The smartphone market is stale

iPhone 12 vs iPhone XR: Two years is a long time for smartphones

The iPhone 12 differs from its predecessors in that it has a completely new design and significantly improved components.

With many iPhone XR owners upgrading after a two-year contract, it is likely that the iPhone 12 will be in their sights. What's the iPhone 12's progress? And will the iPhone XR still be a profitable purchase in 2021?

The two year hiatus between the release of these phones is a long time in the smartphone world. Let's see if Apple made good use of this development time.

Price and availability of the iPhone 12 versus the iPhone XR

The iPhone 12 hit stores on October 23, 2020. Prices for Apple's current flagship range from $ 799 / £ 799 / AU $ 1,349 for the 64GB model to $ 949 / £ 949 / AU $ 1,599 for 256GB. The 128GB model in between is $ 849 / £ 849 / AU $ 1,429.

Two years before the iPhone 12 arrived in stores, the iPhone XR went on sale. Starting October 26, 2018, you can purchase the 64GB model for $ 749 / £ 749 / AU $ 1229, the 128GB model for $ 799 / £ 799 / AU $ 1299 for 128GB, and the 256GB model. Get model for $ 899 / £ 899 / AU $ 1,479.

If you think this is a nostalgic look at an outdated phone, think again. Apple continues to offer the iPhone XR as new. The 64GB model is priced at $ 499 / £ 499 / AU $ 849 and the 128GB model is priced at $ 549 / £ 549 / AU $ 929. This makes it the cheapest large-screen iPhone in the product range.

It also means a brand new 64GB iPhone XR will cost $ 300 / £ 300 / AU $ 500 less than a brand new 64GB iPhone 12. This is a rare and valuable win for the squeaky iPhone XR.


This two year difference between these two phones becomes clear when you look at the devices side by side. Indeed, it could be said that the gap seems even bigger.

When the iPhone XR first arrived, its soft, rounded design was slowly becoming stale. We first saw this look with the iPhone 6 in 2014, and it received only a moderate makeover with the iPhone X in 2017.

In our review, we found that the iPhone XR is essentially an all-screen version of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 - which is suitable for the Deion. We've also pointed out that the XR is a lot bulkier than its premium sibling of the time, the iPhone XS.

At 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm and weighing 194 g, the XR is certainly much larger than the iPhone 12. Apple's latest phone is relatively small and at 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm weighs only 164 g.

Image 1 of 2 Image 2 of 2 (Image credit: Apple)

Although the iPhone 12 is thinner and lighter, it appears to be more rugged than the XR. With its IP68 rating, it's more waterproof than the IP67-certified iPhone XR, while Apple's new nanocrystalline Ceramic Shield display offers four times the drop resistance. The iPhone 12 is also much more elegant and has a unique design. While many comparisons with the

iPhone 4

hired, the iPhone 12's perfectly flat edges and sharp corners stand out for a mile in this curve-obsessed smartphone landscape.

When it comes to colors, the iPhone XR has a choice of six: yellow, white, coral, black, blue, and product red. It's one more than the iPhone 12's black, white, red, green, and blue colors - though this latest signature color in particular is a tone of seductive depth.


Despite the difference in body size, the iPhone 12 screen and the iPhone XR screen are exactly the same size. Both measure 6.1 inches from corner to corner, which is generally considered small to medium in today's larger smartphone market.

The shared refresh rate of 60 Hz - which is really unforgivable in the case of the iPhone 12 at a time when competitors are offering 120 Hz - this is where the similarities end. The iPhone 12 screen is miles ahead of its predecessor.

The display of the iPhone 12 is a Super Retina XDR OLED, while the iPhone XR is a Liquid Retina IPS LCD. The iPhone 12's 2532 x 1170 Super Retina is sharper than the iPhone XR's 1792 x 828 Liquid Retina - and by a fair amount.

The OLED attributes of the iPhone 12 display are even more important than the iPhone XR's use of the older IPS LCD technology. This ensures that the new Eau Phone offers much more impactful but natural colors as well as truer blacks and an infinitely higher color contrast.

Like I said, it would have been nice if the iPhone 12 had stretched its legs when it comes to refresh rate. But make no mistake, this device's display is an order of magnitude larger, and the iPhone XR remains pretty dated.


