The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are great upgrades to the iPhone X. Once again, they are betting on innovative Face ID unlock technology, a new gesture control technique, the much-discussed notch notch and improved hardware. The latter includes a faster A12 processor and an updated camera.
With the iPhone X, Apple has changed its long tradition of design and presented a device with a completely redesigned concept. Apple fans have had a year to get used to the new gesture controls and the notch at the top of the screen. And now the successors of the iPhone X enter the market: the iPhone Xs and the larger version of the iPhone Xs Max. The third in this bunch — the model of the middle price class, iPhone Xr, will be available for sale only in October.
There are no significant design changes in the new generation S, the models look the same as the iPhone X — the same “bangs” and the same form factor. Apple has updated only the insides of the devices: among the main innovations are the fast A12 processor, an improved camera and the Dual SIM function (but not for the Russian market). iPhone Xs is available in silver and space colors, but there is also an innovation — a gold model.
The price of the new iPhones is appropriate: for the iPhone Xs with 64 GB of memory, Apple asks for 870$. The most inexpensive version of the iPhone Xs Max costs 960$. In Russia, the sale of new iPhones will begin on September 28.
New iPhone Xs models
The successors to the iPhone X have a near bezel-less display without the familiar home button. The 5.8-inch display on the iPhone Xs is the same size as the iPhone X. The iPhone Xs Max has a 6.5-inch display and is Apple’s largest smartphone. The iPhone Xs and Xs Max are waterproof. The new models are IP68 certified and can withstand up to 30 minutes at a depth of up to two meters.
The novelties are excellently executed, both models are very comfortable in the hand, even considering their rather big weight (iPhone Xs Max weighs 208 grams). The transitions between the stainless steel display bezel and glass are very smooth, just like the iPhone X. The combination of glass and mirror polished metal looks chic, although the surface of new products quickly picks up fingerprints.
Powerful OLED display
In terms of display, little has changed: Apple uses an OLED technology display in the iPhone Xs, the resolution, depending on the model, is 2436 × 1125 pixels and 2688 × 1242 pixels, respectively. With a pixel density of 458 ppi, both models guarantee good image sharpness. With a brightness level of 669 (Xs Max) and 673 cd/m², both displays are perfectly readable even in direct sunlight.
Typically, OLED screens have brighter colors, higher contrast, and blacks are really black. In addition, the OLED screen is thinner than the LCD. The colors on the iPhone Xs (Max) look very natural, they represent 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. Compared to the iPhone X, the Xs models offer improvements in HDR video playback from Amazon Video or Netflix streaming services.
Face ID instead of Touch ID
The displays of the new Xs models, like its predecessor, occupy almost the entire front of the iPhone. However, other manufacturers last year managed to further reduce the display bezels. The cutout (notch) at the top of the screen houses the front camera and a number of sensors that are necessary for face recognition using Face ID technology. The fingerprint sensor is missing from both models, and Apple has not returned the Home button and headphone jack to its models.
Face recognition on Xs models is noticeably faster and even in complete darkness. You no longer have to hold the device directly in front of your face, unlocking works even if you bring it from below or from the side. The iPhone still turns on automatically as soon as you pick it up from the table or take it out of your pocket and starts scanning right away.
The new technology still has one drawback compared to Touch ID: you won’t be able to unlock the iPhone Xs (Max) when it’s just lying on the table. And in the car, you can’t start working with an iPhone fixed in the holder with a simple finger tap. While other manufacturers (like Huawei and OnePlus) are betting on an in-display fingerprint scanner, Apple has announced that it wants to keep working with Face ID technology.
At the presentation, Apple did not name the total battery life of smartphones, but compared the new models with the iPhone X. So the iPhone Xs battery with a capacity of 2,658 mAh should help the iPhone work 40 minutes longer than the iPhone X, and the iPhone Xs Max with a 3174 mAh battery should work 90 minutes longer.
For comparison: iPhone 8 Plus works 11:36 hours, iPhone X — 9:35 hours. The difference is due to the use of OLED technology, which consumes more power, especially when the screen is white. In addition, high pixel density negatively affects battery life.
