Tech Talk

iPhone 11 vs XR

Oct 17, 2022 Marco Mai

Released less than a year after the XR, Apple’s iPhone 11 looks a lot like its predecessor, but there are some significant changes to features and technology that may make the iPhone 11 a “must-have” for many users.  After introducing the iPhone XR at a more affordable price than the iPhone X, Apple again lowered the introductory price of its newest phone, offering the iPhone 11 for just $699 at the time of release.



The table below highlights the differences in specifications between the iPhone XR and iPhone 11


iPhone XR

iPhone 11

Release dateOctober 2018September 2019
CPUA12 Bionic Chip with 2nd generation Neural EngineA13 Bionic Chip with 3rd generation Neural Engine
Water resistanceResistant up to a 1 meter depth for up to 30 minutesResistant up to a 2 meter depth for up to 30 minutes
Splash and dust resistantRated IP67Rated IP68
Front-facing camera5x zoom & 7MP5x zoom; 2x optical zoom, 12MP
Front-facing video1080p HD, 30fps or 60fps4K video recording, 30fps or 60fps
Back-facing cameraSingle 12MP WideDual, 12MP Wide & Ultra Wide with night mode
Back-facing camera flashTrue Tone flash with Slow SyncBrighter True Tone flash with Slow Sync
Back-facing video1080p HD video, 30 or 60 fps, extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps; 3x digital zoom4K video, 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, or 1080 HD video at 30 fps or 60 fps, 2x optical zoom; 3x digital zoom, and audio zoom
Portrait lighting (front & back)Natural, studio, contourNatural, studio, contour, stage, stage mono, High Key Mono
Photo HDR (front & back)Smart HDRNext gen Smart HDR
Audio playbackWider stereoSpatial
Battery power2942mAh3110mAh
Video playback (battery)Up to 16 hrsUp to 17 hrs
Internal storage64GB, 128GB64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
WiFi802.11acWi-Fi with MIMO802.11acWi-Fi 6 with MIMO
Operating system at releaseiOS 12iOS13
FinishRed, yellow, white, coral, black, blueBlack, green, yellow, purple, red, white
NetworkLTE AdvancedGigabit-class LTE
Price, at time of release$749+$699+
Current price, new$599*$699*
Current price, pre-owned$600*, $426**$700-950*, $N/A**

*Best Buy

Although there are several differences between the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11 that may impact a buying decision, it’s important to note that the two share many characteristics as well.  They both share a 6.1” screen size, with the screen extending to the edges of the device. Here are some other specifications that the two phones have in common:

Operating systemiOS
Screen size6.1”
Height & width5.9” x 3”
weight6.84 oz
DisplayRetina HD display with True Tone, wide color display (P3)
Display typeLCD with Liquid Retina HD display
Display resolution1792×828
Brightness625 nits max
SecurityFace ID
Pixel density1792 x 828‑pixel resolution at 326 ppi
Contrast & color1400:1 contrast ratio
Front-facing camera flashRetina flash
Back-facing camera flashTrue Tone flash with Slow Sync
CamerasTrue Depth for facial recognition
VideoOptical image stabilization
Video playbackSupports Dolby Vision & HDR10 content
Audio playback (battery)Up to 65 hrs
BatteryBuilt-in, rechargeable Lithium-ion
BodyGlass and Aluminum
ChargingVia USB, supports wireless charging & fast-charge capable
Audio OutputNo headphone jack; comes with EarPods with lightning connector
SIMDual SIM (nano SIM & eSIM), Not compatible with existing micro-SIM cards
SensorsAccelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Three-axis Gyro Sensor, Digital Compass, Barometer, Gyro Sensor
TouchHaptic Touch
NetworkLTE Advanced
WiFi802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0
Other (cellular & wireless)Built-in GPS/GNSS, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode, Express Cards, WiFi calling


Most of the most significant differences between Apple’s iPhone XR and Apple’s iPhone 11 lie in camera functionality. With the iPhone 11, Apple introduced a new dual-lens camera which provided a marked improvement over the single-lens camera. The rear-facing camera setup in the iPhone 11 features a standard wide-angle camera and a new ultra wide-angle camera with a 120 degree field of view, replacing the need for telephoto.

