9 reasons you should buy the $1,000 iPhone XS instead of the more affordable iPhone XR

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  • Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup includes the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
  • The iPhone XR is more affordable than the iPhone XS, but there are several good reasons to consider the more expensive phone.

The striking design of the iPhone X changed the smartphone landscape in 2018. It’s tough to find a new Android phone that doesn’t have a “notch,” for example.

To follow up the iPhone X, Apple announced not one, but two new smartphone designs: The iPhone XS and XS Max continued the tradition of the iPhone X, while a new model, the iPhone XR, shared similar qualities as the iPhone X, but featured an LCD screen. The LCD would be less costly for Apple to build, and less expensive for customers to buy. Win-win, right?

While the iPhone XR is an appealing option for anyone looking to have an iPhone X-esque experience for less than $1,000, there are several reasons to consider the more expensive iPhone XS, if you’re on the fence.


1. The iPhone XR is only available in one size. The iPhone XS is available in two sizes.

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If you like the look and feel of the iPhone XR, you can only get it in one size, with its 6.1-inch display.

If you like the iPhone XS, however, you have two size options to choose from: You can get the 5.8-inch model, or the 6.5-inch “Max” size, which costs $100 more than the standard iPhone XS.


2. The screen on the iPhone XS looks significantly better than the iPhone XR.

Your phone screen is important. It’s the main window for all of your content: your files, documents, photos, videos, and more.

The iPhone XS features a “Super Retina” OLED display, while the iPhone XR features a “Liquid Crystal” LCD display.

OLED displays, in general, are brighter, show more accurate colors, and can achieve far better contrast than LCD displays. The iPhone XR has one of the best LCD displays in a smartphone, but it still doesn’t come close to the iPhone XS display, which, thanks to HDR support, is the better way to view high-definition photos and videos. OLED displays can actually turn their pixels off, instead of just dim them like LCD displays, so black actually looks like black on the iPhone XS, and images look much more vivid.

The iPhone XR screen is also a little less great since the bezel, or border around the edge of the display, is thicker than it is on the iPhone XS.


3. The iPhone XR is available in six beautiful colors, but if you want silver or gold, those are only options with the iPhone XS.

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The iPhone XR is available in red, blue, yellow, black, white, and coral, which is kind of like orange-meets-pink.

The iPhone XS is also available in black, along with “silver” instead of white, and a gold option.


4. The iPhone XR is heavier than the iPhone XS.

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You might not consider weight when buying a smartphone, but when you’re lifting your phone dozens of times a day, and carrying it around all day, the weight adds up.

The iPhone XR weighs 194 grams, while the iPhone XS weighs 177 grams.

To be fair, the iPhone XR is still lighter than the larger version of the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, which weighs 208 grams.


5. The iPhone XR doesn’t have the dual-camera system of the iPhone XS, so it doesn’t zoom as well.

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While the iPhone XR and iPhone XS have near-identical camera infrastructures on both the front and backs of the phone, the iPhone XR cannot perform optical zooming – only digital zooming – because it lacks the second telephoto lens that is exclusive to the iPhone XS.

What’s more, digital zooming is also better on the iPhone XS: The iPhone XR can only achieve 5X digital zoom for photos and 3X digital zoom for videos, while the iPhone XS can achieve 10X digital zoom for photos, 6X digital zoom for videos, plus that desirable 2X optical zoom for whatever you’re shooting.


6. The most storage you can get in the iPhone XR is 256 GB. You can get way more storage in the iPhone XS, which maxes out at 512 GB.

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That’s more room for more photos, videos, files, apps, documents, games, and more.


7. The iPhone XR isn’t as water-resistant as the iPhone XS.

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The iPhone XS has a water-resistance rating of IP68, meaning it can survive two meters of water for up to 30 minutes, while the iPhone XR only has a water-resistance rating of IP67, meaning it can survive just one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.


8. The iPhone XR doesn’t support 3D Touch like the iPhone XS does.

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It’s a small thing, but the ability to press into the phone’s display – to activate new menu options within an app, for example – only works on the iPhone XS.

Apple made a version of 3D Touch for the iPhone XR, where you basically just touch and hold your finger to the screen to perform an action, but it doesn’t provide the same haptic feedback, or vibration, that you get when you perform 3D Touch on an iPhone XS.


9. The iPhone XR does not support gigabit-class LTE like the iPhone XS does.

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According to Apple, the iPhone XR can support up to “LTE Advanced,” which is designed to deliver 4G speeds, or around 100 megabits per second.

The iPhone XS, meanwhile, is capable of “Gigabit-class LTE,” which can theoretically deliver 1 gigabit per second – roughly 10 times the speed of LTE Advanced.

Of course, most regions don’t support these kinds of speeds, and terms like “LTE Advanced” and “Gigabit LTE” describe the “theoretical,” not actual, limit – most of the time, you’ll experience speeds much slower than what’s advertised – but it’s still helpful to know what your phone is capable of.


Of course, you have to pick the right iPhone for you.

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While the iPhone XS is better than the iPhone XR in a handful of important areas, the iPhone XR also beats the iPhone XS in several key ways. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and which features you find particularly important in a smartphone.