iPhone XR Need some advice: iPhone XR or XS based on my requirements

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Rick America, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Rick America macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2007
    I’m looking for advice, please. I have an iPhone 5S that is clearly out of gas, and I need to upgrade. After looking at both, I am still torn between the XS and XR.

    Here are my “use requirements”:
    --- Primary use is as a reliable and quality phone (good, solid connection, etc.).
    --- Secondary use as a quality camera --- I like taking photos as the mood strikes me. I am not a pro photographer (by a long shot!). But, that said, I like taking low-light photos (no flash) and a lot of outdoor shots where some zoom comes in handy. I use the phone for basic photo viewing and editing as well.
    --- I don’t do games or movies at all. I use a handful of apps (e.g. Apple News) but nothing out of the ordinary.

    Coming from the 5S, I definitely feel a size/weight difference between the XR and XS. That had me leaning towards the XS, but after handling the XR for a while, I think I can get used to it, but I worry about the added bulk/width of the XR when I add a case. I had decided to go with the XR and, if I didn’t like it, take it back for the XS. Then I started seeing discussions elsewhere in these forums talking about how the XS has much better cellular connectivity because of its superior modem.

    Price is not necessarily an issue, but I don’t want to spend it if I don’t have to. I would appreciate any advice from others who may have had a similar “debate” deciding between XS and XR.

  2. DevinNj macrumors 6502a

    Apr 27, 2016
    New Jersey
    Personally I like the telephoto zoom, that's the biggest deterrent keeping me from the XR. I don't think I'd be happy without it. But that's just me.
  3. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    Weight, size and zoom lens are the difference you noted and care about. I can’t really help you with that. I guess you could get used to any size, but it’s personal.

    I doubt you’ll notice a difference in modem between the two.
  4. pamploner macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2010
    Any advice from people who used both? I'm also waiting to upgrade and Rick's requirements equal mine. In addition, ability to connect in low signal areas is important to me. I use my iPhone 6s as GPS/Carplay a lot and travels thru many low signal area and it would be useless without service.

    So XS or XR ?
  5. mcmanus7 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2008
    The size/weight difference between Xr and XS is not as noticeable once you are used to a bigger phone. I have a XS wife has a Xr, she has a case I don't. Even with the case the Xr feels good in the hand for size.

    If zoom is important (unless you don't mind pure digital zoom) then you'll want the XS. The telephoto lens is handy for situations where you don't need more than 2x zoom.

    To answer Pam: Both of our XS and Xr phones get reception where our 6S's never did. So you shouldn't see anything worse than you would with your 6S on either phone.
  6. Mackinjosh Suspended

    Aug 21, 2014
    Does battery life matter? If yes, get the XR. If no, get the XS since money doesn't matter.
  7. nospleen macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2002
    Based on the need for a solid connection, I'd likely go with the Xr, if you are often out in areas with low signal strength.

    My wife's max struggles to get a signal at our house, but my son's Xr does not.
  8. PBz macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2005
    PVB, Florida
  9. ATC, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018

    ATC macrumors 65816

    Apr 25, 2008
    OP, if you're liking the XR and can really get used to its size/weight, especially coming from the 5S, then keep it. It's a really great phone. I just went through a week using both the XR and XS, I found both devices great in their own ways.

    I kept going back and forth on which I'd keep but I ended up keeping the XS (shipped my XR back today) because for me one-handed use was noticeably impacted on the XR (once a case and screen protector were on) whereas the XS is still usable one-handed with a case and screen protector. I thought I had gotten used to the XR's size in a few days but when I started using the XS, and switching between the two, the difference was clear. I found, when using one-handed, I had to hold the XR in awkward ways to reach top and bottom, and almost dropped it a few times as a result of this. FWIW, I came from the 7.

    The cameras on both phones are great but for me the 2x optical lens on the XS turned out to be very useful in a number of settings where digital zoom just didn't cut it. Also, I didn't think I'd miss 3Dtouch and thought long-press would work on lock screen notifications on the XR, but that wasn't the case.

    I don't care for True Tone on the XS, makes the screen too yellow. TT was handled very well on the XR. And that battery life....I could not get my XR below 50% in heavy daily use. Something I'm sure I'm going to miss with the XS.

    I didn't find any difference in cell reception between the two.
  10. craigio85 macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2017
    United Kingdom
    Based on coming from a 5s and the requirements you mention, I would say the XS is going to be the one you’ll be happiest with.

