Like every year at the beginning of September, Apple unveiled new iPhones. For 2019, these are the new Metropcs iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. They have settled into the iPhone lineup, replacing the iPhone X, XS and XS Max. The iPhone XR, released in 2018, like these, remained in the catalog. It has therefore presented itself since then as the mid-range iPhone, between the iPhone 8, without Face ID, and the new models, with their OLED screen and a double/triple photo sensor.
It is then interesting to wonder if the iPhone XR Metropcs is worth the detour, and if, in terms of its performance, it is closer to the models of 2019 than to those of 2018 and previous years. This is how we conducted a test of the machine in recent weeks to see if what it offers is still relevant, a year after its release.
The iPhone XR takes up the design of the other iPhone X and XS/XS Max released the same year, in 2018. It displays a front face marked by the presence of a notch, at the top of the screen, containing the various necessary sensors to Face ID.
The screen takes the place of almost the entire front face, with all the same a small black band forming the outline. We are not here in 100% edge to edge.
On the sides, no surprises: there is an ignition button, a switch for silent mode and two volume buttons “+” and “-“.
On the bottom edge, two speakers are visible, on either side of the Lightning socket.
On the back, a single camera is visible, in the upper left corner, overcoming the flash.
Note the absence of a Home button and Jack on the iPhone XR.
In red version, pure beauty
The iPhone XR is currently available in 6 colors: blue, black, coral, yellow, white, and red or Product RED. We had in our hands the Product RED version, which is, it must be admitted, extremely attractive to the eye.
The red is neither too dark nor too light, rather classy in fact. In addition, the impeccable finish of the case makes a smartphone as pleasant to look at as it is to hold in your hands, really.
Not for little hands?
The iPhone XR at 151mm tall and 76mm wide is no small smartphone. It’s bigger than the iPhone 11 Pro, but smaller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. For dimensions and weight see the image below. Do not hesitate to consult the complete technical sheet of the machine, here.
Personally, I struggle with large phones. And this is the case for the iPhone XR. It’s too big for me, despite my big hands. I sometimes struggle to write a message, or even hold and use the phone with one hand, which can be disturbing in many situations.
I advise you to try the machine in store to realize the size and the use that you can make of the iPhone XR with one hand.
No OLED, is it serious?
The iPhone XR is equipped with a 6.1-inch LCD panel with Liquid Retina technology and 1792 x 828 pixel resolution. So certainly, by putting the device next to a smartphone with a very high resolution OLED screen, differences will be seen. But taking the iPhone XR alone, we must admit that the screen looks magnificent, the colors very beautiful and the contrast powerful enough for pleasant use in everyday life. Frankly, the screen of the iPhone XR is more than satisfactory.
The iPhone XR is equipped with an Apple ARM A12 Bionic chip clocked at 2.49 GHz and 3 GB of RAM. Our test model achieves the following scores in the Geekbench 5 app, available here on the App Store:
- Test CPU simple coeur : 1 114 points
- Test CPU multi coeur : 2 511 points
- Test GPU : 4 489 points
The iPhone XR easily outstrips the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and ranks alongside the iPhone XS and XS Max. The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro obviously do better, in all three cases, single-core, multi-core and GPU, driven by a more recent ARM chip (A13 Bionic).
What a pleasure to use the iPhone XR on a daily basis. I am not a specialist in video, audio or image, operating heavy tasks on the phone. I can simply certify that for classic use, messaging, telephone, music and video streaming, photo, etc. the iPhone XR, despite its purple dress, has nothing to be ashamed of.
It is comfortable in all the applications tested and does not suffer from any slowdown, helped by an iOS 13 optimized with small onions for the iPhone, of course.
On iPhone XR therefore, everything goes quickly. While you make sure you have a top-of-the-range phone in your hands by observing its case, its daily responsiveness confirms this status with optimal performance.
Photo and video performance
The iPhone is equipped with a 7-megapixel front camera and a 12-megapixel rear camera. It takes advantage of portrait mode with bokeh effect and portrait lighting modes. It must be admitted that the photographs of faces with the iPhone XR are quite striking.
