Looking to buy an Apple iPhone XR?
In this buyer’s guide, we’ve reviewed the 5 best iPhone XR deals in the UK right now.
We’ve also looked at the iPhone XR in more detail, to see if this phone is worth buying in 2021.
Quick comparison table
Best Apple iPhone XR deals
Let’s begin our reviews.
Below, we’ve looked at some of the best Apple iPhone XR deals in the UK, helping you find the right phone and data deal for your specific needs.
In terms of value for money, it’s very hard to go past Metrofone’s iPhone XR offers.
They offer this device with a number of different data packages, on a number of different networks.
You can choose between EE, Vodafone, Three, and TalkMobile (which also uses Vodafone). As a result, you can choose the network that offers the best coverage in your area, which is great.
At the moment, Metrofone’s iPhone XR deals from EE and Three are the best value. With these two carriers, you can get this phone with unlimited data for a very reasonable monthly cost and no upfront cost, on a 24 month contract.
When choosing between the different networks and data packs available, remember that you often get free gifts specific to each provider. For example, with EE, you get free Apple Music and BritBox for 6 months, which is nice to have.
Given the total cost of Metrofone’s Apple iPhone XR deals, it’s hard to fault them. They even have a good range of device choice – you can get the 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB XR in most of the available colours, as of the time of writing.
- Great value.
- Good network choice.
- Plenty of XR models in stock.
- Lots of free gifts available, especially with EE.
- N/A – great value contracts.
Overall value rating
Tesco Mobile aren’t as cheap as Metrofone. However, we’ve put them at #2 on this list because of the flexibility they offer.
Rather than simply listing a heap of different iPhone XR data packages, Tesco Mobile let you build your own plan.
You can choose how much data you’d like, your contract length, and what you’d like the upfront cost to be. After you’ve made your selection, you’ll see the monthly cost of the deal you’ve built.
This flexibility can be really useful for some people. You might like to make the contract last just 12 months for example, so that you own the device sooner. Or, you might like to save as much as possible, by going for a 36 month contract with a smaller amount of data.
The downside is Tesco Mobile can be a bit expensive compared to most other phone resellers. You also don’t get as much network choice – you only get O2, which is the carrier that Tesco Mobile uses.
- Can create your own plan.
- Possible to get a short term contract.
- Possible to vary your upfront cost.
- A bit expensive, especially on short term contracts.
Overall value rating
Another great-value mobile reseller to consider if you’re looking for an Apple iPhone XR is buymobiles.net.
Similar to Metrofone, buymobiles offer the iPhone XR with a number of different data packs on different carriers. You can get this phone on a 24 month contract with EE, O2, or Vodafone – Three currently isn’t available.
There are a massive number of different plans available, from 5GB all the way up to unlimited data. Each comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and free delivery to the UK.
In terms of the total cost, buymobiles offer good value for money. It’s definitely worth comparing their deals with other resellers to see which offers the best price – in general, buymobiles’ offers are very competitive.
You get each network’s specific free gifts with buymobiles (such as free Apple Music on EE) but they currently throw in free Apple TV+ for a year with all plans, which is a nice bonus. However, they don’t have a massive stock of different devices, unfortunately.
- Lots of network choice.
- Lots of data plan choice.
- Low total costs.
- Free gifts available.
- Not that many different colours in stock.
Overall value rating
With Carphone Warehouse, you can get the iPhone XR with either Vodafone or ID Mobile, which uses the Three network.
Of the two choices, ID is normally much cheaper. In fact, they offer extremely good prices, especially if you want 50GB or unlimited data.
If you haven’t looked at ID Mobile before, they’re generally a good network. They don’t offer free Apple TV or Apple Music, but their roaming is good, and they also offer data rollover. This allows you to keep any excess data you don’t use in a given month, ready for use in the future.
Although Carphone Warehouse doesn’t offer a massive amount of network choice, they do have a lot of devices to choose from. You should be able to find the iPhone XR in a colour that you like.
Overall, as long as you don’t mind ID Mobile as a carrier, Carphone Warehouse offer good value deals, with a reasonable total cost.
- Good prices.
- Data rollover included on ID Mobile.
- Lots of colour choices.
- Only one network choice.
Overall value rating
e2save offer the iPhone XR with a number of different Vodafone data plans.
