Pros and Cons of the New iPhone XS/XS Max: Everything You Need to Know

By Abby Poole to iPhone 9, Apple Resources | Last Updated on Dec 18, 2018

The new iPhone XS/XS Max advantages and disadvantages are what Apple fans and other mobile users eager to know in September. Many fans think that the 10th anniversary iPhone X isn't worth the hype it received, could Apple's new iPhone XS be a successful successor and set the world on fire? Here's our list of rumored iPhone XS pros and cons, compared to iPhone 8/iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9.

Check to See An Indepth iPhone XS/XR Review >>

Part 1: General List of iPhone XS(Max) Pros and Cons

iPhone X advantages
iPhone Xs/Xs Max Advantages

1. More colors for iPhone XS(Max): Gold, silver and space gray (for iPhone XR: Blue, coral, yellow, white, black, Product Red).
2. First 7nm A12 Boinic chip. A 6-core CPU that is 15% faster and 40% power-efficient than A11. And a 4-core GPU that is 50% faster. A new neural engine with 8 cores.
3. Largest iPhone XS Max with a 6.5-inch OLED. The other two options are 5.8-inch OLED iPhone XS and 6.1-inch LCD iPhone XR.
4. Largest storage with a maximum of 512 GB (64GB/256GB/512GB) in iPhone XS/XS Max, big pros compared to other mobiles.
5. First dual-SIM support through the design of a standard nano-SIM slot and an eSIM, which is especially available in China.
6. Improved 12MP wide-angle camera with a new Smart HDR, 2-faster sensor, OIS image stabilization, 2x optical zoom and more.
7. iPhone XS/XS Max bundle an 18-watt USB-C fast charger to switch from lightning to USB C.
8. Higher water resistance (up to 30min in 2 meters of water without error).

iPhone X disadvantages
iPhone Xs/Xs Max Disadvantages

1. Most expensive iPhone: iPhone XS starts from $999 and iPhone XS Max starts from $1099. The cheapest iPhone XR will cost $749.
2. No fast charger included in the box, no non-removable battery and no separate slot for headphone jack.
3. Poor cell and Wi-Fi reception, obviously slower than older models.
4. Shorter battery life in iPhone XS/XS Max than laster year's iPhone X and iPhone 8, though claimed to be longer by Apple.
5. No Touch ID is one of the biggest iPhone XS(Max) weaknesses as Face ID isn't well suited to enough scenarios.
6. Annoying iOS 12 bugs & problems are bound to a few weaknesses for iPhone XS/Plus/XR.
7. No creative breakthroughs, features like FacaID, AR, bezel-free designs, OLED screen, etc have appeared across plenty of Android phones.
8. No 5G support in iPhone XS.
9. No iris scanner available in iPhone Xs/Xs Max/XR is disadvantages over Samsung Galaxy S8/S9.

Part 2: 8 Significant iPhone XS(Max) Strengths & Weaknesses You Must Know

Above all these iPhone XS(Max) pros and cons, some are trivial matters, while some of them acctually help you make a decision to buy the new iPhone XS/XS Max or not. Here we listed 7 significant strengths and weaknesses of iPhone XS(Max).

List of iPhone XS(Max) Pros

iPhone XS(Max) pros and cons

1. First bigger notch device

iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch OLED screen, which is the largest iPhone ever. Pair with 2,688x1,242 pixels, 458ppi pixel density, iPhone XS Max may fail to defeat the 500ppi resolution packed in some competitors (like Galaxy S9, LG V30 Plus etc.). However, the premium-class 625 cd/m2 maximum brightness level along with Apple's 3D Touch give iPhone XS Max enough advantages to impress us.

Plus, iPhone XS Max is made with glass and stainless steel frames with minimal bezels on all side. This means that iPhone XS Max delivers excellent view experience. iPhone XR has lower-resolution LCD display, and one of the biggest cons of iPhone XR is, it has larger bezels and lacks 3D Touch.

iPhone XS(Max) merits - fast performance

2. Faster performance

iPhone XS includes a hardware update that allows faster and better system performance, which is one of the biggest iPhone XS/Xs Max merits. The new iPhones include the industry's first 7nm A12 Bionic chip with 6.9 billion transistors. Specifically, it has a 6-core CPU which is 15% faster and reduces power by 40% than A11. And the 4-core GPU is 50% faster than the A11. There is also a new 8-core Neural Engine that 's dedicated for smart computing. Using the same processor, this is also one of the advantages of iPhone XR.

Also see iPhone XS vs iPhone 8

iPhone XS(Max) pros - camera

3. Better camera features

The best-ever camera is on the list of iPhone XS pros. iPhone XS/XS Max arms a 12MP dual rear-facing cameras. Specifically, the new iPhone 2018 features 14μm pixels, OIS image stabilization, 2x faster sensor, 2x zoom, IR lens and more improvements. The Smart HDR, based on enhanced image signal processor, advanced algorithms, Neural Engine and a slew of technologies, can shoot additional frames of highlight and shadow details. The improved "bokeh" effect will add more blur to the background for better portrait pictures.

iPhone XS(Max) and iPhone XR has the same front and primary rear camera, while iPhone XS has a secondary lens. Therefore, in this regard, iPhone XS(Max) is better than iPhone XR, while iPhone XR still has advantages over prior models.

new iPhone XS(Max) advantages - software

4. Software upgrade

Software upgrade should one of the major advantages of Apple's new iPhone XS/XS Max/XR. iPhone XS is powered by iOS 12 that focuses on performance and reliability and that has tons of new features. New features coming from iOS 12 include FaceTime/AR improvements, better parental controls, digital health features, support for cross-platform iOS and macOS applications, expanded Animoji, and more. iOS 12 is the biggest software update brought to the new iPhone XS. So we eagerly anticipate the upgrade this time. Is iPhone XS perfect? Also check the pros and cons iPhone X.

