Apple Bangs The Market With iPhone XR, iPhone XS And iPhone XS MAX

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After so many rumors and leaks finally, Apple announced its iPhone range for 2018. The names of the iPhones are a bit confusing but still, those are iPhones. For the first time, Apple announced 3 new iPhones this year, iPhone XS and iPhone XS MAX and the cheaper version for the first time iPhone XR.  Don’t know the reason for the name iPhone XR, maybe it stands for ‘Extra Reasonable’. If you know the reason then please comment and let us know.


iPhone XS And iPhone XS MAX Quick Specs

  • iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch (458 PPI) screen and the iPhone XS MAX has a 6.5-inch (458 PPI), with an OLED HDR screen (Super Retina displays) and a max brightness of 625 cd/m²
  • Colors: Gold, silver, and space gray finishes
  • Dual camera: 12-megapixel wide and telephoto lenses of f/1.8 and f/2.4
  • Front-facing cameras: 7-megapixel camera with aperture f/2.2 will bring depth to portrait mode photos.
  • A12 Bionic chip: 7-nanometer processor promises to launch apps 30 percent faster than 2017 iPhones.
  • Storage Options: 64GB, 128GB, 512GB
  • IP68 water-resistance rating (2 meters depth; up to 30 minutes in water)
  • Battery life: iPhone XS should last 30 minutes longer than iPhone X; iPhone XS Max claims 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone X (Don’t’ know when Apple will solve this mystery and reveal the exact battery capacity)
  • Dual-SIM card support through eSIM technology
  • Face ID promises to work faster at unlocking the phones.
  • 3D Touch pressure-sensitive screen
  • Stereo sound with a wider stereo field than 2017 iPhones
  • iOS 12 software


iPhone XS and iPhone XS MAX Design

As we said, the main thing that excited people last year was the all-new design, and Apple’s staying true to form and making this an ‘S’ year that means the same design, with only a few tweaks inside to mark this out as a different phone.

The main change is to the color scheme: this year we’ve got a gold shade thrown into the mix, which we have to say looks rather striking in the flesh.

iPhone XS Design

Beyond that, the same frame as last year is present. A steel frame around the edge, a 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch for XS MAX display encapsulated by thin bezels all the way around, and (unsurprisingly) no home button. With the notch at the top of the display housing all the components required for the Face ID facial recognition for unlocking the phone. Only they have introduced a bigger screen version with the name of iPhone XS MAX.

The glass front and back are here once again, too, and despite not really changing anything from year to year, Apple has still delivered one of the more striking smartphone designs on the market.

When we say striking we’re not talking about the look. There is an absolute slew of iPhone copycats on the market now from Asian firms, and many offer a similar design-but-building quality. The feel of the iPhone in hand still conjures a premium feeling, going some way to offsetting that sky-high price.

On the left-hand side of the phone (and, for that matter, the right-hand side too) things are much as expected. The volume buttons and silencer rocker switches remain on the left, and the larger lock / Siri button sits proudly on the right of the phone, jutting out just enough to be used effectively without ruining the flow of the rim.

iPhone XS And iPhone XS MAX Screen

Again, the iPhone XS hasn’t really changed much in terms of the screen it’s offering. The 5.8-inch OLED and for the iPhone XS MAX its bigger to 6.5-inch. And that was already one of the best screens we’ve seen on the phone in the last year, delivering rich colors, deep blacks, and strong contrast ratios.

Apple has improved the performance of this screen by adding 60% better dynamic range to the already-offered HDR 10 and Dolby Vision movies – this basically improves the quality even further by managing to make both bright and dark elements of the scene rich and clear, without just driving the brightness right up and ruining the overall quality.


iPhone XS and iPhone XS MAX Camera

While there are some minor refinements to the camera on the iPhone XS. There are nowhere near as many as some might have expected, once again highlighting how this is very much an ‘S’ year for the iPhone range.

It’s good to get dual cameras on the ‘normal-sized’ iPhone last year’s iPhone 8 only had a single sensation, but perhaps there could have been more added to the mix.

There are two 12MP sensors, both with optical image stabilization. We believe, although one is a wide-angle lens offering higher-quality low-light performance. And the other a telephoto lens that allows for 2x zoom to get you closer to the subject.

The two can be used together in Apple’s Portrait Mode, enabling you to blur backgrounds and allow you to change the lighting or add effects to the subject with a few simple swipes.

iPhone XR, XS, XS Max Size Comparison

iPhone XS and iPhone XS MAX Battery

As ever, Apple has not announced the size of its battery on stage, preferring to talk about what its phones can actually do. The iPhone X last year had a capacity of just over 2,700mAh, but could generally last the day pretty well.

Apple is claiming that the iPhone XS, with its new, more efficient A12 Bionic chipset inside, is capable of lasting 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X – which doesn’t seem that much. And according to Apple XS MAX, it will last 1.5 hrs longer than the iPhone X.

There’s wireless charging in the mix too (we assume, although Apple never mentioned it). Based on the Qi standard, and we’ve found with any phone that’s capable of wireless charging. That if you head out and buy a couple of power pads for work and home we doubt you’ll actually run out of battery very often at all. The back is still glass, so there’s no worry that the charging signal won’t get through.

