Last week, Apple announced not one, or two, but three new iPhones – The iPhone XS, The iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR – into the world. While, choice is almost always a good thing, too many options can sometimes be a problem, so in this post we look at the new iPhones, focusing on what’s the same, what’s different and all the other titbits that would help you choose one, if you’re in the market for a new iPhone.
Let’s start with the similarities shall we?
What’s the Same?
Looks: When Apple announced the original iPhone X last year, they said it was a glimpse into the next phase of iPhones…they were not playing. All the new iPhones are straight from the iPhone X template with the notched displays, tiny bezels and glass back.
Processor: All three new iPhones ship with Apple’s new A12 Bionic processor, which Apple says is 15% faster and up to 50% more efficient than the A11, which powered the iPhone X. Apple also claims that the GPU is 50% faster than the last generation. All three phones also contain an eight-core Neural Engine dedicated to Artificial Intelligence tasks, which can handle 5 trillion operations per second. In summary, all three devices aren’t slouches and should be identical from a performance standpoint, this translates to faster app loading times, faster FaceID and the like.
Cameras: All three devices also feature the same front ( 7-megapixel f/2.2 sensor) and main (12-megapixel f/1.8 sensor) camera. The front camera bring with it all the goodies from the iPhone X, and in addition to that, the new devices have a newer sensor with larger pixels and a software based Smart HDR, which Apple says should translate to better photos and a better ability to freeze moving subjects.
Dual SIM Support: While we take dual-sim devices for granted in these parts, all three devices will be the first iPhones that will ship with that feature. It’s worth nothing that for most of the devices, you’ll actually only be able to use one sim (as the second sim is an embedded eSim that is supported by very few networks globally), it’s only the variants that are designed to be sold in China that would actually allow you use two sim cards, so if you want this functionality, be sure that you are getting the same variant.
Besides the above, all three devices also come with faster Wireless Charging compared to the iPhone X, Stereo Audio Recording, better Stereo Speakers (using the speaker in the earpiece as one channel) and the also all do not ship with a Headphone adapter.
Displays: On the display side of things, there are two major differences to contend with across board. The first one is the sizes. The iPhone XS, XR and XS Max, feature 5.8, 6.1 and 6.5-inch displays respectively. The second difference around the displays is the type and resolution of the displays themselves. While the XS and XS Max feature OLED displays with an eye-popping 458ppi, the XR features an LCD display with just 326ppi. So in essence, the XS and XS Max are rocking way better displays.
Camera: This might be a bit confusing seeing as I mentioned above that the primary and secondary cameras were the same. They are still the same, however what is not mentioned above is that the XS and XS Max have a third camera, or more accurately, they both use a dual-camera system as their secondary camera, while the XR has just one. So in addition to the secondary camera on the XR, the XS and XS Max have a 12-megapixel, f/2.4 sensor, telephoto lens with 2x zoom. So while the XS and XS Max will combine both cameras to shoot portrait shots, the XR will have to manage with one lens.
Battery: Apple typically doesn’t disclose battery numbers, and this is particularly tricky since the iPhone XR isn’t available yet. That said, the XS delivers somewhere around 8-9 hours of screen on time, the XS Max goes around 11-12hrs (going by some of the tests I’ve seen), with the XR expected to sit somewhere within that range as well.
Water Resistance: The iPhone XS and XS Max are rated IP68 for water resistance (note that it says resistance not waterproof?), while the iPhone XR is rated IP67. So what does that mean? In theory, it means that the XR can be dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour, while the XS and XS Max can be in water up to 1.5m deep for the same period of time without damage. Both are equally resistant to dust.
Colour and Material: The iPhone XR comes in six colours (white, black, coral, yellow, blue and red), while the XS and XS Max come in silver, gold and space grey. The XR also is built around an aluminium chassis, with a glass back and display completing the sandwich, while the XS and XS Max feature a stainless steel chassis.
Storage: On the storage side of things, the XR is available in 64, 128 and 256GB, while the XS and XS Max, also starts out at 64GB, but skips the 128GB option, in favour of a 256GB and a 512GB variant.
Pricing: The iPhone XR starts at $749 and goes all the way up to $899 depending on what storage option you choose. The XS starts at $999 for the 64GB model and goes up to $1349 for the 512GB model, while the XS Max starts at $1099 and will set you back as much as $1449 for the 512GB model.
That’s about it. If you had to pick one, which would it be?