iPhone XR vs iPhone 8: an entry-level iPhone showdown

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The iPhone XR is in a way the start of a new range from Apple, falling somewhere between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone XS, but it's the iPhone 8 that it's the clear successor to.

Their designs differ, as do many of their specs and features, but the iPhone XR is the cheapest of Apple's new handsets, just like the iPhone 8 was last year.

They also have some other similarities, so to help you see how these two phones compare we’ve put them head-to-head across a range of categories.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 design

The iPhone XR and iPhone 8 both have a glass back and a metal frame, but from the front they look very different, as the iPhone XR has a notch in the screen and very little bezel.

The iPhone 8 has a large bezel above and below the display, with the lower bezel housing a home button and fingerprint scanner.

It's a more dated look and one that none of Apple's latest phones sport, but it's sure to appeal to some.

There are some colorful finishes for the iPhone XR

There are some colorful finishes for the iPhone XR

The dimensions and weight differ too of course, with the iPhone XR coming in at 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm and 194g, while the iPhone 8 is 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm and 148g.

The iPhone XR also comes in a wider range of colors, specifically white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red, while the iPhone 8 comes in just space grey, silver, gold and red (and the red model isn't widely available any more).

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 display

The display changes are almost as big as the design changes, because the iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch screen, while the iPhone 8's is just 4.7 inches.

The XR's screen has an 828 x 1792 resolution for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, while the iPhone 8 has a resolution of 750 x 1334 but matches the iPhone XR's pixel density.

The iPhone 8 has a much smaller screen

The iPhone 8 has a much smaller screen

The iPhone XR also has a different aspect ratio, being 19.5:9 while the iPhone 8 is 16:9, though both screens are LCD. That means neither phone has as good a screen as the OLED iPhone XS handsets.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 OS and power

The iPhone XR should be a fair bit more powerful than the iPhone 8, as it has a new Apple A12 Bionic chipset, while the iPhone 8 has an older A11 Bionic one – though that’s still a very powerful chipset.

Both chipsets have six cores, but the fastest cores in the A12 Bionic are up to 15% faster than the A11 Bionic, while the high-efficiency cores are up to 50% lower power. The A12 Bionic also has a 50% faster GPU and an improved neural engine.

As for software, the iPhone XR ships with iOS 12 on board, though you’ll be able to update the iPhone 8 to that software too.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 camera and battery

The iPhone XR and iPhone 8 both have a single-lens rear camera, specifically a 12MP f/1.8 one with optical image stabilization, though it has been tweaked and improved a bit for the iPhone XR, as for example you get a better True Tone flash this time around.

If you choose to blur the background in a shot with the iPhone XR you can also change the level of blurring after the fact – a trick that the iPhone 8 doesn’t offer. The iPhone XR also sports Smart HDR, which can improve your photo quality.

Both phones have just a single-lens rear camera

Both phones have just a single-lens rear camera

The iPhone XR’s front-facing camera is a bigger improvement though, as while both phones have a 7MP f/2.2 camera, the iPhone XR’s is a TrueDepth one, allowing for proper depth sensing for Portrait Mode as well as facial recognition.

The iPhone XR should also last longer than the iPhone 8 between charges, as Apple has claimed that it will last for up to 90 minutes longer than the iPhone 8 Plus, which itself lasts longer than the iPhone 8.

Getting more specific, the iPhone XR can apparently last for up to 15 hours of internet use or 16 hours of video, while the iPhone 8 is quoted as lasting for up to 12 hours of internet use or 13 hours of video.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8 price and availability

You’ll be able to pre-order the iPhone XR on October 19 and it will ship on October 26. 

It has a starting price of $749 / £749 / AU$1,229 for 64GB, rising to $799 / £799 / AU$1,299 for 128GB and $899 / £899 / AU$1,479 for 256GB.

The iPhone 8 meanwhile can be bought now and starts at $599 / £599 / AU$979 for a 64GB model, with prices rising to $749 / £749 / AU$1,229 for a 256GB one, so the new phone is a fair bit more expensive.

Takeaway

The iPhone 8 – along with the iPhone 8 Plus – were the last of Apple's old style of phones, so the iPhone XR marks a major design change.

Other than the changed design you also get more power, a bigger screen, a slightly improved camera and theoretically longer battery life in the iPhone XR, so it sounds like a substantial upgrade, but then it also costs a fair bit more – a 64GB iPhone XR costs the same as a 256GB iPhone 8.