iPhone XR Technology

Apple’s iPhone XR ($749) was introduced in September 2018 as a cheaper alternative to the Apple iPhone XS ($999) and iPhone XS Max ($1099); and Apple is offering big trade-in discounts to sell more of the iPhone XR. But if you already purchased an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, would exchanging your top-of-the-line iPhone model for the iPhone XR, mean a downgrade? Does cheaper actually mean lower quality or performance? Before we make any assumptions, let us get to know the Apple iPhone XR better.

At first glance (and as seen in Apple’s iPhone XR landing page), the iPhone XR is described to be “Brilliant. In every way.” Apple proceeds to enumerate the key features of this smartphone: 1) All-screen design, 2) Longest battery life ever in an iPhone, 3) Fastest performance, 4) Water and splash resistant, 5) Studio-quality photos and 4K video, and 6) More secure with Face ID. Indeed, they have described how the new iPhone XR can be considered “a brilliant upgrade.”

All-screen design

The iPhone XR boasts a 6.1″ Liquid Retina HD display. This new display is claimed to be the most advanced LCD in the industry, not to mention, the largest LCD ever on an iPhone. It uses an innovative backlight design that allows the screen to stretch into the corners-- so you can appreciate industry-leading color accuracy from one edge to the other. And the new all-screen display makes a positive difference from the previous Apple iPhone generations (iPhone 8 and older).

Power and battery

One of the iPhone XR’s claim to fame is that its battery life lasts longer than any other Apple iPhone generation. If you are an iPhone user, you know frustratingly well how the iPhone can burn through a 100% charge. According to the Apple website, the iPhone XR should last up to 25 hours of phone calls, 16 hours of video playback, 65 hours of audio playback, and up to 15 hours of internet use. It is fast charge capable, just like the iPhone 8 and higher models, meaning you can get up to 50% of your battery life within 30 minutes of charging. It also has wireless charging functions and works with Qi wireless chargers.

Apple iPhone XR wireless charging with Clear Catalyst Impact Protection Case

A12 Bionic Chip

The A12 Bionic Chip is the smartest, most powerful chip in a smartphone, and it is working side by side with the 8-core next-generation Neural Engine in the Apple iPhone XR. Because of the enhanced Image Signal Processor and advanced Performance Controller, the smartphone is able to function at up to 50% faster in graphics performance, up to 15% faster in core performance and, consequently, down to 50% lower in power consumption compared to the A11 Bionic Chip.

IP67 IEC Rating

The IEC or International Electrotechnical Commission gives a dustproof and waterproof rating that comes in the form of two letters (IP that stands for “ingress protection”), followed by a two-digit number. The first number defines the level of protection against dirt, dust and sand and the second number refers to the level of protection against water. The Apple iPhone XR received a rating of IP67.

The first number, 6, means that the iPhone XR is impenetrable by dust, as 6 is the highest rating a device can receive in that category. The second number, 7, falls two steps below the highest 9K waterproof rating. A water-resistance rating of 7, according to the IEC, technically signifies that the “ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion).” Simply put, a device rated 7 out of 9 should be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter, or 3.28 feet, for up to 30 minutes.


The Apple iPhone XR’s 12MP rear camera features ƒ/1.8 wide-angle lens, portrait mode with depth control, 2x faster sensor for Smart HDR across your photos and 4K video up to 60 fps. While its 7MP TrueDepth front camera features a ƒ/2.2 wide-angle lens, portrait mode with depth control and 1080p HD video up to 60 fps.

The depth control in portrait mode is possible because the  iPhone XR uses a single-lens camera and machine that can keep people in the foreground in sharp focus against an artfully blurred background for an enhanced bokeh effect. The Smart HDR is due to a faster sensor and the powerful A12 Bionic chip, bringing more highlight and shadow detail to photos.

The Apple iPhone XR only has a digital zoom of up to 5x and no optical zoom, unlike the more expensive X models which have both. But the quality of the iPhone XR photos are very high even without an optical zoom. (Know the difference here.)

Secure authentication

Security is guaranteed when your face is your password. Face ID is simple as you can unlock your iPhone and log in to apps, accounts, and more with a glance. Facial recognition is Enabled by the iPhone XR’s TrueDepth camera. It’s the most secure facial authentication ever in a smartphone.

The Apple iPhone XR is made with high-quality materials. It uses a very durable front glass and precision-machined, aerospace-grade aluminum bands that keep water and dust out of the device. The iPhone XR comes in six colors: Blue, White, Black, Yellow, Coral and Red. The beautiful finishes of the back glass are achieved using an advanced seven-layer color process that allows for deep, rich colors. Aside from the color variants, Apple iPhone XR also comes in different memory capacities: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

No matter how superbly the Apple iPhone XR is assembled, you should still invest in a protective case for it.

Apple iPhone XR in Blueridge Sunset Catalyst Impact Protection Case

Catalyst offers a Waterproof Case for the iPhone XR which increases the IEC rating from an IP67 to an IP68. This means that your device will be safe from water damage even when it is submerged in up to 33 feet or 10 meters of water. It also gives protection from drops of up to 6.6 feet or 2 meters high. Catalyst is known for preserving the superior acoustic performance of your Apple device and, consequently, the brand’s patented True Sound Acoustic Technology™ and rotating mute switch. The case also has hard-coated dual optical lens that is fully sealed from snow, dirt and dust. The integrated screen protector provides perfect touch sensitivity while the clear case showcases the phone's stylish design.

Catalyst also offers another kind of protective case which is the Catalyst Impact Protection Case for the iPhone XR. This case protects your device from drops of up to 9.9 feet or 3 meters in height. The added protection comes from the case’s innovative truss cushioning system combined with a proprietary rubber polymer blend. Its other key features include a grippy rubber bumper, a (free) premium lanyard attachment, rotating mute switch and clear back case.

Stealth Black Catalyst Impact Protection Case for Apple iPhone XR with wrist lanyard

Both cases protect your iPhone from scratches and drops and are fully compatible with Wireless Charging while also having a lightning port that fits most charge cables.

The Apple iPhone XR made it to a list of Best Smartphones in 2018 as the Best Value iPhone. It seems like the lower price (compared to the XS and XS Max) is not an indicator of any lack, whatsoever.

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