Technology

Should You Pre-order iPhone XR? All You Need To Know Before Making That Decision

Pre-Order iPhone XR
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

Apple announced iPhone XR along with the iPhone XS and XS Max last month. The other two models have been around for weeks. Finally, Apple has started accepting pre-orders for the “cheaper” iPhone XR. A lot of Apple fans who wanted the latest and greatest iPhones have already purchased the XS or XS Max. But a section of customers were torn between the XS/XS Max and iPhone XR. Those who have made up their mind can now pre-order iPhone XR.

iPhone XR pre-orders go live

Starting at $749, the iPhone XR is the cheapest of the three phones unveiled last month, but it’s not cheap at all. You can pre-order iPhone XR starting Oct.19 directly from Apple’s website or the Apple Store app or by visiting a nearby Apple Store. The phone will hit the store shelves on Oct.26 in the United States and many other countries.

It would be interesting to see how many people are waiting for the iPhone XR. Many potential buyers who wanted to pre-order iPhone XR and purchase it couldn’t handle the month-long waiting period and ended up purchasing the more expensive XS or XS Max. If you are planning to pre-order iPhone XR but are still a bit hesitant, here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s colorful and interesting new iPhone.

Price and color options

First up, let’s talk about the price and color options – two of its biggest selling points. The XR will be available in Black, White, Yellow, Coral, and (PRODUCT)RED colors. The last time Apple experimented with such vibrant colors was with iPhone 5C in 2013. The XS and XS Max come in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray color options. Exclusively for the XR, Apple is selling a clear case so that you can show off your colorful phone while protecting it.

The iPhone XR is a lot cheaper than the XS and XS Max that start at $999 and $1,099 respectively. The XR starts at $749 for the 64GB model. If you want the 128GB storage variant, you’ll have to shell out $799. There is also a 256GB option that costs $899. The most expensive version of XR is still $100 cheaper than the XS. The highest storage XS Max sets you back by $1,449.

It makes a few trade-offs

The iPhone XR costs less than the XS because it makes a few trade-offs. The good part is that you can easily live without the features it lacks. The XR doesn’t support the 3D Touch functionality, which hasn’t gained much traction since it debuted three years ago with the iPhone 6S.

Another thing it lacks is the Super Retina OLED display that you’ll find on the XS and XS Max. The XR instead comes with what Apple calls a Liquid Retina HD display. It’s basically a 6.1-inch LCD screen with slight tweaks. The display quality is more than sufficient for all purposes. It has a 326ppi pixel density, True Tone technology, and 79% screen-to-body ratio. By comparison, the iPhone XS has a 458ppi pixel density and 82.9% screen-to-body ratio.

The iPhone XR is slightly thicker and wider than the XS, most likely due to its bigger screen and larger battery. While the XS and XS Max have a surgical-grade stainless steel chassis with glass front and back, the XR uses the aerospace-grade 7000 series aluminum chassis. It has an IP67 rating for water- and dust-resistance, meaning it can survive in up to one meter water for 30 minutes. The XS and XS Max have an IP68 rating, allowing them to remain submerged in up to two meters deep water for the same time. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker for most people.

The iPhone XR has only a single 12MP wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture on the back. In contrast, the XS and XS Max also get a 12MP telephoto lens to enable optical zoom. The XR offers 5x digital zoom and three portrait lighting effects. Despite lacking the telephoto lens, it uses AI algorithms to capture portrait images with blurred backgrounds, similar to Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. It also supports the Smart HDR technology that combines multiple photos taken at different exposures into a single image to improve the dynamic range.

Where it excels

In all the above aspects, the iPhone XR is not as good as the XS or XS Max. But it’s not bad either. Now let’s take a look at where it matches its more expensive siblings. Just like the XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR runs the same A12 Bionic chipset with the next-gen Neural Engine. It has only 3GB RAM, same as last year’s iPhone X, but it is capable of handling any task you can throw at it including augmented reality apps and graphics intensive games.

Apple claims the iPhone XR battery lasts 1.5 hours longer than iPhone 8 Plus, which had a decent battery life. The XR is supposed to deliver up to 15 hours of battery life while using the Internet. It supports wireless charging. The device has a display notch at the top to accommodate the TrueDepth camera system that supports Face ID and Animoji features.

Should you pre-order iPhone XR?

You can confidently pre-order iPhone XR because it’s totally worth its price. Whatever features it lacks are not deal breakers. It makes up for the lack of telephoto lens on the back by using AI algorithms to blur the background for portrait images. Its attractive price coupled with a larger display, better battery life, dual-SIM support, and iPhone X-like design will appeal to people who don’t want to shell out over a thousand dollars for the XS or XS Max.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the iPhone XR will be the most popular iPhone this holiday quarter. Sensing strong demand, Kuo has increased his iPhone XR shipment estimate from 33-35 million units to 36-38 million units during the fourth quarter this year. The iPhone XR shipments will be so strong that they will continue to drive growth even in the first quarter of 2019, predicts Kuo.