All you need to know about the iPhone XS 

The iPhone XS and XS Max hit retail stores in India on September 28. You probably know all there is to know about these two devices and the cheaper (If Rs 76,900 qualifies as a cheaper device) XR that arrives on October 26. For me, it’s the iPhone XS that is the epitome of all things Apple. Here’s the ‘byte size’ iPhone XS review – my quick take on Apple’s 2018 flagship device and why it deserves your attention:

You can’t tell between the iPhone X and the XS: all-glass and separated by a premium stainless steel band, this is every inch a premium product. It looks identical to the iPhone X and that’s the best part. The new gold colour, that is reminiscent of the iPhone 8 joins last year’s silver and space grey colour options. The display specs on the gorgeous OLED display (1125 x 2436 pixels / 19.5:9 aspect ratio / 458 PPI) are unchanged from its predecessor.

All the big changes are under the hood: it’s an ‘S’ year, that year in the iPhone product cycle when the big updates are reserved for the internals. This year’s headline feature is the A12 Bionic chip. It doesn’t just make the device faster but impacts experiences like the camera and AR. I noticed slightly faster load times and swifter Face ID response times.

The camera gets a refresh: we love the Portrait mode on the iPhone and it just got better with the XS. The new camera is bolstered with advanced depth segmentation for professional quality bokeh images. The camera doesn’t just benefit from the new A12 Bionic chip but also Smart HDR that creates images with more highlights and then larger and deeper pixels. You will notice the difference in lowlight photography.

Speakers that pack serious punch: better sound quality and output make the new speakers arguably the best on any smartphone out there. Just make sure you don’t test their credentials on a flight or in a restaurant. There are enough people inflicting their music and videos on hapless bystanders.

It’s the first iPhone with dual SIM support: but it’s not available out of the box just yet. Apple will enable dual SIM functionality with an update later this year. There’s no slot for a second SIM card though; this will be an eSIM. Airtel and Jio have already announced support for the eSIM. Read this explainer for all the deets.

Battery life is unchanged: Apple claims a 30-minute improvement over the iPhone X but it’s not something that I really noticed during my tests. It’s similar to the iPhone X; the XS Max offers a slightly better battery life.

So, should you upgrade?:

  • iPhone X user?: you don’t really need to step up this year. If you’re itching to splurge then consider the iPhone XS Max for a new form factor.
  • If you’re moving up from the iPhone 8 or earlier: absolutely. The iPhone XS experience will be a big leap.
  • And what about the iPhone XR: consider it, if you’re planning to step up from the iPhone 8 or earlier, especially if you’re not a heavy camera user and don’t mind the display resolution. It offers the same immersive display, the same processor and a solid camera – it’s not a dual camera set up though.
  • And lastly the iPhone XS Max: that’s for you, if you’ve enjoyed using the earlier ‘Plus’ size iPhones. It’s the same heft and size as the iPhone 8 Plus but with a whole extra inch of screen real estate.

The iPhone XS costs Rs 99,900 (64GB), Rs 114,900 (256GB) or Rs 134,900 (512GB). The iPhone XS Max costs Rs 109,900 (64GB), Rs 124,900 (256GB) or Rs 144,900 (512GB).


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