So Apple has come out with a bit of a confusing lineup this year. It’s introduced the new iPhone XS and XS Max, as well as the iPhone XR. But Apple is keeping the older iPhone 8 Plus model on sale too. The new iPhone XR is meant to be an upset of the 8 Plus–but there are features that make the 8 Plus still a better phone.
That’s not to say that the Xr isn’t better in many respects. But still, it’s not superior in all aspects. So just how is the new iPhone XR different than the 8 Plus. Let’s take a look.
iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Specs
Here are the specs for the iPhone XR:
Display: 6.1in LCD Liquid Retina display with a 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi
Battery: Up to 13.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
Other: Face ID, NFC, Wireless charging, IP67 waterproof
And here’s the specs for the iPhone 8 Plus:
Display: 5.5in Retina HD display with 1920x1080 resolution at 401ppi, 3D Touch enabled
Dimensions: 158.4mm x 78.1 mm x 7.5 mm
Weight: 202 grams
Storage: 64 or 256GB
Processors: A11 Bionic
Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video
Rear camera: 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K video
Battery: Up to 12.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
Other: Touch ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP67 waterproof
iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Display & Design
Okay, the biggest difference is in their display size. The iPhone XR features an edge-to-edge display that is 6.1in and has a 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi. The iPhone 8 Plus features a 5.5in display with bezels that has a 1920x1080 resolution at 401ppi.
So by most aspects, the XR beats the 8 Plus: it has a larger display with a higher resolution, a higher pixel density, and is edge-to-edge. But not so fast, the iPhone 8 Plus beats the XR in one display aspect: the XR lacks 3D Touch, which the iPhone 8 Plus has. If you were never a fan of 3D Touch, that won’t matter much. But if you like the feature you’ll be disappointed it’s not in the XR.
The other obvious difference is that the iPhone XR lacks a Home button. It jettisons it in favor of a gesture-based Home control. The iPhone 8 Plus still has the Home button we all know and love. This means the iPhone 8 Plus also still has Touch ID. The iPhone XR lacks Touch ID and replaces it with Apple’s new Face ID facial recognition system.
iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: CPU, Battery, and Storage
The iPhone XR has just a slightly larger battery than the iPhone 8 Plus. Will you see any difference because of it? Not much. Matter of fact, as you can see from the battery life specs below, each device is very similar. Another similarity each devices has is that they both offer wireless charging. Here’s how the battery life compares between the two in Talk Time, Standby Time, Internet Use, Video Playback, and Audio Playback:
Internet use: iPhone XR – Up to 15 hours. iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 13 hours.
Video playback: iPhone XR – Up to 16 hours. iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 14 hours.
Audio playback: iPhone XR – Up to 65 hours. iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 60 hours.
Both phones also feature wireless charging.
As far s the CPU is concerned, the XR wins here. It features the A12 Bionic chipset versus the iPhone 8 Plus’ A11 Bionic. The A12 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores. The CPU is 15% faster and 40% more energy efficient than the previous A11. The GPU now has 4 cores and is 50% faster. Finally, the Neural engine now has 8 cores for machine learning and is almost 10 x faster. Apps launch 30% faster on the Max and Machine Learning runs nine times faster on 1/10th the energy. The A12 Bionic absolutely flies.
You also have more storage options with the XR: 64, 128, or 256GB. That’s versus the iPhone 8 Plus’ 64 or 256GB storage options.
iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Camera
When you get to the camera department, the two phones differ wildly. One the front camera, both phones feature the same 7MP sensor, but the front camera on the iPhone XR is a TrueDepth system that supports Face ID. It also supports advanced photo features like portrait photography.
But things are radically different when it comes to the rear camera. The iPhone 8 Plus features a dual lens 12MP system with wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilisation, 2x optical zoom, and 4K video recording.
On the other hand, the rear camera system on the XR is only a single-lens 12MP wide angle camera. It does feature optical image stabilisation and 4K video recording, as with the iPhone 8 Plus, but lacks the 2x optical zoom.
iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 Plus: Cost & Verdict
Unlocked the 5.5in iPhone 8 Plus will cost £699 (64GB) and £849 (256GB). The 6.1in iPhone XR will cost £749 (64GB) and £799 (128GB) and £899 (256GB). That £50 premium for the iPhone XR does get you a bigger display and a sexy new design, but you also lose out on the dual lens camera system of the iPhone 8 Plus. Which you get will ultimately depend on if the camera is more important to you, or the bigger display is.