Michael Grothaus

The XR and 8 are the same in some respects.

Apple has a slew of iPhones in its lineup now. This month the company released the new iPhone XR, the iPhone XS, and the iPhone XS Max. AND the company kept around the older iPhone 8, 8 Plus, 7, and 7 Plus.

So needless to say, buying an iPhone right now can be a bit confusing. That’s where we come in. In this latest versus, we’re taking a look at the differences between the new iPhone XR and last year’s iPhone 8.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8: Specs

Here are the specs for the iPhone XR:

  • Display: 6.1in LCD Liquid Retina display with a 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi
  • Dimensions: 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm
  • Weight: 194 grams
  • Storage: 64, 128, or 256GB
  • Processors: A12 Bionic
  • Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video. 
  • Rear camera: Single lens 12MP wide-angle camera, optical image stabilisation. 4K video.
  • Battery: Up to 13.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
  • Other: Face ID, NFC, Wireless charging, IP67 waterproof

And here’s the specs for the iPhone 8:

  • Display: 4.7-inch display with a 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326ppi
  • Dimensions: 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm
  • Weight: 148 grams
  • Storage: 64 or 256GB
  • Processors: A11 Bionic chip
  • Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video
  • Rear camera: Single lens 12MP wide-angle camera, optical image stabilisation. 4K video.
  • Battery: Up to 12 hours battery life mixed usage
  • Other: Touch ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP67 waterproof

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8: Display & Design

The iPhone XR features an edge-to-edge display that is 6.1in and has a 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi. The iPhone 8 features a 4.7in display with bezels that has a 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326ppi. No question about it, the iPhone XR’s display wins the day here-well, almost.

By many aspects, the XR beats the 8: it has a larger display with a higher resolution, a higher pixel density, and is edge-to-edge. But not so fast, the iPhone 8 beats the XR in one display aspect: the XR lacks 3D Touch, which the iPhone 8 has. If you were never a fan of 3D Touch, that won’t matter much. But if you like the feature you’ll be disappointed it’s not in the XR.

The other obvious difference is that the iPhone XR lacks a Home button. It jettisons it in favor of a gesture-based Home control. The iPhone 8 still has the Home button we all know and love. This means the iPhone 8 also still has Touch ID. The iPhone XR lacks Touch ID and replaces it with Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8: CPU, Battery, and Storage

The iPhone XR has a MUCH larger battery than the iPhone 8. You’ll definitely see a difference because of it. Just check out the battery life specs below to see what we mean. Here’s how the battery life compares between the two in Talk Time, Standby Time, Internet Use, Video Playback, and Audio Playback:

  • Talk time: iPhone XR – 25 hours. iPhone 8 – 14 hours.
  • Internet use: iPhone XR – Up to 15 hours. iPhone 8 – Up to 12 hours.
  • Video playback: iPhone XR – Up to 16 hours. iPhone 8 – Up to 13 hours.
  • Audio playback: iPhone XR – Up to 65 hours. iPhone 8 – Up to 40 hours.

Both phones also feature wireless charging. As for storage, the XS offers three sizes: 64, 256, or 512GB. The iPhone 8 only comes in 64 or 256GB. As far as the CPU is concerned, the new XS has a better processor than the iPhone 8. The XS features the A12 Bionic chipset–and upgrade over the 8’s A11 Bionic. The new A12 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores. The CPU is 15% faster and 40% more energy efficient than the previous A11. The GPU now has 4 cores and is 50% faster. Finally, the Neural engine now has 8 cores for machine learning and is almost 10x faster. Apps launch 30% faster on the XS and Machine Learning runs nine times faster on 1/10th the energy. In other words, the A12 Bionic absolutely flies.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8: Camera

When you get to the camera department, the two phones aren’t THAT different. On the front camera, both phones feature the same 7MP sensor, but the front camera on the iPhone XR is a TrueDepth system that supports Face ID. It also supports advanced photo features like portrait photography.

The red camera is also almost identical. Both feature a single-lens 12MP wide angle camera. Both also feature optical image stabilisation and 4K video recording. The XR does have some extra software features, however, like Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control and Portrait Lighting.

iPhone XR vs iPhone 8: Cost & Verdict

Unlocked the 4.7in iPhone 8 will cost £599 (64GB) and £749 (256GB). The 6.1in iPhone XR will cost £749 (64GB) and £799 (128GB) and £899 (256GB). That premium for the iPhone XR does get you a bigger display and a sexy new design. Really, the only reason to go with the iPhone 8 is if you love the old Touch ID Home button.