Unlike the other providers we’ve looked at, you don’t get any network choice with e2save. However, if you like Vodafone, their plans are worth looking at.
There are a range of different 24 month contracts available, although none have unlimited data. Some have a higher upfront cost than others, allowing you to either minimise your monthly bill by paying more of the cost upfront, or saving your cash for later with a no upfront cost deal.
Each of e2save’s iPhone XR deals comes with unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, and free delivery to the UK. Although they advertise these deals as 5G enabled, the iPhone XR is not 5G compatible, so you’ll be on Vodafone 4G.
Vodafone doesn’t offer free Apple Music with these deals, but you can get access to the VeryMe rewards app if you commit to 24 months with some of their plans. This gives you access to restaurant discounts, movie tickets, and other free gifts on a regular basis.
- Reasonable prices.
- Good freebies with VeryMe rewards.
- Good data plan choice.
- Can only go with Vodafone.
Overall value rating
What you need to know
Now we’ll explain what you need to know when buying an Apple iPhone XR in the UK – either committing to a contract for 24 months, or buying the phone SIM free.
We’ll also look at the performance of this phone compared to some of its close competitors.
iPhone XR specifications
|Dimensions||150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm|
|Screen size||6.1 inches|
|Screen resolution (pixels)||1792 x 828 Liquid Retina HD|
|Screen refresh rate||60 Hz|
|Rear camera(s) (megapixels)||12|
|Front camera(s) (megapixels)||7|
|Chipset||Apple A12 Bionic|
|Charging port||Lightning port|
|Water/dust proofing||IP67 - dust-proof, waterproof up to 1m|
|Memory card slot||❌|
Is the iPhone XR still worth buying?
The iPhone XR is still worth buying in 2021, provided this phone meets your needs compared to a newer handset.
What we mean by this is, the iPhone XR is lacking in a few areas compared to brand new iPhones. For example, it has a 6.1 inch Liquid Retina display, which is an LCD screen, rather than the OLED screen you’ll find on newer iPhones. As a result, colours don’t quite look as true-to-life.
Also, as more of a cheap iPhone, the iPhone XR only has one main camera, rather than two or more. This means that it doesn’t have as much in the way of optical zoom or wide-angle lens capabilities compared to the iPhone 12 for example.
However, the iPhone XR cameras are still extremely good, especially given what this phone costs. They shoot sharp, clear pictures with good lighting, and the primary camera also does well in the dark. The XR’s front camera also has facial recognition capabilities, allowing you to use advanced Face ID technology to unlock your phone.
The XR is by no means a bad phone. The A12 Bionic chip is still snappy, and the phone has excellent battery life. It’s also IP67 certified, making the device water and dust resistant – it can be submerged up to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes. Plus, you get wireless charging, and the latest updates to Apple’s iOS operating system.
In terms of value for money, the Apple iPhone XR is a good deal. It’s a relatively cheap iPhone, and you can get it for a pretty reasonable cost per month, as we’ll explain below.
How much does the iPhone XR cost per month?
On a pay monthly contract, you can expect the Apple iPhone XR to cost about £25-£35 per month, depending on the amount of data and the length of the contract.
In addition to this pay monthly cost, most iPhone XR contracts have a cost upfront, to cover the price of the device. This upfront cost is typically about £30-£40 on a 24 month pay monthly contract.
How much does the iPhone XR cost SIM free?
If you buy the iPhone XR SIM free, it typically costs about £500 or so. Of course, you will then need to buy a data SIM in order to use the phone.
Buying your new mobile phone outright does give you some flexibility. For example, you can choose to buy a pay as you go SIM, so that you only have to pay when you want to use the phone.
However, typically you can save a decent amount of money, and keep your cash for longer, if you look at pay monthly deals with a contract length of 24 months. Not only will your initial cost be much lower – your total cost over the life of the contract will also be lower, especially given you have to buy a data SIM if you get the phone SIM free.
What is the best iPhone XR deal in the UK?
The best iPhone XR deal in the UK at the moment is Metrofone’s plans. There are a few reasons for this.
- They offer a heap of different data plans that are excellent value for money. Their deals have a low (or no) upfront cost, and a reasonable monthly cost.
