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iPhone XR Camera Test: Better Than The iPhone X?



2 minute read

The iPhone XR sports just a single 12 MP rear camera, but combined with iOS’s impressive image processing software, the offering is far improved over last year’s iPhones. Read on to find out why we like the iPhone XR’s camera so much.

iPhone XR: single 12MP camera

From the rear, the iPhone XR looks very similar to last year’s iPhone 8 with a single large lens in the corner. Same as last year, the 12 MP camera has a wide f/1.8 aperture to let in lots of light, helping significantly when you’re snapping in dark environments. The sensor is improved too and manages to take very clear shots when you may expect motion blur, in part thanks to optical image stabilization.

Unlike the iPhone 8, however, the iPhone XR offers portrait mode with adjustable bokeh and three lighting effects (natural, studio and contour). Without the second lens, the iPhone XR is relying on software to detect depth, but I’ve found it works very well in many cases. Check out the video below to see the iPhone XR camera in action:

It’s clear that dual cameras still have an advantage over single cameras in smartphones, but nevertheless, the iPhone XR still manages to beat many other competing smartphones with dual cameras thanks to Apple’s excellent software optimization.

iPhone XR vs iPhone X

Despite being the successor to the iPhone XR, the iPhone X keeps the dual camera setup on the rear, packing a wide-angle f/1.8 lens and a telephoto f/2.4 lens, both at 12 MP. In reality, the main difference of the iPhone X is the added ability of being able to zoom to 2x without losing any resolution. Plus, the second lens of the iPhone X allows it to detect depth more accurately, which enhances portrait mode.

iPhone XR vs iPhone XS Max

Like the iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max also features a dual camera on the rear, featuring a wide-angle f/1.8 lens and a telephoto f/2.4 lens, both at 12 MP. As before, the iPhone XS and XS Max feature portrait mode with advanced bokeh and ‘depth control’. Adding to this is portrait mode with not three but five effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage and Stage Mono).


Overall, I’m impressed with the camera in the iPhone XR. Despite only having a single lens, Apple have done a good job with software optimisation and the camera is capable of taking some fantastic photos.

Written by willp789

Will is a tech fanatic who likes coffee and music.