Is still iPhone XR worth buying in 2021?

iPhones have always had a special place in people’s hearts. It doesn’t matter what the prices are, iPhones are market leaders. We see the iPhone launch every year, and the models from the previous years get a price cut. iPhone XR is one such phone in Apple’s lineup. iPhone XR’s release date was 12 September 2018. Ever since then, It is selling like hotcakes. Sales took a small dip after the launch of the iPhone SE and iPhone 11. It is still selling well. But, is the iPhone XR worth buying in 2021? Let’s see in detail.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels

iPhone XR what’s in the box?

iPhone XR comes in a traditional apple box. Peel the seal and lift the cover. You will be invited to the back of the phone. Here are the contents of the box

  • An iPhone
  • Hello starter guide
  • Sim ejector tool
  • Apple logo stickers – 2 nos
  • Warranty card
  • 5w charger 
  • Lightning Headphone 
  • Lightning cable

Shouldn’t we have a competitor?

Product red iphone 11
credits: Wikimedia

The review will be interesting if we have a competitor for the product. The competition here is within the apple space. It’s none other than iPhone 11, retailing about $100 more than iPhone XR. Both have a similar form factor and related specifications. Let’s see the differentiating elements one by one and see what is worth it.


iPhone XR display
Photo by Essow Kedelina from Pexels

The screen is one of the sought-after features on any phone. You use or interact with the phone through the display. The screen on both devices is the same. We get OLED displays even in cheap smartphones. Unfortunately, Neither the iPhones have one. It is just an LED-lit LCD panel.

Don’t get disappointed with the screen being LED LCD. Both iPhone XR and iPhone 11 have the same display. This display is the best of any of its kind. Numbers don’t signify how good the display is. When you see it in real life, you notice its brilliancy. Here go the numbers. The display is DCI- P3 compatible. It means the phone has punchy colors. The screen-to-body ratio is 82.9% which is not bad at all.

iPhone XR and iPhone 11 measure about 6.1 inches of display. The resolution is just 1792 x 828. Don’t get disappointed with the low res display. What counts is how it feels to use real-time. If you have ever used an iPhone before, you would know. It’s the same 326 PPI display. The texts are sharper. The pictures are clear. The video is beautiful. Simply, it is the tie between iPhone XR and iPhone 11.

If the display is you after, it’s iPhone XS or iPhone 11 pro with an awesome Oled display with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 at 458 PPI is the one to go with. Both come with a True Tone Display that adjusts the white balance based on the lighting environment you are in. However, the price makes iPhone XR worth buying.


Picture showing cameras of iphone 11
Credits: Apple

It is the biggest differentiating factor when we do iPhone XR vs. iPhone 11 comparison. iPhone XR has the same main camera as the iPhone XS. It is definitely better than iPhone 8 but no better than iPhone 11. iPhone 11 has two cameras. One standard camera and a wide-angle camera. The camera spec goes as below.

  • 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide)
  • 12 MP, f/2.4, 13mm (ultrawide)
  • [email protected]/30/60fps, [email protected]/60/120/240fps, HDR, stereo sound rec.
  • Quad-LED dual-tone flash, HDR (photo/panorama)

The spec of the iPhone XR is as follows.

You can see only ultra-wide is different, and the rest is the same. In fact, it is, and there’s more to it. iPhone 11 features a brand new sensor despite the same specs as XR. The dynamic range is high. The sharpness is high. With the added night mode, the night shots are surprisingly very good.

With two lenses in place, you can take a portrait with bokeh mode, and it looks awesome.

With two lenses in place, you get a seamless zoom.

With two lenses in place, Augmented reality will be ‘spot on.’

With two lenses in place, you get the sharpest pictures ever.

It doesn’t mean the iPhone XR camera is a slouch. It is still worth it that it leaves the other brands run for their money. The pictures are true to life. No smoothing or extra sharpening is done. The skin tone is intact. But for an extra $100, you get much much more from the iPhone 11 camera and is worth spending as far as the camera goes. Hence, it is worth buying an iPhone XR but it is even more worthy to buy an iPhone 11 in the first place.

Related article: Is iPhone 8 worth buying?


Performance is subjective. Let’s see the spec from

The spec of the iPhone XR goes as below.

  • Ram – 3gb
  • Processor – Apple A 12 (7 nm)
  • Chipset – Hexa-core (2×2.5 GHz Vortex + 4×1.6 GHz Tempest)

The spec of the iPhone 11 goes as below.

  • Ram – 4 gb
  • Processor – Apple A13 Bionic 
  • Chipset – Hexa-core (2×2.65 GHz Lightning + 4×1.8 GHz Thunder)

Just going by the paper, iPhone 11 is superior. It is true in real life, as well. But for casual use, both perform the best. I hope you remember iPhone XS as a flagship before iPhone 11 Pro was introduced. The chipset on an iPhone XR is the same as the one on iPhone XS. That speaks a lot about the performance. The advantage of the A13 chipset in an iPhone 11 is it is powerful and frugal in terms of energy needed. But Too much power is not always required.

In my opinion, iPhone XR has more than enough processing power for day to day activities. It is easy to say that iPhone XR is worth buying in 2021 for $100 cheaper. But for sheer performance is what you after, you should look at iPhone 11. but for $100 cheaper, iPhone XR is worth buying.

Battery life:

iPhone battery
Photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels

iPhone 11 has a Li-Ion 3110 mAh battery. It supports 18W fast charging. It can do 50% of charging in 30 minutes. It is advertised as it has a talk time of 17 hours under full charge. 

The iPhone XR has a Li-Ion 2942 mAh battery, and the proposed talk time is 16 hours. It also supports 15 W fast charging that charges 50% of the battery in 30 minutes.

There is a difference of 1 hour of talk time. That’s not a lot. In fact, the iPhone XR can get through your day pretty easily. When it was launched, it was the battery king of apple. Both support wireless charging, though.

With a low-resolution screen and a frugal processor, it achieved its feat. So is the iPhone 11. Even at $100 less, it is the iPhone XR worth buying in 2021.

Software and support

Both the phones sport iOS 13 at the time of writing this article. They are identical in terms of the software except for the camera. The Face id is fantastic and a bit faster on iPhone 11. The overall performance is faster on iPhone 11 but not by so much. The support apple gives for its iPhones is phenomenal. iPhone 5s was supported for six years after its launch. That’s unimaginable. In similar lines, iPhone XR will be supported for a long time in the future. iPhone 11 might get even longer support because of its latest hardware. In either way, you don’t go wrong. Buying either of the two devices ensures long term support.


Should you buy iPhone XR in 2021?

iPhone XR is an awesome phone. For the question, Should you buy iPhone XR in 2021, the answer is both yes and no. If you need better camera performance, you should look at iPhone 11 or 11 pro. If you want the best of the best performance and slightly more battery life? You can buy an iPhone 11. But for the question is iPhone XR worth buying in 2021, the answer is YES. It is worth it. You will not find yourself unhappy with your iPhone XR at the price range. Thanks for reading.

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