The five iPhone XS features that matter most
The iPhone XS offers enough to catch the eye of those who skipped last year’s iPhone X, writes Jason Cross
At its ‘Gather Round’ event, Apple announced its latest high-end premium phone: the iPhone XS. As the name implies, it’s something of an upgrade to the iPhone X, with a handful of improvements but the same overall design and features. That doesn’t mean it’s a bore. Quite the contrary: for those who found last year’s iPhone X just a little too
expensive for what you get, this year’s improvements might be enough to win you over. Here are the five ways the iPhone XS really differs from the iPhone X.
1. It comes in two sizes
The iPhone X only came in one size: 5.8 inches. That sounds big, but the taller, narrower aspect ratio enabled by the slim-bezel design and removal of the Home button makes the phone considerably narrower than the 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone models.
The iPhone XS comes in two sizes: the regular 5.8in model, with the same size and resolution as the iPhone X (2,436x1,125), and the new 6.5in iPhone XS Max, which has a resolution of 2,688x1,242. That’s the same 458 pixels per inch density, expanded out to the largest size display ever in an iPhone.
That iPhone XS Max is about the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus, only with a much bigger edge-to-edge display. In other words, if you love big phones, you now have a big phone iPhone X.
2. The prices are still sky high
The iPhone X started at a whopping £999. It was a new high water mark for premium phone prices, and that’s just the entry-level 64GB version.
The same-sized iPhone XS with 64GB is still £999, and the new larger Max model starts at £100 more at £1,099.
But those are just the starting prices. The iPhone X was also available with a 256GB storage option that cost £150 more. The new iPhone XS models have that option as well, for £1,149 (5.8in) and £1,249
(6.5in). However, Apple’s also adding a new 512GB storage tier, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for that. Opting for a half-terabyte of storage will cost you £1,349 for the 5.8in iPhone XS or £1,449 for the 6.5in Max model.
3. It comes in gold
The iPhone X came in two colours: Silver and Space Grey. The former is more of a white with a shiny stainless steel band around the edges, while the latter is nearly black, with a matching steel band.
The iPhone XS models maintain these two colours and add a third: Gold. This isn’t the pinkish ‘rose gold’ of previous iPhone models, it’s a very gold gold. The steel band around the edges has a gold hue, and the back looks extravagant.
4. The A12 Bionic chip is faster and more efficient
The A11 Bionic in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 was the fastest mobile processor on the planet when it was introduced last year. It was so fast, it still outpaces the latest high-end Android phones. Now Apple has upped the ante with the A12 Bionic.
Made using advanced 7nm manufacturing process technology, Apple claims the high-performance cores on the A12 are up to 15 percent faster than the A11 Bionic while using up to 40 percent less power. The high-efficiency cores use up to 50 percent less power. And GPU performance is up to 50 percent faster.
Those improvements pale in comparison to the seriously beefed-up Neural Engine (for machine learning tasks). It is now capable of a whopping five trillion operations per second, up from 600 billion in the A11.
Apple’s also got faster wireless with gigabit LTE and better worldwide compatibility, a better image processor, faster storage controller, and lots of other tweaks and improvements.
In other words, the iPhone X is still one of the fastest phones on the planet, even after a year on the market. And now the new XS is faster.
5. The camera is even better
Though the competition is really stiff, each new iPhone can rightly claim to have one of the best (and most consistent) cameras on the market. Apple shows no sign of slowing down with the iPhone XS. It still has dual rear cameras, one wide-angle and one telephoto.
But the wide-angle camera uses a new sensor that has larger and deeper pixels that make it twice as fast. That should really help in low-light situations, as well as taking multiple exposures for HDR.
Speaking of HDR, there’s a new Smart HDR system that takes even more exposures than before and combines them using the Neural Engine, performing over a trillion operations on each photograph. Apple says it means that you’ll see better details in dark areas, fewer blown-out highlights, truer colour, and even better bokeh in Portrait Mode.
Portrait Mode is promised to better detect edges, especially in tricky areas such as frizzy hair. And you’ll get to adjust the level of depth from f/1.4 to f/14 even after you take the shot.
The front-facing camera gets a boost, too. It’s still 7Mp, but is now twice as fast, and can record 1080p video at 60 frames per second (up from 30fps on the iPhone X).
The improved camera extends over to video recording, which promises even better image quality and, for the first time, the ability to record stereo sound.
Apple has added a third colour: Gold. Not Rose Gold, just Gold