iPhone 8 vs iPhone XR

The 2018 iPhone line-up has five models (not including Plus options) so there's a lot to choose from. Here we compare the new iPhone XR with the older and now cheaper iPhone 8 to see which you should buy.

We'll explore how they differ in price, design and specs. Highlighting what are the key areas are as we go. You'll also, no doubt, be interested to read about the iPhone XS which is the current flagship.

iPhone 8 vs iPhone XR: Price and Availability

With its new lowered price, the iPhone 8 is one of the cheapest iPhones you can buy now. Directly from Apple anyway, although the iPhone 7 is still on sale for now.

It costs £599/$599 so you'll save a reasonable amount if you pick it over the iPhone XR which is £749/$749. The iPhone XR is available to pre-order now and will ship on 26 Oct. Read our roundup of the best iPhone XR deals to get a good price.

That's a difference of £150/$150, but bear in mind that the iPhone 8 isn't available in the same storage capacities. Check out all the prices below.

  iPhone 8 iPhone XR
64GB £599 £749
128GB - £799
256GB £749 £899

iPhone 8 vs iPhone XR: Design and Build

At the back, these two iPhones look pretty similar with a single camera lens and the aluminium and glass design we're very used to these days.

The big difference in design is at the front. You're choosing between what is the almost retro style of the iPhone 8 with it's bezels and home button, and the bezel-free notch wielding XR.

There's no doubt that the XR looks up-to-date and on-trend making the iPhone 8 look pretty dated. However, don't feel ashamed if you actually prefer and want the older style due to the physical button and easier to manage screen.

Although the XR has no bezels, the phone is a fair bit bigger than the 8. Namely around 12mm taller and almost 50g heavier, so if you're worried about size then the iPhone 8 might be a better choice.

Both phones have an IP67 rating so can be dunked in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes and have the Apple Lightning port.

Colours are a big deal here since the iPhone 8 is available in Apple's trio of Silver, Space Grey and Gold. Meanwhile, the XR is more like the old 5c in White, Black, Blue, Yellow, Coral and (PRODUCT)RED.

If your budget isn't an issue, then colour could swing it. But you should read about specs below first.

iPhone XR colours

iPhone 8 vs iPhone XR: Specs and Features

Despite launching a year apart, there aren't actually too many specs that are different on the iPhone 8 and XR.

You get the same cameras, both go to 256GB (although the 8 is not available in 128GB) and you get wireless charging. We should point out, though, that the XR has new camera features like Portrait Mode, Depth Control and Animoji on both cameras.

A new processor, the A12 Bionic, is always welcome but you needn't choose between the phones on that basis.

The key differences here are the screen and the fact you'll have to use Face ID on the XR with its lack of a Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

By far the biggest, and we mean that pretty literally, difference is the screen. The iPhone 8 is the last handset to offer Apple's once classic 4.7in display.

Both have the same LCD IPS panel technology (the XS models are OLED) and offer a pixel density of 326ppi. So you've got to decide if you want the large 6.1in display on the XR complete with notch and required gestures.

Interestingly, the iPhone 8 is the one phone here to support 3D Touch. Which may be a deal breaker for you.

iPhone 8 vs iPhone XR

There's a fair amount of specs and features that are identical whether you buy the XR or XS Max. They include the new A12 Bionic processor, Face ID, wireless charging and the front facing 7Mp camera.

You'll notice a small difference in storage as the XS Max goes up to 512GB, but the XR tops out at 256GB.

Really, the big differences are in the display and photography departments.

They both have the larger screens than ever seen before on an iPhone with the XR at 6.1in and the XS Max at a whopping 6.5in. There's more though, as the XS Max has a higher pixel density and OLED technology for better contrast and colours.

Meanwhile, the XR uses an LCD panel and doesn't support 3D Touch either. Both have a notch, even though Apple has cleverly hidden it in the XS images.

Although the phones have the same front camera and the same main rear camera, the XS Max also has a second rear camera. It's a 2x zoom telephoto lens just like the iPhone X.

It's interesting, though, that the phones have the same camera features like Portrait mode, Smart HDR and the new depth control feature. The XR only misses out on Stage and Stage Mono effects within Portrait Lighting.

Here is a spec comparison of the iPhone 8 and XR:

  iPhone 8 iPhone XR
iOS iOS 12 iOS 12
Colours Silver, Space Grey, Gold White, Black, Blue, Yellow, Coral, (PRODUCT)RED
Display 4.7in Retina HD Display (1334x750, 326ppi) LCD IPS with 3D Touch 6.1in Liquid Retina HD Display (1792x828, 326ppi) LCD IPS
Processor Apple A11 Bionic Apple A12 Bionic
Storage 64GB/256GB 64GB/128GB/256GB
Rear camera 12Mp, f/1.8, OIS, 5x digital zoom, Quad-LED flash 12Mp, f/1.8, OIS, 5x digital zoom, Quad-LED flash
Front camera 7Mp FaceTime HD, f2.2, 1080p video 7Mp FaceTime HD, f2.2, 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 Touch ID Face ID
Wireless charging Yes Yes
Dual-SIM No Yes
Waterproofing IP67 IP67
Dimensions 67.3 x 138.4 x 7.3 75.7 x 150.9 x 8.3mm
Weight 148g 194g
Price From £599 (same in $) From £749 (same in $)
Buy SIM-free Buy Buy
Buy on contract Buy Buy

OUR VERDICT

Unless you need to save money and buy the iPhone 8, then you're choice here is largely down to the screen.

If you like the modern bezel-free design of the iPhone XR with its notch and Face ID then you're all good. It also has the advantage of a newer processor, camera tricks and the option to go 512GB in the storage department.

We wouldn't blame you for preferring the old style of the iPhone 8 with its manageable 4.7in screen and home button. It does look dated now but it still has the same IP67 waterproofing, wireless charging and has something the XR doesn't have: 3D Touch.

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