Apple iPhone 11 vs Apple iPhone XR full review

As expected, the iPhone 11 is here but should you buy it or get the older iPhone XR model from last year? Here we explain what's different including price, design and specs.

It's no surprise that your choice largely comes down to whether you want to spend more on the 2019 iPhone to get the latest design and features.

Price and availability

As is fairly typical, Apple has introduced the iPhone 11 range but also kept some older smartphones on sale at lower prices.

So while the iPhone 11 is just £729/$699, opting for last year's XR model will save you some money becuase it starts at £629/$599. It's available to pre-order at 1pm UK time on 13 September and then goes on sale 20 September.

It's worth bearing in mind that the iPhone 11 comes in more storage options as we'll explain below. Also see our complete iPhone buying guide.

Design and build

It's clear that despite lacking the 'R' in the name, the iPhone 11 is the new version of the XR. It's the cheaper and colourful iPhone in the range.

There are different colours to choose from this time including green and purple but we actually prefer the XR hues. You may disagree, of course.

iPhone 11 colours

Colours and the rear camera module aside, the iPhone 11 essentially has the same design as the XR. All the buttons, ports, and the like are all in the same place so it won't feel hugely different in the hand. The pair even have the exact same dimensions and weight - namely 8.3mm thick and 194g.

The iPhone 11 has a slightly better waterproof rating at IP68 instead of IP67 so you can dunk it in up to 2m of water for up to 30 minutes instead of 1m.

Design-wise, it's really about the new colours and the slightly better waterproofing.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XR: Colour options

Specs and features

So the price and design aren't hugely different, so are there many reasons to buy the iPhone 11 over the XR when it comes to specs?

Well there's actually not a huge amount to speak of that's new on the iPhone 11 overall. Apple is still using the same 6.1in Liquid Retina display from the XR (with Haptic Touch) and elements like wireless charging and Face ID also remain the same.

The iPhone 11 comes with a newer A13 Bionic processor, is available in a larger 256GB storage capacity and you get Wi-Fi 6. However, photography is the biggest difference here.

iPhone 11 A13 Bionic

The XR is limited to just one camera, while the iPhone 11 has a secondary ultra-wide angle offering a 120 degree field of view. The phone can also handle 2x optical zoom, has more Portrait modes as well as some new stuff like Night Mode.

At the front, the iPhone 11 also boasts a 12Mp TrueDepth camera which can shoot 4K video. That's a nice jump from the 7Mp camera on the XR which is limited to 1080p video.

Apple also says that the 11 should last an extra hour of battery life compared to the XR.

Here is a comparison of the iPhone 11 and XR:

  iPhone 11 iPhone XR
iOS iOS 13 iOS 13
Colours Black, green, yellow, purple, white, (product) red White, black, blue, yellow, coral, (product) red
Display 6.1in Liquid Retina Display (1792x828, 326ppi) LCD 6.1in Liquid Retina Display (1792x828, 326ppi) LCD
Processor Apple A13 Bionic Apple A12 Bionic
Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB 64GB/128GB
Rear camera 12Mp wide, f/1.8, OIS + 12Mp ultra-wide, f/2.0, 2x optical zoom, Portrait Lighting, Portrait Mode, Night Mode, True Tone flash 12Mp f/1.8, OIS, 5x digital zoom, Portrait Lighting, Portrait Mode, quad-LED flash
Front camera 12Mp TrueDepth, f/2.2, 4K video 7Mp TrueDepth, f/2.2, 1080p video
Video recording 4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps 4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps
Biometric security Face ID Face ID
Wireless Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac
Wireless charging Yes Yes
Apple Pay (NFC) Yes Yes
Waterproofing IP68 IP67
Dimensions 75.7 x 150.9 x 8.3mm 75.7 x 150.9 x 8.3mm
Weight 194g 194g
Price From £729/$699 From £629/$599
Buy SIM-free Order Now Order Now
Buy on contract Order Now Order Now

Verdict

It's clear that the iPhone 11 is really the replacement for the XR due to its almost identical design and range of colours. It also shares some specs like the Liquid Retina display.

The XR is still a decent choice, and is cheaper of course, but getting the iPhone 11 gets you a newer processor, optionally more storage and much better cameras.

If photography is important, which it likely is, we'd say getting the iPhone 11 will be worth it.

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