- You can choose from many different networks, allowing you to pick the one that has the best coverage in your area.
- Their stock is generally very good. Meaning, you can find the device in a colour that you like, and with the right amount of internal storage.
Just remember, all Metrfone iPhone XR deals last for 24 months. You don’t get the flexibility to change the contract length, unlike with Tesco Mobile.
iPhone XR versions explained
When buying an Apple iPhone XR, you need to decide two things:
- How much internal storage you need – either 64GB or 128GB
- What colour you’d like – either Product Red, Yellow, White, Coral, Black, or Blue
In general, we recommend going for the iPhone XR 64GB version. The 128GB version can be a bit hard to find sometimes, especially on a pay monthly or pay as you go contract.
64GB is plenty of storage, especially if you keep your photos and videos on iCloud. The only reason you’d want more is if you plan to install lots of games on your phone, or a large number of apps.
Of course, different mobile phone providers will have different deals, with different mobile phones available. Some providers, like Metrfone, typically have a wider range of colours available with this handset.
iPhone XR vs iPhone X
The iPhone XR came out about a year after the iPhone X. However, the X is more expensive than the XR.
The iPhone X is more expensive than the XR because the latter is designed to be a more basic phone. The iPhone XR is made of aluminium, rather than stainless steel in order to cut costs. The screen is a lower resolution, and is an LCD display, not OLED like on the newer phone. Also, the X comes with two rear cameras – one wide-angle and one telephoto lens, rather than just a single main camera.
However, the Apple iPhone XR comes with an upgraded A12 Bionic chip, rather than the A11 Bionic that was in the old phone. The XR is also bigger, at 6.1 vs 5.85 inches.
To this day, the XR is still a significantly cheaper phone, mostly because of the display and the camera setup, even though it’s a newer handset.
iPhone XR vs iPhone XS
The iPhone XS came out a month before the XR. Neither are flagship handsets (unlike the iPhone 11 or iPhone 12), but the iPhone XS is slightly more expensive than the iPhone XR.
Apple’s iPhone XS has two rear cameras, unlike the XR, for better wide-angle and close-up shots. The XS also has more RAM (4GB), allowing for better multitasking, and you can get it with more internal storage (up to 512GB).
Both phones have the same A12 chip, the same CPU, and the same GPU – so they’re essentially identical in terms of speed and processing power, other than the RAM difference. However, the XR is bigger, and 17 grams heavier. This is partly because you get a stainless steel frame, rather than aluminium, with the iPhone XS.
Interestingly, the XS has a smaller battery, making the iPhone XR typically last longer than the iPhone XS.
In terms of price, the XS (and its cousin, the XS Max) are slightly more expensive than the XR. However, it can be difficult to find this phone new in box from official sellers in the UK at the moment – most of the available stock is refurbished models.
Is the iPhone XR camera any good?
If you’re considering whether or not to buy an iPhone XR, one of your main concerns might be the camera. Since there is only one rear lens, you might be worried about the quality of the pictures it takes.
However, the iPhone XR is actually very good at taking photos. Images are sharp, and offer good contrast. The rear camera doesn’t overexpose your shots, and its Smart HDR software algorithm does a good job touching up pictures. The XR is a significant step up on the cameras seen in the iPhone 8 and is also competitive with newer Samsung devices, like the S20 Plus.
Night shots also look great – they’re only a little bit dark on occasion. The area where the XR struggles a bit is its portrait mode. Since there is no second sensor to assess depth, the phone relies on its software to get the job done, meaning the amount of background blur might not always be optimal.
The front camera does a good job with portrait mode selfies though, and you don’t miss the second lens as much when taking forward-facing shots. It’s hard to fault the iPhone XR’s selfie camera, although its depth control isn’t perfect.
For videos, the iPhone XR performs very well, even compared to newer phones. The main camera will shoot 4K video at up to 60fps, while the selfie camera produces 1080p video at the same framerate. Slow-motion recording is also available with the 12MP camera.
For most people, you aren’t missing out on any major video capabilities with the iPhone XR compared to the iPhone 11 or even the iPhone 12.
About the author
Tom is the founder of Smartphone Savvy. He’s a diehard Android user, currently rocking a Pixel 4a in black.
In his spare time, you’ll find Tom playing videos games or watching Manchester United.