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Apple iPhone XR vs iPhone 12: What Will The 12 Add?

author Luis Silva (October 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

The iPhone 12 isn't that affordable, but it's the smartphone you should pick.

It features better performance (+58%), a better display, better cameras, and more OS updates (2 additional years).

Are there other things worth mentioning?

The iPhone 12 also has an AMOLED display, a lightweight body (30 g./1.06 oz less), faster wireless charging (15w vs. 5w), and more RAM (4GB vs. 3GB).

How much more will those additional features cost me?

If you're considering a new and unlocked smartphone, you'll have to spend approximately $488 more.

Is it worth getting the iPhone XR in 2021?

The iPhone XR is still a great phone, even in 2021, even more so if you can find it with a great deal. That doesn't mean you should ignore other devices like the iPhone 12 Pro since it has better performance, better cameras, more storage, more security updates, faster charging, more RAM, and better display.

Is it worth getting the iPhone 12 in 2021?

The iPhone 12 continues to be a rock-solid smartphone because of its good performance, good cameras, and excellent glass protection. It holds up pretty well in 2021, but note that (again) the iPhone 12 Pro features more storage and more RAM.

Read on and find out more about them, how they compare to similarly priced rivals, and how the industry is scoring their specs.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Apple iPhone XR, Apple iPhone 12

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

Should you upgrade already? Should you wait for another year? Is it OK to get an iPhone XR?

We'll soon find out all the answers to those questions and much more.

Let's start.

While Apple's iPhone 12 hit stores in October 2020, Apple's iPhone XR went on sale two years sooner.

With this article, you'll be able to compare every feature of the iPhone XR and the iPhone 12. Then, you can decide what model better suits your needs. Let's start.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device iPhone XR iPhone 12
Release Date 2018, October 2020, October 2y.
OS Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.
Security Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Geekbench 5 scores the iPhone 12 58% ahead of its sibling in the multi-core ranking. If you value performance, be aware of that difference, as it will be noticeable daily.

The iPhone 12's performance does stand out if you consider related-priced phones. While the average sits at 2658, this one is 53% above them.

It's safe to say that the iPhone 12 can be tagged as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features iPhone XR iPhone 12
SoC Apple A12 Apple A14
Graphics Apple GPU Apple GPU
Geekbench 5 Score 2575
4067
1492
OS iOS 12 iOS 14.1
Tek-Score
6.3
8.8
2.5

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Apple iPhone XR front transparent png Apple iPhone 12 front transparent png

The iPhone 12 has a better display, and it should be noticeable.

One peculiarity that the iPhone XR has over most competitors at its price range: Its pixel density evens out at 22% below the rest.

About the iPhone XR, you should know that 88% of its rivals have an AMOLED screen. However, only 21% of them feature Gorilla Glass 6 or Victus.

For the iPhone 12, please be aware that 88% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 96% have an Always-On display.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features iPhone XR iPhone 12
Size 6.1
6.1
0.0
Screen Type LCD AMOLED
Resolution (px) 828x1792
1170x2532
1478664
Refresh Rate 60hz 60hz 0
Dots per Inch 323.61
457.25
133.64
Always-On-Display No No
Notch Wedge Wedge
Peak Brightness 660 nits
639 nits
-21
HDR - HDR10
Sub Tek-Score
1.2
2.9
1.7
Protection Corning toughened glass Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Tek-Score
5.2
7.5
2.3

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Apple iPhone XR back transparent png Apple iPhone 12 back transparent png

Be aware that the iPhone 12's picture quality is, on average, 40% above its adversaries at about this price tag. And it should be your option today.

About the iPhone XR: This camera came out of DXOMARK's labs with a score of 112. If you also consider its digital zoom abilities, it'll get 116** points. If you want to know more about it, click here.

Before moving on, keep in mind that 97% of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, and all have an ultra-wide-angle lens.

About the iPhone 12: On DXOMARK's reviewing article, they gave this shooter 132 points. By considering its wide-angle lens, we'll get to the final score of 139 points. If you want to know more about every tidbit, check it here.

Furthermore, just to let you know, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 96% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Additionally, only 8% of them feature a macro lens.

If you're not a numbers person, we can tag the iPhone 12 as a high-end.

If you love optical zoom like I do, you should consider other options like the iPhone 12 Pro.

**You should give this score a margin of error of up to 6 points, especially for cameras with no zoom and with less than 40MP. They moved to a new camera test protocol, and I only have few reviewed devices to deduce a compatible score.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera iPhone XR iPhone 12
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.8
1.6
-0.2
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 4 4 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 2160 0
Score 116
139
23

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone XR iPhone 12 vs.
Megapixels - 12
Aperture - 2.4
Lens - 13mm
Lens Type - Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 4 7 3
Selfie Camera iPhone XR iPhone 12 vs.
Megapixels 7
12
5
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 32mm 23mm -9
iPhone XR iPhone 12 vs.
Tek-Score
6.8
8.2
1.4

Who has the best frame?

The iPhone 12 does have an advantage here, thanks to its weight and water resistance.

The iPhone 12 weighs 164 g. (5.78 oz), while its sibling is 30 g. (1.06 oz) heavier. But because this is a bit relative, I've developed a formula for a kind of "display size to phone weight" ratio. The iPhone XR got a score of 3.3, showing it's kind of weighty for its screen size. In the meantime, the iPhone 12 has 6.9, which is pretty nice.

The iPhone XR is resistant to water up to 1 meter, while the iPhone 12 got the IP68 rating, so it can safely go in up to 1 to 3 meters. Remember that it shouldn't be for over half an hour, on standby, and freshwater only.

