Which One Has the Best Camera: iPhone XR Vs. iPhone XS?

The camera will undoubtedly be the deciding factor if you are debating between the iPhone XR and XS. The iPhone XS has two lenses on the rear camera, while both models share many other features.

The start price of the iPhone XS was higher than iPhone XR. Here comes up a question, does the additional cost improve the camera features? 

In this article, we’ll compare the two models side by side so you can choose which one has a better camera and is best for you. 

General Photos and Videos 

The fact that the two phones use various display technologies makes viewing the results on phone displays confusing. The OLED screen on the iPhone XS displays deeper blacks and richer colors than the LCD screen on the iPhone XR, which offers more color variations but less contrast.

It will also be challenging to distinguish between two cell phone images when looking at regular photos, even if you compare the images on a computer (landscape, objects, or selfies). However, this can be explained because they have nearly identical camera specifications. The iPhone XR has an optical image stabilizer and a wide-angle 12 MP lens with an f1.8 aperture.

This is also the primary lens on the iPhone XS, and it will be used for most of your photos that aren’t in portrait or zoom mode. Apple included the same image sensors, processing software, and even the new Smart HDR feature in the iPhones XS, XS Max, and XR cameras. It’s worth noting that the XS Max has the same dual rear camera as the XS, except for a larger screen.

The result is vibrant colors, balanced highlights and shadows, and a crisp image. The same is true for videos. The iPhone XS and XR are among the best smartphones for producing videos, whether you are a cinematographer or want to capture fun videos of your children.


They are also strikingly similar. Both models have a 7-megapixel front-facing camera that can detect depth. Apple refers to this feature as “TrueDepth,” allowing you to unlock your phone using FaceID.

Although the iPhone X was the initial famous Apple phone to use various lighting effects directly in the camera interface, the iPhone XR can access the same settings from the front camera as the iPhone XS. As a result, the two models are similar in this regard.

Zoom is the first noticeable difference.

The iPhone XS uses the second lens as a 2x optical zoom before switching to digital zoom, which is the first difference between the two smartphones. The iPhone XR only has digital zoom. This means that photos and videos at 2x magnification will be sharper in the XS than in the XR. That’s because the iPhone XR only uses software to take photos, whereas the other model has a dedicated lens. The content will be of higher quality.

Using the XS will be simpler because it has a shortcut in the camera interface that provides quick access to the dedicated zoom lens. The same button also functions as a slider tool, allowing up to 10x one-handed zooming. The XR model requires this to be done manually and without the slider. The iPhone XR makes content capture much more difficult. 

Portrait Mode

The first difference in this aspect is the apparent distance at which the photos were taken. An image taken with the iPhone XR is taken from a much greater distance than one taken with the iPhone XS.

This is because the XR uses a wide-angle lens, which provides a “greater view,” whereas the XS uses a telephoto lens, which gives the impression that the image was captured from a closer angle. The iPhone XR takes better pictures than the iPhone XS, and the blurring effect on the more expensive model appears more natural, particularly when worn around a person’s body.

Videos shot with the iPhone XR have a higher resolution and a wider field of view. The disadvantage of having a lens with a wider angle on the iPhone XR is that it distorts the photo’s borders as if focused on the person closest to the lens.

The Portrait mode of the XR is limited to recognizing humans, whereas the XS recognizes humans, animals, plants, food, and any other inanimate object. Apple may add this feature in a future update, but for the time being, you’ll have to rely on third-party apps to avoid seeing the message “no one detected” on your iPhone XR’s screen.

The iPhone XS is the clear winner in this category, but the XR is useful in various situations if you have time to frame photos.

Low-light Photography

The iPhone XR stands out in this regard because it will use the main lens with the widest aperture. It allows more light to be captured, even in low-light situations. Because the XR uses a wide-angle lens with a larger aperture, portrait mode shots in low light are more noticeable.

In comparison, the same photo taken with the iPhone XS appears to have more noise (darker), whereas the one taken with the XR appears brighter and sharper. The iPhone XS needs to catch up even with two lenses on the rear camera.

Final Thoughts 

To determine which model is the best, you must first determine the phone’s purpose. If 99.9% of the images are captured in automatic mode, the iPhone XR camera can produce excellent results. There are no significant differences in the quality of the captured content (image and video) between the two smartphones if you only prioritize the camera. 

However, we cannot deny that the iPhone XS has the best camera for photographing children and pets, as we all know they do not like to pose. The iPhone XS is the best option if you want to zoom in on photos and videos. 


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