iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR specs: Which iPhone is the better buy?

With Apple’s announcement of iPhone SE 2020the company hopes courting more cost-conscious people with an iPhone for $ 399. But for those who are in the iPhone market and have more left over, Apple has that too iPhone 11what starts at $ 699 (£ 729, AU $ 1,199). The company also offers 2018 iPhone XR for $ 599 (£ 629, AU $ 1,049). Given these prices, we’re comparing the iPhone 11 to the iPhone XR to determine which phone is best to buy today.

Continue reading: iPhone camera comparison: iPhone 11 with Deep Fusion vs. iPhone XR

Sarah Tew / CNET

With two rear cameras, night mode shots and a 12 megapixel front shooter, the iPhone 11 has more tricks for photos and videos in stock. Compared to the iPhone XR, which is already taking fantastic pictures and videos, the benefits for the additional $ 100 you pay are small. In addition, the iPhone 11 has a new U1 chip as well as Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit LTE functions. You will see these next generation features in future iPhones and Android devices. So if you want to have a modern phone in the next few years, the iPhone 11 is the best choice. Since Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit LTE are not yet fully developed networks, you won’t see any immediate benefits – another reason why we still prefer the iPhone XR.

Read our Apple iPhone 11 review.

Josh Miller / CNET

It might have an older processor and specs, but for the $ 100 you save with the iPhone XR, we think it’s worth it. It runs just as smoothly with iOS 13 as the iPhone 11 on its A12 chipset, and although it doesn’t have an Ultrawide camera and updated camera technology, the iPhone XR also works well for posting photos to Instagram and social media. In general, if you are on a tight budget, the iPhone XR is still a good value. We recommend either pocketing the $ 100 for something else, or using it to upgrade to the 128GB model and still have $ 50 left.

Read our Apple iPhone XR review.

How we tested

Design: Almost identical and yet so durable

The iPhone 11 and XR look almost identical – the quickest way to identify them is through the additional camera and square bump on the iPhone 11. Apart from that, and the different color options (the iPhone 11 is available in lavender, mint green, and pastel yellow, while the Phone XR is available in canary yellow, coral and blue) there are no obvious differences. They are the same size and weigh the same, and the phones have the same 6.1-inch LCD display with the same resolution and pixel density.


In addition to the number of reversing cameras, the iPhone 11 and the XR look similar.

Angela Lang / CNET

We’ve done a number of drop tests on the iPhone 11 and XR, and both phones are quite robust. We dropped the iPhone 11 on the front and back from 3 feet, 6 feet and 8 feet, 7 inches onto smooth concrete. With all the drops, the rear glass and the screen of the phone did not break. There was a little cosmetic scratch over the camera lens from 8 feet away, but the camera lens was perfectly fine.

Continue reading: The best iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max cases you can get now

When we dropped the iPhone XR 2018, we dropped it on a concrete sidewalk. At the waist (about 3 feet), the phone’s camera glass broke, but the rear glass survived. The screen was also intact. At eye level (or about 5 feet), the iPhone XR survived a fall on its back with no new damage, but when we dropped it on the screen, the display finally collapsed. Although that was unfortunate, the fact that the iPhone XR survived waist-high drops was still good.

Both phones are waterproof, but the iPhone 11 has a higher IP68 rating and can survive 30 minutes underwater at a distance of 2 meters. The iPhone XR has IP67 protection and can survive on paper for 30 minutes to a depth of 1 meter. When we took it out on dives, the iPhone XR continued to tick at a depth of 5 meters after 19 minutes under water. We couldn’t drown the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro in our water testsBoth phones survived 30 minutes in a whopping 12 meters under water. When it comes to water resistance, the iPhone 11 far exceeds both its own promises and the hardiness of the iPhone XR.

Camera: The latest updates give the iPhone 11 the decisive advantage

Both phones have a 12-megapixel camera, but the iPhone 11 has a second 12-megapixel ultrawide camera and a new night mode for shooting in low light. All in all, outside and well-lit photos look similarly lively on both devices, with even and bright colors on both cameras.

However, the iPhone 11 took significantly sharper photos with finer details, especially when viewing images at full resolution. With the new mode, it also brightened the night better and dimmed photos. The second Ultrawide camera is useful if you want to add more content to each image or if you want to record larger scenes. The flash is also a bit brighter, although we rarely use this feature. Finally, we like the fact that we can now take portrait photos of pets on the iPhone 11 (the iPhone XR does not recognize non-human faces for portraits, which is a burden). The iPhone 11 also uses a feature called Deep FusionThis further improves the details and reduces noise in photos.

For videos, the footage on phone 11 has a slightly better dynamic range, so lighting and exposure look more even and natural. The video stabilization is also a bit more stable with the standard 12 megapixel camera. However, the wide-angle camera does not have optical image stabilization. During 4K video recording, you can only switch cameras if you are filming at 30 frames per second (although both cameras can record 60 frames per second).

