iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max

Ap­ple’s lat­est and great­est are caus­ing quite the stir

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If you own an iphone X from 2017, and you’re tak­ing a look at the XS range for the first time, you’ll be for­given for won­der­ing just what’s changed. That’s be­cause the de­sign is still ex­actly the same. Ap­ple is stick­ing to its guns with this year’s ‘S’ up­grade, mak­ing changes to the in­side of the phone only. And to be fair, last year’s iphone X was a strik­ing new de­sign di­rec­tion that won uni­ver­sal ac­claim. So the same all-glass form and func­tion are present and cor­rect.

Ap­ple is again claim­ing to use the most durable glass ever seen in a smart­phone, and there’s a new gold fin­ish to boot. Wa­ter and dust re­sis­tance is in­creased, while it is still wire­less charg­ing com­pat­i­ble via the rear cas­ing. The 3.5mm head­phone jack is still miss­ing though – as is the adapter in the box! – which means wired head­phone stal­warts should look else­where.

Dis­plays

The ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence with the two mod­els is the dis­play size. iphone XS comes in at 5.8 inches, while the XS Max sports a whop­ping 6.5-inch screen. The stan­dard XS fits in the palm of your hand re­ally nicely, but the XS Max – eas­ily the big­gest iphone Cu­per­tino have cre­ated – will take some get­ting used to. But if you crave a big screen – and hav­ing one is an im­por­tant fac­tor when buy­ing an iphone – the Max will blow you away. Even stretched to its su­per-sized form, the dis­play mea­sures 458 pix­els per inch.

Both hand­sets fea­ture HDR Su­per Retina OLED dis­plays with amaz­ing colour ac­cu­racy, black rep­re­sen­ta­tion and view­ing an­gles. These are hands-down the best dis­plays avail­able on the mar­ket.

Face ID

Face ID, last year’s head­line new fea­ture, has been im­proved. It’s now even quicker to un­lock your iphone, load up apps and pay for goods. Any­one up­grad­ing from a Touch ID iphone will in­stantly fall in love with this sys­tem. Gone are the days when you need to type in pass­words and user­names. Suc­cess rates are high – even if you wear a hat or glasses – be­cause the True Depth cam­era sys­tem and tech be­hind it work so well.

A12 Bionic

The XS range sports a new chip too – the A12 Bionic. When the phones were an­nounced Ap­ple ex­plained in very tech­ni­cal terms just why this was the most pow­er­ful chip seen on a smart­phone, but it all means very lit­tle un­til you get to test real-world per­for­mance. We love how re­spon­sive the XS range is, and you’ll be amazed by how smooth it runs. Don’t be­lieve us? Geek­bench 4 clocked both XS hand­sets at 4795 in its tests, miles ahead of the lead­ing An­droid phone, the Sam­sung Galaxy S9+ (3318).

Cam­era

Again, on the sur­face, not much has changed with the cam­era. It’s still the same spec – dual 12MP sen­sor on the rear, with one tele­photo lens and a wide-an­gle af­fair. Delve deeper and you’ll find de­cent if mod­est changes.

The size of the pix­els has been in­creased to al­low for bet­ter light sen­si­tiv­ity in low-light con­di­tions and ad­vanced depth to be added to por­trait shots. In truth, even with shots side-by-side, it’s hard to see the dif­fer­ence a year has made.

Bat­tery

It’s im­por­tant with all these fea­tures to have a bat­tery life that can sup­port them. iphone bat­tery life has never been at the cut­tingedge of smart­phone per­for­mance, but the XS range is an im­prove­ment over last year’s iphone X model. The XS will give you an ex­tra 30 min­utes, but the real im­prove­ment is in the XS Max, which gives you an ex­tra 1.5 hours of daily juice. That should be enough to stop any bat­tery anx­i­ety, re­gard­less of how much of a ‘power user’ you are.

iphone XS and iphone XS Max come in strik­ing gold, space grey and sil­ver fin­ishes

Ad­vanced Por­trait mode comes to iphone Xs and iphone Xs Max for even more so­phis­ti­cated bokeh

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