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Review: iPhone Xs & Xr  All you need to know

Review: iPhone Xs & Xr   All you need to know

This year we said goodbye to the home button with the introduction of 3 new iPhones during the Apple Event in Cupertino. The central stage was taken by two Apple products: the new and updated iPhone Xs and Xr lineup and the new and updated Apple Watch Series 4.

In this article I am summarising for you the main highlight from Apple’s keynote.In short, this years event can mainly be characterised by small incremental updates and spec bumps and there is actually nothing to really get excited about. So let’s start first with the new iPhone X lineup.

iPhone XS & XS Max


In terms of the design, not a lot has changed. The new iPhone lineup will rock a familiar design from last years iPhone X with the same combination of stainless steel and glass. It will come in 3 colours: Gold (new), Silver and Space Grey.

The display

In terms of the screen both the iPhone Xs and Xs Max will come with TrueTone OLED Super Retina panels. During the keynote, they didn’t talk about the screen to body ratio so we can assume that the bezels didn’t shrink.

This year, the iPhone X comes in 2 screen sizes:

5.8" screen called the iPhone Xs
6.5" screen called the iPhone Xs Max

The bigger screen (iPhone Xs Max) will offer a resolution of 2688×1242 with a 458 ppi density. In addition to that, the screen will offer a 60% greater dynamic range, TrueTone and of course the standard Apple notch that is packed with an upgraded set of sensors. Thanks to the updated sensors the new iPhones should offer better FaceID performance and security. Again, Apple was not very specific here when talking about how faster and secure FaceID will be.


The biggest changes actually happened under the hood with the introduction of their new A12 Bionic chip. Throughout the keynote, Apple was flexing the muscles of this new chip by demonstrating the AR and machine learning capabilities of their new iPhone lineup.In short, Apple claims that this new A12 Bionic chip will be:

15% faster
40% more power efficient
50% GPU performant

All this combined, should result in 30% faster app opening speed, better AR performance and “console like” gaming experience.


Let’s talk now about the second biggest change, being the camera. Both the Xs and Xs Max will rock a dual lens camera with a primary wide-angle12 MP shooter at a 1.8 aperture and a secondary 12 MP telephoto shooter with a 2.4 aperture. Both of them optically stabilised and they will offer Smart HDR which enables you to take bursts of photos with zero shutter lag. 

They will also come with TrueTone flash.The front camera comes with a 7 MP shooter at a 2.2 aperture. An additional feature that this new chip and camera combo offers is the ability to edit the depth of field of your portraits.In terms of video, there will be now support for wide stereo audio recording and playback.


Storage-wise there are 3 options: 64 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB, but of course in line with Apple’s tradition there won’t be any expendable storage option.


The battery also got a slight bump as well. But as always, Apple was very vague in terms of actual battery capacity. What they promised to us is that:

The iPhone Xs will have 30 min more battery life compared to the iPhone X from last year
The iPhone XS Max will pack a even bigger battery and should deliver 1.5 hours of battery life compared to last years iPhone X


Not to forget some other things like IP68 water resistance and for the first time in history of iPhone, dual sim support (one physical and one e-SIM).


iPhone Xs starts at $999 for the base model
iPhone Xs Max starts at $1,099 for the base model and goes up to a very uncomfortable $1,449 price tag for the 512 GB version

Please note that for both of them you are not getting a fast charger nor the headphone adapter. These items have to be purchased separately.

iPhone Xr

Now let’s focus on whats in my opinion one of the biggest highlights of the event: the introduction of the more “affordable” member of the new lineup called the iPhone Xr.
Why do I say “the biggest highlight of the event”? It’s because the iPhone Xr offers you a very compelling package of the latest Apple technology for a much more affordable price compared to the bigger Xs and Xs Max models.

The iPhone XR packs a very similar edge to edge screen design found by it’s bigger brothers with water and dust resistance.
It will come in 6 colours: white, black and the more vibrant colours being yellow, red, blue, coral.

But there are of course some sacrifices made to get to this reduced price tag of $749 for the base model.
The displayInstead of an OLED screen you are getting a 6.1" TrueTone LCD screen that Apple calls “Liquid Retina”. This places the iPhone Xr right in between the 5.8" Xs and 6.8" Xs Max.

It offers a resolution of 1792×828 which like by the other models supports FaceID, has true depth sensors and tap to wake option.


Under the hood it packs the identical A12 Bionic chip. So if you combine the lower resolution screen with this chip, this phone should be a real power house.
An additional sacrifice here made is in the camera department where the dual lens camera is replaced by a 12 MP single lens camera with a 1.8 aperture. Hardware-wise, this camera is identical to it’s bigger brothers. It will offer the same experience with TrueTone flash, smart HDR, same bokeh experience with depth control. The same applies as well for the front camera.


It will also offer a bit more humble storage capacity with a 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB option.


For the battery again no specific capacity information it should be able to deliver 1.5 hour more than iPhone 8+. During the keynote they did not mention fast charging or wireless charging but on the website it says that it supports both fast charging and wireless charging.


The base model of the iPhone Xr will have a price-tag of $749.
Please note that just like for the Xs and Xs Max model you are not getting a fast charger nor the headphone adapter. These items have to be purchased separately.

Apple Watch Series 4Apple also announced an updated version of the Apple Watch — Series 4. By showcasing both the hardware and software capabilities we see that Apple is focusing to become a all-round health guardian.

With the improved watch sensors they are now able to detect potential hearth irregularities and the watch can now also recognise if you fall on the ground and enable you to do a SOS call or notify your emergency contacts indicating your exact location.But in essence, the story here is the same like for the iPhones, not a lot has changed!

The screen got a bit bigger. They are talking about an edge-to-edge screen but from the keynote it was visible that the screen doesn’t really stretch edge to edge. The chip has improved, the speaker is 50% louder and the battery delivers the same 18 hours of operational time. And that’s it!


There is nothing to get too much excited about this year — as said, it was mostly small, incremental updates on both the iPhone and Apple Watch.

This is what I can recommend you:

If you already own a iPhone X there is no need to upgrade. In essence you are getting the same phone that is slightly faster and that’s practically it.
If you own a iPhone 8 or 7, the more compelling option is the iPhone XR because it offers you a familiar screen on which you already got used to on the iPhone 8, but just refreshed, up to the standards of 2018 with an edge-to-edge design.

The iPhone XR offers the full Apple experience by doing a slight compromise with the screen and camera. Smaller storage capacity compared to the more expensive iPhones is not really here an argument since the majority of your photos, music and movies is probably in the cloud by now.

If you own an Apple Watch Series 3, there is also no reason to upgrade. Only maybe it you are suffering from a cardiovascular disease where you could benefit from the newly implemented ECG sensor.


Another thing we witnessed this year is Apple’s rude push towards even higher smartphone prices. Why am I saying rude? Asking $1,449 for the 512 GB iPhone Xs Max model, which in Europe by the way costs $1.9K is just plain disrespectful. There is nothing in this phone that justifies a price tag of over $1,000 and nobody can argue her that this is the the way in which the smartphone industry is heading.

With these inflated prices and insane prices, we are already stepping in the premium laptop segments. Just think about it… For the price of a base model iPhone Xs Max you could easily get a 12" MacBook and for the price of the 512 GB version you can buy a new MacBook Pro 13".

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