On the front, the iPhone 11 has a 12-megapixel camera, while the iPhone XR has a 7-megapixel camera. While we welcome the additional resolution of the iPhone 11, we’ve never really had many problems with the iPhone XR’s front-facing camera, and if you’re an occasional selfie taker, the iPhone XR is definitely satisfactory. The front camera of the iPhone 11 can also be pulled out for a wider view, record 4K videos at 60 frames per second and record slow-motion videos. Since we mostly use the front camera for selfies, we didn’t use the last two functions often.

In this photo you can see how the iPhone 11 captures further details in the lines and tubes of the installation.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

With the new night mode of the iPhone 11, the camera can process scenes with poor lighting conditions much better.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

The iPhone 11 has brightened this image and has a better dynamic range.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

iPhone 11 is faster

The iPhone 11 has Apple’s latest A13 Bionic processor, while the iPhone XR has the 2018 A12 chipset. For the most part, iPhone 11 and XR iOS 13 run as smoothly and quickly as on the other. We could not find any speed differences in everyday tasks such as surfing the Internet, starting the camera or opening apps. On paper, the iPhone 11 is undoubtedly the faster phone. As you can see from the benchmark results below, the newer iPhone far outperformed the iPhone XR and scored far more points in all of the tests we did.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited


NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited


NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 single core


NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore


NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance

While we’re about to change our battery test method for phones, we tested both the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR with a new streaming video test. We wrote the following in our iPhone 11 test: After carrying out our official battery tests and living with the iPhone 11 for over a month, we found that the battery life was roughly equivalent to that of the iPhone XR. In our streaming video tests, the iPhone 11 lasted 13 hours and 52 minutes, compared to the iPhone XR’s 12 hours and 7 minutes time in the same test. In everyday use, the iPhone 11 took about a day and a half.

The iPhone 11 is more future-proof, but the benefits come later

The iPhone 11 has a U1 chip According to Apple, it helps iPhones to find other iPhones more precisely when they are in close proximity. The chip also lets you “point your iPhone at someone else’s, and AirDrop prioritizes that device so you can share files faster”. Many believe that the U1 chip actually lays the foundation for a long-rumored Apple tile tracker.


The iPhone 11.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The iPhone 11 has Wi-Fi 6This is the next generation of wireless networks. Ry Crist, CNET’s senior editor, said: “Wi-Fi 6 supports faster transmission speeds. Allows devices to send more information with each transmission. Routers and other access points can service more devices at the same time. Save sensors and other wireless devices Battery.” Perform by scheduling broadcasts and enabling better and faster performance in dense, crowded environments such as airports and stadiums. “But you probably won’t see any benefits in your iPhone 11 now. Wi-Fi 6 was just that recently certified in Septemberand Wi-Fi 6 routers are expensive.

The iPhone 11 has Gigabit LTE, an expanded version of 4G LTE. Gigabit LTE is very fast and can reach top speeds of 1 gigabit per second, which is roughly the speed of a landline internet connection. Apple introduced Gigabit LTE 2017 for its iPhone XS and XS Max, but the iPhone XR was strangely left out of the update. But the iPhone 11 has it, and while you probably won’t always reach these speeds, your overall speed will be faster than an older phone, and you’ll have a lot more freedom when it comes to potential speed.

The iPhone 11 is available in a 256 GB model. At $ 849, it’s more expensive. However, if you take a lot of photos and take a lot of videos, the extra onboard storage is useful – especially if you don’t really use the cloud storage. Apple currently sells only 64GB and 128GB models of the iPhone XR.

iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR specifications

iPhone 11

iPhone XR

Display size, resolution

6.1-inch LCD liquid retina; 1,792 x 828 pixels

6.1-inch LCD retina display; 1,792 x 828 pixels

Pixel density



Dimensions (inches)

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

5.9 x 3.0 x 0.33 inches

Dimensions (millimeters)

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight (ounces, grams)

6.84 ounces; 194 g

6.8 ounces; 194 g

Mobile software

iOS 13

iOS 12 (can be upgraded to iOS 13)


12 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (extremely wide)

12 megapixels (wide)

Front camera

12 megapixels with face detection

7 megapixels with facial recognition

Video recording




Apple A13 Bionic

Apple A12 Bionic


64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB

64 GB, 128 GB


Not revealed

Not revealed

Expandable memory




3,142 mAh (not officially announced by Apple)

2,942 mAh (not officially announced by Apple)

Fingerprint sensor

None (face ID)

None (face ID)




Headphone jack



Special features

Waterproof (IP68); Dual SIM functions (nano-SIM and E-SIM); Wireless charging

Waterproof (IP67); Dual SIM functions (nano-SIM and E-SIM); Wireless charging

Price outside the contract (USD)

$ 699 (64 GB), $ 749 (128 GB), $ 849 (256 GB)

$ 599 (64 GB), $ 649 (128 GB)

Price (GBP)

£ 729 (64 GB), £ 779 (128 GB), £ 879 (256 GB)

£ 629 (64 GB), £ 679 (128 GB)

Price (AUD)

AU $ 1,199 (64 GB), AU $ 1,279 (128 GB), AU $ 1,449 (256 GB)

AU $ 1,049 (64 GB), AU $ 1,129 (128 GB)

Originally published October 10, 2019.

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