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iPhone XS and XS Max review

iPhone XS and XS Max review

– So here it is, the iPhone XS. Wait, that’s the X. Here is the iPhone XS. Now, there’s gonna be a
lot of that in this video. But just go with me. I think it’s gonna make
this review better. (trendy music) So this is a weird year for iPhones. Usually Apples puts out a
new iPhone in September, it drops the price of the old
model and it keeps selling it for a few more years. This year Apple didn’t do any of that. The iPhone X, which came
out last year in a flurry of hype, is gone. Instead, there’s the iPhone XS and the new mid-range iPhone XR. Apple really wants iPhone X
to be its new brand of phones. The letters, S or R,
telling the models apart. But let’s be honest. These are horrible names. Especially iPhone XS Max, which looks ridiculous no
matter how you write it. And to be perfectly honest,
steals the name of my child for which I will never forgive Apple. Anyway, if you’re shopping
for a phone this year, that means that you have two Apple phones to look at not just one. We don’t have a XR yet but we’ll review it when it comes out in about a month. So, the iPhone XS. It comes in two sizes,
the 5.8 inch regular size and the new 6.8 inch XS Max. (Correction: 6.5 inch XS Max not 6.8 inch) The phones are identical
apart from the size, the same A12 Bionic
processor, same cameras, same basic designs, same
OLED display tech with 458 pixels per inch. The Max also has a larger
battery but I think the only real reason
you should get the Max is if you really, really
want a big screen. And that’s really the main question I got. How big is the Max? Is it too big? Is it worth it? And I think the answer
is that it’s both bigger and smaller than you expect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s big,
as big as the iPhone 8 Plus and the Pixel 2. From the back it shares
the same surfboard quality as Apples previous plus sized phones. But the front is a
totally different story. Because the edge to edge
screen fills the entire front of the phone, it doesn’t seem
as huge as the plus phones. And when you’re watching
a video, it’s killer, a huge gorgeous display. It’s great. But the Max’s size also gets away from it. With the older Plus
iPhones, you never really had to reach the very top
or bottom of the phone because of those huge bezels. But to pull down notifications
or control center on the Max, you have to reach
the very top of the device. I have big hands and I
basically can’t do it. I end up having to use
two hands every time. You can use Apple’s reachability
feature to pull down the UI and then swipe. But that’s two swipes for one thing. It just kind of makes me sad. The Max also doesn’t really
do anything in software to take advantage of that big display. No, there’s not an extra row of icons. No, you can’t watch video
in Picture in Picture. Apps have to be updated
for the new display. Instagram just look broken right now. And apps like Slack and Gmail and Twitter show you the exact amount of information, just bigger. In fact, everything is mostly just bigger. Check out how huge the status
bar is in control center. It’s huge, so yes, if you want a really big screen get a Max. It’s a beautiful display
and I’ve enjoyed looking at it a lot. Nothing about it is easier to handle than the old plus phones. And in some cases it’s harder. In every other way, the
Max is identical to the XS, which is almost identical to the X. From the outside you would
never know the difference except that you can get the XS in this interesting gold color which has cool coppery
iridescent effects in the light. Here’s where I want you to go with me. The iPhone X introduced so much new stuff into the phone world that reviewing the XS gives us the chance to
check in on it a year later since so much of it is the same. Take the display. The XS has the same OLED display as the X with curved corners and the notch. It’s still one of the
best displays out there with excellent color
reproduction, brightness and touch response. Last year we were wondering
how Apple would handle burn in on this display
and this year we know. There are basically no
problems with burn in on the iPhone X display. And I’d expect the XS to keep it up. It’s also been a full year
of this physical design and while it’s beautiful,
I can tell you the iPhone X scratches way more
easily than you’d expect. Apple says the front and
back glass are more durable this year, so we’ll see. I can also tell you that
getting rid of the home button and moving the screen shot
feature to wake plus volume up means I’ve taken 10,000
accidental screen shots. Apple please change this
to wake plus power down so they’re not directly
across from each other. Or have the neural engine
detect that it’s seven am and I’ve accidentally taken
another photo of my lock screen. Just do something, I’m begging you. It’s also been a full year
since Apple introduced Face ID and we know that
it works pretty well most of the time. Face ID on the XS is
ever so slightly faster than the X. It’s noticeable side by
