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iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS and iPhone XR: how to choose the best new iPhone

ByGB Blog Official 2018-09-14 89904

Apple’s annual September launch event has come and gone and now, as the rumours and predictions are behind us, we can take a long hard look at the new arrivals and see them for what they are. What do the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR have to offer for their hefty price tags? Let’s find out.


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What are the new phones like?

There are now three new phones in Apple's line: the huge iPhone XS Max, the smaller iPhone XS and, finally, the more affordable iPhone XR. Both the XS Max and the XS share quite a few configurations, the major difference between the models being screen size. The XR, on the other hand, is meant to replace last year's iPhone 8 by offering a "budget" version with slightly more modest specifications.

iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR

iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS and iPhone XR: specs

Let's make a quick comparison via specs side by side.

Product name
iPhone XS Max
iPhone XS
iPhone XR
6.5-inch OLED screen with 2688 X 1242 pixels at 458 ppi
5.8-inch OLED screen with 2346 X 1125 pixels at 458 ppi
6.1-inch LCD screen with 1792 X 828 pixels at 326 ppi
3D touch
Product size
6.2 X 3.05 X 0.3 inches
5.65 X 2.79 X 0.3 inches
5.94 X 2.98 X 0.33 inches
A12 Bionic chip
iOS 12
Rear camera
Dual 12MP wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4 aperture) cameras
12MP (ƒ/1.8 aperture)
Front camera
7MP TrueDepth camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture
64GB, 256GB, 512GB
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Splash, water, and dust resistant
Lasts up to 1.5 hours longer than iPhone X
Lasts up to 30 minutes longer than iPhone X
Lasts up to 1.5 hours longer than iPhone 8 Plus
SIM card slot
Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)


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iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max: the best features

There are quite a few things of note about the company's upgrades to the iPhone X, but we've narrowed the list down so that we can zoom in on the phone's most impressive new features — as well the ones that might put you off the expensive new gadget.

BEST screen on the market

The iPhone XS and the XS Max both come with stunning screens fit for even the most demanding types of media. The XS Max boasts a 6.5-inch OLED screen with  2688 x 1242 resolution — a dream come true for all the phablet aficionados out there. The iPhone XS comes with a smaller (but not any less impressive) 5.8 inch display with 2436 x 1125 resolution. You get the pixel density of 458 ppi on both devices. This means that you are getting bright, sharp and a magnificently color accurate screens that have no matches on market.  

iPhoen XS screen

BEST photo AI

Turning to artificial intelligence for help to enhance your mobile photos is not a new thing, but Apple's new phones take it to a new level thanks to the A12 bionic chip. Paired with artificial intelligence-powered software, it excels at onboard photo processing. Namely, you have the feature called Smart HDR that lets you take several versions of the same photo with different exposures and then puts them together for the perfect result. Another impressive tweak is that you will be able to adjust a photo's exposure after it's already been taken.

iPhone XS camera

MAXIMUM protection against the elements

Both the iPhone XS Max and the XS come with IP68 rating: you get the highest level of water protection and dust resistance. And, taking into account the phones' hefty price tags, this is really something very welcome.

iphone XS IP68 rate

DUAL SIM support

While we are mostly used to seeing dual SIM support on Chinese flagships, the new iPhones make full use of two SIM card slots to let you efficiently split work and private life across different phone numbers.

iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR: downsides

So far, everything looks standardly awesome. But are there any downsides?

Well, first, if you are looking forward to some new shiny color to let the world know that you do have the latest iPhone, that's not going to happen. You only get three standard colors to choose from for both phones: gold, silver and space grey. Not too imaginative, is it? The again, if you are looking to experiment with shades, it's best to turn your eyes to the less pricey iPhone XR, which comes in a variety of color options.

Speaking of the iPhone XR, even though there is a notable difference in price between the XR and XS, there are not too many upgrades to justify it. But, hold that thought, we are taking a closer look at the XR in the next paragraph.


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iPhone XR: great specs "on a budget"

As we've mentioned just above, the XR actually shares quite a few specs with the more expensive siblings. You get the same A12 Bionic processor, the same selfie shooter with Face ID and a beautiful bezel-less design. So, what makes it cheaper?

Well, first you have the "in-the middle screen size" — smaller than the XS Max but bigger than the XS. On the XR, you get a 6.1 inch Liquid Retina display based on LCD technology (as opposed to OLED on the XS). The displays on the XS and the XS Max do come with higher resolutions (1792 x 828 pixels + pixel density of 326 ppi) — but most users would actually not be able to spot any difference in quality when it comes to everyday tasks.

The iPhone XR comes with a single lens in its rear camera (compared to the dual lens setup on the XS Max and the XS). With that, the functionality is pretty much the same: the XR can take the same Portrait Mode shots, let you adjust aperture and bokeh effects and more thanks to AI functionality.

One more thing about the XR that we've mentioned earlier are the vibrant color options. Compared to the classic shades on the XS phones, the XR is available in black, white, blue, coral, yellow and red.

iPhone XR 6 color options?

iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS and iPhone XR: the price question

iPhones are not exactly known for being moderately priced — and, unfortunately (or, rather, expectedly), Apple's new phone line is right up there. The iPhone XR is the most budget-friendly of the bunch, starts off at $749 (for the 64GB version), the base version of the XS can be yours for $999, while the XS Max kicks off at $1,099.

Bottom line

So, what do we have in the end?

The iPhone XR seems to be the best way to jump into the game — it gives you most of the new iPhone experience without dipping into your life savings. If you want to go all out, the iPhone XS Max is the large screen extravaganza you've been looking for, while the XS is the perfect middle ground between the three.


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