Cheap and cheerful
The latest iPhone is another X series model, but it’s significantly cheaper than you might expect.
Last month, Apple launched two hand sets, thei Phone XS and iPhone XS Max. These were the sequels to last year ’s groundbreaking iPhone X and were in the same, (very high), price range as the X. X, you’ll remember, is pronounced ten in this context.
So, what if you can’t afford £999 or more for a smartphone? Well, irst, you’re not alone. Secondly, the usual iPhone route is to buy the last-generation iPhone at a lower price.
You can do that — the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are still available at lower prices than before, though the iPhone X has now gone.
But in its stead, Apple has done something different: it’s launched a new phone with all the hallmarks of the iPhone X and XS phones, such as a full-screen front and facial recognition instead of a ingerprint sensor.
The difference with the XR (say Ten Arr, please, and I won’t mention pronunciation again, I promise) is that it comes in at a much lower price than the XS or XS Max. At least £250 cheaper, in fact.
As a reviewer, I don’t normally bang on about price at this point, but, well, this is unusual.
To be clear, the iPhone XR is phenomenal value. It’s not the cheapest iPhone you can buy, that would be the iPhone 7 which starts at £449, but for what it offers, the XR is hard to beat.
To put it another way, for the price of the iPhone XS Max with its biggest-capacity memory (512GB) you can almost buy two iPhone XR handsets. The exact price comparisons are £1,449 for the iPhone XS Max and £749 for the iPhone XR.
Anyway, here’s what you get with the iPhone XR.
Design: This is a big one. With Apple, design is always paramount, as are build quality and intuitive use. But Apple has excelled itself in a whole new way this time.
The iPhone XR sits in between the XS and XS Max size-wise, with a 6.1in display instead of the 5.8in and 6.5in screens on the other two, respectively.
Because it’s an edge-to-edge display, almost, the display is bigger than on the iPhone 8 Plus, but in a substantially smaller handset which will it smaller hands better - it feels very good in the hand.
Colour is the standout in the design, with six, yes, six different versions of the iPhone XR available. There’s the inevitable black (Apple calls it Space Grey) and white, which is rather glamorous. But there’s also yellow, coral, blue and (PRODUCT)RED.
Coral is the best: acidic without being coarse, vibrant and lipsmackingly tasty. A close second is the cool-but-searingly-attractive yellow that falls somewhere between egg yolk and lemon. Blue is elegant and punchy while (PRODUCT)RED is a shiny, opulent look.
In short, you can’t go wrong. But there’s a reason coral and yellow are doing well in pre-sales: they’re attractive and they make a statement, in a way that only Apple can. And this is no mean achievement: traditionally it’s only black, white and silver that really do the numbers. With this phone, Apple could buck that trend.
For this phone, design isn’t limited to the colour on the glass back of the phone. No, the metal edge matches the main colour and even, if you look incredibly closely, every other part of the handset: peep into the Lightning socket and you’ll ind the metal in there is colour-matched, too. Literally no other brand goes to this amount of detail.