The 3 best and worst features of the iPhone XS and XS Max

Apple unveiled its annually updated iPhones yesterday, and showed three models that were not groundbreaking in hardware or design developments, as they are standard S upgrades but shake up Apple's setup in key ways. First, the iPhone X has completely disappeared, just like older iPhone models with headphone jacks. Instead, the new iPhone XS, a slightly superior version of the noiseless smartphone that Apple released for the first time for $ 999 last year. And now there's an even bigger version – the iPhone XS Max – with a dazzling 6.5 -inch screen, the biggest Apple ever.

Complicating for the conversation is the third phone that was announced yesterday: the iPhone XR. That device comes in six bright colors, including a Project RED version and a canary yellow version. It also has the same internal components as its more expensive variants and a screenless display. But from the point of view of the price it is meant to replace the iPhone 8 of last year. The two big compromises you make are the display quality – the XR has an LCD screen instead of an OLED – and in the camera, which is a single-lens system instead of the dual-lens system of the iPhone XS that was taken over from last year's model.

The choice is not easy. Both the XS and the XR contain a number of compromises and compromises, and understanding which elements of Apple's most expensive devices you like or dislikes will help you make a more informed decision about which model is right for you. We have broken down some of the best features of the flagship model of the XS model and some of its biggest drawbacks so you can decide whether it's time to join the XS / XS Max or whether it's worth it to go for the more colorful and cheaper products. XR.

Let's start with what the XS does best:

Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Best: Beautiful OLED screen with a 6.5 inch option for die-hard phablet fans

The main advantage of the iPhone XS and XS Max compared to the cheaper XR is the screen, which is undoubtedly the most impressive smartphone screen on the market. The XS has an OLED screen with a resolution of 248 x 1125 and 5.2 inches – the same as the original iPhone X – while the XS Max has an OLED display with a resolution of 6.5 inches and 2688 x 1242 pixels. Both devices have a pixel density of 458 ppi.

This results in the brightest, sharpest and most accurate colors that Apple has ever produced for its smartphone line. Apple also says that the glass that surrounds the device is an improvement compared to last year's model. If you're a loser for gigantic smartphone screens that really look the next generation in quality, the XS and XS Max models from Apple are not brain teasers.

Best: Computational photography tricks, thanks to the A12 Bionic chip

One of the best ways to buy one of Apple's best iPhone models is the progress the company is making in mobile photography. In the case of the iPhone XS and XS Max you get a few new features that really benefit from the interplay between Apple's software and the new A12 Bionic chip, which helps to process on board tasks that use machine learning and other software powered by artificial intelligence.

One of those new features is Smart HDR, which allows a number of photos with different exposure settings and other manual adjustments to be made and pasted together, similar to what Google does for its Pixel phones. The other is the possibility to set the aperture of a photo manually, and thus the depth of field, after it has already been recorded. This is something that was pioneered years ago by cameraman Lytro, and it is usually achieved through the use of photography with light fields.

In this case, however, Apple can produce the same effect with software by using many of the same computational photography techniques that enhance its portrait mode. (Although, again, it's worth mentioning that Android phones have been able to use the same technique for quite some time.)

Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Best: Rated IP68 water resistance

The new XS and XS Max have a number of subtle additions that are not noticeable enough to break out as "best" features, such as support for two SIM cards, stereo sound and a storage option of 512 GB, to name the most prominent. But a function that separates the XS from the X of last year and the new XR is the IP68 classification for water, splash and dust resistance.

It is a step higher than the IP67 rating of the original iPhone X, and it means that you can accidentally immerse your XS or XS Max in up to 30 meters of water for 30 minutes. That is twice the depth that the IP67 rating allows. So if you drop your iPhone to, for example, a pool or more instead of just a toilet or bath, the XS is a big improvement in the not-needed-a-replacement device department.

Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Given that this year is Apple's upgrade year, which means that these phones are only step-by-step better than last year's models, there are quite a few drawbacks of plundering over $ 1,000 for a 12-month flagship device from now on will be outdated. Here the XS and XS Max are lacking, and why should you consider postponing a year or two for newer models or going with the XR.

The worst: Apple's flagship is getting even more expensive

When Apple launched the iPhone X last year, it was the very first time the company decided to praise its smartphone in the unprecedented range of a thousand dollars, with the base model of $ 999 after taxes or in the range of $ 1,100 – $ 1,250 four digits if you have decided to buy one with more storage space.

The iPhone XS and XS Max push Apple even further into the luxurious, exorbitant area of ​​consumer electronics. Although the basic iPhone XS model continues to be priced at $ 999, a storage upgrade from 64 GB to 256 GB – because there is no 128 GB model – yields $ 1,150 before tax. The 512GB model is no less than $ 1,350.

The price of the XS Max is more understandable, given the larger screen. It starts at $ 1,099 and goes all the way up to $ 1,449 for a 512GB model. That is the most expensive iPhone that Apple has ever made. And the fact that it costs more than a basic MacBook Pro model is undoubtedly pushing the XS Max far beyond the realm of possibilities for your average smartphone buyer.

Photo by Nilay Patel / The Verge

The worst: iPhone XS and XS Max are not that much better than the XR

The iPhone X was in the years after Apple the biggest deviation from its autumn smartphone refresh strategy, in the sense that it gave people with the desire and cash to reserve an obvious and visibly superior alternative to the standard iPhone. design that we had become accustomed to. You have the first OLED display on an iPhone alongside an edge-to-edge design and Face ID.

With the iPhone XS and XS Max you do not really get devices that are much better than the cheaper XR variant from Apple. The XR has the same A12 Bionic processor, the same front camera with Face ID and Animoji, and the same borderless design. The rear-facing camera does not have the double lens system that has the original X and the new XS and XS Max. However, it can still perform many of the same Portrait Mode recordings and other computational photographic tricks, such as an adjustable aperture to intensify or dim artificial bokeh effects, thanks to the advancement of the camera software.

Even the display on the XR, which is larger than the XS display, is touted as a leading LCD version called Apple Liquid LCD (meaning it uses a backlighting system to fill the noiseless screen). It is therefore unlikely that most average consumers will notice a big difference between the XR screen and the OLED display on the XS. Admittedly, the iPhone XS and XS Max have higher-resolution displays with HDR, so that's worth taking into account if they are functions that are important to you.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Worst: iPhone XS is only delivered in three standard colors

This is perhaps the most friendly complaint about the XS and XS Max, but the three standard colors – gold, silver and space gray – feel really muted and uninspiring in comparison to the XR's black, blue, coral, red, yellow and white options.

Apple has always reserved its more flashy color options for its cheaper, more mass market models, all the way back to its iPod line and more recently with the iPhone 5C. And the company routinely locks popular color options, even for accessories, behind specific screen sizes and upgrade doors as a way to encourage consumers to upgrade.

Yet it is a big disappointment that you can not buy a more expressive smartphone from Apple while still enjoying the best specifications and hardware that its flagship has to offer. That said, if you buy a phone with a price of $ 1,150, you probably still want to cover the back of it with a cover.