(Image credit: Future) The iPhone 12 was a huge leap forward compared to the iPhone XR, and that gap doesn't diminish when it comes to their respective photography skills. The iPhone 12 has two 12 megapixel cameras that are the same as the iPhone XR. In addition to the usual wide-angle lens, the iPhone 12 also has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with an aperture of f / 2.4. he can take these pictures of panoramic landscapes that are simply not possible with the XR. The secondary sensor also makes the iPhone 12's portrait mode easier, with the additional depth data allowing a more precise separation of subject and context. The iPhone XR has to do all of this in software, and it's a lesser alternative. The main 12-megapixel image sensor on the iPhone 12 has a f / 1.6 aperture, while the iPhone XR has a narrower aperture. (although by no means narrow) equivalent to f / 1.8. However, both benefit from OIS. When it comes to recording quality, the iPhone 12 wins in every respect - and that has little to do with the respective lenses or sensors. With Apple's improved algorithms and further developments in the A14 Bionic Chip (more on this in a moment), photos taken with the iPhone 12 are usually brighter, sharper and more natural. Advanced Features teDer Smart HDR 3 ensures that the images on the iPhone 12 also have a higher dynamic range, so you can dominate those bright skies and shady bushes. Night mode is a big difference here, allowing the iPhone 12 to take terrifyingly sharp pictures in extremely low light. The iPhone XR doesn't even have access to this magical mode. Night mode was introduced on iPhone 11 the following year. Both phones record crisp 4K video at 60 frames per second, but the iPhone 12 wins again with advanced features like Dolby Vision for better dynamic range. The iPhone 1 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple regularly improves the performance of its phones by about 20% over a year. To put it roughly, we can expect the iPhone 12 to be around 40-50% faster than the iPhone XR.

The iPhone 12 runs on Apple's newest A14 Bionic processor, while the iPhone XR is powered by the A12 Bionic. While Apple doesn't talk about storage, we know from teardowns that the iPhone 12 has 4GB of RAM over the 3GB of the iPhone XR.

This creates a huge benefit, but the question remains how important is this. The performance gap is apart from the image processing improvements mentioned above. Apple is consistently building a spacious room in its phones, which means a two-year-old iPhone XR will continue to run fast and smoothly.

It also means there won't be an app or task in 2021 that could really trip the iPhone XR. Perhaps the newest 3D games on the old phone aren't the most fluid or visually appealing, but you can; I bet they'll still work fine, aside from some weird stuttering.

Of course, the iPhone 12 has the same headroom built into its performance, which means it stays fast and smooth long after the iPhone XR starts squeaking and whining. Two more years if we had to risk a guess.

In terms of storage, both phones come standard with 64GB. Like that 60Hz split-screen refresh rate, it's much more forgivable on the iPhone XR than it is on the iPhone 12.

Both phones also offer options for 128GB and 256GB of storage, though Apple used the 256GB iPhone XR from the equation in its official online store.

One big spec difference that becomes more significant over time is the iPhone 12's 5G connectivity. Being able to connect to the latest cellular network may not seem like a killer app today, especially if you're in a rural or suburban area life that still relies solely on 3G and 4G - but that is changing quickly.

Battery life

When Apple launched the iPhone XR, it claimed it offered the best battery life ever seen on an iPhone. We determined then that this was true, but we didn't expect the case to be worked on for the phone two years later.

Apple has undoubtedly taken a step back in the endurance of its smartphones in the past few years. This is perfectly illustrated by comparing the iPhone 12 with the iPhone XR. In our test, we explicitly pointed out that the iPhone 12 does not last as long between charges as the iPhone XR.

Both handsets will get you through a day of moderate use, but the iPhone XR will. with a lot more free space. If you are quite economical with its use, the old phone may even allow you to spend a second day.

There are several reasons for this underperformance of the new device. On the one hand, the battery of the iPhone 12 with 2,815 mAh compared to 2,942 mAh is smaller than that of the iPhone XR.

Another crucial difference is between the two screens. The iPhone 12 generates significantly more pixels than the iPhone XR, which inevitably affects the battery life.

Finally, there is this 5G connectivity problem. Hooking up to the high-speed speed of 5G at intermittent speeds (and usually reverting to 4G in no time) really takes the load off a small smartphone battery. The next generation network is just beginning, and phone manufacturers have to adapt to their mercury capabilities.

Both phones support wireless charging, although the iPhone 12 supports 12W faster than the iPhone XR's 7.5W. Fast wired charging with 20 W is also possible with the iPHone 12, the iPhone XR is limited to 15 W.


The iPhone 12 (Image credit: TechRadar) iPhone XR (Image credit: Shutterstock) There's no getting around it: the iPhone 12 is a much better phone than the iPhone XR in every way.

It has more power, a much cooler and thinner design, and a screen that is both sharper and more dynamic than the XR's aging technology. Additionally, the iPhone 12's dual camera system is much more advanced and flexible than the iPhone XR's unique setup.

The iPhone XR strikes back with its superior endurance and significantly lower price. Some people might think twice before spending money on A Apple's expensive flagship.
  • We recommend anyone who has the money for the iPhone 12. It's a better phone. However, the iPhone XR remains a great choice for those looking for a full-size iPhone experience at half the price of an iPhone 12 Pro.
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