iPhone XR vs. iPhone XS: Which Is Right for You?

Apple releases new iPhones every year. With each series, we usually get at least three different models, which have slightly different specifications. iPhone XR and iPhone XS were released in 2018, but the two are still eligible for the latest iOS updates.

Provided their launch timeline, they’re now even cheaper than ever, and you might see it fit to pick either. In this iPhone XR versus XS comparison article, we stack the two phones against each other to help you make an informed decision if you’re in the market for a cheaper iPhone.


The display is one of the key factors you should consider while buying a smartphone. The display is the main interface from where you will be interacting with your device. For the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, key display differences lie in the type, size, pixel density, and resolution.

iPhone XR has a bigger 6.1-inch LCD panel with 1792×828 pixels, while the iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch OLED display with 2436×1125 pixels. However, the iPhone XS offers more screen real estate compared to the body size with an 82.9% screen-to-body ratio compared to 79.0% on the XR.

Both displays have True Tone, a feature that automatically adjusts colors and brightness to ensure a consistent and more natural look. Both also have a typical brightness of 625 nits.

Overall, the iPhone XS offers a better display than the XR, with a higher pixel density and contrast ratio. Due to iPhone XR’s lower pixel density, you can’t watch 1080p videos at their maximum resolution. In other words, the iPhone XR can play 1080p videos, but they will be scaled down.

iPhone XS also offers HDR and 3D touch support, which is not available on the XR. On the XR, you’re getting Haptic touch support which was introduced as a replacement for the pressure-sensitive 3D touch.

Related: Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your iPhone


In the camera department, the iPhone XS has dual cameras on the rear, while the XR has only one. Both models include an identical 12MP primary wide camera with f/1.8 aperture, 1.4Β΅m pixel size, True Tone flash, Portrait mode, and Portrait lighting.

In addition to the primary wide camera, the iPhone XS includes a secondary 12MP camera with a slightly wider f/2.4 aperture. The secondary camera includes a 2x optical zooming capability and up to 10x digital zoom.

With mobile photography, you’ll miss out on the 2x optical zoom and the versatility of having a dual-camera system if you chose the XR over the XS.

Fortunately, both devices can shoot up to 4K videos at variable refresh rates. However, due to its single 12MP camera, the XR doesn’t include OIS, 2x optical zoom, and up to 6x digital zoom (it only includes up to 3x digital zoom).

On the front, both the XR and XS have a single 7MP, f/2.2, TrueDepth camera.


This is where the iPhone XR shines. It has a slightly bigger battery and thus offers more screen time than the XS. The iPhone XR includes a 2,942mAh battery and is rated to offer more video and audio playback than the XS, which only ships with a 2,658mAh battery.

Heck, the XR battery performance is even better than the pricey and bigger iPhone XS Max.

Due to the higher battery capacity, the XR is slightly heavier than the XS though.

On the upside, both iPhones include fast charging support, with Apple promising 50% charge from 0% in just 30 minutes using a 20W charging adapter (sold separately). Both devices support wireless charging, which is increasingly becoming a must-have feature.


If you’re more of a performance person, there’s no massive difference between the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS. They run the same A12 Bionic chip from Apple, featuring a six-core CPU (four efficiency cores and two performance cores) and a four-core GPU.

However, the iPhone XS is slightly better thanks to 1GB more RAM when it comes to raw performance, though it’s hard to notice the difference in real life.

Storage and Memory Options

iPhone XR includes three storage variants: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, each paired with 3GB of RAM. For more storage and memory, get the iPhone XS instead, which ships with 4GB of RAM paired with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage.


iPhones are typically expensive, so getting a bang for your buck is important. The XR doesn’t shine in many categories, but it ticks the box for offering great value for money.

iPhone XR starts at $499, while the XS will set you back by at least $899. That said, both devices are a few years old now so you can likely find much better deals by shopping the secondhand phone market.

Other Features

Aside from the battery, display, camera, and performance, you should look out for other extras like the design, water resistance, durability, and so on.

Talking of design, the iPhone XR and XS have a similar designβ€”no Home button, identical notches, identical aspect ratios, and a glass front and back. A key difference is that the iPhone XS has a stainless-steel frame while the iPhone XR includes an aluminum one.

The XR is available in Blue, White, Black, Yellow, Coral, and Product RED on colorways, while the iPhone XS sells in only three, Silver, Black, and Gold.

Both iPhone XR and XS are water resistant. However, the XS is IP68-rated, while the XR includes an IP67 rating.

IP68 rating means the XS should be fine if it’s two meters (6.56 feet) underwater for up to 30 minutes. On the other hand, the IP67 rating means the XR can only stay one meter (3.25 feet) underwater for 30 minutes.

Read More: What iPhones Are Waterproof?

iPhone XR vs. iPhone XS: Which iPhone Is Right for You?

It’s been years since the iPhone XR and XS were officially unveiled by Apple. Thanks to that, you can now grab the two at an accessible price point. iPhone XS is better in different categories, but it doesn’t trump the XR in all places.

If you want an iPhone with better battery life, a bigger display, and an accessible price point, the iPhone XR is that device.

But if the display, camera, memory, storage, performance, and IP68 rating are key to you, get the iPhone XS instead. All of these are what you get when you pay $400 more for the iPhone XS. Although iPhone XS does tick boxes in several categories, it doesn’t offer a great value for money compared to the XR.

Image Credit: YouTube/Zollotech

Author: Alvin Wanjala

Source: Alvin Wanjala.” iPhone XR vs. iPhone XS: Which Is Right for You?”. Retrieved From https://www.makeuseof.com/iphone-xr-vs-xs/

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