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Apple iPhone XR first impressions: Get ready for minor trade-offs for the cheaper iPhone

Apple iPhone XR looks similar to Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max but comes with subtle changes. Here’s a closer look at the new iPhone XR.

tech Updated: Oct 26, 2018 16:13 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Apple Iphone Xr,Apple Iphone Xr Features,Apple Iphone Xr Specifications
Apple iPhone XR goes on sale in India on Friday. (HT Photo)

Apple’s new iPhone XR is the talk of the town. While it is a far more intriguing smartphone than iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the Apple iPhone XR makes the right kind of trade-offs to deliver the premium experience you expect, but at a much cheaper price.

At first glance, iPhone XR looks identical to Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. But upon closer look, you will notice the changes. Apple iPhone XR uses aluminium side panels as compared to the stainless steel on Apple’s iPhone XS. The difference? While iPhone XS looks shinier and more premium, iPhone XR goes for a subtler look.

There’s a slight difference in the front as well. Instead of an OLED panel, you get the old school LCD IPS panel. This is the same panel used on last year’s iPhone 8. After having used OLED panels on iPhone X and iPhone XS, the LCD does feel inferior.

But Apple has done a fine job at optimising the screen for the high resolution content that one expects from a premium phone nowadays. And of course, the notch stays. The omnipresent notch houses the bunch of sensors to enable the advanced FaceID and depth mode when taking photos.

Apple uses a dated IPS LCD panel on its new iPhone XR (HT Photo)

The screen also does away with 3D touch, a pressure-sensitive tech that lets you access shortcuts of an application with degrees of pressure on the screen. Interestingly enough, Apple pioneered the 3D Touch technology with iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in 2015. Now, various Android players have mimicked the feature, albeit using the software algorithms.

Apple iPhone XR skips stainless steel side edges (HT Photo)

While the rear looks same as the iPhone XS, the single camera lens — yes, iPhone XR does not have dual rear cameras — is quite protruding. Most probably, a cover or case will come in handy if you don’t want the lens to get scratches.

Apple iPhone XR uses just single 12-megapixel camera lens (HT Photo)

With 6.1-inch edge-to-edge screen, iPhone XR does feel quite big in palms, but it’s only bigger than iPhone XS (5.8-inch). It’s also slightly smaller than iPhone XS Max (6.5-inch). What gets going for iPhone XR are the attractive colour options, similar to Apple’s popular iPhone 5C.

The camera module is quite protruding (HT Photo)

In the camera department, Apple cuts corners by using one lens whereas the front has the same 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera. The single lens means you lose out iPhone XS’ wide-angle and tele-photo lens for optical zoom. The portrait mode has just three sub-modes for selfies. During our brief usage, iPhone XR took decent selfies. But with the likes of Huawei and Google leveraging machine learning algorithms with the best of camera sensors, iPhone XR camera may be behind the competition.iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max: Here’s why Apple loyalists should consider the smaller iPhone

What you should not be worried about a cheaper iPhone XR is the performance. The phone houses the same powerful A12 processor that powers Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Apple never reveals the RAM size on its phones but according to reports it’s 3GB. In an era of 10GB phones, 3GB RAM may seem little underwhelming, but performance is a matter of hardware-software optimisation rather shoving the best of the processors and maximum RAM. And Apple holds the edge in that.

Apple iPhone XR goes on sale in India on Friday at a starting price of Rs 76,900 (for 64GB model). Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis of iPhone XR.

First Published: Oct 26, 2018 15:32 IST