I’ve included the reviewers’ caveats that Apple’s iPhone XR round-up left out.
Chris Velazco, Engadget: The best phone for most people. This is, as you would expect, an exercise in compromise: the XR retains the high-performance A12 chipset and delivers the best battery life we’ve ever seen in an iPhone in some time. But the Liquid Retina display and single camera might not be up to snuff for everyone. That said, everything Apple offers here is much, much better than just “good enough.” The XR is the iPhone we’d recommend to most people.
Nilay Patel, The Verge: Better than good enough. Personally, I would pay the extra money for a better OLED screen in a heartbeat because I am extremely picky about displays. But I think most people can find way better ways to spend $250 than on things like infinite black levels and 60 percent wider dynamic range when viewing photos. And in that case, the iPhone XR is a no-brainer upgrade.
Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch: Apple’s iPhone XR is a fine young cannibal. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, you’re gonna love it and likely won’t miss any current features while also getting a nice update to a gesture-driven phone with Face ID. But don’t buy it if you’re coming from an iPhone X, you’ll be disappointed as there are some compromises from the incredibly high level of performance and quality in Apple’s last flagship, which really was pushing the envelope at the time.
John Gruber, Daring Fireball: There’s got to be a catch. I’ve been using one as my primary phone for the last week, and it’s a lovely, exciting device. Even some of the things I thought were compromises don’t feel like compromises at all in practice. Overall, yes, the XS and XS Max are better devices, but in a few regards the XR is actually better. The iPhone XR is everything Apple says it is, and it’s the new iPhone most people should buy.
Digital Trends: The ‘budget’ iPhone XR is the iPhone to buy. The iPhone XR is a solid choice if you want what flagship iPhones offer, without the flagship price.
Mark Spoonauer, Tom’s Guide: The Best iPhone for the Money. I’ll admit that I’m a phone snob, so I’m surprised to say that I really like the iPhone XR. No, it doesn’t offer the perfect OLED display or dual rear cameras of the pricier iPhone XS and XS Max, but the iPhone XR delivers all the other top aspects of those flagships at a more accessible $749 price.
Raymond Wong, Mashable: Premium without the cost. By definition, the iPhone XR is lacking. Its screen resolution is less than 1080p, the bezels are thicker than on most other phones with edge-to-edge displays, and the display is an LCD instead of an OLED. It has just one camera on the back, not two. Its frame is aluminum instead of stainless steel. It’s not as thin as many iPhones, including last year’s models. Yet, none of these “missing” or downgraded features makes the iPhone XR feel any less of an iPhone than the pricier iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max.
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business: Apple’s secret weapon to sell even more smartphones. If you don’t watch a ton of HD videos and don’t need a telephoto lens on your camera, you’re really not missing out on much with the iPhone XR. And did we mention it costs less?
Stefam Vazharov and Brandon Carte, Best Tech: Despite the attractive price tag, the iPhone XR doesn’t skimp on power or essential features. The LCD display panel of the iPhone XR has exceptional color accuracy and Apple’s True Tone tech. The latter helps reduce eye strain by automatically adjusting the white balance of the screen to match the ambient lighting around you. After hours of watching Netflix, YouTube, and YouTube TV, we found the iPhone XR screen to be really excellent. We didn’t find the lack of 3D Touch to be a dealbreaker.
Gareth Beavis, TechRadar (UK): Finally, an iPhone with a decent battery. Of the three iPhones launched in 2018, the iPhone XR is the most impressive of the lot. Not because of the strength of the spec – the iPhone XS is slightly ahead in a lot of areas – but what you’re ‘saving’ by going for this model far outweighs what you’re losing. A multitude of colors, very good battery life and a lower price? If you want a new iPhone, check this one out first.
Nick Wingham, News.com.au: APPLE’S latest smartphone has all the best new technology like FaceID and a full screen display, but with one twist. Apple is notoriously protective of its margins, so to make that happen there are some trade-offs in the design but your average phone user probably isn’t going to mind. And for iPhone lovers, it represents some genuine bang for your buck.