive underwater at 1m for up to 30 minutes without damage, but the XR pushes the boundary to 2 meters. Apple also introduced Face ID which has continued with the XR.
The XR is a bigger and heavier phone. It feels more similar to a small tablet, and for most people it can be a two-handed device. Besides size, the biggest change is a faster processor.
The richness of the display is much better in the X than the XR. Each phone has its own pros and cons.
Let’s go through each category that people consider most important when buying a new phone in order to give you an idea of which phone is best for you.
1. Dimensions: Which is the Best Size?
The iPhone XR is the bigger of the two phones by about 5%, but that extra size makes it about 10% heavier and thicker. The reason behind this difference in weight and size is that the iPhone X uses a more lightweight and flexible OLED display rather than the thicker LCD.
To compensate for the heavier and larger LCD, Apple wrapped the iPhone XR in aluminum rather than stainless steel. The feel of aluminum may be a deal-breaker for some because stainless steel exudes high quality.
For some size matters, but bigger is not always better. Gripping a larger phone could prove to be challenging and you might have to purchase add-ons to keep from dropping it or to make it feel more comfortable in your hand. Others are willing to go with a larger size especially if visuals are important. You have to think through how you use a phone and whether the extra size will improve the experience.
2. Camera: Which Phone Captures Cleaner Images & Videos?
With the advent of the iPhone X, camera quality took a big leap into the future. The dual 12-megapixel camera array offered better photos than previous versions of the phone. The dual setup creates an optical zoom advantage. Unfortunately, this was lost with the iPhone XR.
Even with the loss of the dual setup, the iPhone XR retained the portrait mode. Portrait mode allows you to take pictures of people with a subtle blur in the background and improved lighting of the subject. This allows you to create highly professional studio quality photos of friends and family.
The loss of the enhanced zoom feature may be only an inconvenience. You may have to step a little closer to your subject where the iPhone X allowed you to zoom from further distances.
Both phones support ‘Smart HDR’ image processing. Smart HDR allows you to take multiple photos at different exposures then combine them into one crisp image.
The two rear cameras on the iPhone X combine a 12Mp f/1.8 wide-angle lens and a 12Mp f/2.4 telephoto lens, both with OIS. The combination of the cameras allow for 4K video capture at up to 60 frames per second and 1080p slow motion at 240 frames per second. The XR only has a 12Mp f/1.8 wide-angle lens with OIS but comes close to X performance with a new processor and sensor.
If you are a photo bug, the iPhone X is the superior phone with both stills and videos. However, the iPhone XR is still an improvement over previous iterations before the X was released.
3. Software & Internals: Is There a Massive Difference in Performance?
The iPhone X will come installed with iOS 11 and the iPhone XR comes with iOS 12. There are a few main benefits of iOS 12, but don’t let be a deciding factor for buying the XR. You can upgrade the operating system to 12 on the iPhone X and receive the same benefits.
iOS 12 brings greater processing performance while saving battery life. You can even install it on an old iPhone 6 and apps will load 40% faster. iOS 12 also offers software with AR capability and app developers can take advantage of creating programs that allow for Augmented Reality. There are also improvements with Siri, Facetime, and Animated Emojis.
The real boost with the iPhone XR is the upgrade to the A12 Bionic processor.
The A12 comes with a much faster CPU. It is touted as 1.5x faster than the iPhone X: 4 x 2.49GHz & 4 x 1.6GHzvs2 x 2.53 & 4 x 1.42GHz. The semiconductor size drops from 10nm to 7nm.
Besides a more powerful processor, the iPhone XR improves over the X with faster LTE and Dual SIM capabilities.
If you have a need for speed and are a heavy app user, you will see a significant improvement with XR over the X due to the processing power it possesses.
4. Battery: Which Phone Lasts Longer?
Battery life can be tricky to evaluate. One of the standard measures is to analyze talk time. The battery improves by 4 hrs with the iPhone XR vs. the iPhone X. The X advertises 21 hrs of continuous talk time and the XR improves that to 25 hrs.
One reason the XR has improved battery life is the diminished quality of the display. While you may not be able to distinguish the quality of the OLED display vs the iPhone XR’s LCD display, the LCD improves battery performance. By having a bigger phone, it allowed Apple to install a larger battery as well inside the XR.
Both models offer wireless charging, but wireless charging with the iPhone X is actually faster than the iPhone XR. The wireless charging adapter is not included in the box with either phone and is an add-on purchase.
5. Display: Does Retina Display Make A Difference?
The iPhone X wins hands down with its display. It features an OLED Retina display versus the standard LCD display of the XR.
