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iPhone XR Hands-On: Powerful, Beautiful and Affordable

by Brandon Russell | September 12, 2018September 12, 2018 4:15 pm PST

Apple didn’t just bring the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max to its event on Wednesday; it also showed off the iPhone XR, a colorful new iPhone that feels like a hybrid of last year’s iPhone X and iPhone 8. Let me explain.

When viewed from the back, the iPhone XR looks a lot like the iPhone 8, with its glass back and single lens camera. Flip the device over, and it looks similar to the iPhone X and iPhone XS, notch and all. The difference, however, is that the display is LCD and not OLED.

Apple says the iPhone XR’s LCD display—Apple calls it Liquid Retina—is the most advanced LCD screen on the market. While I didn’t have much to compare it to, it looked fantastic in person, with beautiful colors and brightness. The screen doesn’t quite stretch edge-to-edge the way the iPhone XS does, but it still looks great.

Another thing that looks great are the iPhone XR’s different colors. I was drawn to the blue, but what really stole the show was coral. The iPhone was made to wear that color. There’s also yellow, red, and a few others, which look awesome.

While the iPhone XR lacks the iPhone XS’ steel frame, it still feels sturdy and premium, much like the iPhone 8. Really, you won’t even notice the difference, because you’ll be mesmerized by the colors anyway.

Apple also omitted 3D Touch from the iPhone XR, which some Apple fans actually might prefer. The technology has become polarizing over the past few years for its perceived lack of use among users. I think it’s handy, but it’s something I can live without.

Users do get Face ID, plus many of the iPhone XS’ best features, such as the A12 Bionic chip and dual-SIM support. The device also features IP67 water resistance and a single 12MP camera with support for portrait mode features.

Pre-orders for the iPhone XR will go live on October 19 with shipments going out on October 26. Prices start at $749 for the 64GB model.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.