Graphic: Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint
Graphic: Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint

iPhone XS/XS Max: Compact large phones with a few rough edges

The new iPhones come close to having no flaws and are good upgrades for anyone with an iPhone 7 or earlier

New Delhi: It’s an ‘S’ year for Apple. That said, the iPhone XS and XS Max are evolutions of last year’s product.

Design: The iPhone XS, thus, has become one of the most compact big-screen phones, being slightly bigger than an iPhone 6. Similarly, the iPhone XS Max jams a 6.5-inch screen into an iPhone 8 Plus-like form factor. It’s still a large phone, but this is as compact as a large phone gets.

Camera: The cameras have a very Apple-esque approach. The company wants you to simply point and shoot and let its algorithms do the work. Smart high-dynamic range (HDR) kicks in without notice and does improve contrast and details in many photos, especially when shooting at dusk. The larger pixels allow better low-light imaging. However, the Galaxy Note 9 still clicks brighter photos, albeit with fewer details. Google’s Pixel 2/XL fares better. Apple has some work to do if it is to retain the “best smartphone camera" mantle.

Performance: The phones are powered by the blazing fast A12 chipset. It stutters only when you encounter apps that aren’t well optimized. iPhone’s augmented reality (AR) apps are smooth and well optimized.

Display and audio: Apple’s organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays don’t have the vibrant tones of the Galaxy Note 9, but colour reproduction is more true to the source. Watching videos on these screens is aided by the deft stereo audio support.

Battery: iPhone XS takes about three hours to charge from low battery to full, while the Max takes longer. They both easily last a work day, but the long charging times leave you constantly worried. The phones support fast charging, but the in-box charger isn’t a fast charger—it’s a downer.

Verdict: The new iPhones come close to having no flaws. We believe they would make good upgrades for anyone with an iPhone 7 or earlier, as long as you can afford them. However, if you have the iPhone X already, you may want to hold on to it for a while.

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