“The iPhone XR is, at its heart, a curious beast.”
PRESS REVIEWS PUT THE XR UNDER SCRUTINY
Although Apple has already cherry-picked opinions from more than a few press reviews of the iPhone XR, we obviously can’t rely on those remarks to provide a wholly objective view of the handset. It’s reassuring, then, that various reviews quoted by the respected Apple news site MacRumors have also shown optimism, if slightly more cautiously on a few aspects.
The Verge’s Nilay Patel, for instance, has described the XR’s display, which measures 6.1 inches rather than the respective 5.8 and 6.5 inches of the XS and XS Max screens, as “fine”. He noted that despite the use of aging, albeit enhanced ‘Liquid Retina’ LCD technology, people “coming to this phone from any iPhone save the iPhone X will not notice a huge discrepancy in resolution.”
Apple has replaced the usual 3D Touch pressure-sensitive technology with the more rudimentary Haptic Touch, which is somewhat akin to the functionality of the MacBook Trackpad. However, you might not notice the absence of 3D Touch unless you have habitually and widely used it on another iPhone. iMore’s Rene Ritchie has commented that, where the XR does allow the use of Haptic Touch, “it feels enough like 3D Touch that I sometimes find myself forgetting it’s not 3D Touch.”
Then, there’s the battery life. Apple has already hailed this as 90 minutes longer than that of the 8 Plus, but according to TechRadar’s Gareth Beavis, the situation is even better than this. He declares that the XR “finally achieves the holy grail of allday battery life in an iPhone”. Even the Pixel 3 XL
is left trailing in the distance; rigorous batterytesting by Tom’s Guide saw the XR enduring for 11 hours and 26 minutes, while the Pixel 3 XL could only muster nine and a half hours.
DON’T JUST PHONE IT IN – READ REGULAR USERS’ REACTIONS, TOO
Naturally, every new iPhone model attracts a number of “early adopters” who are willing to quickly put the phone through its paces and report back with their findings. The iPhone XR has been no exception, with many of its users having already taken to the MacRumors forums.
If you were tempted to buy the XR due to the middle ground its screen size appears to strike between the display measurements of the XS and XS Max, MacRumors reader Kendo has sounded a note of caution. Kendo remarked that, with the bezels each a millimeter thicker than those of the Max, the XR is actually very similar to the Max in the overall size of its enclosure – meaning that someone seeking an “in-between” size is “better off just getting a Max” if their budget allows.
On the flipside, watch out if you prefer your phones on the relatively small side. MacRumors reader tks900 has called the XR “quite big” and “heavy”, adding: “Coming from the 6S, this is a really different animal.” Even with his large hands, he found one-handed use of the XR “impossible”.
COLORING HOOK: EARLY IMPRESSIONS OF THE VARYING FINISHES
If you are eager to buy an iPhone in a color that has long been neglected in the smartphone range, your preference might be sated with the XR. However, if you feel especially drawn towards one of its colors, you should consider judging it with your own eyes at a retail store.
An especially large number of question marks might linger over the coral finish. Is it somewhat close to orange, as online images of the coral XR might have led you to believe? ZDNet scribe Matthew Miller begs to differ, describing the back panel as “salmon color and more of a pink than orange in most lighting conditions”, although it “appears orange-ish in some environmental conditions”.
The aluminum sides, however, differ from the rear panel’s shade, as they “look more orange or copper in color”. There is more uniformity with the color of the PRODUCT(RED) model. In a hands-on video of this particular XR, AppleInsider commented that the red of both the back and sides “matches up very well” and even called the “gorgeous” shade “the best red color you could possibly get on an iPhone”. Red has previously been an available finish on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.
HOW WELL THE iPHONE XR APPEARS TO HAVE SOLD SO FAR
Although precise sales figures for the iPhone XR are – unsurprisingly at this early stage – hard to come by, there has been a sufficient array of positive indicators to keep optimism brewing. Just days after the XR went on sale, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang cited “weak pre-orders” and “slowing demand”, but still estimated that the first weekend sales globally totaled roughly nine million units.
There had earlier been good news in a research note quoted by MacRumors. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that, in the initial three days of the XR’s pre-order availability, this particular version of the iPhone attracted more pre-orders than the iPhone 8 series during the equivalent period of 2017.
Whether you are still on the fence about whether to pick up an iPhone XR or have already acted on the urge to buy one, 9to5Mac has filmed a video of what it deems the XR’s 20 best features that you might be intrigued to watch.
All in all, the picture being painted of the iPhone XR so far has been a strongly positive one, despite a few caveats here and there. As for whether all of this will be enough to motivate you to place your own order… naturally, that decision will be down to you.