iPhone XR vs iPhone XS. What’s the difference?


Both new iPhones are getting great reviews and they have similar features. Which one is right for you?

Design & Colours

The iPhone XR comes in a range of colours that allow you to make a statement while the XS is available in more traditional understated colours.

iPhone XR has an approximately 5% larger display, it is 10% heavier and slightly thicker. The bezels of the XS are slightly slimmer than the XR.

The iPhone XR includes a 7000 series aluminium chassis compared to the stainless steel of the XS. The stainless steel has a more premium feel and is more durable. The aluminium will dent and scratch more easily when dropped.

iPhone XR: White, Black Blue, Yellow, Coral & Product (RED).
iPhone XS: Silver, Space Grey & Gold.

iPhone XR Colours
iPhone XR Colours

Storage Sizes

If you need huge amounts of storage then the iPhone XS offers larger options than the iPhone XR.

iPhone XR: 64GB, 128GB & 256GB.
iPhone XS: 64GB, 256GB & 512GB.

iPhone XS Colours
iPhone XS Colours


Both iPhones include the same 7MP front facing camera supporting FaceID, Animoji & Memoji.

The iPhone XR only include a single 12MP wide-angle rear camera while the iPhone XS includes both a 12MP wide-angle and telephoto camera.

Both cameras are awesome and both support Portrait Mode. iPhones with dual cameras use both cameras to produce DSLR quality photos with a shallow depth of field, the XR uses the wide angle lens and AI to achieve a similar result.

iPhone XR:

  • Back: 12MP wide-angle camera.
  • Front: 7MP TrueDepth camera.

iPhone XS:

  • Back: Dual 12MP wide-angle & telephoto cameras.
  • Front: 7MP TrueDepth camera.
Apple iPhone XS Camera
Apple iPhone XS Camera


Both screens are more than decent. Apple calls them Liquid Retina HD (LCD) & Super Retina HD (LED).

The Liquid Retina HD on the iPhone XR shares the same pixel density as previous iPhones (326 ppi), while the iPhone XS has the same density as the iPhone X (458 ppi).  This means the iPhone XS produces a sharper display of images and text but most users won’t notice the difference in daily use.

Both include the touch to wake feature and true tone display but the iPhone XR lacks 3D Touch. We won’t miss 3D Touch as we have barely used it but your mileage may vary.

The brightness the two iPhones is the same but the iPhones XS (1,000,000:1) offers superior contrast to the iPhone XR (1,400:1). Since OLED displays can turn their pixels off (LCD displays only dim them) black actually looks like black on the iPhone XS and images look more vivid.

iPhone XR:

  • Liquid Retina HD 6.1-inch (diagonal) all-screen LCD Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology. 
  • 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi.

iPhone XS:

  • Super Retina HD 5.8-inch (diagonal) all-screen OLED Multi‑Touch display. 
  • 2436-by-1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi.

Grab an iPhone Case to Protect your iPhone

Bellroy Phone Case iPhone XR


Bellroy Phone Case iPhone XS


Otterbox Symmetry Case for Apple iPhone XR – Clear

$59.00 – Normally $64.95

Otterbox Symmetry Case for Apple iPhone XR – Glitter

$64.00 – Normally $74.95


Apple has included the same chipset in both iPhones, the A12 ‘Bionic’ chipset. 

The primary difference is that the iPhone XS (4GB) includes 25% more memory than the XR (3GB). This gives it a slight benefit in multitasking but both iPhones are super quick.

iPhone XR

  • A12 ‘Bionic’ chipset: Six-Core CPU, Four-Core GPU, M12 motion coprocessor.
  • Next generation neural engine.
  • 3GB Memory.

iPhone XS:

  • A12 ‘Bionic’ chipset: Six-Core CPU, Four-Core GPU, M12 motion coprocessor.
  • Next generation neural engine.
  • 4GB Memory.


The larger size and lower resolution display of the iPhone XR allow for a larger and longer lasting battery when compared to the iPhone XS. For those requiring longer battery life it may be the key feature.

iPhone XR:

  • Talk time: Up to 25 hours. 
  • Internet use: Up to 15 hours. 
  • Video playback (wireless): Up to 16 hours. 
  • Audio playback (wireless): Up to 65 hours. 
  • Fast-charge–capable:Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes.

iPhone XS:

  • Talk time: Up to 20 hours. 
  • Internet use: Up to 12 hours. 
  • Video playback (wireless): Up to 14 hours. 
  • Audio playback (wireless): Up to 60 hours. 
  • Fast-charge–capable:Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes.


iPhone XR:

  • 64GB – AU$1,229
  • 128GB – AU$1,299 
  • 256GB – AU$1,479 

Apple iPhone XR at Vodafone

Save $144 over 36 months

Apple iPhone XR – Buy Outright

From $1,298.00 at MobileCiti

iPhone XS:

  • 64GB – AU$1,629
  • 256GB – AU$1,879
  • 512GB – AU$2,199

Apple iPhone XS at Vodafone

Save $360 over 36 months

Apple iPhone XS – Buy Outright

From $1,619.00 at MobileCiti

Our Opinion

While Apple has eroded some of the iPhone XS differential features to produce the XR, our opinion is that most of them are no big loss.

If you need a super sharp screen, the extra camera, the extra battery life or the your drop you iPhone a lot then maybe you can justify the extra $400. Otherwise we think the iPhone XR is a great compromise on price vs quality.

Please Note: Prices current at time of writing, are in Australian dollars and subject to change.

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