With the recent release of the iPhone XR, Apple’s yearly iPhone releases are done and dusted — and despite being billed as the lesser option to the iPhone XS and XS Max, we love the lower-cost iPhone XR. With all the same power, but a more vibrant design, we think it might be the best iPhone of the year.
But there’s more than just iPhones out there. The new OnePlus 6T provides flagship power and a beautiful design for less than the usual flagship price. Does the iPhone XR have what it takes to defeat Android’s flagship killer, or will OnePlus add another scalp to its collection? We found out.
|iPhone XR||OnePlus 6T|
|Size||150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm (5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches)||157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm (6.20 x 2.94 x 0.32 inches)|
|Weight||194 grams (6.84 ounces)||185 grams (6.5 ounces)|
|Screen size||6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD IPS LCD||6.41-inch AMOLED|
|Screen resolution||1792 x 828 pixels (326 pixels per inch)||2340 x 1080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)|
|Operating system||iOS 12||Oxygen OS (over Android 9.0 Pie)|
|Storage space||128GB, 256GB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap-to-pay services||Apple Pay||Google Pay|
|Processor||Apple A12 Bionic||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Camera||12MP (with OIS) rear, 7MP TrueDepth front camera||Dual 16MP (with OIS) and 20MP rear, 16MP front|
|Video||Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps||Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Fingerprint sensor||No||Yes, in-display|
Fast charge capable (Additional charger needed)
Qi wireless charging
OnePlus Dash Charge
|App marketplace||Apple App Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint||T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon|
|Colors||White, black, blue, yellow, coral, (Product) Red||Mirror Black, Midnight Black|
|Review score||4.5 out of 5 stars||4 out of 5 stars|
Performance, battery life, and charging
As befits a flagship, you’ll find powerful processors powering each of these phones. The OnePlus 6T is equipped with this year’s “flagchip”, the Snapdragon 845, and it provides smooth performance and plenty of grunt for tackling the latest mobile games. However, it’s not as powerful as Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which powers the iPhone XR, not to mention the iPhone XS and XS Max. Despite having less RAM than the OnePlus 6T, the XR easily handled every game we threw at it — which included some ARKit 2.0 apps. You also get plenty of storage on both phones — but there’s no MicroSD card expansion option for either.
On paper you’d expect the OnePlus 6T’s 3,700mAh battery to easily beat the iPhone XR’s 2,942mAh battery — but it doesn’t play out that way. Both phones are more than capable of over a day’s worth of power and beyond, though the OnePlus 6T may have slightly more stamina. The iPhone XR also comes with wireless charging, but you won’t be fast charging with the cable in the box — while the 6T comes with OnePlus’s super-fast Dash charging.
You won’t be unhappy with the performance, battery life, or charging offered by either of these phones — but the iPhone XR’s A12 Bionic processor means it’s the more powerful of the two.
Winner: Apple iPhone XR
Design and durability
This is a much tighter category to judge than the previous one — both are stunning smartphones that are sure to turn heads. The OnePlus 6T takes everything we loved about the OnePlus 6 and ramps it up, reducing the notch to a dewdrop design, and putting the fingerprint scanner beneath the display. On the other hand, the iPhone XR is a combination of the iPhone 8‘s back with the iPhone XS’s front, and it’s a beautiful design — and did we mention we can’t get enough of those colors?
So both get full marks for design — but what about durability? Both use fragile glass in their build, so you’ll find similar durability — a protective case is definitely a good idea. You’ll only find water-resistance on the iPhone XR, however, which comes with an IP67-rating. The OnePlus 6T lacks any certified water-resistance — which means you’ll need to keep it tightly held around pools.
Both of these phones are neck-and-neck in design, so pulling ahead on water-resistance makes the iPhone XR the narrow winner.
Winner: Apple iPhone XR
The iPhone XR marks the début of Apple’s newest display tech. Named “Liquid Retina”, it’s an LCD display that’s able to be curved — meaning it’s able to curve into a phone’s body without the need to incorporate a large chin. It’s a great tech, and it looks good. However, it is only running a 1792 x 828 resolution. Not only is the OnePlus 6T rocking a 2340 x 1080 resolution — making it sharper than the XR — but it’s also a superior AMOLED panel. It shows deep, inky blacks and vibrant colors the iPhone can only dream of — and it’s the clear winner here.