Dual-SIM card in iPhone XS(Max)

5. First Release of Dual-SIM iPhone

Apple releases the 1st iPhone with dual-SIM option exclusively for Chinese mainland together with 2018 new iPhones. The Dual-SIM card feature comes with iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR via the DSDS or eSIM design.

Why would Apple build an iPhone XS with dual-SIM format known as "dual-SIM standby" for China? Expanding its market share might explain. It's known to all that varied types of Android smartphone support dula-SIM cards, which attract large number of customers in China, roughly 3 or 4 millions. Therefore, to make Android users turn to be iPhone fans, Apple caters to their needs at first.

iPhone XS(Max) Cons Round-up

cons of iPhone XS(Max) - shorter battery life

1. Shorter battery

Though Apple claimed that iPhone XS(Max) can last 30 minutes and 1.5 hours respectively than iPhone X, we can hardly see it as a big benefit of iPhone XS/Xs Max/XR. iPhone XS has 2,658mAh, and iPhone XR has 2,942mAh. Specifically, iPhone XS claims talk time of 20 hours, iPhone XS Max 25 hours and iPhone XR 25 hours, and iPhone XR will last longer in internet use and video playback by hours. Due to the LCD display, iPhone XR has obvious advantages over iPhone XS and XS Max.

However, according to users feedbacks, iPhone XS Max lasts for 10 hours 38 minutes, XS 9 hours and 48 minutes, shorter than 10 hours 49 minutes of iPhone X and far behind iPhone 8 Plus' 11 hours 16 minutes.

iPhone XS/XR weakness

2. No really exciting new features

We don't see much really wonderful and unique features and design on the new iPhone, which is considered as a big disadvantage of iPhone XS/XS Max/XR. It seems that what Apple has done is to improve iOS software and A12 chip. In fact, new features like Dual-SIM, Smart HDR, improved camera, A12 Bionic chip, etc. have appeared across plenty of Android phones. Customers are not willing to pay more for less. For some, the new iPhone XS(Max) is not worth roughly $1000. How about Apple iPhone 9 vs Samsung Galaxy S9, which has more innovations?

iPhone XS/XR pros

3. Wireless charging is not appealing

Apple started to bring wireless charging to iPhone 8/iPhone X in 2017. We see developed wireless charging on iPhone Xs Max/Xs/XR. However, Android has adopted wireless charging over the past few years. What's more, this feature is a bit boring. We put it on the list of iPhone XS shortcomings since many would be unwilling to pay extra $38.99 to buy a wireless charging accessory AirPower to enjoy the feature. On the other hand, some tests point out that Apple's wireless charging leads to faster battery drain than cable charging. Learn how to fix fast battery drain problem if you are suffering from it.

iPhone XS(Max) disadvantages

4. Other annoying problems

iPhone is far from perfection, and Apple's 2018 new iPhone XS/XS Max/XR is no exception. The most common cons of iPhone XS(Max) complained by users include sudden shutdowns, battery issues, iOS 12 errors, inconvenient wireless charging, iPhone XS/XR getting hot while charging, and so on. It must be mentioned that fast battery drain problem remains though Apple continually improves battery life. It's difficult for users to get rid of these irritating iPhone XS(Max) drawbacks. If you plan to update to the new iPhone XS/XR, we recommend you to wait a few weeks or months after release and see if it's worth buying.

Overview: Specs of iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR

To learn more detailed pros and cons of iPhone XS (Max) and iPhone XR, check the specifications of the three models below.

Phone

iPhone XS

iPhone XS (Max)

iPhone XR

Display

5.8in Super Retina OLED, 2,436x1,125 pixels

6.5-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,688x1,242 pixels

6.1-inch LCD Retina Display; 1,792x828 pixels

Colours

Gold, silver, space gray

Silver, Gold, Space Grey

Blue, coral (pink), yellow, white, black, Product Red

Rear Camera

12MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, OIS, Quad-LED True Tone flash, Portrait Lighting; 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 1.0µm pixel size, OIS, 2x optical zoom

12MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, OIS, Quad-LED True Tone flash, Portrait Lighting; 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 1.0µm pixel size, OIS, 2x optical zoom

12MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, OIS, Quad-LED True Tone flash, Portrait Lighting

Front

'TrueDepth' camera - 7MP, f/2.2 aperture

'TrueDepth' camera - 7MP, f/2.2 aperture

'TrueDepth' camera - 7MP, f/2.2 aperture

Chip

A12

A12

A12

Battery

2,658mAh, 20 hours talk time, 12 hours internet use, 14 hours video playback and 60 hours audio playback

N/A, 25 hours talk time, 13 hours internet use, 15 hours video playback and 65 hours audio playback

2,942mAh, 25 hours talk time, 15 hours internet use, 16 hours video playback and 65 hours audio playback

Expandable storage

None

None

None

Sensor

Face ID

Face ID

Face ID

OS

iOS 12

iOS 12

iOS 12

Capacity

64GB, 256GB, 512GB

64GB, 256GB, 512GB

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Water resistant

IP68

IP68

IP68

Starting Price

$999

$1,099

$749

Headphone jack

No

No

No

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