The affordable iPhone takes on the flagship device from the stables of its arch rival
“The affordable iPhone takes on the flagship device from the stables of its arch-rival”
The trademark ‘One more thing’ at Apple’s recent iPhone event was the announcement of the iPhone XR. Surprisingly enough, this handset is powered by the same chipset that goes inside the latest higher-end models. An upgrade to the iPhone 8 ( review), it will be sold in a variety of colour options, just like the iPhone 5c back in the day. But it will be directly competing with the Galaxy S9 ( review), Samsung’s exquisite slab that has proven to be quite successful over the past few months. Let us pit them against each other to chalk out the noteworthy differences.
The front of the iPhone XR makes it look like the iPhone X, but it is to be noted that this handset has slightly thicker bezels. As for the rear surface, it looks exactly like that of the iPhone 8, with its single camera and its glass surface. The lack of a headphone jack will still be a pain to those who buy the iPhone XR, but that’s not the case with the Samsung Galaxy S9. This handset also has a glass back and a single camera, but its front surface is a thing of beauty. Firstly, the display is curved on both the sides, and secondly, there’s no ugly notch here. Just two slim bezels at the top and the bottom.
While the iPhone XR is IP67 rated, the Samsung device has gone for the better IP68 rating. What came as a surprise was the iPhone’s incorporation of dual-SIM support. That’s something that definitely helps it compete better with the Galaxy S9, but there’s still the lack of a microSD card slot for buyers to deal with. As far as biometric authentication methods go, Apple relies only on Face ID, whereas Samsung is offering iris scanning as well as fingerprint reading on its S9.
The LCD display on the iPhone XR is 6.1-inches in size and 828 x 1,792 pixels in resolution. It’s concerning that a phone priced this high does not even allow you to watch 1080p videos. Plus, it doesn’t offer Apple’s 3D Touch technology as well. On the other hand, the Galaxy S9 grants you a 5.8-inch 1,440 x 2,960 pixel Super AMOLED panel. This HDR10 compliant display is among the best out there, and surely wins over the mediocre panel of the new iPhone.
Apple has not skimped in the hardware department. It has blessed the iPhone XR with the same A12 Bionic chipset that goes inside the two higher-end handsets. This 7-nanometer SoC delivers a hexa core CPU and a quad core GPU. It even has an upgraded neural engine for advanced AI tasks. This translates into scorching fast speeds and way better operational capability. 64GB, 128GB and 256GB are the storage options you’ll be able to purchase the iPhone XR in, which is also the case for the Galaxy S9. As for the processor, the Samsung handset utilises the 2.7GHz octa-core Exynos 9810 SoC that’s assisted by 4GB of RAM.
iOS 12 is the platform that’s present on the iPhone XR. For one, it introduces grouped notifications which were being demanded by people for a very long time. Another big addition is that of Screen Time, a feature meant to give you analytics about your app usage habits. Memojis, advanced Photo search and a few other traits also form part of the iOS 12 update. As for the Samsung Galaxy S9, its software hasn’t changed much over its predecessors. To compete with Apple’s Animojis, Samsung has its AR Emojis. Bixby has gotten better since its release, and can now translate text when you point your camera at it. The platform on the S9 is based on Android 8.1 Oreo, but an update to Pie is on the cards, so expect some new features to arrive with it.
The iPhone XR ships with an upgraded 12MP f/1.8 camera, which benefits from OIS and a fresh Smart HDR trait. Apple has also developed an artificial bokeh feature, which lets you adjust the depth of field even after an image has been clicked. In terms of videos, the new iPhone can do 4K clips at 60fps and 1080p slow-motion clips at 240fps.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 kicks in a 12MP camera as well, but it has a variable aperture range of f/1.5 to f/2.4. This helps it deliver great low light shots. This OIS-equipped snapper can also do 4K videos at 60fps, but it pips most other phones in the market by offering 720p slow-motion clips at a whopping 960fps speed. The front camera on the iPhone XR is 7MP in resolution, while that on the S9 is 8MP.
As usual, Apple hasn’t revealed the battery capacity of its new iPhone. But what we do know is that it can last 90 minutes more than the iPhone 8 Plus. The Samsung device makes use of a 3,000mAh power cell. What’s worth noting is that both the smartphones allow fast and wireless charging.
The iPhone XR would have been a pretty attractive proposition at a mid-range price, but it chooses otherwise to go for a big price tag. And hence, it isn’t able to compete well with the Samsung Galaxy S9. Apple’s contender may have a good camera and a top-notch processor, but a comparatively weak display and the absence of a headphone jack give the Samsung device the edge. However, Apple loyalists finally have something that resembles the iPhone X in terms of looks but does not cost a bomb, and brings dual-SIM capabilities to boot.

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