The iPhone XS Max fine-tunes the already-brilliant iPhone X, rather than going for a full revamp. Yet there are some significant updates; with the XS Max, Apple has introduced its largest ever screen for an iPhone, plus excellent new camera features and a new super-powerful chip for both XS models.
- Superb screen for gaming and videos
- Excellent camera quality
- Premium feel of the design
- Most expensive iPhone ever
- Large screen can make it difficult to hold
iPhone XS Max: in more detail
The iPhone XS Max is big and beautiful. As is traditional with an 'S' year, Apple have largely kept the overall look from the original in the series, though that's not really a bad thing as the iPhone X was stunning. Digital Trends praises the XS Max as 'one of the most beautiful phones on the planet'.
The introduction of a huge 6.5-inch display will be welcome news to those who love their screens on the larger side, while added features, including new camera modes, Dual SIM technology and a significantly more powerful chip, are a welcome addition to the phone.
The iPhone XS Max is a gorgeous-looking device. Apart from its size, it is almost identical to the iPhone X and XS, which means no home button, virtually no bezels and a notch at the top of the screen.
Its similarity to its predecessor is no bad thing. The stainless steel frame, glass back and nearly edge-to-edge screen still look premium - which should be expected considering the XS Max's high price.
Although some may be put off by the dimensions of this device, Mashable described the iPhone XS Max as 'impressively light' and said that 'wielding the phone isn't awkward'.
As with the iPhone XS, the Max model comes in Gold, Silver or Space Gray.
The iPhone XS Max stands out from other iPhones thanks to its magnificent display. Its huge 6.5-inch screen is the largest in iPhone history, plus it keeps the fantastic Super Retina OLED from the X.
It comes with a 2688 x 1242 resolution and 458 pixels per inch, providing a rich and vivid display with deep blacks and vibrant colours.
While the XS Max's screen adds a full diagonal inch on the iPhone 8 Plus, the overall size of the phone remains largely similar thanks to the edge-to-edge screen and removal of the home button.
Performance and battery
Like the iPhone XS, the XS Max comes with the all-new, super-fast A12 Bionic chip. It's seriously powerful - two performance cores may only increase speed by 15%, but the four efficiency cores boost the speed by a massive 50%. Thanks to a ramped-up Neural Engine that accelerates machine learning so your phone can learn your usage habits over time, the A12 can perform five trillion operations per second; this is a huge leap from the 600 billion the A11 could muster.
As with the iPhone XS, the XS Max has also been updated with a new four-core GPU that improves graphic performance by up to 50%. Combined with the gorgeous screen resolution, this means graphic-intensive apps like games will render faster and more smoothly.
Overall, these chip improvements mean that the phone is noticeably quicker compared to the X. Digital Trends said 'the iPhone XS Max can handle seriously intense computing tasks, and complete them faster than ever before. It may well be the most powerful smartphone available to date'.
The iPhone XS Max also comes with a powerful battery, which Apple claims allows this model to last up to 1.5 hours longer than the X, with up to 25 hours of talk time and 13 hours of internet use.
The XS Max comes with two rear 12MP cameras. One is a wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture and the other a telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture. On the front is a 7MP wide-angle lens camera with f/2.2 aperture.
While the lenses are almost identical to the ones you will get in the iPhone X, the real enhancements come in two new modes: Smart HDR and Depth Control.
The former improves your pictures by capturing nine photos simultaneously and stitching them together to provide richer colours in changing lights, while the latter allows you to control the bokeh - or background blur - of Portrait Mode photos even after you've taken the image.
According to TechCrunch, these new features mean that 'your camera roll as a whole will just suddenly start looking like you're a better picture taker, with no intervention from you'.
The iPhone XS Max, like the XS, is controlled using the same gestures introduced to the world on the iPhone X. The major changes come with the introduction of iOS 12 and some neat new features.
The new Grouped Notifications tool, which combines alerts from the same app, should declutter your display. Meanwhile, those looking to cut the time they spend on their phone can take advantage of Screen Time, which monitors how long you spend on your phone and how frequently you check it.
With their latest iPhones, the XS and XS Max, Apple have introduced Dual SIM technology, which gives users the possibility of having two phone plans on the same device. In essence, that allows users to have one number for business and another for personal calls or to have a local data plan when travelling outside the country.
Apple have said that this feature will be available 'with an update to iOS 12 coming later this year'.
The iPhone XS will be available in the UK from 21 September 2018.