iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8: How the Budget Phones Stack Up in Price, Features, Specs

Two price-friendly phones go head-to-head.

Apple went bigger, faster, and pricier with its top-of-the-line iPhone XS and XS Max flagships this year. But with a fully souped-up XS Max about the cost of a weekend at a beach property, more budget-friendly options — iPhone XR or iPhone 8 — are worth considering instead. Here’s how they compare in price and specs.

Taking inspiration from the iPhone 5c’s color palette while packing next-generation internal upgrades, the iPhone XR could be the choice for users that want the latest from Apple without having to spend a month’s rent. It essentially comes with the same engine as the XS and XS Max with a less luxurious, but oh-so-colorful chassis.

Unlike last year’s bottom-tier iPhone 8, which was the smallest and the cheapest of 2017’s handsets, the XR actually has a larger display than the $1,099 XS. This makes the colorful smartphone the flashiest budget model Apple has released to date. So if you’re looking to upgrade from last year’s models, you could potentially trade in an iPhone 8 for $350 and pick up a massively enhanced phone for a cool $400.

iphone xr colors
All of the iPhone Xr's color options.

Don’t go selling or recycling your older smartphone just yet, the XR won’t hit shelves until October 26. But here’s what to expect if you are thinking about picking up the vibrantly colored iPhone XR.

iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8: How Much Do They Cost?

Apple has raised its bottom line once again. A 64-gigabyte iPhone 8 was priced at $699 at launch, while a 256GB model went for $849. Now, both these variants are available for $599 and $749 respectively — making the priciest iPhone 8 the same amount as a starter iPhone XR.

The XR will come with more storage capacity than its predecessor. When pre-orders open on October 19, users will be able to reserve a 64GB ($749), 128GB ($799), or 256GB ($899) model.

iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8: How the Specs Stack Up

Considering the similar price tags, the XR will come with vastly improved tech specs. Starting with the display, the iPhone 8 clocks in with a 4.7-inch LCD screen with 1,334-by-750-pixel resolution while the XR comes packed with a 6.1-inch LCD panel with 1,792-by-828-pixel resolution. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to watch videos on 1,080p on either of these phones but you’re getting a whole lot more screen than bezel with the XR.

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You're  gaining way more screen with the XR compared to the iPhone 8.

The iPhone 8’s display is powered by the A11 Bionic chip, while the XR comes with the next-generation A12 Bionic chip. Naturally, the latter is unmistakably superior, and is able to support 5 trillion operations per second compared to the A11’s 600 billion operations per second limit. So browsing, running demanding mobile gaming apps, and editing images will be far smoother on the XR.

That said we do know a little more about the 8 thanks to its having been exhaustively tested. The iPhone 8 should be able to provide up to 13 and a half hours of battery life for a single charge. The verdict isn’t out on the XR’s battery capacity just yet, but Apple claims it should be somewhere in the ballpark of 15 hours. A bigger screen requires a more potent battery so the phone will need an upgrade in the power department to live up to all of its promises.

iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8: Aesthetic and Camera Features

The most obvious XR feature is its six new color options: white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and red. This doubles the colors available with the iPhone 8 which just came in three colors: gold, silver, and space gray.

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But the iPhone XR will have the same camera hardware as the iPhone 8.

On the other hand, don’t expect any improved camera hardware if you’re leaning toward the XR, both the handsets come retrofitted with with the same 12-megapixel rear camera with the capability of Portrait Mode. The only real difference here is that the XR’s A12 Bionic chip allows for an adjustable bokeh blur effect, that lets users fog out the background of their images after they’ve already take a photo.

The front-facing camera on both phones also remained exactly the same, 7-MP. The only big difference is that the XR supports Animoji and Memoji features, which aren’t available on the iPhone 8.

Media via Apple, Aple