side but it’s really just an extra beat. It still won’t work
with glasses that block IR light and it doesn’t work in landscape or upside down or anything like that. You still have to adapt to it instead of it adapting to you but overall for most
people, I think it’s easier to turn on Face ID and forget about it than it Touch ID. And that is a very good thing. So what’s really new here? You’re basically looking at two things, the camera and the processor. Let’s start with the processor
since that’s pretty simple. Last year there was the A11 Bionic and this year there’s the A12 Bionic. Pure CPU performance-wise,
the A12 isn’t really that much faster. Apple only quotes a 15 percent
performance improvement and I didn’t see a noticeable
speedup over my iPhone X. The GPU is 50 percent faster but as usual that feels like headroom for the future since these devices tend to
stick around for so long. Last year’s A11 GPU was 30 percent faster than the A10 and it’s
not like we’re maxing that out after a year. The big change the A12 is
really the vastly bigger neural engine which
accelerates machine learning. As more and more apps
rely on machine learning that’s gonna be a huge deal. But right now, you’re looking
at a bunch of AR demos and some new camera features. Speaking of those new camera features, the camera upgrades on the XS over the X are significant. But I’m just gonna come out and say it. I don’t think the iPhone
XS has a better camera than the Pixel 2. And the Pixel 3 comes
out in just a few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s
a really good camera. And I think people are gonna
like the photos it takes. But the Pixel 2 is the standard to beat and the iPhone XS doesn’t
really do it for me. Let’s dig in. The iPhone XS has three
cameras, two in the back and one in the front. That front camera is the
same as the iPhone X, a seven megapixel sensor
with an F2.2 lens. Of the two rear cameras,
the telephoto camera is the same as the iPhone X. It’s an optically stabilized
F2.4 lens with the same 12 megapixel sensor as last year. But the wide angle that
you’ll use most often has been seriously updated. It’s still an F1.8 lens
with a 12 megapixel sensor but each of those 12 megapixels
is physically bigger now. Which means that they
can collect more light. There’s also twice as many focus pixels which is what Apple calls
its autofocus system. The cameras and sensors work in tandem with the new A12 processor. Its integrated image processor
and the neural engine in a new system Apple calls Smart HDR. The iPhone X also did HDR, but with the XS the effect is way more obvious. It works similarly to what
Google does on a Pixel 2. It takes a series of images
at different exposures and combines them. Like the Pixel 2 the iPhone
XS starts a rolling buffer of four images the second
you open the camera app which allows for zero shutter lag. The image has already been
captured the shutter button. But unlike the Pixel 2 which combines several underexposed frames, the iPhone XS also captures an overexposed image for each shot in the buffer which picks up additional
details in the shadows of your image. Then it looks at all of the
other frames in the buffer to see if they can add additional detail merging at least three
images together to generate the final picture that you see. But side by side with the Pixel 2 iPhone XS still doesn’t quite hold up. You can see it pretty
clearly in this photo when you zoom in. The iPhone aggressively smooths images. The whole thing is just way softer. This loss of detail is the thing that bothered me the most
about the iPhone X camera and while the iPhone XS is better the smoothing still disappoints
me every time I see it. Apple used to talk a big game about having a more accurate camera than Samsung which has done these aggressive
smoothing tricks for years. But I think those days are over. Apple knows that most of
these images will only ever be viewed on mobile
displays and it feels like it’s really starting to
compete with Samsung’s tricks because it knows that no one’s
really looking that closely. Loss of detail is one thing, but there are some subjective things I prefer
about the Pixel 2 as well. The XS shoots really warm
photos while the Pixel is more true to life, if a
little muddier in the reds. Pixel 2 photos are also
extremely contrasty and evocative which I like, but some people find harsh. I can’t tell you what style
of the images to prefer. But I can tell you that these
cameras are very different. And I can also definitely
tell you that you want more detail in your images, not less. The other big new feature
on the iPhone XS camera is the new portrait mode,
which lets you adjust the blur after you take the shot. Samsung’s phones have let
you do this for a while now but I think the iPhone looks a lot better because the phone is
doing a lot more work. When you pick up an iPhone XS and shoot a portrait mode photo a
number of things happen. First the phone does facial recognition and splits apart the
foreground from the background. Then it creates a depth
