When Apple first announced the iPhone XR (alongside the XS and XS Max) I scoffed, scoffed I tell you, at the idea that this was Apple's "budget" phone. It's a relative term, as the phone is considerably cheaper than their current high-end offerings, but I had trouble swallowing an MSRP of $749 as "budget" anything. It turns out, however, that I scoff alone.

The Screen Could Be Better

This seems to be the one common complaint across all the reviews and everyone acknowledges that it's not much of a complaint. Of course, the screen isn't as good as that on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Consumers knew going in that they wouldn't be getting the OLED goodness that the other phones offer, but in no way does that mean that it's a bad screen. The words being thrown around are "fine" and "solid," but as the New York Times points out, "you would need to be a movie buff to notice the difference" between the screens on the XR and XS.

The Camera isn't Perfect

Every review mentioned the screen and its shortcomings, while most criticized the camera as well. The lack of a second telephoto lens means no 2x optical zoom, which only presents a problem for those who used the feature in the first place. The one issue that everyone is talking about is the weird limitation that plagues portrait mode. When using the back camera, you can't take a photo in portrait mode unless someone is actually in the frame, otherwise the iPhone "will tell you that it's waiting for a person to enter the frame." And yes, portrait mode isn't designed for taking pictures without people in them, but it's weird that you don't even have the option.

The iPhone XR Isn't Just Good for the Price

Other than the LCD screen and the wonky portrait mode, the iPhone XR delivers a very compelling reason to forego the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max entirely and save some money. It's a sharp looking phone with great performance and killer battery life. It's even got fun colors! In the end, it's "the best iPhone for the price, delivering most of the advantages of the iPhone XS for hundreds less."


What's your take on the iPhone XR? Let us know in the comments below.

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