• Martin van Zeelandt / TCD

iPhone XR - My First iPhone, certainly not my last one... (2021)


Back in 2019, a colleague showed me his phone. It was an iPhone XR, and it immediately blew me away. So sleek, so nice to the touch. Obviously I knew of its existence, and also the brand Apple, but I never owned one. Never? Correct, never. I was always an Android fanatic, and I've owned many phones, the likes of Samsung, Blackberry, Nokia, LG, OnePlus, Sony Ericsson, Sagem, and the list goes on. But an Apple phone never appealed to me, until that wonderful day back in 2019. As my phone contract was about to expire and I had to go for a new phone, I thought I'd give the iPhone XR a go. Keep it simple to start with. Don't go for the Pro or another high end spec version, just the 'basic' phone.

I went into the O2 shop, when we were still allowed (the good old days), and got the iPhone XR, in white! Exactly the one you see in the picture above. A week later the wife got the same phone but in blue. Obviously you had a wide range of colours, but I decided to keep it simple. Still stands out compared to the most phones out there, which are all in black. Once I came home with the phone, I was extremely happy. The design was so good. It felt so good. The quality was top notch. The weight on the other hand, compared to the previous phone I had (a OnePlus 6) was a tad disappointing, but nothing major. I couldn't believe it: for the first time ever, I owned an Apple phone!


Back in the 90s I did own a few Macintosh computers, but Windows won me over. Now, 2019, the year of the big change, it made me feel good. It looked so sleek and beautiful, but the pain would creep up slowly: getting data from an Android phone to an Apple IOS phone. My God, what a nightmare that was. If you are considering changing, make sure you do your research before, because it's certainly NOT easy. From iPhone to iPhone is dead easy, but not from Android. I lost a fair amount of data, that was a bummer. All the logins were gone, and the apps, well, I had to download them again, and remember my passwords. That was a nightmare which unfolded the second I turned the phone on, and stuck my SIM card in.


At least I kept the phone numbers. The WhatsApp history could be stored, but wouldn't be visible on the actual chat. But once I overcame this issue, I was an iPhone user. Funnily enough, colleagues at work noticed it, and it felt like I was part of this special group of people. I don't know how to describe it. Like a cult. And I was bitten by the bug.


I had the 64 GB phone, which after 2 years was sufficient enough. Got the additional Cloud storage sorted, so that's nothing to worry about. But it obviously depends on the usage pattern of the owner: are you a person with 1000 apps, you might need to go for a higher spec version. If you aren't, you might appreciate 64 GB. For me it's enough.


The build quality of the phone is superb. The screen quality is also top. The jump in regards to the quality was nothing I've ever experienced before. Such a difference. But you pay for quality. Other manufacturers have now got the same or similar spec phones on the market, but for me the change was immense. Youtube videos were insanely good, and the screen was brightly lit. It would be the phone I would carry with pride. But one of the main issues was a case for the phone. You don't want to drop the phone, and pay a lot of money for the repair. A case had to be ordered, but most were big boys. Thick and very uncomfortable. After buying a few, I found a decent one, a bumper case. Strong, and yet light.


I did like the phone. It was quick, but sadly had no finger print scanner. That would have been a feature I wished the phone had. The face scanner works magic, but in 2020 and 2021 the phone unlocking would have been a tad annoying, with humans wearing masks constantly. The latest software update provided the answer, if you have an iWatch (which I do).


So the speed was good, the build quality is good, but were there any negatives? Well, yes. The battery wasn't great. After a while we had the to charge the phone at least twice a day. It would drain the battery a lot, the way I used the phone. Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Video, Youtube... all would eat the battery's life expectancy a lot. That was quite the nuisance. And we were used to charging speeds higher than expected, and it did take a lot of time to get to 100%. That's the one reason I changed from an iPhone XR to an iPhone 12 a few days ago (the review for this phone will be written in 2 years time, at the end of the contract with O2).


The iPhone XR gave me a glimpse into the wonderful world of Apple, which I left around 1998. Now I own an iPhone 12, an iWatch, and an iMac. I was thinking of purchasing a high speed charger for the new phone, but for now the charging speed matches the previous phone. It's slightly quicker, but not as quick as advertised on their website.


I did really appreciate my first iPhone. It wasn't the highest spec version, as the iPhone X was out too, with multiple versions of it available. The iPhone and it's quirkiness has grown on me, and I wouldn't go back to Android for now. Maybe in the future, but not yet. I am really pleased with the little changes that Apple introduces in each software update, and on Youtube you can find a lot of videos of people talking about 'hidden features' on each phone. It took me 2 years to find out how to search for text on a website. Control-F is the one you use on a Windows computer, or Command-F on the iMac, but there's a way. Of course there is: Apple thought of everything!


With regret and happiness in mind I recently changed my phone. The XR would have lasted longer, but I just wanted something newer. My colleague, who introduced me, still has his, and he's happy with it. For him there's no need to change.


The wife is still a tad Android fangirl-ish. But showing her how easy it was to transfer stuff from the XR to the 12 made her realise that the iPhone could be the next phone for her. If you have never owned an iPhone, I would consider it. Yes, certain iPhones were scrutinised for having issues, like the famous bend gate phone, but they have upped their games, and the build quality is great, and the phones feel absolutely great. And if you follow Youtubers who test these phones, and you know of Jerry Rig (as example), there's no need to burn your screen like he does, or bend it (like Beckham). As long as you've got a case which protects the phone, it will last you a long time.


Mine goes back to O2, for recycling. They might salvage the phone, and sell it as refurbished. Mine hasn't got any scratches, or dents, or hasn't been bent. A perfect phone. The best one I've ever owned. But that might change; the 12 might even be better. 5G anyone?



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