map of the entire scene, particularly the subject
in the foreground. Then it progressively
applies blur from foreground to background, simulating how a real lens on a full frame camera
would smoothly transition from front to back. I think it’s nicer than
phones of the Pixel and S9 can do. Although it still
struggles around the edges and sometimes it makes big mistakes like cutting these glasses off entirely. Apple says it modeled
the portrait mode blur against prime lenses on full frame cameras which we happen to have
a lot of in our studio. And it looks really
different to be honest. Here’s a 50 mil lens on a
Canon 5D Mark IV on the left and the iPhone XS on the right. The big cameras and real
lenses produce different shapes inside the blur because
of the way the physical aperture in the lens closes. The iPhone doesn’t really do that. It just looks like a
pretty standard blur to me. Of course, most people don’t
have full frame cameras and expensive lenses and
portrait mode will do a lot for all of those people. But in the past year
of having the iPhone X, I’ve shot nearly 5000 photos. And just 207 of them have
been in portrait mode. I don’t think this new version is gonna make me use it much more. There’s also a bunch of
updates to video recording. The front camera, which
I’m using right now has all new stabilization. The rear cameras have all
new software stabilization. And you can record in
stereo audio which is cool. So those are the two main upgrades, the processor and the camera. Let’s talk about some of the little stuff. First, battery life. I mostly tested the Max and it did great, better than even Apple’s
claim of 90 minutes more than the X. In fact, I got a full
12 hours of battery life out of the Max without
using low power mode and that’s even under my
pretty heavy daily use. The smaller XS is rated
to get 30 minutes more than the X, which has
run about 8 hours for me this past year. It’s solid. Second, the iPhone XS
ships running iOS 12. I didn’t dive into iOS
12 too much in this video because we already made
another whole video about it. But here’s the quick version. It’s a lot like iOS 11
but a little faster. There’s Mimoji and those
neat screen time limits that get you off your phone
when you’ve used it too much. And needing two taps to send
photos from the camera roll and messages is a huge pain. Please, please go back to the old way. Apple made a big deal out of wide stereo during the Keynote and
some of you asked me about it, so here’s the deal. The iPhone X also had stereo speakers. But really, it was just
making the earpiece speakers super loud to serve as the other channel. This year, both speakers
are more evenly matched so Apple can do more signal
processing to achieve a wide stereo feel. Is it super noticeable? Only kind of. Is it really loud and clear? Yes. Apple’s also improved
wireless charging times. I’m told the XS will get to a full charge around 30 minutes faster
and that it’s less sensitive to placement. You don’t need to get a new
charging pad or anything. The internals of the iPhone
XS are just improved. That’s cool. Yes, the iPhone XS has 3-D touch support so use it while you still can, I guess. There is gigabit LTE support
which is carrier dependent. So we weren’t able to test it. There’s that top of the
line 500 gigabyte model and there’s new IP68
water and dust resistance, which is better than IP67 on
the iPhone X and the iPhone XR. So let’s talk about price and
whether you should buy one. First, these are expensive phones. The XS starts at 999 and
the top of the line XS Max with 512 gigs of storage is 1449. That’s a lot of money. And just like last year,
some of you are gonna find that ridiculous and others of you have already pre-ordered. For those of you that already pre-ordered, I think you’re gonna be
really happy with this phone. It is indeed more iPhone. It’s Apple’s top of the line with everything the
company can put into it. And I think it’s gonna
hold up for years to come. Apple’s fallen behind the
camera rates, but not by much. And that camera is still
a significant improvement over previous iPhones. I’m sure all of you are gonna let me know how you feel about that in the comments. For everyone who hasn’t pre-ordered, I think it’s worth waiting to see how the iPhone XR turns out. It’s got the same processor,
the same main camera, and a big screen for $750. In fact, that was the
biggest question I got. Is the iPhone XS worth
the premium over the XR? And right now, I just don’t know. We’re gonna have to review the phone when it comes out next month. But for right now I can tell you that the iPhone XS is an
update to the iPhone X. And if you like the iPhone X, you’re gonna really like the XS. Hey, so there’s one big feature
we were not able to test which is dual sim support. That won’t arrive until a
software update later this fall. So we’ll be on it when it comes out. In the meantime, we’re gonna
be working on a big camera deep dive when the Pixel 3 comes out. So let us know what you want us to test and we’ll get right on it.

