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Apple iPhone Xs vs Xs Max: Which 2018 iPhone flagship is right for you?

Alan Martin
13 Sep 2018
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Anyone for Ten-S?

Another year, another iPhone flagship. The phone for 2018 is the iPhone Xs – pronounced “Ten-S” confusingly – a follow up to last year’s iPhone X.

As is the fashion with top of the range smartphones, however, there are two options available this year: the iPhone Xs and its bigger brother, the iPhone Xs Max. As the name suggests it’s bigger; the question is, is it better?

Here are all the differences between the two flagships and what’s identical.

iPhone Xs vs Xs Max: What are the differences?

There are real differences between the iPhone Xs and Xs Max. These are:

Screen size and resolution

Size is the main selling point here. You want more screen space? You’ll need the iPhone XS Max.

It’s worth seeing both the phones in the flesh, mind, because the vanilla iPhone Xs isn’t exactly what you’d call small. It has a 5.8in OLED screen, compared with the iPhone Xs Max’s 6.5in version.

That change necessitates a change in resolution – because if they were the same, the iPhone Xs Max could appear less sharp in comparison. As it is, they share an identical 448 pixels per inch, thanks to a resolution bump: 2,688 x 1,242 on the Max against 2,436 x 1,125 on the regular Xs.

Other than that, the screens are identical. Both still have that notch at the top, which might annoy you or not, depending on your preferences.

Battery

Apple has yet to reveal how big the battery is in either the iPhone Xs or Xs Max, but it did let slip that the latter has the largest battery ever seen in an iPhone. That makes sense: it does, after all, have more space for a bigger power pack.

We’ll have to wait for a teardown to see exactly how much bigger but Apple said that, while the iPhone Xs will get an extra 30 minutes of daily use than the X, the Xs Max will last 90 minutes longer.

So that’s the pick for you if battery life is important.

Weight

If you have a bigger screen, you have a bigger weight to match. In this case, while the iPhone Xs is 177 grams, the iPhone Xs Max tips the scales at 208 grams.

Price

You’ve probably already spotted this: the iPhone Xs and Xs Max aren’t cheap handsets by any conventional definition.

iPhone Xs:

64GB – £999
256GB – £1,149
512GB – £1,349

iPhone Xs Max:

64GB – £1,099
256GB – £1,249
512GB – £1,449

Given that Apple still refuses to support expandable storage, it’s important you don’t go cheaper if you think you’ll need more space in the long run. Having said that, 64GB gives you plenty to play with if you don’t fancy paying upwards of £1,249.

iPhone Xs vs Xs Max: What’s the same?

Pretty much everything else. Both phones have the same 7nm Apple A12 Bionic processor, the same dual-camera array on the back, and the same OLED screen technology. They have the same extra perks like wireless charging and IP68 water resistance and they even come in the same colours: silver, space grey or gold.

In short: do you want a bigger screen and slightly improved battery life? Do you have the extra money to support your choice? If the answers to both questions are yes, then you want the iPhone Xs Max. Otherwise, stick with the regular iPhone Xs.

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