Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review: Best Smartphones Money Can Buy?

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Apple’s iPhone X launched last year ushered in a new, modern iPhone era. This year, Apple went full scale with the design changes and has passed them on to its entire lineup. With features like new 7nm chipset, Smart HDR in camera, class-leading AMOLED screens, and faster iOS 12, the new flag bearers – iPhone Xs and Xs Max – are certainly the most tech-stuffed iPhones ever. But are these the best phones money can buy? (Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review हिंदी में पढ़े)

If you are in India, the iPhone Xs and Xs Max are also the most exorbitantly priced phones around (and by a margin). In our iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max review that follows, we’ll evaluate how much the new iPhones have evolved and where they stand with respect to Android competition.

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iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Specification

Model iPhone XS iPhone XS Max
Display 5.8-inch OLED Super Retina HD True Tone Display (2436 x 1125 resolution) with 3D Touch 6.5-inch OLED Super Retina HD True Tone Display ( 1242 x 2688 resolution) 19.5:9 ratio
Processor 7nm based A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, Embedded M12 motion co-processor, quad-core GPU. 7nm based A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, Embedded M12 motion co-processor, quad-core GPU.
Internal Storage 64GB/256GB/512GB 64GB/256GB/512GB
Software iOS 12 iOS 12
Primary Camera Dual 12MP camera, Wide-Angle lens with f/1.8apture, telephoto lens with 2x zoom & f/2.4 aperture, OIS, PDAF Dual 12MP camera, Wide-Angle lens with f/1.8apture, telephoto lens with 2x zoom & f/2.4 aperture, OIS, PDAF
Secondary Camera 7MP trueDepth, f/2.2 aperture 7MP trueDepth, f/2.2 aperture
Diamensions 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm 157.5×77.4×7.7 mm
Weight 177g 208g
Connectivity Gigabyte LTE, nano-SIM slot, eSIM, Dual SIM Dual Standby, GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, Wi-Fi Calling, Lightning port Gigabyte LTE, nano-SIM slot, eSIM, Dual SIM Dual Standby, GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, Wi-Fi Calling, Lightning port
Price Rs.99,900/ Rs. 1,14,900/ Rs. 1,34,900 Rs.1,09,900/ Rs.1,24,900/ Rs.1,44,900

Also Check: iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS FAQ: Everything You Need To Know

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review: Design and Build

The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max look a lot like the iPhone X launched last year, which isn’t entirely surprising considering these are ‘s’ series phones. There are certainly a few design upgrades, but they don’t particularly stand out.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are a tad more water and dust resistant (IP68) compared to the last year’s iPhone X. Apple claims that the glass used is tougher and hopefully we won’t come across as many shattered phone reports as last year. The stainless steel side frame is now color matched to the back panel, and if word on the street is to be believed, the new gold finish looks exquisite (we couldn’t manage to buy the Gold one, though).

Perhaps one could argue that Android phones have had these features for years. But at the same time, a good phone is a good phone and, if you are a potential buyer, it doesn’t really matter who got their first.

There is still no headphone jack, and Apple has removed the Audio Jack dongle from the box this year. If you are still invested in Analog headphones, you will have to buy the dongle separately.

The XS Max is bigger but doesn’t get any extra features. Save for the bigger and longer lasting battery. The Plus variants from Apple have been brazenly big and ugly thus far, and this is something Max apparently addresses.

So, consumers looking for something bigger than the standard X, but something less intimating than ‘Plus’ iPhones should find the Max more acceptable (even when it’s the same size as the 8 Plus). To put the size in perspective for Android users, it’s almost as tall as our S9+ but a tad broader. It’s still not a one-hand usage phone, and iOS 12 doesn’t do much to offset the size.

Anyways, the Max variant is expected to be the best selling model this year.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review – Noteworthy Workhorse

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review: Display and Face ID

Apple is known for the best displays available out there. No matter what the stats say, what iPhone X had felt more gorgeous and color accurate than all other comparable Android options. Apple passes on the same OLED display to iPhone XS.

Unlike Android, iOS has native color management and the pixel matrix Apple uses is denser than what Samsung uses on its AMOLED screens.

Of course, the iPhone XS Max flaunts a bigger size screen (6.5 vs 5.8 inches), and is thus better suited for watching video content.

Apple’s True Tone and night shift technology ensure that the screen is pleasant and easy to gawk at in all lighting conditions. The 120Hz touch sensitivity also makes a difference – one that users are likely to notice and appreciate only after a period of usage.

The Face ID gets faster, but that has perhaps got more to do with the iOS 12. Our iPhone X running iOS 12.0 has been considerably faster as well after the new update.

The Face ID is slower than Face Unlock that we get on phones from Oppo and Vivo, but that’s only because it’s more secure. Also, the Face ID isn’t very likely to match-up to the speed and convenience of Touch ID anytime soon, especially for people who wear glasses and sunglasses. With iOS 12, users now have the option to program Face Unlock for another user as well.