Charging time for the iPhone X is about 3 hours and 20 minutes, which is a very long time. This is due to the included power supply (5V, 1A), which is too weak for fast charging technology. The same power supply comes with new models that have fast charging technology. Apple offers an additional power supply, but it costs 59 euros.
New iPhones can be charged wirelessly. According to Apple, the iPhone’s inductive charging coil has been redesigned to make Qi charging faster. Already last year, Apple announced its wireless charging technology called AirPower. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet.
New processor: Apple A12
Apple has increased the amount of RAM on the new Xs models to 4GB. Combined with the main innovation, the new A12 Bionic processor, this results in very high performance. We are talking about the first 7nm processor from Apple (instead of 10nm Apple A11). Using the same technology, Huawei produces the Kirin 980 processor. Qualcomm has not yet kept pace with its competitors, but it is possible that a new 7-nm “dragon” will soon appear.
According to Apple, each processor core is 15% faster and 40-50% more efficient. Apple also installed another chip in the model called the Neural Engine, which is responsible for machine learning on the iPhone. According to the results of the first GFX benchmark test, it became clear that the 3D performance of the new models is 50 percent higher and therefore faster than on all Android devices. The separation of AI-related tasks becomes noticeable when launching apps or using Siri commands in iOS 12, both of which happen very quickly.
iOS 12 Brings Practical Innovations
We are already used to gesture control thanks to the iPhone X. The new version of the operating system, iOS 12, is largely similar to the previous one. You can still access the home screen by swiping up from the bottom of the display. Switching between recent applications works with the same gesture, but here you have to hold your finger in the center of the screen a little longer. An alternative way is to swipe up first and then to the right.
iOS 12 has a very user-friendly innovation for closing apps: On the iPhone X, you had to first long-press an app icon in the Task Switcher, which wasn’t very convenient. Starting with iOS 12, a swipe up is enough. In iOS 12, the Face ID feature can remember two faces, which means two people can access the iPhone unlock. In addition, you can save an iPhone photo of your own face with sunglasses, and the second without them.
Among the biggest improvements, Apple lists performance improvements, custom and new Animoji, new camera effects, enhanced augmented reality, usage statistics, and more control over push messages. Read the full iOS 12 review here.
The main thing under the hood: dual camera iPhone Xs (Max)
The dual camera setup on the back of the two new iPhones doesn’t look different from the iPhone X camera at first glance. As before, it’s a combination of a wide-angle and telephoto lens with an f/1.8 or f/2.2 aperture that allows you to adjust the depth of field and provides true 2x optical zoom. As before, the optical stabilizer helps to avoid blurry shots.
The iPhone camera can now record video with stereo sound. Video is recorded in 4K, HDR mode and additional stabilization help prevent the appearance of the “shake” effect.
Camera resolution remains at 12 megapixels. But despite this, photos taken with the iPhone Xs and Xs Max turn out better than on the iPhone X: the Xs models have a new, more light-sensitive image sensor withaboutlarger and deeper pixels. Together with the new graphics chip powered by the A12-Bionic processor, these improvements should allow you to shoot more detailed portraits and create great shots even in low light conditions.
Apple calls this technology «Smart HDR» — the program selects the four best shots with different aperture settings and combines them into one optimal HDR image. The first test shots look very detailed, small structures such as hair or yarn are clearly visible even in twilight. In addition, we liked the high-speed focus.
Bokeh effect is an almost obligatory feature for the cameras of modern smartphones. In the iPhone, both front and rear cameras can support it. Users of the new Xs models will be able to step-by-step adjust the background sharpness even after shooting, which is very convenient.
iPhone Xs (Max) Dual-SIM
Basically, the new Xs models are an optimized iPhone X that differs from its predecessor model in two main innovations: the new A12 processor, which provides a more energy-efficient iPhone experience, and an improved camera. Okay, let there be three innovations. There is another feature that Android devices have been boasting for a long time — Dual-SIM.
But Apple wouldn’t be Apple if it took the known route. So the iPhone Xs and Xs Max offer Dual SIM as a combination of Nano-SIM and eSIM («e» stands for «embedded», that is, «built-in»). The latter must be supported by the operator. We look forward to see if Apple can quickly and universally implement this technology. We talked about eSIM in more detail here.