iPhone XR killed it in '19, beating out Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi, Huawei models, survey finds

It's a good sign for the iPhone 11, a CNET editor's choice.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr

Apple may not be the world's biggest phone maker, but its iPhone XR appears to have been a hit.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple's entry-level iPhone XR turned heads when it debuted last year. It offered the latest mobile chips, a pared-down camera and a lower-quality screen. But for all those trade-offs, Apple said it would charge $749 -- that is, 25% less than the $999 iPhone XS at the time.

When the iPhone 11 came out this year, offering many of the same types of trade-offs for $700, CNET named it the best midtier iPhone the company's ever made.

Now it appears buyers like that sort of value. Market watcher Counterpoint Research said Tuesday that the iPhone XR was the best-selling headset in the world for nearly a year. That meant it beat out other top handset models like the Samsung A10, Oppo A9, Xiaomi Redmi 7A and Huawei P30. (If these models aren't as familiar to you, that's because they're sold in China, and not all in the US.)

The research marks a win for Apple at a time when it's struggling to grow iPhone revenue. The tech giant has begun focusing on new subscription businesses, like its Apple TV Plus video on demand service, Apple Arcade gaming service, Apple News Plus magazine and newspaper service and Apple-branded credit card to pay for them all with.

Counterpoint said Apple was able to pull out its win for the iPhone XR in part by "adjusting" the XR's price to remain competitive with other, cheaper phones.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

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