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iPhone XR Pre-Orders Start Tonight, Should You Upgrade?

The iPhone XR goes up for pre-order tonight, with the full release next Friday. If you’ve been on the fence (and haven’t already ordered an XS), you may be wondering if it’s the phone for you. Let’s dissect.

First off, the XR is the “budget” model of the current X series, but let’s be honest: there’s nothing that screams budget about a phone this gorgeous (and starts at $750). That seven-fiddy price will net you a phone with 64GB of storage, but if you’re into more you can grab a 128GB model for $799, or get 256 geebees for $899. Yeah, the most expensive XR is still more affordable than the cheapest XS. Heh.

And that’s what makes this phone so appealing in the first place—it’s 97 percent of the XS experience for 75 percent of the cost. Dollar for dollar, the XR is the best buy in iPhones right now… for some people, anyway.

For example, if you already have an iPhone X, there’s no reason to think about moving to an XR—that’ s a lateral movement at best, and a waste of money at worst. Sure, the XR has a bigger display and comes in multiple colors, but is that enough reason to spend at least $750? We reckon not.

If you’re coming from an older model, however—-an iPhone 8 or below—then there’s a lot of good reasons to consider the XR. Sure, your 8 may still be a solid little phone (or maybe it’s the Plus and it’s not so little) that continues to deliver the performance that you need it to. But the X series iPhones are all about the experience; they’re cleaner, smoother, and generally just better. It’s just a better experience, plain and simple.

The edge to edge display is beautiful (LCD vs OLED debates be damned), the gesture navigation is generally just great to use, and it just looks so good. Side-by-side, the XR just makes the previous iPhone models look, well, outdated. I’d be lying if I said vanity doesn’t sell phones, because it most certainly does.

Look, the move from an 8 to an XR isn’t something you do out of necessity—your iPhone 8 is perfectly serviceable—it’s something you do because you want to. No amount of words I pound out on this keyboard are going change your mind there. If you want it, you’ll make it happen. I know you will.

But if you’re running an iPhone 7, 6S, 6, or older, man, it’s time to seriously think about biting that bullet. You’ve probably already been thinking about it, and I don’t blame you in the slightest. Maybe you want the XS but are hesitant to spend all those dollars on Apple’s flagship. You’re exactly who the XR is for! Remember a moment ago when I said it’s the best bang for your buck right now in the iPhone lineup? While that applies across the board, it especially applies to somebody thinking up upgrading an old iPhone.

So yeah, let’s do this thing.

The Best Way to Pre-Order the iPhone XR

We’re going to let you in on a secret here: if you want to quickly and easily pre-order a new XR as soon as it’s available, skip Apple’s website. The site usually gets hit so hard during pre-orders that it’s sluggish and problematic.

For a better experience, use the Apple Store app. If all of your Apple account information is up to date, it should take about 30 seconds and a handful of taps to get through the process—it’s about as painless as a pre-order can get and unlike the website (that gets hammered into the dirt anytime a super cool new Apple product drops) the app, in our experience, stands strong.

So if you’re ordering a new phone tonight, the app is where it’s at. Make sure your payment info is up to date, set an alarm on your phone for 12:01 AM PT, and fire off your order from the app itself to ensure you scoot right to the front of the virtual line.

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is Review Geek's former Editor in Cheif and first started writing for LifeSavvy Media in 2016. Cam's been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. In 2021, Cam stepped away from Review Geek to join Esper as a managing Editor. Read Full Bio »