iPhone XS-iPhone XR comparison: what’s the difference?

If you’re in the market for the largest iPhone ever made, the choice is clear; you should buy a 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max. However, if size isn’t as important as a factor, you have two options this year. You can buy the 5.8-inch iPhone XS or choose the 6.1-inch iPhone XR. Here’s a look at the key differences and similarities between both handsets. 

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR comparison

Price and Colors

There’s no denying the most significant difference between both handsets is the price. If the price isn’t your primary determining factor, you’re more likely to want to select the iPhone XS. If there’s a color you really must have (hi, coral), you have no choice but to buy the iPhone XR.

The iPhone XS is available in space gray, silver, and gold in three storage sizes:

  • 64GB, $999.99
  • 256GB, $1149.99
  • 512GB, $1349.99

By contrast, the iPhone XR is available in white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and (PRODUCT)RED in three sizes:

  • 64GB, $749
  • 128GB, $799
  • 256GB, $899


The most noticeable difference between both handsets is the display size. Despite costing less, the iPhone XR’s display is slightly bigger. Beyond this, the iPhone XS offers more bells and whistles, including:

iPhone XS: 5.8-inch OLED, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, True Tone, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 PPI), 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 82.9 percent screen-to-body ratio.

iPhone XR: 6.1-inch LCD, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, True Tone, 1792 x 828 pixels (326 PPI), 1,400:1 contrast ratio, 79.0 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The big things that stand out here are the OLED vs. LCD comparison and that the iPhone XR can’t display full 1080p content. It’s also important to note that 3D Touch is only available on the iPhone XS.


Besides offering a slightly bigger display, the iPhone XR is also heavier and thicker, and it has larger bezels on all sides. The less expensive model also uses less costly 7000 Series aluminum on the sides, versus the iPhone XS’s premium steel chassis.

If you like swimming with your phone, note that the iPhone XS has IP68 water resistance vs. the iPhone XR’s IP67. The difference means you can submerge the more expensive model for up to 30 minutes in two meters of water vs. 1 meter for the iPhone XR.


Both iPhones include Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, which offers a six-core CPU, four-core GPU, and M12 motion coprocessor. Instead of the 4G of RAM found on the iPhone XS, however, the iPhone XR includes 3GB.

Without testing both handsets, it’s difficult to know just how much of a difference 4GB of RAM is compared to 3GB RAM. It might not mean that much when you consider the iPhone XS’s superior dual-camera (see the next section) by itself is enough to warrant the jump RAM. In other words, performance-wise it might be a wash.


This brings us to perhaps the most critical difference between both handsets: the dual camera found on the iPhone XS and the single model located on the iPhone XR.

Both feature a primary rear camera with 12MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, Optical Image stabilization (OIS), Quad-LED True Tone flash, and Portrait Lighting. Both models also include a front TrueDepth camera measuring 7MP, f/2.2 aperture and each supports HDR.

The iPhone XS also includes a secondary telephoto lens that’s listed as 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 1.0µm pixel size, OIS, 2x optical zoom.


As previously discussed, the iPhone XS has a 2,658mAh battery, while the iPhone XR has a 2,942mAh battery. Per Apple’s website, this translates into the following differences between the iPhone XS and iPhone XR, respectively:

The bottom line

Most buyers will be happy with either the iPhone XS or iPhone XR. The most significant difference, in my book anyway, is the camera. If you plan on going beyond taking the occasional snapshot, you should spend the extra money on the iPhone XS. Or, if you’re all about OLED vs. LCD, make your choice based on that preference.

If you don’t have a display material preference and don’t see the difference between stainless steel and aluminum, perhaps the iPhone XR is the right handset for you.;

Beyond this, I’d suggest waiting until the iPhone XR launches in late October before making a final decision. When you can, put both models side by side and determine which one you like best.

Which 2018 iPhone have you decided to buy? Let us know below.