Apple iPhone XS vs. iPhone XR – Which phone is right for you in 2021?

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With each passing year, Apple makes it a little bit harder for Apple fans to decide which model they should go for. Such was the case in 2018, with the release of the iPhone XS and XR, which together with the XS Max officially replaced the iPhone X after it was discontinued that very year.

This means that if you’re looking to upgrade to an X series, any of these three will be your best bet. Still, choosing between them can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know a thing about refurbished iPhones. In fact, at first glance, there’s seemingly nothing much that differentiates the three X series phones.

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It’s only by taking a closer look will you notice the unique selling points offered by each. If you’re looking for an Apple refurbished iPhone in Australia and wondering if you should pull the trigger then you’re at the right place. Without further ado, let’s jump in!


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The XR offers a similar design to the XS but at a more affordable price. The price of a refurbished iPhone XR starts at $589 AUD and the price of a refurbished iPhone XS, on the other hand, starts at $619 AUD.

At this price, they offer great value for money and you can’t go wrong with any of them. You can keep yourself updated on deals and price drops from Facebook.


The XR and XS both start from a base capacity of 64 GB, which is pretty generous. However, if you are one of those people who’s always running out of phone space, then you should consider going for the XS, which offers 256 GB and 512 GB options.

However, you will have to pay a premium for the additional storage space. Comparatively, the XR only offers 128 GB and 256 GB storage options.

Screen and display

The XR and XS both feature a broad design and rounded corners. Their most noticeable difference is in screen size. The XR has been designed with a much bigger 6.1 inch, making it ideal for you if you enjoy watching loads of content on your screen.

Although the iPhone XS’s screen is a bit smaller at 5.8 inches, this makes the XS the ideal phone for those with small hands. Like the iPhone X, the XS comes complete with a Super Retina Display which offers brilliant contrast and true blacks. These models each come in different colours. The iPhone XR is available in Blue, Product Red, Yellow, Coral, Black, and White. In comparison, the XS only comes in three colour variations, that is, Silver, Black, and Coral.


In recent years, more and more mobile manufacturers are releasing smartphones with multiple cameras to create better quality snaps. While Apple did go in this direction with the iPhone XS, it chose to stick to tradition when it came to the iPhone XR.

Specifically, the XS has a dual-camera setup and features a 12 megapixel wide, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera. The XR, on the other hand, has a single 12-megapixel rear camera and a 7-megapixel selfie camera. You can take portrait shots on both devices. But the XS takes better images since one can adjust the focal depth to tweak the background blur.

Battery and performance

Both devices are powered by Apple’s iconic A12 bionic chip and at the time of their launch, they collectively represented the most powerful smartphone on the market.

Despite the introduction of the A13 and A14 processors, the iPhone XR and XS still compete well in terms of performance. They perform exceptionally well and handle every task with ease. Thanks to Apple’s iOS optimizations and lasted an entire day of use in our tests but that may vary according to usage.


As mentioned earlier, the iPhone XR and XS were launched in 2018, a time when 5G connectivity research was still growing. Given this fact, it’s no surprise that these two models have 4G connectivity.

You won’t be enjoying the extremely fast download speeds you could have been with 5G connectivity. Still, 4G connectivity is good enough to get you reasonably fast broadband. 5G is currently in its early stages of development and deployment, it isn’t available everywhere so, you won’t be missing out on much.

Final verdict

The bottom line is, the refurbished iPhone XS and XR both offer great value for the price especially if you go for a refurbished one. With the iPhone XR, you will get better battery life, a bigger screen, and the same performance at a much affordable price whereas the XS offers a top-notch display and two dual cameras.

This makes them great options. But with all refurbished handsets on the market today, you will probably have to decide which features you value most from a smartphone. Keep in mind, Apple currently only sells the iPhone XR but you can buy refurbished iPhone XR and XS at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

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