    Although both have excellent cameras, the XR doesn’t perform as well on the zoom and I also think the portrait mode is lacking in comparison based on the samples I’ve seen.

    It’s also a more comfortable size.
  11. ssledoux macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2006
    Down south
    I LOVE my XR. My daughter has the XS and she lives right next door, so I have compared the two a LOT. She has actually had more connectivity issues with her XS than I have with my XR (to be fair, we live in a pretty sketchy area for connectivity anyway, but I’m having better success with the XR).

    I think the camera is great. I don’t have the option to use portrait mode on anything but humans, but all I’ve ever really taken pics of in portrait mode are my grandkids anyway.

    The battery is amazing. I pulled mine off the charger almost 7 hours ago, and have used it quite a bit - still at 91%. It’ll still be at 50+ when I go to bed I’m sure.

    I really like the size, and with the case I use (Loopy), I am able to use the phone one-handed without much trouble at all (and I’m small).

    The Face ID is great, and that’s something I was really not looking forward to. It works so immediately I don’t even realize my phone is locked most of the time.

    Overall, it’s been fantastic.
  12. August West macrumors regular

    August West

    Aug 23, 2009
    Land of Enchantment
    Buy one or the other or both. Use them for a while and you should have your answer. Return the one that least fits your needs. With X-mas coming up I guessing Apple will have and extended return window like in the past.
  13. bruce316 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2018
    I'm coming from the 6s and I've been using the xs and xr together for over a week trying to decide which one to keep. I prefer the size of the xs and the second camera is a nice addition. My wifi and cell connection/speeds has been about the same between the two. I just cannot get used to the warmer screen color the xs display has even with True Tone, Auto Brightness and Night Shift turned off. Using it one handed sometimes I'll tilt it a bit while reaching for a menu and the screen will turn white, then looking straight on at it again it is faintly yellow/warm. I've compared this phone to several other xs's in store and they are all the same. Some people don't notice this or don't care, maybe even prefer it. As for me, I want crisp whites on my display. I love the xs but this is a deal breaker for me and it is going back.

    As for the xr, the display is excellent in my opinion. I would miss the second camera the xs has but other than that the xr is probably perfect for me except for the size. It is not a big difference from the xs but it is just bigger and heavier enough that it bothers me and I don't know if I will get used to it. I might end up getting a refurb 8 but I would miss Face ID, actually love that and I didn't expect to but it works very nice.

    With all that said I would suggest as others here have mentioned that you should try them both, there is no clear winner in this line up and you have to pick the one that checks the most boxes for what you are looking for.
  14. pdp1 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2018
    @Rick America FWIW, I was in a similar situation as you. I owned an SE since it was released (loved the size) but it died due to water damage and was delegated a previously retried 6 for a few months to tide me over until the Xr release. I ended up deciding on the Xr for the following reasons:

    1) While optical zoom is handy, I didn't think I would use it much.

    2) I was (and still am a little) concerned about Xr size compared the Xs size. While the Xs overall does feel better in my hand than the Xr, ALMOST all the things I could comfortably do one-handed with the Xs, I could do with the Xr. Since the ergonomic benefits between the two tipped only a little toward the Xs, the extra screen real estate of the Xr trumped the ergonomic differences for me.

    3) The blue shifting of the OLED bothered me more than the dimming of the LCD at off angles, probably because I've only ever had LCD phones and am used to it. Honestly though, I'm sure I could easily live with the blue shift of the OLED and it really wouldn't matter in the long run. It's only because I was so torn between the two that I even used this difference as a factor in my decision. I will admit, the better color and contrast of the Xs OLED was was quite noticeable, to me, compared to the Xr when they were side by side, but when not side by side, it wasn't as apparent.

    4) Like you, price wasn't a big issue, but in the end, the benefits of the Xs over the Xr just was not worth the extra $250 to me.

    5) I'm not concerned about the modem, I haven't noticed anything bad about the Xr's cellular connectivity, but I do get pretty good coverage at home and work to begin with.

    Anyway, I don't expect you to have the exact same sentiments as me, I just wanted to share my thought process and maybe it will help you decide. Either way, have fun with the new phone! Either will be awesome, especially coming from a 5s.
  15. PBz macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2005
    PVB, Florida
    Sums up my experience as well.

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15 November 7, 2018