Looks*
vs.
Body iPhone XR iPhone 12
Size 150 x 75 x 8 mm
(5.29 x 2.65 x 0.28 in)
146 x 71 x 7 mm
(5.15 x 2.50 x 0.25 in)
-17438
Weight 194 g. (6.84 oz)
164 g. (5.78 oz)
-30
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Black, Yellow, Red, White, Coral, and Blue Black, Red, White, Green, and Blue
Screen To Body Ratio 81.25%
88.18%
6.93
Disp.Size To Weight Score 3.3 6.9 3.5
Looks 8.6/10
10.0/10
1.3
Waterproof IP67 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Face ID
Tek-Score
5.6
8.6
2.9

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

The iPhone XR does have a bigger battery, with 2942 mAh, while the iPhone 12 only has 2815 mAh. But according to GSMArena's tests, there's no real difference between them.

The new iPhones also feature magnetic wireless charging. That's great, but it's yet another proprietary solution.

Battery*
vs.
Features iPhone XR iPhone 12
Capacity (mAh) 2942 2815 -127
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 78% left
79% left
1
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 62% left
64% left
2
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 64% left
64% left
0
Bat. To Phone Size Score 4.0 6.4 2.3
Sub Tek-Score
6.8
6.9
0.1
Fast Charging 15w
20w
5
Wireless Charging 5w
15w
10
Tek-Score
6.0
6.6
0.6

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

They share the same amount of storage.

The iPhone XR features 64GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM. Also, similarly priced adversaries usually have more storage and more RAM. They're around 6GB of RAM and 109Gb of storage.

In its turn, the iPhone 12 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of integrated storage. Again, you'll most likely get more RAM and more storage by picking any rival at that price range. 8Gb of RAM and 143Gb of storage: that's the average, not the best you can find.

Most people should be OK with only 64 GB of internal storage. However, if you can't get enough of the record button, you'll find out that 64 GB won't be enough for you.

Storage*
vs.
Features iPhone XR iPhone 12
RAM (GB) 3GB
4GB
1
Internal (GB) 64GB
64GB
0
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
2.8
2.8
0.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

The iPhone 12 is your better option, as it features 5G.

You can find the iPhone 12 in the (LTE and) 5G variant.

Connectivity
vs.
Features iPhone XR iPhone 12
Network LTE 5G
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
3.6
4.6
1.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are the prices that we've come across recently:

Apple iPhone XR

Reference: $392

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone 12

Reference: $880

Apple iPhone 12

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money iPhone XR iPhone 12 VS
Amazon 1.56 - ! -
eBay 1.09 0.98 -0.11
Best Buy - 0.93 -
Walmart - - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Want to know about that global score? First, let me mention the average at their price range. It's 6.0 for the iPhone XR and 7.0 for the iPhone 12.

Verdict: What Makes the Apple iPhone 12 Stand Out?

The iPhone 12 does have a significant performance increase compared to the iPhone XR. I guess you could wait another year if you don't think the XR is that slow or if you're happy with its battery life. Still, you wouldn't get an AMOLED display with a decent amount of pixels per inch right away. Just like you wouldn't get the Victus, the ultra-wide-angle lens plus better overall camera, a slightly lighter device, nor an extra Gigabyte of RAM.

If you think that you can live without that for a whole year, or as long as you plan to keep your (next) iPhone XR, then, by all means, do save a few hundred bucks.

Pros iPhone XR iPhone 12
#1 Performance Performance
#2 Cameras AMOLED
#3 Fast Charging Cameras
#4 Wireless Charging Fast Charging
#5 Glass Protection Wireless Charging
#6 Glass Protection
Cons iPhone XR iPhone 12
#1 Screen Resolution Always-On-Display
#2 AMOLED MicroSD Slot
#3 Always-On-Display 3.5mm Jack
#4 MicroSD Slot Price
#5 Weight
#6 3.5mm Jack
#7 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score iPhone XR iPhone 12
Gaming Score
3.8
6.3
2.5
Tek-Score
5.37
6.76
1.39
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

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About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Apple iPhone XR Related Comparisons


Apple iPhone 12 Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Apple iPhone XR 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 8
    $370
  • OnePlusrival7
    $388
  • HuaweirivalP30 Lite
    $280
  • XiaomirivalMi 9T Pro
    $385
  • ApplerivaliPhone 8 Plus
    $390
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy M30s
    $300
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS
    $410
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10
    $398
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S9
    $305
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ SD
    $359
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ EX
    $329
  • OnePlusrival7T
    $329
  • HuaweirivalP30
    $400
  • RealmerivalXT
    $290
  • GooglerivalPixel 4
    $386
  • OnePlusrival6T
    $300
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S9 Plus
    $305
  • XiaomirivalMi 9
    $400
  • HuaweirivalMate 20
    $285
  • XiaomirivalMi 9 Lite
    $317
  • ApplerivaliPhone SE 2
    $380
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Lite
    $299
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A51
    $280
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A71
    $400
  • OnePlusrivalNord
    $410
  • GooglerivalPixel 4a
    $350
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 FE
    $359
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 FE 5G
    $359
  • OpporivalFind X2 Neo
    $398
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy M51
    $396
  • OnePlusrivalNord N10
    $299
  • XiaomirivalMi 10T Lite
    $325
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Lite
    $399
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Lite
    $349
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A52
    $380
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy A42
    $299
  • XiaomirivalRedmi Note 10 Pro Max
    $292
  • XiaomirivalMi 9t Pro
    $385

 Apple iPhone 12 
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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