In other situations, landscapes, short distances and other shots of everyday life, the iPhone XR fulfills its contract perfectly.
Again, I’m not a professional photographer or videographer and couldn’t tell you about the more advanced uses in both areas for the iPhone XR. But in the context of classic use, corresponding to the majority of buyers, the iPhone XR is a very good photophone.
It will simply fish in video and photo at night, a point that has been improved with the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.
In any case, by day, outdoors or indoors, the iPhone XR has a camera that is largely capable of filming or photographing memories with friends or family, and even more. And then many photographers around the world take beautiful photographs with the iPhone, including this XR model.
The iPhone XR battery contains 2,942 mAh. On paper, Apple certifies an autonomy of 25 hours in voice communication, 15 hours in internet surfing, 16 hours in video playback and 65 hours in audio playback.
Beyond these ultimately very theoretical figures, for my part, the autonomy of the iPhone has never ceased to surprise me. I got into the habit of charging my smartphone at night, especially my aging 6s. But when I missed the nightly charge with the iPhone XR, the latter easily held the second day, helped by the energy saving world on the last percentages. And all this, with normal use, or even a little more sustained use of the phone, in the context of the test in particular.
My final opinion
Having had an iPhone 6s in my hands before (and other older models), the switch to the iPhone XR was extremely pleasant for me. The Face ID works particularly well, it’s a real pleasure to use it on a daily basis. I use it to unlock the phone, but also to pay with Apple Pay or to open 1Password and connect to my online accounts. Also, Face ID works perfectly in the dark, in the evening, lying in bed.
Two small faults, however, asked me for a small adaptation. On the one hand, I was a fan of landscape mode for the GPS in the car. Except that the Face ID of the iPhone does not recognize the user in landscape mode. I then have to either tilt my head to the side to unlock the iPhone hanging on the dashboard, or change its orientation permanently to portrait, which fortunately allows its car support.
Otherwise, Face ID struggled a few times with face-worn sunglasses. Apart from that, nothing to report for the beard, long or short, or for a change of haircut or a hat worn on the head.
In the field of photography and video, frankly, in the context of traditional use, as mentioned above, I am very satisfied with the results provided by the iPhone XR. Apart from the night, it does well enough in my opinion in most situations, always in the context of non-professional use of course.
Photo paysage iPhone XR
In general, finally, it is difficult to find bad points for this iPhone XR. I have only two criticisms to make about it. On the one hand I still miss the jack sorely. I have several models of earphones and headphones with headphone jack at home, in my bags and pockets, and rarely the Lightning-Jack adapter on me. I really had a hard time getting used to this absence, several times taking headphones in my hands and looking for a second to plug it into the jack port of the iPhone XR, non-existent, simply by reflex …
Second criticism, the size of the beast. The iPhone XR is too big for my taste. I think the iPhone 11 Pro is a more suitable size for me. Because by adding a protective glass and a shell to the iPhone XR, we end up with a fairly massive set.
But, unlike the lack of the jack port, the size is a matter of taste. Some particularly appreciate large smartphones unlike others, who are more adept at small formats.
Finally, before giving my final verdict, let’s go over a point not covered during the test, the audio, which in my opinion does not deserve a dedicated paragraph. The iPhone offers Lightning headphones, the EarPods, and I still love them. They are certainly not the best from a sound quality point of view, but their shape underlies a good fit in the ear. Also, the audio coming directly from the iPhone speakers can reach a good level. For the quality at this level, needless to say that unless you have no other listening system, it is better to avoid listening to music through loudspeakers.
In conclusion, the iPhone XR is a terminal that I really appreciate. He has many qualities. Its few flaws are also far from prohibitive. The iPhone XR should satisfy many iPhone buyers, especially since it is displayed at a more affordable price than the 11 and 11 Pro models. That said, I think the iPhone 11 Pro/XS format may be more suitable for smaller hands. But once again, it is better to test in store before buying, just to realize the format of the different models once in hand.
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