Is it worth buying an iPhone XR in 2021? Our answer is “Yes”, provided you get a refurbished copy. The suggested retail price of a new model is on the high side. You can read exactly how that works in this review update of the iPhone XR.
Read on after the ad.
Review update: iPhone XR in 2021
A lot of older iPhones run the latest software version, but is that also a reason to get them? We try to answer that question in review updates, an annually recurring section on iPhoned. Today we take care of the iPhone XR. This device appeared in 2018 and is still sold by Apple.
We previously re-inspected the following devices:
The iPhone XR for this review update has been provided by FixjeiPhone.
The design of the iPhone XR looks familiar. The Apple device from 2018 has a plastic back that flows smoothly into the display via a curve, just like its predecessor and successor. Only this year did Apple deviate from this signature design by unveiling the iPhone 12.
Speaking of that screen: by getting the iPhone XR in the year 2021, you make a clear concession. The device has an LCD screen, which is of a lower quality, an OLED panel. The latter can also be found on the ‘standard’ iPhone since 2020: the iPhone 12.
What kind of screen do you need?
Whether this fact is a major drawback depends on your situation. Do you regularly watch Netflix on your iPhone? Then an OLED screen is so nice. Films look tighter, the color range is wider and contrasts look better. If you never watch movies on your smartphone, you can easily use the LCD panel of the iPhone XR: after all, there is little to compromise on the quality.
We are also pleased with the performance of the device. The iPhone XR still feels fast, has no trouble with graphically heavy apps and there is hardly any waiting time. You do notice that switching between apps is slightly less smooth than on newer iPhones. In practice, however, this is not a major disadvantage.
Furthermore, the iPhone XR is broadly equipped with the same gadgets as its newer brothers. For example, you can unlock the device with Face ID, charge wirelessly and it falls between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 in terms of battery capacity. The battery life of the iPhone XR is therefore fine. It lasts a whole day on a full battery.
Camera is sufficient, but is not the best
The biggest flaw of the iPhone XR is the camera. It is equipped with a single 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, while its successors have an ultra-wide-angle lens attached to it. The difference in photo quality is therefore noticeable. Especially during the night hours, the iPhone XR camera lacks a Night mode. Snapshots taken in low light quickly look blurry.
Do you mainly go out during the day? Then the camera of the iPhone XR has enough to take good photos. You actually only see the difference in quality when you compare the end result with a photo taken with a newer model, such as the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone XR succeeds with flying colors for home-garden-and-kitchen snapshots.
Missed the 5G boat
All in all, we are pleased with Apple’s colorful entry-level model from 2018. Would you like to purchase the device? Be aware of the less obvious disadvantages. The iPhone XR, for example, cannot handle 5G. That is not a problem for the time being, but from 2022 the 3.5 GHz frequency will be rolled out, making the new mobile network a lot faster. From then on, the lack of 5G is (probably) a clear disadvantage.
It is also a pity that the iPhone XR does not have MagSafe. Apple breathed new life into these magnetic wireless connections with the iPhone 12 series and seems to be investing heavily in this in the coming years. For example, you can use MagSafe to connect wireless chargers, protective covers and other accessories to the latest iPhones.
Price: The iPhone XR is in a split
The iPhone XR is still sold by Apple and costs 589 euros there. At web stores you can get the device for a few dozen euros less. You are best off with a refurbished iPhone XR. Such a revised model is available from 380 euros, although you will get a device with clear signs of use.
So, is the iPhone XR worth the money? That depends on your preferences. If you are looking for a new device and take a lot of photography, it is better to purchase the iPhone 11. This device has a dual camera on the back, gets iOS updates for a year longer and costs only 100 euros more.
Do you have no problem getting a previously used device into your home? Then a refurbished iPhone XR is an interesting option. For an amount of between 380 and 480 you get an excellent Apple phone that can last for years. Moreover, the iPhone 11 is not yet available refurbished, which only strengthens the position of a refurbished iPhone XR.
Conclusion iPhone XR in 2021 review
The iPhone XR is an excellent entry-level Apple phone in 2021. The device is still fast, looks reasonably modern and will receive iOS updates for years to come. The biggest concession is the camera: the iPhone XR has only one lens on the back, while its newer brothers have two. The lack of MagSafe and 5G is also a shame. All in all, the iPhone XR is a solid purchase, but not the most future-proof.
Buy iPhone XR
Apple’s affordable 2018 iPhone is available in six colors: red, black, white, light purple, mint green and yellow. A separate iPhone XR has a suggested retail price of 589 euros, but can be obtained for less via the price comparison below. With an iPhone XR with subscription, you pay this amount back in monthly installments. A refurbished iPhone XR is available from selected providers.
Which iPhone XR do you want?
iPhone XR with subscription
Device once € 0.00
€ 26.00 p / m Abo: € 7.00 p / m Device: € 19.00 p / m
Need a SIM only?