Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know all there is to know about Apple’s iPhone line-up for 2018. Apple, for the first time ever launched three iPhones at its annual September event. The iPhone XR, the cheapest of the trio is the last to hit the stores. By now you probably know that the XR doesn’t sport the same display as the XS twins and neither does it feature the dual lens rear camera set up. And then there are the colours, half a dozen of them that we will talk about first.
You have to go back to 2013 and the iPhone 5C for a diverse colour palette that also brought back memories of those ice-candy type iMacs. The XR’s colour range swings from yellow to coral and my favourite – the blue, except these devices are not polycarbonate like the 5C. The XR is all-glass with an anodised band made with aerospace-grade aluminium around the spine. This band and the rear camera trim are matched with each of these shades. It has premium stamped all over and will remind you of last year’s iPhone 8. Just like the 8, this one’s geared for wireless charging. It’s a tad heavier (194 vs 177 gms of the iPhone XS) than the XS but it also features a larger, 6.1-inch screen. We think this is the perfect compromise between large screen real estate and a device that‘ more pocketable than the XS Max.
The XR is all-screen. You will notice the slight bezels around the screen and yet the XR manages an impressive screen: body ratio that borders on 80%. The Liquid Retina Display (LCD) is the big differentiator between the XR and its pricier XS siblings. It’s a modest 326 Pixels per inch (PPI) compared to the deep blacks and bold colours of the XS (that packs 458 PPI). This display difference is not something most users will notice. But if you obsess with your display and spend hours staring at each, you can probably tell. The other difference is more obvious to spot – the XR sports a single lens on the rear, compared to the now famous dual camera design that defines the iPhone XS (and the X before it) form factor.
Apple finds a bunch of workarounds that ensure you won’t miss the dual cam set up too much. The rear camera is the big surprise element in the XR. Underestimate this 12MP shooter at your own risk. Apple has made improvements to the Neural engine and coupled this with enhanced software algorithms. This allows you to zoom in and also shoot stunning portraits with a bokeh effect. The portraits on the XR are not ‘up close’ like the XS and the X where the camera automatically zooms in once you switch to portrait mode. We preferred the portraits on the XR, but that might well boil down to personal preferences. The other feature we enjoyed using was the new Depth Control that allows you to adjust the depth of field both in real-time preview and post-capture for stunning portraits. The XR cam is also bolstered by Smart HDR that gives it a boost in lowlight scenarios. The 7MP selfie cam is akin to the one you will find on the XS and XS Max and shoots sharp portraits.
In terms of hardware, the XR is also powered by the same A12 Bionic chip that we first experienced on the XS. It keeps things very zippy despite just 3GB of RAM (the XS comes with 4GB of RAM; Apple doesn’t like to put its RAM numbers under the spotlight). Apple hasn’t skimped on hardware that counts with the XR. It’s why the iPhone XR is a great option for anyone who’s upgrading from an iPhone 8 or earlier. But if you’re one of those iPhone die-hards who doesn’t mind spending more than a lakh to stay on the cutting edge, then you’re probably better off with one of the XS twins.
The iPhone XR comes is six colours – white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red. It costs Rs 76,900 / 64GB, Rs 81,900 / 128GB and Rs 91,900 / 256GB