There’s no fast charger in the box from Apple, it seems, as it wasn’t mentioned, which is a missed opportunity when you consider rivals like Samsung and OnePlus have been offering that functionality with the cost of the phone for years.

iPhone XR Quick Specs: Apple’s Cheaper iPhone

  • The iPhone XR has 6.1-inch (326ppi), with an LCD screen (Retina display).
  • Colors: Blue, Coral (Pink), Yellow, White, Black, Product Red
  • Aluminum Bodies With Glass Back
  • A single camera: 12-megapixel wide-angle lens of f/1.8 aperture, with OIS
  • Portrait Mode Photos Through Software
  • FaceID with the same True-Depth camera system as iPhone XS
  • A12 Bionic Chip
  • Battery life claim: 1.5 hours more per day than the iPhone 8 Plus
  • IP67 Water Resistance
  • No 3D Touch on iPhone XR. Instead, you get a haptic touch, like a trackpad.

iPhone XR Design

Well, unsurprisingly for a brand that puts such a focus on design (and whose chief designer was flipping knighted) it’s not an ugly device in any way.

Next to the iPhone XS, sure, it’s not quite as attractive. It’s got thicker bezels around the screen, the edges aren’t made of the same premium-feeling materials, and the back is still glass.

iPhone XR Design

But as a standalone device, it looks just fine. It could easily be mistaken for the iPhone X last year if the two devices weren’t held closely.

The size is obviously larger than the iPhone XS / X, thanks to that larger 6.1-inch display that needs to be wrapped in metal and other assorted components.

The rest of the iPhone XR’s design is predictable if you’ve seen the iPhone X or checked out pics of the new XS, with the same buttons for the volume and to activate Siri on the left- and right-hand side of the phone respectively.

iPhone XR Screen

In the build-up to the iPhone launch, much of the talk was around the screen of the iPhone XR. It was going to be 6.1-inches, have thicker bezels and uses LCD technology over OLED to keep the costs down.

Well, it seems that has indeed come to pass, with the new Liquid Retina display that Apple’s developed for the model. What that means is that although it’s technically lower quality – HDR playback isn’t present here. For instance – the color reproduction and overall screen effect isn’t that bad at all.

There is one thing to note for those upgrading from older iPhones: their screen ratio is close to 18:9, which is narrower than the usual 16:9 widescreen that many will be used to.

iPhone XR Camera

The camera on the iPhone XR is the weakest of the three phones announced by Apple. it’s only got a single sensor rather than two for portrait mode, but that doesn’t mean it’s terrible quality in comparison and it’s the same as the one in the XS, just lacks the second lens.

It means that you won’t be able to have a telephoto lens for lossless zooming in, or be able to take clever portrait modes using the two sensors together, as you can with the iPhone XS pair announced (although with the Focus pixels, it can do depth sensing and blurring the background.

You can also change the depth of the blur effect with a scroller on the bottom of the phone. Apple is claiming it’s the first brand to do this, but we’ve seen it plenty of times on handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. So it’ll be interesting to hear where Apple sees the difference.

It’s a 12MP sensor in the rear, with the front packing the TrueDepth camera for facial unlocking and selfies, and while Apple didn’t make a big deal about the functionality on stage it’ll be equally as good as that seen on the iPhone 8 last year.

iPhone Prices

The price point set by Apple is quite impressive and aggressive. For enthusiast’s, it is now becoming easier to own a brand new iPhone.

Name32 GB Variant64GB Variant128GB Variant256 / 512GB Variant
iPhone 7$449$549
iPhone 7 Plus$569$669
iPhone 8$599$749 – 256GB
iPhone 8 Plus$699$849 – 256GB
iPhone XR$749$799$899 – 256GB
iPhone XS$999$1149 – 256GB

$1349 – 512GB

iPhone XS Max$1049$1249 – 256GB

$1449 – 512GB

All New iPhone Lineup Prices

We can already see from the chart that iPhone XR will likely replace the old iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It is going to be the entry-level device in this lineup. The iPhone XS and XS Max are the same devices with different screen sizes. These are the premium devices of this lineup likely to replace the iPhone X. Keeping the price difference in mind it is not advisable to switch from iPhone X right away.

Our Verdict

There’s always something so disappointing about the ‘S’ years of the iPhone. It makes business sense for Apple given that it can still command sales without having to redesign the phone every time. But without a new shape it’s not as easy to explain to buyers why it’s worth buying.

There are some decent improvements in the mix-notably the capacity, the louder speakers and the more colorful screen. But beyond that many will likely be torn between last year’s iPhone X, which will now be cheaper, and having the latest iPhone. The iPhone XR seems more of an impressive feat from Apple, to be honest.

The iPhone XS Max is clearly aimed at fans of the Plus-size iPhones. Those who want a large device with a large screen and a large battery to go with it. It’s very close in size to the Plus models, so if you’re comfortable with one of those phones.

The cheaper iPhone is never the most interesting one, but it’s often the volume driver – and you could make a good few arguments that the iPhone XR will do just that.

However, the decision to make it larger is an odd one: this is a phone that perhaps is better suited to the Asian market (where bigger screens are more popular), which could be an issue for Western buyers.

The lack of a smaller, iPhone SE sequel is what people will be wondering about. But it’s clear that Apple has decided bigger is better, shaving off some of the more expensive elements of the iPhone XS and bringing it together in this still-impressive package.


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Rajdeep Das is a part-time news writer of Tactful Minds Team. He hosts an exquisite knowledge on latest mobile technology updates. A software engineer by profession this young writer is a smartphone geek.

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