iPhone XR reviews: don’t call it a cheap iPhone!

The first iPhone XR reviews are in. Not surprisingly, these early reviews focus almost exclusively on the differences between the iPhone XR and the more expensive 2018 handsets, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max and whether paying $250 extra for the latter is worth it. The near-universal answer: not so much.

On Friday, Oct. 26, the iPhone XR finally arrives in stores. Priced at $749 and higher, the 6.1-inch handset includes most of the same internals as the iPhone XS models (which begin at $999), including an all-new A12 Bionic chip with a Neural engine.

On the outside, you’ll find some cost-cutting, however. Instead of the stainless steel located on the sides of the more expensive models, the iPhone XR uses aluminum. The less expensive handset also includes a Liquid Retina Display rather than OLED. These differences play a prominent role in each of the early reviews as you can see here.

Early iPhone XR reviews

Engadget says the iPhone XR is “the best iPhone for most people,” noting the handset doesn’t feel compromised and “delivers everywhere it counts.” Still, it does admit the Liquid Retina display, and single camera could be a turnoff for some users.

That said, everything Apple offers here is much, much better than just “good enough.” The XR is the iPhone we’d recommend to most people.

Over at CNBC, the focus is on the phone’s look and feel.

The iPhone XR looks and feels like a phone that costs more than $750. It has a premium glass and aluminum design, and I love how rich the colors look. My personal favorite is yellow, but the blue test unit I had was pretty cool, too. It felt just as fast and quick as my iPhone XS Max, which costs $1,249. Again, that’s because everything inside is the exact same.

Meanwhile, The New York Times explains how the iPhone XR is “slightly less durable than its more expensive cousins.” Nonetheless, the “differences are negligible,” especially once you cover the phone with a case.

All of these minor negatives add up to a win for price-conscious consumers, especially as smartphone prices keep climbing.

CNN suggests most people won’t care about the differences between the iPhone XR and Apple’s more expensive handsets. It concludes:

If you don’t watch a ton of HD videos and don’t need a telephoto lens on your camera, you’re really not missing out on much with the iPhone XR.
And did we mention it costs less?

Finally, there’s The Verge, which offers perhaps the best review headline of them all.

Under “Apple iPhone XR review: Better than good enough,” the site zeros in on the concerns of many that the iPhone XR is somehow inferior to the more expensive iPhone XS.

It boils down the differences this way: “The simplest way to think about the iPhone XR is that it offers virtually the same experience as the iPhone XS for $250 less, but you’ll be looking at a slightly worse display.”

The bottom line

If you’re in the market for a new iPhone and have been wondering whether the iPhone XR would look and feel cheap, these reviews suggest the opposite is true. Your only choice now is deciding on a color.

Did you pre-order an iPhone XR? If so, what color did you buy?