Apple iPhone XR vs Apple iPhone 8 Plus full review

The iPhone XR and iPhone 8 Plus are two of Apple's cheapest models in the official line-up but what are the differences and which one should you buy? Unless you're on a very strict budget, we recommend the XR which has much better design, specs and longevity.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Price and availability

Despite the launch of the iPhone 11 range, the XR and 8 Plus remain as part of the iPhone line-up - at reduced prices, of course so they might be more tempting than ever.

The newer iPhone XR is available to buy from Apple and starts at £629/$599 for the 64GB model, with 128GB also available. If you're after a bargain, have a look at our roundup of the best iPhone XR deals.

The iPhone 8 Plus costs even less now, starting at £579/$549 for the 64GB model, and a 128GB version also on sale at the same price as the cheaper XR.

Also see our complete iPhone buying guide.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Design and build

The design differences here are plain to see. The iPhone XR takes the design of the iPhone X (now discontinued in favour of the updated iPhone XS) and gives it a big splash of colour.

With one camera on the back, it comes in black, white, yellow, blue, red and coral. The now familiar notch on the front dips into an expansive 6.1in screen with a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio.

The iPhone 8 Plus has the traditional, familiar iPhone design with top and bottom bezels and a home button. It has a smaller 5.5in screen but is actually taller and wider than the iPhone XR because of the 16:9 aspect ratio.

There’s no notch on the 8 Plus, and there are two cameras on the rear instead of the XR’s one.

Both phones have glass backs that allows wireless charging, though both also charge via Lightning. Neither phone had a headphone jack.

You’ll likely prefer one design over the other. The XR has a futuristic notch look and comes in six bright colours, but you might miss the home button – in that case you’ll be swayed to the 8 Plus.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Features and specs

Here’s a table directly comparing the specs of the iPhone XR and 8 Plus:

  iPhone XR iPhone 8 Plus
iOS iOS 13 iOS 13
Colours White, Black, Blue, Yellow, Coral, (PRODUCT)RED Gold, Silver, Space Grey
Display 6.1in Liquid Retina HD Display (1792x828, 326ppi) LCD IPS 5.5in Retina HD Display (1920x1080, 401ppi) LCD
Processor Apple A12 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic
Storage 64GB/128GBGB 64GB/128GB
Rear camera 12Mp, f/1.8, OIS, 5x digital zoom, Quad-LED flash 12Mp wide-angle, f/1.8, OIS + 12Mp telephoto, f/2.8, OIS, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, Quad-LED flash
Front camera 7Mp FaceTime HD, f2.2, 1080p video 7Mp FaceTime HD, 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 Touch ID
Wireless charging? Yes Yes
Waterproofing IP67 IP67
Dimensions 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5mm
Weight 194g 202g
Price From £629/$599 £579/$549
Buy SIM-free Buy now Buy now
Buy on contract From Carphone Warehouse From Carphone Warehouse

The screens are different in ratio and size but are both LCDs.

All iPhone XR models have the Apple A12 Bionic processor, the same one found inside the more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max and will perform faster on demanding tasks than the iPhone 8 Plus, which uses the one-year older A11 Bionic.

This doesn’t mean the 8 Plus is a slow phone though. On most daily tasks you simply won’t notice the difference.

The 8 Plus has the camera advantage with two lenses. The telephoto lens allows for portrait mode depth effect snaps and a 2x telephoto zoom to get closer to your subject without losing definition.

The single lens on the iPhone XR is smart, though. It’s the first single camera on an iPhone that can shoot portrait mode shots thanks to post-processing smarts in the software similar to what Google does with the Pixel 2.

Video capabilities are practically the same, and both phones have IP67 water resistance. Face ID on the XR can also be used for verification and security in apps – on the 8 Plus you use the home button and Touch ID.

It bears repeating that the 8 Plus is a physically bigger phone despite having a smaller screen than the XR.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Software and apps

Both phones can run the latest version of iOS 12. The main difference is the gestures you must use on the XR thanks to the lack of a home button. The 8 Plus uses the traditional set up of pressing the home button to go back to your app screens.

The XR has a camera array on the front that means you can create Memoji and Animoji, something you can’t do on the 8 Plus.


The iPhone XR and 8 Plus are similarly priced, similarly equipped phones. The XR ditches the home button for a notch and Face ID and comes in six eye catching colours. Its screen is larger and taller than the 8 Plus, too. 

But you might prefer the design and dual cameras of the 8 Plus if you don’t want a notch or have to use gestures for everything in iOS. Both phones are very capable and your choice should come down to which design suits you best.

If you're leaning towards the XR then make sure you read our iPhone 11 vs XR comparison first.


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