The term “retina display” is an Apple term given to its technology. The display images are so crisp and sharp it is impossible for the human eye to distinguish individual pixels. The whites are brighter and the blacks are deeper creating amazing contrast you do not get with other displays.
Pixel density is higher with 458 pixels per inch vs the iPhone XR pixel quality of 326ppi, and resolution is also higher on the X with 1125 x 2436 vs the iPhone XR resolution of 828 x 1792.
Although the resolution may not be as sharp, the XR does win on screen size. But even with the larger screen, it can not display full HD 1080p content.
If you watch a lot of video content on your phone, you will enjoy the experience of the higher picture quality the iPhone X provides.
6. Price Point: Which Phone is Better Value for the Price?
The iPhone XR wins on price. Here’s a breakdown between the differences in pricing in the two devices:
iPhone X vs. iPhone XR: Price (New)
iPhone X vs. iPhone XR: Price (Premium Pre-Owned)
As you can see, pricing is dramatically different between a brand new iPhone XR and the iPhone X – however, Apple no longer sells brand new iPhone X models. Part of Apple’s strategy with the XR was to introduce a phone with similar and sometimes better features than the X but with a lower price point.
The new phone may be much different, but you can find reasonably priced pre-owned iPhone X’s at around the same price as a new iPhone XR. Because the XR came in at a lower price and demand for the phone has not been as high pricing has not dropped as steep in the pre-owned market.
7. Availability: How Hard Are They to Find?
The iPhone X can be difficult to find. You can search for it on the typical sites such as Best Buy, Walmart, and Target, and find many other models much more easily than you can find the X. The pricing of the phone lowered demand and the supply output by Apple. The iPhone X has even been dropped from the Apple website.
The iPhone XR had much more demand because of the pricing, and the supply grew as a result.
In the pre-owned market, the Apple iPhone X is easier to find. Apple didn’t sell as many as they would have liked and many got offloaded into the secondary market. In fact, you can often find an iPhone X at the same price as a bigger XR.
8. Carriers: Are the Phones Carrier Specific?
With the introduction of the iPhone XR, Apple released a SIM-free version of the phone that could be used with any carrier.
With the iPhone X and previous versions, it’s more complicated. Many of the phones were manufactured specifically for certain carriers, and because of network restrictions, you can not automatically move phones between carriers. If you are tied to a specific carrier, and you feel that the X is right for you, make sure there are phones available for those networks or look for an unlocked phone that works on any carrier network.
9. New Features: What’s New in the iPhone XR?
So what does the iPhone XR have that the iPhone X is missing?
- New color schemes: White, Black, Blue, Coral, Yellow, and a special Product Red edition.
- The A12 Bionic Chip. This is the first 7nm chip housing the CPU, GPU, and advanced Neural Engine. The 6 core CPU is faster than any previous model. It can launch apps 30% faster than the iPhone X.
- Second Generation Face ID system. More accurate, easier to use and more intuitive Face ID system for locking and unlocking your phone.
- Haptic Touch. The XR does not have the 3D touch that previous phones have. However, you use a long press and receive similar haptic feedback. The 3D touch caused problems for Apple, because customers would often press too hard on the phone and damage it over time.
- Portrait mode on a single camera. Allows you to take photos in portrait mode, which filters out background movement and provides zoom for professional-looking photos and selfies.
- Dual SIM. You can have access to a second number without needing a second SIM card.
- Longer Battery Life than previous phones. The iPhone XR has a battery life of about 25 hours of continuous calling, vs. the 21 hours of the iPhone X. Both are very good by any means, but the XR provides a bit better battery life.
10. Customer Reviews: What Are People Saying About iPhone X Models?
iPhone X Customer Reviews:
Overall, the iPhone X was a smash hit. With over 14,000 reviews on Google and an average of 4.7/5 stars.
The iPhone X was the first iPhone without its ubiquitous home button. This created a lot of distress initially for users, especially at the price point Apple was asking. Over time users have gotten used to the feature. And other models continue without the home button. If the loss of the home button is an issue then any model afterwards including the XR will be a disappointment.
iPhone XR Customer Reviews:
Overall, the iPhone XR was equally as influential as the X. With over 12,000 reviews on Google and an average of 4.7/5 stars, it has almost just as good of reviews as the X.
Many of the reviews on this phone are related to battery life and the display. You can find reviews and comments on both sides of the coin.
Bulkiness is the other main complaint this phone receives. If bulkiness is an issue for you, consider the X, or even better, the iPhone 11. If you are looking for a high performing fast phone with long battery life and all the newest updates Apple has to offer then the iPhone XR is a great value.