ALSO READ: OnePlus 6 Long Term Review – Still The Phone Beat

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review: Performance and Software

The new A12 Bionic brings in some extra processing power, but the focus area is lesser power consumption. It’s a 7nm process based SoC and integrates a much more powerful NPU when compared to A11 Bionic. Apple also makes improvements to the GPU on board.

Our iPhone X never felt slow and shows considerable improvements after iOS 12 update. There isn’t a noticeable performance improvement in iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max as far as day-to-day usage goes, but they are still crazy fast and reliable.

You get choice between 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options for both XS Models.

The iOS 12 focuses on optimizing iOS for speed and polishing rough edges so that it’s easier to use. The software is considerably fast and simple to use. You get an improved notification system (borrows a few good features from Android), insights into your phone usage via screen time, and a new measure app (which is actually quite good).

For the first time, iPhones XS and XS Max also have provision for Dual SIM support. However, one of these is an eSIM and Dual SIM support will be activated later via software update.

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review: Battery and Audio

The power-efficient nature of the A12 Bionic helps the iPhone XS squeeze in extra 30 minutes worth of backup compared to iPhone X (according to Apple). In practice, the difference is barely noticeable. Apple claims more noticeable improvements on Max in comparison to iPhone X, but 8 Plus would be a fairer benchmark for comparison.

The point being, there aren’t any appreciable improvements in battery backup. Even with some new improvements to charging coil, the Wireless charging is still restricted to just 7.5W. Also, Apple bundles a 5W charger in the box. You will need to buy a separate adaptor for faster charging and that’s unforgivable considering the price.

The stereo speakers on the iPhone Xs Max are louder and sound better than iPhone Xs. We still can’t make peace with the headphone jack gone. Perhaps audiophiles and people who listen to music very often might have attuned themselves to wireless options, but we occasionally listen to music on our phones and digging out a Bluetooth speaker or headphone that still has some charge left can be a hazel.

ALSO READ: Vivo V11 Pro Review – Is It Better Than Poco F1?

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Review: Camera

A few years ago, iPhones were clear winners in this segment. That era is long gone now. As of today, the Android flagships have caught up and even superseded iPhone cameras. The Pixel 2 was the best camera phone last year, and the likes of Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei Honor 9 Pro were remarkable too.

The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max brings Apple back in the game. The camera on the new iPhones makes the iPhone X look cheap. Images show a better dynamic range, better exposure, and are significantly sharper in low light. Quality of close-ups and macro shots also seems to have improved. The Smart HDR helps capture vibrant colors without going overboard.

I am sure consumers would enjoy photos shot on their iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, but it can’t be denied that the software is playing to galleries and touching up the images with boosted and warmer color tones.

Photos clicked on Pixel 2 are still more natural and magical, especially when it comes to Bokeh shots or portrait mode. The upcoming Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy S10 will probably take the game to the next level and the possibility of iPhone Xs/ Xs Max feeling like a let down a few months down the line is quite real.

Having said that, it must be noted that all flagship cameras are quite good by now and the one you like more would be a matter of individual preference – And many are going to love what they get from the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Editor’s Note: The above samples are resized for web. To few more sample in real size visit this Flikr album.

iPhone Xs and iPhone XS Max Review – Should you buy it?

The new iPhone Xs and iPhone XS Max are the best iPhones yet, but their steep price makes them a tad inaccessible for buyers in India. Of course, iPhone is a status symbol in India and there is no dearth of people who’d be willing to pay top dollars for the latest ones.

If money is no bother, you can go ahead and buy the size you prefer. You will be happy.

At the same time, enthusiasts who were earlier willing to stretch their budgets to buy the new iPhones would find it increasingly hard to do so. There are ways to source it from other markets where it’s cheaper but that’s not an option for everyone.

Particularly when Android alternatives offer an equally competent experience for a much lesser price (The Galaxy Note 9 starts at 67K and, if you key in cashback offers, the effective price gets even lower).

The iPhone XR isn’t cheap in India either, and though we are yet to experience the IPS LCD display model, we don’t think it would be as lofty an option in India as it’s in the west. When you are already stretching to 76K, I guess going all the way for iPhone XS with a better OLED panel, one that has conspicuously narrower side bezels makes more sense.


  • Excellent display
  • Powerful chipset
  • Premium design
  • Good cameras


  • Battery backup
  • No Audio jack connector included
  • Fast charger not bundled with the phone
Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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1 Comment
4 years ago

Go for iPhone XS. The iPhone XS has a markedly improved dual camera, delivering better photos than the iPhone X in both dark and high-contrast environments. It has a faster processor, faster face ID, adds dual-SIM support and it’s now available in gold and 512GB versions. The iPhone XS adds some impressive camera improvements to the already-great iPhone X. But you should seriously wait and see what the lower-priced XR coming in October is like. Both the iPhone XS and XS Max are great phones, fantastic refinements and incredibly promising hubs for your super-connected universe. As you’d expect, they’re the best iPhones at the moment. But here’s the twist: That third new iPhone, the iPhone XR, may be the best pick for anyone upgrading from an iPhone other than the 2017 iPhone X.