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iPhone XR vs iPhone XS vs XS Max: Which to buy?


iPhone XS vs XR comparison: Header image

Is it time to upgrade your iPhone? Have you held out long enough and are finally deciding to treat yourself with a new gadget? Well, if you’ve taken a look at the most recent range of iPhones, no one would blame you if you felt overwhelmed. Apple rarely offers so many different new iPhones at the same time. With all the choices, you’re probably left wondering where to start.

Well, it’s a good thing you’ve landed here then. We’re going to compare iPhone models to see how they differ. So, keep reading as we pit the specs of the iPhone XS vs XR.

What is the difference between iPhone XS and XR?

One of the first things you’ll notice when you start making your iPhone comparison is the price. The iPhone XR is the cheaper model, but with that comes slightly less impressive specs than those of XS and XS Max models. For instance, the iPhone XR has a storage capacity of 256 GB whereas the others top out at 512 GB.

We’ll dive a little deeper into some of the other differences between the current iPhone models.  We’ll go over things like the cameras and the displays — translating dry specs into the actual difference you feel when you hold and use each of these iPhones.


The camera in iPhones XS, XS Max, and XR

First things first, the camera. The big difference between the XS and the XS Max versus the XR is that the former two have two lenses, while the latter only has one. That means while you can still zoom with the iPhone XR, you can’t zoom in as far as you can with the iPhone XS.

The other thing you’ll notice about the camera in the XR is that you can only use the True Depth filter on human faces. With the iPhone XS, you can use True Depth on any object you select in the frame. Which, let’s be honest,  will only become a problem when you’re trying to take super artistic photos of your pet and turn them into a furfluencer.

GEMINI TIP

Gemini Photos icon

No matter which iPhone you go with, you’ll be testing your new camera and taking tons of pictures until the novelty wears out. So if you don’t want to clutter up your new phone with useless photos, try an app like Gemini Photos. It helps you find similar pics and get rid of them in a few taps.


The displays of iPhone XR vs iPhone XS

The other significant difference is in the displays on these new iPhones. The iPhone XR boasts a 6.1” screen, whereas the iPhone XS has only 5.8”. For comparison, the iPhone XS Max has a massive 6.5” display. And while bigger does not necessarily mean better, in this case it more or less is.

The iPhone XR has an LCD display, which you’re already familiar with if you’ve been using an iPhone 8 or earlier. However, the iPhone XS and XS Max have the new OLED display Apple has been using on a handful of products. The truth is though, you’ll probably have a hard time noticing the difference in the displays unless you have them side-by-side. The OLED display in the XS models has a slightly sharper image and a truer color contrast.

Aside from the (now) obvious screen quality/size differential, a thing to note is that the iPhone XR removes 3D touch. But how much are you actually using that feature anyway?


iPhone size comparison: XR vs XS vs XS Max

A bigger screen means you’ll also end up with a bigger and heavier phone. Which is exactly the case with the iPhone XR. It will feel slightly bulkier in your hand than its counterpart the iPhone XS. And the iPhone XS Max will feel bigger and heavier than both of the previous models.

Testing them out with one in each hand is helpful and informative, but to adequately set expectations here, it’s unlikely the size and weight will make or break your decision.


So which should you buy, iPhone XS or XR?

Obviously, the final decision between iPhone XS and XR is entirely up to you. With almost identical internal specs and processing across the board, you have to ask yourself if you want to take telephoto pictures and be guaranteed the absolute truest colors on your display. If you do, the iPhone XS or XS Max is the clear winner. But if you’re not totally convinced you need those extra features, then the iPhone XR is worth a closer look.

And with all of the versions in this new iPhone comparison, you’ll have to decide if you’re getting a phone for productivity and fun or to get more creative with photography and videos. I’m personally using the iPhone XR, but let us know which model iPhone you went with and why!


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