Why you should buy the $600 iPhone XR instead of the $700 iPhone 11

Apple iPhone lineup 2019Apple/YouTube

In 2019, Apple sells at least five main versions of its most popular device: The iPhone.

The five seen above only represent the highest level overview of the many flavors of iPhone available as of this September. If you're buying an iPhone 8, for example, you could also opt for the slightly larger - and more expensive - iPhone 8 Plus. That's before we start talking about how much storage you'll need, or which color you want.

With all that choice, you might be wondering: Which iPhone is right for me? For most people buying an iPhone in 2019, the iPhone XR is still the best one to buy.

Here's why:

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Last year, the iPhone XR was Apple's most popular phone. This year, the iPhone 11 offers a minor upgrade to that device alongside a lower price tag.

Last year, the iPhone XR was Apple's most popular phone. This year, the iPhone 11 offers a minor upgrade to that device alongside a lower price tag.

In 2018, Apple introduced the iPhone XR as the "budget" option of iPhone. You could buy the $1,000 iPhone XS — the follow up to 2017's iPhone X — or you could opt for the cheaper iPhone XR, which started at $750.

The XR had a less-fancy screen, and slightly less fancy materials, but still looked and felt like a premium Apple device.

Given the incredibly high starting price for the iPhone X and iPhone XS, the XR was a hit with millions of people looking for an iPhone without a four-figure price tag.

It's no surprise that, in 2019, Apple's sequel to the XR is the iPhone 11 — the "budget" phone has become the flagship, with Apple positioning its $1,000 iPhone option as the iPhone 11 "Pro" model.

Like so many iPhones before it, the difference between 2018's iPhone XR and 2019's iPhone 11 are incremental.

Like so many iPhones before it, the difference between 2018's iPhone XR and 2019's iPhone 11 are incremental.

If you look closely at the specs of the iPhone XR and the specs of the iPhone 11, you'll quickly realize that the iPhone 11 is an evolutionary update to last year's iPhone XR.

For starters, they have the same type of screen ("Liquid Retina HD"), and it's the same size (6.1 inches). The iPhone XR uses 2018's A12 chip, and the iPhone 11 uses 2019's A13 (Apple introduces a new version of its iPhone chip every year). While the iPhone XR has a single camera sensor, the iPhone 11 has two. And then there are the build materials: The iPhone 11 is made of glass and aluminum, just as the iPhone XR was.

In short: The iPhone 11 is a minor upgrade to the iPhone XR that adds a slightly more powerful chip, a second camera sensor, and a slightly longer battery life.

Given the $100 price difference between the XR and the 11, those upgrades may be enough to convince you to drop the extra cash.

At $600, the iPhone XR is the "just right" option for most people.

At $600, the iPhone XR is the "just right" option for most people.

But let's be honest: The chip inside the iPhone XR is plenty powerful, and its camera is excellent.

You could drop the extra $100 and get an iPhone 11, but why spend that money for incremental upgrades?

For the vast majority of people looking for a new iPhone in 2019, the iPhone XR is more than enough machine. It's not the least-expensive option — that's the iPhone 8 at $450 — but it is the most capable iPhone for under $700.

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