iPhone Xr impressions

My wife has an iPhone 6, so when the iPhone Xr was announced, it looked like a good fit for an upgrade.

The only downsides were:

  • The size: it’s quite a bit larger than the iPhone 6
  • The price: for all the talk of this being the “cheap” iPhone, it’s still €849+

She wanted the blue model, so we ordered the iPhone Xr 128GB in blue.

First impressions

  • It’s bigger than expected
  • The color options are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – unless you’re going with black or white, you’ll want to see them in person first. The colors look quite different than on Apple’s website
  • It’s easily the best value in the current lineup

Compared to iPhone X / Xs

As an iPhone X user, I wasn’t really blown away by the Xs. And the Xs Max was cool but felt too big in the hand.

The Xr strikes a nice balance between the two sizes. If you have a X, there’s nothing to really justify the upgrade, but if have an older iPhone and are on the fence between this and the Xs, I’d get the Xr and put the savings towards a pair of AirPods instead.

Missing features

  • As a fairly keen photographer, I do appreciate the longer focal length of the X/Xs portrait mode. But it’s a relatively small sacrifice overall. I rarely took normal photos with the second camera, apart from the occasional zoomed in shot that would probably be ok with a digital crop.
  • No 3D Touch is a shame but mostly because it just confirms it won’t become a real alternative input option on Apple’s Touch devices.
  • The screen is fine. It doesn’t blow you away, but unless you’re comparing it side-by-side to the more expensive OLED screen, you won’t see a difference.


So far my wife loves the Xr and I’m really pleased with it as well: great photos, good build quality, almost no compromises – all the things the main iPhone should offer.

It’s also a masterclass in price anchoring: the iPhone X raised everyone’s expected price ceiling for a high-end smartphone, and now we see the Xr as “cheap” in comparison, despite being the most expensive “normal” iPhone ever released.

It’s definitely not the “cheap” iPhone, but it’s a great upgrade if you’re coming from a pre-X model.

Support the Site

Shop for iPhone Xr cases on amazon – I’ve linked to the one we got until something nicer comes along.

Get some AirPods: they’ll have far more impact on how much you enjoy your phone than splurging for the Xs.

And for fast-charging, buy the tizi Tankstation and Apple’s lighting to USB-C cable – it’ll charge your iPhone Xr extra fast with USB-C Power Delivery.