100 thoughts on “iPhone XS and XS Max review”

  1. Good information! I made an impulse buy to celebrate my quickly approaching birthday. (May 20th, wish me a happy birthday! 🎉😁🍻🥴). That buy was the totally expensive iPhone XS @ 256g. I’m not a phone nerd but I plan to maximize this tiny computer that allows me to hear people that are nowhere around whom of which I can speak back to. “Hello? Hellllo.”
    Tips are welcomed. Thanks smart people! 👍🏽

  2. I have this phone it’s irritating because I accidentally screen shot stuff all the time. The buttons are aligned… it screen shots all the time idk why they didn’t have someone carry it around and use it a few days before releasing it. So they could fix this stupid problem.

  3. I have both pixle 2 and the iPhone xs max and I would to say the pixle hype is a little too much I take a lot of photosnof everything and I see the pixle can take some great shots but I have pic out a lot more to have right one not to talk about thr blue tint in all pixle photos when I use the iPhone photos there a lot easier to edit and more true to life vs the pixle photos and the past pixle 3 is not that different from the 2 I feel Google used their scores to get noticed but now they don't talk about it and videos on the pixel are not that great

  4. Huge respect for apple and Steve Jobs, but not for the apple of today, would rather have an android 9 phone with same specs at a much cheaper price. I could trow it in the air the phone and even if it falls of my hands i wouldn't care because it costs much less for the same performance an beauty.

  5. Why does the XS Max have to be $2100 in my country 😭 still gonna buy it tho, rip to my bank account

  6. I am getting the same camera heat insulation problem as HTC phone did with my Iphone XS max: it turns the camera photo pink in dark but works perfectly in portrait mode. PLEASE HELP!!!!

  7. It’s my birthday the day n a just got the Xs max and am coming here to learn how to work this 😂

  8. this phones are way overpriced, apple probably makes 1to5 profit on those. selling a phone for $1450 will make us laugh few years ago, they just slowly bring the prices up and we dont even notice how ridiculous is to buy it 🙂 and make the Apple a trillion dollar company . Anyone who is familiar with electronics manufacturing will agree. Wee need more competition in this market.

  9. Though I am a big fan and also have a big heart for android ,I bought a 6s brand new a few weeks ago and trust me it’s holding up dam good and is a champ .but now I’m honestly considering buying a iPhone X or XR it’s something about them that keeps drawing me to buy one or other

  10. The I phone is way overpriced and inferior to the competition. And I love my SE. Apple will no longer get my hard earned money for an inferior phone !!! Although I love the ios operating system !!! I will never buy a new one. Apple is way behind.

  11. You did a great job editing this review, guys. Thank you! Loved the layers effect when you talked about Portrait mode

  12. If you have an iPhone X, like me, or an iPhone 8+, keep it. Anything older, you should absolutely upgrade to the XS/XS Max.

  13. hahah you know so much about cameras in mobile phones !!! wow!!! if you need a better camera and clearly you aren't happy with the one on your phone, why don't you get a professional photo camera? why can't you just respect all the work that has been done on such a small devise? (sorry for any misspelling , english isn't my first language)


  15. The same iPhone that I’ve just ordered the iPhone XS in gold plus I’ve currently got n iPhone 8 Plus so I’m a massive Apple fan got nuff for Apple it’s the best ngl ✊🏾🙏🏾❤️💯

  16. iPhones are bad for digital audio ( poor audio results ) the important thing is not the small speakers but the audio component soldered inside ( the dac )

  17. This iPhone XS is not for people who already have the X. It’s for 7 and 6s owners who have been holding out on upgrading. Or 8 owners who want to jump to the new form factor.

  18. Do i upgrade my S9+ to a Max or what people?! I need some answers. Always had android just want something different.

  19. Apple says that iPhone Xs max was not a success because users still use old iPhone models but the problem is that, all that shity iPhones after 7 are not worth buying!

  20. I purchased the XS Max last year and regret it so much lol. Pointless phone if you’re coming from an X. I’ll be upgrading to the 11 Pro this year.

  21. Apple will never have a better camera than Samsung I keep on telling ppl this…….The Note from the Samsung family give the best camera‼️ FYI I am an Apple phone owner

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