After a string of leaks, speculations, and rumors, Apple finally dropped three new iPhones, earlier this month, that are, basically, the s and r iterations of last year’s iPhone X.
While there are two variants in the s line – the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max – the single r model is called the iPhone Xr.
The Xs and Xs Max are pretty much the same in all respects, except that they come in vastly different sizes; the former has a 5.8-inch display, while the Max boasts a monster 6.5-inch panel, the biggest Apple has ever made.
Both have that Super Retina OLED display, and just to put things into perspective, the smaller version has a bigger screen than the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5 inches) and, of course, the Max is right up there among the biggies.
What’s also new with these phones is a stronger, more durable glass, but we’ll have to wait and see how it holds up, as we can’t really put the glass to the test – not when it’s on a $1,000 phone.
Both phones are rocking Apple’s A12 Bionic SoC, which translates to faster CPU and GPU performance.
For non-tech savvy consumers out there, the A12 chip is the brains of this phone; so, whatever you do on it goes through the chip, be it using the camera, opening apps, or using the face ID to unlock the phone, and so on.
Apple does claim that the face ID is much faster, this time around, since last year’s iPhone X left a lot to be desired when it came to the face identification feature, which was annoyingly slower than the touch version.
When it comes to the camera, both, iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have a 12-megapixel wide and telephoto lens, with optical image stabilization and, of course, the bigger pixels allow the sensors to take in more light.
The wide-angle camera has got an aperture of 1.8, while the telephoto is a 2.4 aperture lens, making them both pretty fast lenses, indeed.
The front-facing camera has a better 7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard) sensor and should be faster, provided the face ID performance lives up to Apple’s claims.
The new smart HDR feature allows the lenses to automatically adjust exposure, light, shadows and other details; then merge them together to create the ultimate picture.
The feature also means you can expect enhancements in the portrait mode photos, which brings us to another new feature on this mode that gives you aperture choice ranging from f/1.4 to f/16, thereby giving you depth-of-field control.
So, what about battery life on the Xs and the Xs Max?
Well, what Apple says is kind of ambiguous, really, in that it talks about the Xs battery being capable of 30 more minutes of usage than last year’s iPhone X, while the Xs Max should give an additional 90 minutes; it would have been simpler if Apple just told us the size of the battery.
Stereo speakers and wireless charging are still there, along with improved water resistance with an IP68 rating, meaning the s phones are water-resistant up to a depth of two meters for as long as up to 30 minutes.
The iPhone Xs starts at $999, while the iPhone Xs Max starts from $1,099, which is, of course, for the lowest configuration of 64GB of internal storage.
You can also go for the 256GB, or, better still, the 512GB version if you’re okay to pay the additional cost for a storage boost.
And, if price is what you’re concerned about, do not worry, because Apple is giving you a cheaper version in the form of the iPhone Xr, which starts at $750, and is still packing that A12 Bionic chip.
However, to be able to sell at this price point, Apple has made some hardware compromises, but that goes without saying.
The Xr body is aluminum and glass, instead of the stainless steel and glass finish on the premium versions; and, it does allow wireless charging.
The Xr is being made available in a whole range of attractive colors, including black, white, coral, yellow, blue, and product red.
But the biggest cost-reduction compromise is the Xr’s display, which is a 6.1-inch LCD panel, instead of the Super Retina OLED on the s line.
Another noticeable difference is the bigger bezel around the Xr display, not quite the edge-to-edge experience offered on the s versions.
One more cost-controlling change is the inclusion of a single rear camera, which isn’t really that big an issue unless you’re really decided on having that telephoto lens.
That said, there is, seemingly, no compromise as far as performance goes, thanks to that A12 chip, which means you’re, actually, getting a powerful high-performance phone and also saving $250 for yourself, with a few compromises here and there, which don’t really matter much if you’re looking for performance with economy.