iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max
Apple’s latest and greatest are causing quite the stir
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.
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, 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.
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).
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.
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