A year after completely reimagining its most iconic product, Apple gave the iPhone X the ‘s’ treatment and a larger sibling. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have 5.8- and 6.5-inch displays (respectively), upgraded hardware, and iOS 12 on board.
The duo of phones also comes with an all-new, stunning gold color option. Pricing starts at $999 for the iPhone Xs, and $1,099 for the iPhone Xs Max.
After spending the past several days reviewing the the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, we found them to offer a perfect blend of design, craftsmanship, industry-crushing performance, as well as a seamlessly intuitive user experience. They are not only the most advanced phones made by Apple to date, but also a benchmark for the entire industry. Whether you are a current iPhone owner looking for an upgrade, or an Android user thinking about changing platforms, here are five reasons why you need and iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max in your life.
• 5.8- and 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED display with a resolution of 458 pixels per inch
• A12 Bionic chip with all-new Neural Engine
• Up to 512 GB of storage
• Dual 12 MP camera with optical image stabilization
• 7 MP front-facing camera with Face ID
• Built-in stereo speakers
• Fast wired and wireless charging
• Dual-SIM capable
1. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are the most powerful smartphones you can buy.
Apple’s latest phones replace their predecessor as the most powerful smartphones out there — their 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip has faster and more efficient CPU cores, as well as 50% more powerful GPU. However, it’s the next-generation Neural Engine that’s worth getting excited about. It has an all-new, cutting-edger design, which enables it to perform almost nine times as many operations per second as its predecessor.
As a result, the A12 Bionic chip can quickly analyze neural network data and optimize performance in a multitude of scenarios you’ll encounter on a regular basis. They include the ability to launch apps up to 30% faster and significantly speeding up Face ID, among many others.
The improved speed that iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max offer over the already snappy iPhone X is noticeable. Overall, when it comes to sheer processing power, the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are in a league of their own.
Apple iOS 12 will help you make the most out of the amazing hardware capabilities of both phones. The OS update brings superior augmented reality experiences and games, the option to create personalized Memoji (which is a personalized variant of the Animoji that debuted alongside iPhone X last year), and the ability to keep tabs on your screen-on time, among many other features.
2. The iPhone X and iPhone X Max have beautiful OLED displays.
The Super Retina OLED displays of the iPhone X and iPhone Xs Max are simply breathtaking. They offer industry-leading color accuracy, infinite contrast, and the tech giant’s proprietary True Tone tech, which automatically adjusts the white balance of the screen depending on the ambient light. They also support Dolby Vision and HDR10 content, so you can stream compatible content with enhanced visuals.
With a 6.5-inch screen, the iPhone Xs Max has the biggest display panel Apple has used in an iPhone to date — it is better suited for work and play on the go, and, despite its gigantic display, it has the same footprint as the iPhone 8 Plus. The Max will likely prompt a lot of big-screen Android phone users to jump ship.
The stereo speakers of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have a wider sound signature, so videos and mobile games sound more engaging than in past iPhone iterations. This new bit suits the bigger phone particularly well.
3. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have incredible cameras.
The duo of phones has a 12 MP dual camera, which features an all-new image sensor with larger pixels, and a wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture. The secondary camera sensor is sitting behind an f/2.4 telephoto lens. Both sensors have optical image stabilization.
Thanks to the vast capabilities of the A12 Bionic chip’s Neural Engine and its link to the image signal processor, the image processing of the latest iPhones can produce vastly superior images with faster focus and enhanced dynamic range.
The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max also allow you to preview portrait shots in real time before capturing them. You can also tweak the depth of field of the photos you capture via a dedicated slider. The front-facing camera of the phones is also capable of advanced portrait mode, as well as enhanced HDR, so your selfies are going to look better than ever.
Thanks to their faster processors, the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max can capture 4k video with improved detail and dynamic range, as well as stereo sound. The latter is a long-awaited first for an iPhone.
The camera setup of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Plus serve as an industry benchmark. The phones can consistently capture images and video with fantastic quality. Crucially, because of the capabilities of the Neural Engine, they give you a vast range of creativity tools that will help you make the most out their camera hardware.
4. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are more durable and waterproof than ever.
The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have the exact same looks as the model they are replacing in Apple’s smartphone lineup. Their design highlights include a decidedly premium stainless steel frame, a front that’s entirely dominated by the OLED display, and a glass back that’s color-matched with the frame.
We like the new gold color option of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. Depending on the lighting, it has copper or rose gold accents that look great in the metal. The silver and space gray colors that debuted last year are also available in case you like a more subtle paint job.
As expected, the new iPhones are superbly crafted. Apple has upgraded the glass on the front and back to be even tougher and more resistant to scratches. That’s welcome news, though we still recommend that you grab a protective case.
The water-resistance rating of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max has also been upgraded to IP68 (from IP67 in the iPhone X). It enables the phones to survive up to half an hour in 2 meters of water (almost 7 feet), as well as spills from your favorite hot and cold beverages.
5. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have excellent battery life.
During our testing, we easily got a full day of heavy use from both the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. However, thanks to its larger battery, the bigger iPhone will last longer between charges.
Like their predecessor, the phones support fast wired and wireless charging. In order to take advantage of these features however, you will need to spend extra on compatible accessories.
Thanks to the A12 Bionic processor and its all-new Neural Engine, the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are a lot more advanced than their familiar looks suggest. The additional processing power enables the phones to offer features and user experiences that their competitors cannot.
Given their price tags, we really wish that the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max came with a faster wired charger, not the 5-watt power adapter that hasn’t been updated in years. Oddly, the tech giant has decided to skip the Lightning-to-3.5-millimeter adapter — you will need to spend extra $9 if you need one.
We strongly recommend that you budget an additional $150 to upgrade the storage from 64 GB to 256GB — the former is not adequate for a device this capable. The all-new, power user-worthy 512 GB storage option will add $350 to the price of both devices.
Given the pricing of both phones, we suggest you consider an AppleCare+ service plan. It will help you cover potentially costly out-of-warranty repairs and you won't need to sweat any accidental damage.
While $1,000 (and up) is surely a lot to spend on a smartphone, we have reached a point where four-digit price tags have become standard for premium offerings. Thankfully, all U.S. carriers offer great trade-in incentives, as well as the option to get a device via monthly installments so you avoid paying face value in one mass sum.