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Head to Head: iPhone 11 v iPhone XR

  • The iPhone XR has been on the market since September 2018. The iPhone 11 joined the ranks in September 2019. What are the main differences between these handsets? 
iPhone 11 v iPhone XR
iPhone 11 v iPhone XR
It is fair to say that on paper these two handsets share a lot of technology and specifications. So, what is the difference that makes Apple so confident that the iPhone 11 is a better handset? 

Camera Tech 

The main answer to this question lies in the camera technology found in the iPhone 11. The iPhone XR offers a competent performance for a handset of a cut down level, but if you are comparing the two directly it is the superior camera functionality for the iPhone 11 that takes the win.

It is the camera housing on the back that has really enhanced the performance here. You have a dual offering, which features 2 x 12-megapixel lenses. One is a wide-angle lens and the other an ultra-wide-angle lens.  In contrast, the iPhone XR offers a single rear 12-megapixel camera. More than that comma the iPhone 11 also features night mode which is something that has been lacking on the photographic technology of iPhone for a while now. 

It is nice to see that they have finally included it and it really is a standout feature. Taking images in low light actually becomes possible. The iPhone XR does not have any night mode technology. You will also find auto adjustments on the iPhone 11 and the ultra-wide-angle lens means that you can get more into the shot then you would previously.  

The Similarities 

Both of the handsets feature a 6.1-inch size screen, and both use Liquid Retina LCD displays. It is essentially the same screen with a pixel resolution of 1792 by 828 and 625nits. There is no HDR on either handset, but you get a good pixel density of 326 PPI on both. That said the screen gives lovely images, and any differences attributed to the slightly lower tech would only really be noticeable placed side by side with an iPhone 11 Pro Max or iPhone XS Max.

Design wise the two handsets are similar both are offered in a range of colours and the front facing camera notch is exactly the same. The iPhone 11 offers a 12-megapixel TrueDepth front camera whereas the iPhone XR only has a 7-megapixel offering. 

The IP rating has been upgraded on the iPhone 11 coming in at IP68 which means you can dip your phone in up to two metres of water for 30 minutes and expect no damage. As always, we do not suggest you test the theory. The iPhone XR is IP7 water resistant which is 1 meter of water for up to 30 mins.

Overall, if you are upgrading from older Apple tech, either of these handsets are a good choice. They are not flagship phones, but what they do offer is good. The main difference has to be the camera functionality, so you will need to decide if this is something you want as the iPhone 11 remains the slightly more expensive handset.