or the first time in history, Apple has made an unprecedented move in the Indian market. The company has slashed the price of its flagship iPhone XR (Review) within the first year of its sale. Launched originally at a starting price of Rs 76,900, the iPhone XR is currently on a limited period offer, starting at Rs 59,990. Wonder why? Because of the aggressively priced Samsung Galaxy S10e (Review) which sells for Rs 55,900. While the reduced price could help Apple move customers in its favour, it has created another issue for consumers.
For Rs 58,990 on Flipkart and Amazon, one can get 2017’s iPhone 8. At first thought, the obvious choice would be to go for the new iPhone XR, considering it up-to-date specifications and modern design. However, if you have been digging into the specifications list deeply, there’s a lot to consider before blindly zeroing in on the iPhone XR.
Therefore, if you want to buy an iPhone for close to Rs 60,000, is the iPhone XR truly the greatest iPhone you can buy for that price? Let’s dig deep.
iPhone XR looks modern but iPhone 8 is compact
The iPhone XR is undoubtedly a more modern looking smartphone compared to the dated design of the iPhone 8. The slim bezels and the notch make it belong to the modern generation of all-screen smartphones. The exciting colours are an added bonus.
That said, the iPhone 8 has its own advantages with its classic iPhone design. The iPhone 8 may have thick bezels but the screen is compact at 4.7-inches, which makes it more easier to reach when using it one-handed. Plus, the iPhone 8 is sleeker when compared to the iPhone XR. For many, it will be more practical over the bigger and bulky iPhone XR.
iPhone 8 matches iPhone XR on most fronts
I am not joking here. There’s no doubt the iPhone XR has superior hardware than the iPhone 8. However, in the real world, the differences aren’t that substantial.
The iPhone 8 has a 12-megapixel single rear camera while the iPhone XR also has a 12-megapixel camera. The iPhone 8 cannot do the portrait mode photos with its single camera but it manages to produce photos that look almost as good as the iPhone XR’s single camera in most lighting situations. If photography isn’t your primary criteria, then the iPhone 8 makes a lot of sense.
Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone XR support Qi standard wireless charging and both of them support fast wireless charging as well. Both of them support fast wired charging as well. The iPhone XR only takes the lead in terms of battery life over the iPhone 8.
The iPhone XR utilises the A12 Bionic chipset while the iPhone 8 relies on the A11 Bionic chipset. On paper, the A12 Bionic offers marginally better performance over the A11 Bionic. In the real world, iOS 12 on the both these iPhones offer a butter-smooth user experience and the grunt to run almost anything you can throw on these phones — whether it be games or video editing tools.
Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone XR have IP67 water and dust resistance certification. Both of them have stereo speakers that sound great and both of them miss out on the headphone jack.
iPhone 8 is more practical in a way or two than iPhone XR
The iPhone 8 comes with TouchID fingerprint sensor mounted under the screen — this is a highly convenient feature for iPhone loyalists who prefer to unlock their phone without picking it up every time they want to unlock the device. TouchID is also the fastest way to unlock an iPhone to date. FaceID on iPhone XR is effortless but it requires more effort and is noticeably slower than TouchID.
Both the iPhones have IPS LCD screens but the iPhone XR lacks the 3D Touch feature. The iPhone 8 though has the 3D Touch feature. The pressure sensitive display offers more intuitive ways to interact with the phone, similar to the flagship iPhone XS. On the iPhone XR, you have to rely on the long-press gesture to get to shortcuts. And the LCD screen on iPhone 8 is sharper than the Liquid Retina display on the iPhone XR.
And if you care about the Rose Gold colour shade, the iPhone 8’s gold colour is closest to that. The iPhone XR has a myriad of colour options but it lacks the classic iPhone gold shade.
But iPhone XR has four crucial edges over iPhone 8
— iPhone XR has massively superior battery life. With iOS 12’s optimisation and a bigger battery than that of iPhone 8’s, the iPhone XR is properly a two-day battery smartphone. The iPhone 8 can at best last a full day.
— The FaceID system is slow but effortless. It even unlocks in the dark and all you need to do is simply pick it up and it will unlock and light up the device. The iPhone 8 requires you to hunt for the TouchID sensor.
— The iPhone XR’s gesture-based navigation system feels natural and easier. With simple swipes, it’s easier to go around iOS 12. On the iPhone 8, you still have to rely on the old-fashioned Home button-based navigation system.
— The iPhone XR is a generation newer and therefore, would get an additional year’s software support over the iPhone 8.
Bottom line: iPhone XR or iPhone 8?
The iPhone XR is an obvious choice for those who want the latest and greatest smartphone from Apple. The fullscreen design, FaceID system and the mega battery life make the iPhone XR a great pick.
That said, if you care about the classic iPhone experiences such as the Home button, 3D Touch and a compact form factor, the iPhone 8 is a sensible choice. The performance is almost as fast as the iPhone XR in the real world and if you wish to upgrade to the next generation iPhone within a year or two, the iPhone 8 makes sense.