Winner: OnePlus 6T
There hasn’t been a huge shake-up in camera lenses on the OnePlus 6T, and you’ll find the same 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel lenses as the OnePlus 6. OnePlus has improved the software though, and it’s capable of more than before, including a low-light Nightscape mode, and smoother edge-detection in portrait mode shots. It’s easily the best camera OnePlus has ever released, and it takes some great photos. However, it falls short of matching greats like the Pixel 3, Note 9, and iPhone XS.
The iPhone XR, on the other hand, comes with just a single rear-facing lens — a 12-megapixel lens that’s identical to the iPhone XS’s primary lens. It’s capable of the same Smart HDR as the new iPhones, and also takes some great portrait mode shots — though it’s restricted to only taking portrait mode shots of people. Some versatility is lost without the 2x zoom lens, but it’s not detrimental to its overall performance, and the XR takes some great shots in a variety of lighting.
You’ll be able to capture 4K video on both of these phones, but you’ll only get slow-motion fun on the OnePlus 6T. Selfies from either are likely to be good, but the iPhone’s TrueDepth selfie camera provides excellent portrait mode shots — and is the superior again.
While the 6T is the best camera OnePlus has produced to date, the iPhone XR’s camera suite is just better.
Winner: Apple iPhone XR
Software and updates
You’ll find the latest version of Android, Android 9.0 Pie, on the OnePlus 6T, hidden by Oxygen OS. It’s fairly similar to stock Android, and we really enjoyed our time using it. In terms of updates, OnePlus is usually pretty snappy getting major Android updates out, so you shouldn’t be too disappointed with your update speed to Android Q, or even Android R.
The iPhone is always going to update faster though, and that’s simply because Apple has a direct line to its phones. The iPhone XR comes with the latest iOS 12, and we really dig it. It’s a great piece of software, and while some Android heads will never like it, iPhone fans will love it.
Comparing Android and iOS is always like comparing apples and oranges — you probably know your favorite by now. We’re going to rule this a tie.
The aforementioned TrueDepth camera on the iPhone XR provides most of the fun special features, allowing for face-unlocking via Face ID, as well as support for Animojis. iOS 12 brings gesture navigation with it, which is probably our favorite implementation of gesture navigation so far. The XR doesn’t have 3D Touch support like the rest of this year’s iPhones though, but it does have the more limited Haptic Touch instead.
The OnePlus 6T has a larger set of special features to avail yourself of. There’s now a gaming mode that prioritizes network traffic and performance, as well as OnePlus’s own spin on gesture navigation. The aforementioned in-display fingerprint scanner is cool — even if it isn’t perfect — and the display also includes night-time and reading modes for eye comfort.
While Apple’s special features are all polished and near-perfect, the OnePlus 6T simply has more to play with, and it comes with some stuff we find really cool — like the in-display fingerprint scanner.
Winner: OnePlus 6T
The OnePlus 6T costs from $549, and works on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. The iPhone XR is also available now, and it’s the cheapest iPhone this year — but that’s relative. Prices start at $750, but it will work with every major U.S. network.
Overall winner: Apple iPhone XR
It was tight battle, but the writing was on the wall by the later categories. The iPhone XR is more powerful, comes with a better camera, and gets a slight edge thanks to its water-resistance. But by no means does that mean the OnePlus 6T is a bad phone. The Snapdragon 845 may not be as powerful as the A12 Bionic, but it’s still capable of handling anything you can throw at it. The 6T’s cameras are also very capable — and we really don’t have to defend the drop-dead gorgeous design.
But at the end of the day, the iPhone XR is simply the stronger phone across our categories. Grab it and you won’t be disappointed with its performance — but if you prefer Android, or the lower price tag, you’ll also be served extremely well by the OnePlus 6T.
- OnePlus 9 vs. iPhone 12: Is the new flagship killer worth the money?
- Pixel 4 vs. iPhone 11 Pro
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro vs. iPhone XS vs. iPhone X
- Samsung Galaxy A52 vs. Apple iPhone SE
- The best 5G phones to buy in 2021