Additionally, spatial audio offers users a much more immersive sound experience, and supports the Dolby Atmos surround-sound technology. The iPhone 11 also offers a new feature in audio zoom, allowing the microphone to zoom in on speakers when recording video.

Finally, Apple says that the phone is made with the toughest glass ever in a smartphone, not only improving overall durability, but offering improved water resistance.


The iPhone XR and iPhone 11 are identical in terms of their size and shape. They both feature a 6.1 inch LCD display, and both have edge-to-edge displays.  The front-facing camera is housed in a small notch at the top of the displays, and neither phone has a home button or headphone jack, which allow for a greater durability for both phones.

Both phones also feature a glass body, but the iPhone 11 is manufactured with much tougher glass, not only improving overall durability, but offering improved water resistance.  The new iPhone 11 is water resistant to 2 meters depth (as compared to the XR’s 1 meter) for 30 minutes.  The newer glass also raised the iPhone 11’s splash and dust resistance rating to IP68, compared to the XR’s IP67.

Both phones are available in 6 colors, but Apple has replaced the iPhone XR Blue and Coral with Purple and Green in the iPhone 11.


The iPhone 11 display is identical to that of the iPhone XR, a marked improvement over prior versions of the phone. Apple claims that the display is the most advanced LCD that has been introduced in smartphones to date.  Both phones have a pixel resolution of 1792 x 828.


The improvements in the camera functionality is one of the clear distinctions between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR.

The major new feature of the iPhone 11 is an upgraded dual-lens camera system on its rear facing cameras. The new phone boasts both a wide-angle lens and a new ultra-wide angle lens, allowing users to capture four times more scene. This makes it ideal for landscape photos, detailed architecture images, and much more.

The interface on the iPhone 11 has been modified to allow users to see and capture the area outside of the frame using the ultra wide-angle camera if desired. 2x optical zoom out is supported, as is digital zoom up to 5x.

Additionally, Apple has added a new Night mode, designed to take advantage of the iPhone’s processing capabilities and the new camera sensor to capture crisp, clear, bright photos even in very low light.

4K video recording with extended dynamic range and both of the cameras can be used for recording video. There is a new QuickTake video mode, allowing you to hold down the shutter button in the camera app to automatically record video with subject tracking and an Audio Zoom feature matching the audio to the video framing for more dynamic sound.

The front facing camera in the iPhone 11 has also been updated, and now offers a 12-megapixel camera, compared to the iPhone XR,s 7 megapixel,  This means that Face ID is up to 30 times faster and can work from more angles.  The front camera also now supports slo-mo video for “slofies”.


Both phones run on Apple’s iOS operating system. The iPhone XR was released with iOS12 and the 11 ran iOS13 at its launch. Both phones are now supported by Apple’s newest iOS13. Both phones are currently capable of updating to the newest operating system, assuming the system continues to run as it currently does, the iPhone XR will age out of being able to receive iOS updates sooner  than the iPhone 11 will.

The iPhone 11 runs on a more powerful CPU than the iPhone XR. The XR has an A12 bionic chip with a neural engine, while the 11 has an A13 bionic chip with a 3rd generation neural engine, making it a faster and more efficient device. The iPhone 11 should operate about 20 percent faster than the iPhone Xr, while using less power.

The iPhone 11 is available in 64G, 128G and 256G, while the XR offers only 64G and 128G from Apple,  with 256G options available from 3rd-party retailers.

Both phones have very similar battery life. They both use built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and offer 65 hours of audio playback; the iPhone XR offers up to 16 hours of video playback, and the 11 can support 11 hours of video. Although the difference is fairly small, if you need to use the phone extensively for video playback, you may want to take into consideration that the battery deteriorates the more it is on the charger.  For other users, the small difference may not make a significant difference.

In conclusion, based on the significant improvement in the camera functionality, the audio experience, and the overall performance, the iPhone 11 is probably  the winner between the two phones.

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