NEW YORK (AP) – Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new iPhone XR, the middlebrow cousin to the top-of-theline iPhone XS.
On one hand, the XR lacks the high-resolution screen and dual-lens camera found on the XS. On the other, you’d save at least $250 and still get most of the other cutting-edge features found on the more expensive model.
Based on several days of testing, it looks like Apple made the right cost-cutting trade-offs with the XR, which starts selling Friday for about $750. The standard XS starts at about $1,000; its supersized cousin, the XS Max , goes for $100 more.
The XR falls between the XS and the Max in size. Its screen is about 7 percent larger than the XS and 12 percent smaller than the Max. But the XR is closer in width to larger Phones such as the Max and older Plus models, so anyone upgrading from an iPhone 7 or 8 will have to get used to a new grip.
As with the XS, the XR’s display extends close to the phone’s edges, translating to 45 percent more screen space than the iPhone 8 and 6 percent more than the 8 Plus. The XR and the XS both use facial recognition to unlock the phone, and both have a notch at the top for sensors, similar to shades on a car’s windshield. The notch will take getting used to.
Speaker quality on the XR and the XS were comparable, and the mics on all new models offer stereo recording for the first time.
The phone displays, however, are different, and those disparities can make a difference. The screens on both XS models have better contrast and more vibrant colors than the standard LCD screen on the XR. Autumn leaves in the cartoon “The Secret Lives of Pets” stand out more, while greater hints of orange appeared in a space drama’s rocket exhaust flames. Whites are whiter, making the screen appear brighter even though it’s not.
The XR screen also falls short of full high definition, unlike the XS displays, although it can display video at 720p quality.
Apple says that with LCD screens, higher resolution drains the battery faster, a trade-off that’s minimal with the XS because its screen doesn’t need a backlight.
That said, the differences are often hard to spot, even with the phones side by side. Where quality really matters, you’ll probably want a bigger screen such as a tablet or a TV anyway.