Apple's iPhone XR: Best single-lens phone yet, say tests

Apple's iPhone XR tops Google's Pixel 2 in single-camera benchmark tests.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Camera benchmarking firm DxOMark has rated Apple's iPhone XR single-lens camera as the best on the market.

The iPhone XR, which starts at $750 but can cost $450 with a trade-in, lacks a few features of the more expensive iPhone XS. Like the iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2, the iPhone XR has just one rear lens.

The Pixel 2 set the standard for DxOMark's single-camera reviews, which it notes was the best in that class until the iPhone XR was tested.

DxOMark gives the iPhone XR a score of 101 based on its performance in photo and video tests, putting it just ahead of Google's 2017 Pixel 2 for still photos. The key advantages of the iPhone XR are better results for noise and artifacts.

It notes that the iPhone XR offers comparable quality photos to the iPhone XS Max, and even a better flash than the more expensive Apple device.

Though without the advantage of the dual lens found on the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR falls short on zoom and bokeh effects compared with the more expensive iPhones.

The bokeh or blurred background effect works well when a human subject is the picture, but it doesn't work when something other than a face is the subject of the photo.

SEE: Apple iOS 12: An insider's guide (free PDF)

The phone is rated as 'very good' for indoor and outdoor shots, but it loses fine details in low-light conditions. It also has 'excellent' autofocus with fast response times and no focus stability issues.

The firm says the iPhone XR has good exposure and dynamic range in bright light and indoor conditions, good details in all lightning conditions, and vivid colors in most situations, with fast and accurate autofocus.

On the downside, it produces low detail in long-range zoom shots, and displays some noise in low-light and indoor settings. Also, the blur gradient in portrait photos is not realistic.

As MacRumors' notes, not everyone agrees with DxOMark's scoring system, but the company nonetheless provides consumers with a take on one of the key features they should consider when weighing up Apple's cheaper 2018 iPhone.


In tests, the iPhone XR offers comparable quality photos to the iPhone XS Max.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

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