11. Design: Which One Has Better Appeal?
The iPhone X is limited in color options. You have choices over the traditional grays, blacks, and silver. However, it is sleek and fully glass. It feels great in the hand. It is light even though it is wrapped in stainless steel.
The iPhone XR has a wide range of color options and designs. It is wrapped in aluminum rather than stainless steel, and some have complained this makes the phone feel cheap. It may be one of the concessions Apple used to drive down the pricing on this option.
The iPhone XR does have a cool look with a wide variety of colors. Colors available are white, black, blue, coral, yellow, and a special red edition. However, so many people cover their phones with cases, the color disappears quickly as an attraction.
Because of the size and color, the iPhone XR truly wins with visual appeal when sitting on the Apple store shelves.
iPhone X vs. iPhone XR: Pros & Cons
Now that you have an understanding of everything both phones have to offer, let’s take a second to review the pros and cons of each model in order to help you understand which iPhone is best for your preferences.
iPhone XR Pros & Cons
|One of the largest iPhones||Too bulky for some consumers|
|Fast processor||Camera & Video Specs|
|Competitive Pricing||Display Sharpness|
|New Haptic Touch Technology|
|Advanced LCD screen|
iPhone X Pros & Cons
|Advanced OLED screen||Lower battery life vs. newer models|
|High-Quality Camera & Video||Slower processor compared to XR|
At the end of the day, both models are great phones that fit people with different preferences. They are a step up from the iPhone 8 and previous models and have thousands of great online reviews from satisfied customers.
The iPhone X set the stage for the next generation of technology and development. It’s truly hard to beat the X when it comes to the display and camera functions. It is fast and the first iPhone that is water-resistant. The XR downgrades some of the technology around the screen and camera quality, but it operates faster than any phone before it. The size may be a drawback to some consumers, but it is hard to beat the pricing on such a high-performance device.
What’s the Biggest Difference Between the iPhone X vs. iPhone XR?
Pricing is the most obvious difference between the two phones. The XR comes in much cheaper than the X, however, if you are attracted to the X, you can find excellent deals on a pre-owned phone.
The iPhone XR is the faster phone with a long-lasting battery, but is heavier and bulkier.
The iPhone X beats the iPhone XR with its incredible eye-popping displays and photo and video ability. If you use your phone for videography or photography, the X is the superior device.
Is the iPhone X or iPhone XR Better?
It really depends on your own use and needs for technology.
The iPhone X is better, if:
- You want high-quality video and sound
- Photography is your passion, and being creative with stills and video is a hobby
- You like a smaller, sleeker, light phone
The iPhone XR is better, if:
- You want your phone to be a workhorse
- You love a big clear device with a sleek design
- Speed and performance is critical
- Battery life is a driver of phone use for you
- You’re looking for an affordable iPhone
More iPhone XR FAQ
Why is the iPhone XR cheaper than the iPhone X?
The XR is cheaper primarily due to cheaper components such as aluminum banding. However, Apple saves so much money on reverting back to the LCD screen and lower video quality. It is still light years better than models prior to the X.
Does iPhone XR come with AirPods?
Yes, but they are the wired earbuds, and you need an adapter to use. If you want to go wireless, you need to buy them separately.
Is the iPhone XR bigger than the X?
Yes. It is about 10% bigger than the X. The XR screen size measures in at 6.1 vs the iPhone X at 5.8. It is nearly a two handed device.
Does the iPhone XR have wireless headphones?
Yes and no. You can use them, but they do not come in the box, and must be purchased separately.
Does the iPhone XR have face ID?
Yes. The Face ID quality is better than originally on the X.
Is 64GB enough for iPhone XR?
For most consumers, 64GB will be enough. However if you like storing large amounts of music, podcast, videos, and photos on your devices, you will eat up the 64GB quickly.
Is there an iPhone XR Max?
No. The XR is similar in size to the XS Max. If you need bigger, go for an iPad.
Does the iPhone XR have Bluetooth?
Yes. It would be hard to find a smartphone today that doesn’t have Bluetooth. Bluetooth is the standard for wireless connections.
Does the iPhone XR have true tone?
Yes. True Tone is technology that adjust color based on ambient light. Devices in True Tone read better in sunlight as well.
What type of screen does the iPhone XR have?
The XR has an advanced LCD screen. This is lower quality than the OLED screen on the iPhone X but still much better than previous LCD screens
Does the iPhone XR have Fingerprint ID?
No. The Face ID has become the standard since the iPhone X.
Is the iPhone XR aluminum?
Yes. It is banded with aluminum rather than stainless steel like the X. Like the X it is mostly glass outside of the banding.
What is the Best Deal on the iPhone X?
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What is the Best Deal on the iPhone XR?
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