When Apple unveiled its new iPhones last month, I said that the iPhone XS and XS Max were totally overshadowed by the new Watch and the iPhone XR. The iPhone XR reviews, out today, confirm what I thought then.

Finally we come to what should have been the least-interesting iPhone, but is actually the most interesting: the iPhone XR […]

To offer something very close to the iPhone X/XS/Max form factor at a $749 price point is huge. And the near-bezel-free design also meant including the headline feature of last year’s flagship iPhone: Face ID. Throwing in Portrait Mode means you can now buy an iPhone that gets most non-technical customers the flagship design and features they want at 75% of the price of the iPhone XS …

iPhone XR reviews do identify the compromises. The single rear camera means a more limited Portrait mode, limited to human faces, and lacking Stage Light and Stage Light Mono. There’s no proper 3D Touch. And, of course, the LCD screen is lower resolution, older tech and has larger bezels.

If you’re an iPhone aficionado, these things may justify the price difference between the XR and the XS/Max. But for most normals, the iPhone XR gets them the design they want, and the features that matter, for a much more affordable price. And that’s what the iPhone XR reviews say.

The iPhone most people should buy – Engadget

The iPhone XR is everything Apple says it is, and it’s the new iPhone most people should buy – Daring Fireball

Most people—those who don’t spend their lives comparing specs and staring at bezels on multiple models of new smartphones each fall—are going to be very happy with this phone – Wired

Better than good enough – The Verge

The money you’re ‘saving’ by going for this model far outweighs what you’re losing – TechRadar

The iPhone XR has everything you need for hundreds less than the iPhone XS – CNBC

The XR is good enough that I don’t miss the XS. Apple undercut itself, and we’re all better off for it – Gizmodo

I could go on, but just take my word for it (or Google for yourself): there are many more iPhone XR reviews out there, and almost all of them reach the same conclusion. If you’re a techy, maybe look at the XS; if you’re not, buy the XR.

John Gruber made another point about that price difference – it’s actually even bigger than it seems.

Let’s start with the price. For the equivalent amount of storage, the iPhone XR costs $250 less than an iPhone XS, and $350 less than an XS Max.

But in practical terms, the difference is even more striking than that. 64 GB of storage is a credible baseline — a far cry from just a few years ago when storage started at a criminally meager 16 GB for the iPhones 6S in 2015, and 32 GB for the iPhones 7 in 2016. But the sweet spot for most people in 2018, in my opinion, is one tier above 64 GB […]

Only the iPhone XR offers a 128 GB storage tier, and it’s just $50 more. If you want more than 64 GB with an iPhone XS, you’ve got to pay $150 more than the base price and jump all the way to 256 GB. So in terms of what I would actually recommend for most people — getting the storage tier one level above entry level — the 128 GB iPhone XR costs $350 less than the 256 GB XS and $450 less than the XS Max.

Let us know your own thoughts in the comments.

Photo: CNET

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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