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Should you upgrade to the Apple iPhone XS or XS Max?

By James Lu - 29 Sep 2018,3:03pm

From iPhone X to iPhone XS or XS Max

Apple's latest iPhones hit retail stores tomorrow. But is it finally time for you to upgrade your old iPhone to one of them? We're here to help you decide.

First of all, here's a recap of everything new in the iPhone XS and XS Max:

  • The iPhone XS Max is the new 'Plus' size iPhone. It's about the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus, but comes with a massive 6.5-inch display.
  • New Gold color option.
  • Better displays: Both the XS and XS Max use a Super Retina AMOLED display with a the same 458 pixels per inch. Compared to last year, the display has 60% increased dynamic ratio for better HDR.
  • The stereo speakers on both models are louder than last year.
  • More durable front and back glass.
  • Improved IP68 dust and water resistance.
  • Faster 4G LTE speeds. Both the XS and  XS Max now support 4G LTE Cat 16 up to 1024Mbps.
  • Dual Sim: Both phones offer one physical SIM and one e-SIM.
  • Longer battery life: The XS lasts about 30 minutes longer than the X, while the XS Max lasts about 90 minutes longer.
  • Face ID is now faster and more secure.
  • More powerful A12 bionic processor: Apple's new processor is a lot more powerful than last year's A11 Bionic. It also has a new octa-core neural processor that can process 5 trillion operations per second.
  • 4GB RAM
  • Improved rear cameras: Larger pixels on the wide-angle lens and a wider aperture on the telephoto lens.
  • Improved Portrait Mode: New adjustable depth-of-field feature that lets you adjust the amount of bokeh after you've taken the shot.
  • New storage option of 512GB.

For an in-depth look at all of these new features, as well benchmark performance, imaging and opinions, check out our full review here.

  Apple iPhone XS (256GB) Apple iPhone XS Max (256GB)
  Apple iPhone XS (256GB) Apple iPhone XS Max (256GB)
Launch SRP
  • From S$1889
  • From S$2039
Latest Price
  • From S$1400
  • From S$1700
Operating system
  • iOS 12
  • iOS 12
Processor
  • Apple A12 Bionic hexa-core
  • Apple A12 Bionic hexa-core
Built-in Memory
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
Display
  • 5.8-inch Super Retina HD / 2,436 x 1,125 pixels (458ppi) / OLED
  • 6.5-inch Super Retina HD / 2,688 x 1,242 pixels (458ppi) / OLED
Camera
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.4, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.4, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE Cat 16 (up to 1024Mbps), dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE Cat 16 (up to 1024Mbps), dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
Storage Type
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 256GB internal storage
Battery
  • 2,658mAh
  • 3,174mAh
Dimensions
  • 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
  • 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm
Weight
  • 177g
  • 208g

Before we get into product comparisons, the other thing you need to consider is the price of the new iPhones. The XS and XS Max are both substantially more expensive than previous iPhones (except for last year's iPhone X).

The iPhone XS has a starting price of S$1,649 for the 64GB model, and this goes up to S$1,889 if you want 256GB. If you want the 512GB model, you’re looking at S$2,199. The iPhone XS Max is priced at S$1,799 for the 64GB model, S$2,039 for the 256GB model, and S$2,349 for the 512GB model.

If that's a little too much to pay for a phone, last year's iPhone X is now 10 percent cheaper (but only in-store at the Apple Store), and if that's still too much, the iPhone XR, which starts at a much more affordable S$1,229, and has many of the same features as the XS, is coming next month.

Next, let's take a look at what you get (or lose) for upgrading from one of the older iPhones


iPhone X to iPhone XS or XS Max

  Apple iPhone X (256GB) Apple iPhone XS (256GB) Apple iPhone XS Max (256GB)
  Apple iPhone X (256GB) Apple iPhone XS (256GB) Apple iPhone XS Max (256GB)
Launch SRP
  • From S$1888
  • From S$1889
  • From S$2039
Latest Price
  • From S$1088
  • From S$1400
  • From S$1700
Operating system
  • iOS 11.1
  • iOS 12
  • iOS 12
Processor
  • Apple A11 Bionic hexa-core
  • Apple A12 Bionic hexa-core
  • Apple A12 Bionic hexa-core
Built-in Memory
  • 3GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
Display
  • 5.8-inch Super Retina HD / 2,436 x 1,125 pixels (458ppi) / OLED
  • 5.8-inch Super Retina HD / 2,436 x 1,125 pixels (458ppi) / OLED
  • 6.5-inch Super Retina HD / 2,688 x 1,242 pixels (458ppi) / OLED
Camera
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.4, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.4, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.4, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE Cat 12 (up to 600Mbps), dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE Cat 16 (up to 1024Mbps), dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE Cat 16 (up to 1024Mbps), dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v5.0, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
Storage Type
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 256GB internal storage
Battery
  • 2,716mAh
  • 2,658mAh
  • 3,174mAh
Dimensions
  • 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
  • 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
  • 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm
Weight
  • 174g
  • 177g
  • 208g

The iPhone X looks exactly the same as the XS (apart from some really minor differences), and unlike some 'S' models, there's no big new must-have software feature on the XS. The XS is quite a bit more powerful, and it has a better display, speakers, and camera, but none of these are significant enough to warrant upgrading from the X. On the other hand, if you like everything about the X, except you wish the screen was bigger, the XS Max's 6.5-inch display is definitely worth considering.

What you get for upgrading

  • 6.5-inch display on the iPhone XS Max.
  • IP68 dust and water resistance.
  • New Gold color option.
  • 60% increased dynamic ratio display.
  • Louder stereo speakers.
  • More durable front and back glass.
  • More powerful A12 Bionic processor.
  • 4GB RAM.
  • Faster 4G LTE speeds. Both the XS and  XS Max now support 4G LTE Cat 16 up to 1024Mbps.
  • Dual Sim functionality.
  • Faster and more secure Face ID.
  • Slightly longer battery life.
  • Slightly improved rear cameras.
  • Improved Portrait Mode with adjustable depth-of-field.
  • 512GB storage option.

 

 

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