Budget-friendly features

iPhone XR

Compact powerhouse

iPhone XS

The iPhone XR is a great budget-friendly option. It has the same interior guts as the iPhone XS, but it comes in six bright and fun color options and has a slightly larger screen at 6.1-inches. It has Portrait Mode photos using just a single wide-angle lens, and can do Depth Control. However, it feels less premium with the aluminum casing, less storage capacity, doesn't have a rich OLED display, lack of 3D Touch support, and Portrait Mode only works on human faces (no pets or inanimate objects).

From $749 at Apple

Pros

  • Cheapest option for modern iPhone line
  • Large 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD display
  • Has A12 Bionic chip with Face ID
  • Single lens camera still capable of Portrait Mode and Depth Control
  • Comes in six colors

Cons

  • Portrait Mode only works on human faces
  • No OLED screen
  • Lack of 3D Touch
  • Only goes up to 256GB of storage

The iPhone XS is a small powerhouse of a smartphone. The 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display is absolutely gorgeous, and it still has 3D Touch for those who like to use the feature. It has a great dual lens camera system that can take Portrait Mode images of even pets and inanimate objects, and it can receive the fastest LTE download speeds with Gigabit-class support. However, it doesn't have great battery life, has the smallest screen, and is fairly expensive with only three color options.

From $999 at Apple

Pros

  • Compact size with full 5.8-inches of Suer Retina OLED screen
  • Has up to 512GB storage capacity
  • Supports 3D Touch
  • Dual lens camera system and Portrait Mode works on pets and objects
  • Has support for Gigabit-class LTE download speeds

Cons

  • Considered expensive
  • Sub-par battery life
  • Only three color options
  • Screen size is smallest of current iPhones

The iPhone XR and iPhone XS are two of the latest iPhone releases from Apple (the iPhone XS Max is just like the iPhone XS, except with a whopping 6.5-inch screen), and surprisingly, the iPhone XR is very close to to having all of the features of the iPhone XS for a few hundred less. Honestly, it's rather impressive for the price.

Let's break it down

iPhone XS and XR depth data camera

When you look at them side-by-side, the iPhone XR and iPhone XS aren't too different from each other, which is rather surprising, considering that the iPhone XR is supposed to be Apple's budget iPhone this generation. If you're looking for a good set of features but don't need the best camera, display, or fastest cellular radios, then the iPhone XR is actually a pretty good pick.

iPhone XR iPhone XS
Cost From $749 From $999
Colors White, Black, Blue, Yellow, Coral, (PRODUCT)RED Black, White, Gold
Body Aluminum Stainless Steel
Chip A12 Bionic A12 Bionic
Storage capacity 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
Display Liquid Retina LCD Super Retina OLED
Size 6.1-inch 5.8-inch
Resolution 1792x828 2436x1125
Pixels-per-inch 326 PPI 458 PPI
3D Touch No Yes
Face ID Yes Yes
Rear camera Single 12MP/4K Dual 12MP/4K
Front camera 7MP TrueDepth 7MP TrueDepth
Portrait Mode Yes, only humans Yes, including pets and inanimate objects
Depth Control Yes Yes
Gigabit-class LTE No Yes
Wireless charging Yes Yes
Water resistance Up to 1m for 30 min Up to 2m for 30 min

Let's take a look at what both the iPhone XR and iPhone XS have in common: the A12 Bionic chip, Face ID, 12MP rear-facing camera and 7MP front-facing camera with Portrait Mode and Depth Control, and wireless charging. In fact, it's even more impressive that the XR is capable of Portrait Mode at all, considering that it only has a single, wide lens camera. The only negative thing about Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR is the fact that it will only work with human faces, so you can't take Portrait Mode images of your pets and inanimate objects. But the Liquid Retina LCD display is not too shabby at all, considering the price and other features of the handset.

iPhone XS XS Max XR backs

However, if you care about having the best display that can show you the truest blacks and most vibrant colors, then you can't go wrong with the Super Retina OLED display of the iPhone XS. If you must take Portrait Mode images of your furry friends and inanimate objects, then the dual lens system on the iPhone XS is definitely better, as it can also do 2x optical zoom. Also, if you want the fastest LTE speeds possible on your handset, then you can't pass up the iPhone XS and it's Gigabit-class LTE capabilities, assuming you can get the fastest speeds with your carrier in the first place.

However, if you can make a few sacrifices, including lack of 3D Touch, and don't mind saving at least $150, then we think the iPhone XR is good enough for most people. Plus, with six color options, there's at least one color that you'll love.

Our pick

iPhone XR

The iPhone for most people

The iPhone XR is a great budget iPhone that's a good in-between size and comes packed with most of the same features as the iPhone XS and XS Max. It has an A12 Bionic chip, Face ID, Liquid Retina LCD display, ability to do Portrait Mode with some caveats, and comes in plenty of fun colors. For most of the same features, you're saving a few hundred in your pocket, and the battery life is also fairly impressive.

When you need it all

iPhone XS

The iPhone for techies

The iPhone XS is the way to go if you require the superior camera with the dual lens camera system that includes both wide angle and telephoto for 2x optical zoom and Portrait Mode with non-humans. The Super Retina OLED display is also absolutely stunning, with the blackest blacks and most vibrant colors on the screen. It also comes equipped to handle Gigabit-class LTE download speeds and up to 512GB storage capacity. Just be warned that the battery life is not as great as the XR or XS Max.