Each year, Apple comes up with a brand new, occasionally revolutionary smartphone. In 2018, the company released three: the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS, and the iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max are “S” edition phones, meant as upgrades for the base 2017 iPhone X model. The iPhone XR is the company’s newest smartphone and is meant to be the successor to the iPhone 8 Plus. It’s also the cheapest Apple flagship and, going by 2018 sales figures, the best-selling.
If you want an iPhone, you’re going to have to choose between the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS, and the iPhone XS Max. Should you pick the iPhone XS over the other two options? Is it really a significant step up over the iPhone X? We’ll review the iPhone XS for you, so you can make an informed decision!
What’s New with the iPhone XS?
The iPhone XS features some significant upgrades over the iPhone X. The newer XS is faster, bigger, and just better:
- The iPhone XS has a super-powerful A12 Bionic processor. It’s the fastest smartphone ever made.
- The phone has a gorgeous, crystal-clear 5.8 inch AMOLED display.
- The iPhone XS’ camera is much-improved and includes an impressive Smart HDR support.
- The iPhone XS doesn’t have a microSD card slot. However, you can opt for the iPhone XS version with 512GB of ROM.
Design: Exudes Class
Design-wise, the iPhone XS looks almost identical to the iPhone X. And that’s a good thing! The iPhone X was a beautiful phone, and so is the iPhone XS. Like the iPhone X, the iPhone XS features a “glass sandwich” design. There’s shatter-resistant, ultra-tough Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and back of the phone. Still, we don’t recommend dropping it. There’s a stainless steel frame “sandwiched” between the glass pieces. The iPhone XS has a slightly different antenna placement than the iPhone X. It also features a louder speaker and a better water resistance rating (IP 68).
The iPhone XS weighs 177g and feels very premium when held. The display is huge at 5.8 inches and has a screen-body ratio of about 83%. The futuristic notch is still present at the top of the screen. It houses the “True Depth” sensor and the selfie camera.
Apple has done away with the home button found in the iPhone 6 entirely and included gesture controls instead. Also, there’s no fingerprint reader, though Face Unlock is present. The phone has the trademark Apple logo at the back, and the dual-camera setup is to the top-left corner. Overall, the iPhone XS looks like a classy, ultra-premium phone–which it definitely is.
Display: Crystal-Clear AMOLED
Apple’s phones have always had industry-leading displays. The iPhone XS is no exception. It has a large, ultra-bright 5.8 inch AMOLED screen with amazing color accuracy. The screen has a display resolution of 1125 x 2436 pixels, with pixels per inch (PPI) count of 458 – which is very impressive and on par with the best flagships out there. The iPhone XS supports Dolby Vision and HDR 10. In other words, it’s as good as a portable mini-theater.
Pictures and videos on the iPhone XS are very clear and life-like. The color accuracy is excellent. Colors shine and stand out in a very attractive way. Being an AMOLED screen, every pixel has its own light source and blacks are true blacks, not slightly washed out. Apple’s True Tone technology matches the screen’s white balance with the ambient light. The screen brightness is spectacular. With True Tone enabled, it has a max nits score of 625. That’s good enough to be visible in direct sunlight.
Camera: Very Impressive
The iPhone XS has an outstanding camera. The main camera at the back is a dual 12MP + 12MP setup. One camera acts as the wide-angle lens, while the other is a 2x telephoto. Both lenses are optically stabilized for more stable captures. The primary back camera has a wide f/1.8 aperture and the secondary has a narrow f/2.4 aperture. The combination is designed to allow you to shoot detailed photos both in daylight as well as night. The selfie camera at the front is 7MP with an f/2.2 aperture.
Pictures captured in both daylight and nighttime are very detailed, with excellent texture and contrast. The phone now has a Smart HDR feature. Smart HDR captures eight frames per second, which helps with the contrast in unevenly lit conditions. The iPhone XS is capable of capturing 4k video at 60fps, which is very impressive. The phone’s camera app includes all sorts of bells and whistles, like portrait mode, panorama, and more. The camera is definitely one of the highlights of the phone.
Performance: The Fastest Phone of All Time
The iPhone XS has broken all the performance records. It’s the fastest iPhone ever released, and significantly faster than closest competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S9, OnePlus 6, and the Huawei P20. The iPhone XS packs Apple’s custom A12 Bionic chipset. The A12 Bionic is a six-core chipset, with 2×2.5 GHz Vortex cores and 4×1.6 GHz Tempest cores. The phone also has Apple’s custom GPU with 4 cores. The iPhone XS has a Geekbench 4 single-core score of 4849 and a multi-core score of 11602. To put it into perspective, the eight-core Samsung Galaxy S9 has a single-core score of 3659 and a multi-core score of 10390.
In terms of real-world performance, the iPhone XS is as fast as lightning. It boots up apps extremely quickly. It can quickly switch between apps. Multitasking, playing videos, and browsing the net is also fast. The iPhone XS is also a gaming beast. It has no trouble with demanding games. It also supports VR gaming. If you’re looking for a phone that offers terrific performance, you can’t do better than the iPhone XS.
Software: Apple’s Signature iOS Experience
Software has always been Apple’s strength. The iPhone XS runs Apple’s iOS 12 (now iOS 12.1.3) and includes several handy, impressive features. There’s no home button anymore. Instead, you have to use gestures to navigate. Gesture controls, after you get used to them, are faster and intuitive. The notifications have gotten an overhaul and are now grouped up in neat stacks, where you can interact with them individually. There are minor upgrades to the FaceTime feature, Emojis, Augmented Reality, Photos, Siri, and Photos.
Apple’s iOS 12 is the fastest OS to date. Apple has heavily optimized the OS, which makes browsing the UI a breeze. Apps load quickly, with no lag at all. A notable new feature is Screen Time, which lets you keep track of how you and your kids use the phone. The Shortcuts app lets you queue up oft-repeated tasks and actions for quick execution, like the IFTTT app. On the whole, iOS 12 is a joy to use.
Battery Life: Lasts An Entire Day
The iPhone XS has a 2658 mAh Li-ion battery. It’s a step up over the battery found in the iPhone X, which used to drain very quickly. The battery in the XS doesn’t drain as quickly, thanks to some performance optimizations and better battery capacity. In video power use tests, the phone goes up to 13 hours on a single charge, which is respectable.
Thanks to fast battery charging technology, you can get the battery up to 50% in 30 minutes. You just need a USB-C charger, which you can purchase separately. The included charger is also good at charging up the phone. Overall, you can use the iPhone XS an entire day without worrying about the charge.
The Bottom Line
Is the iPhone XS an excellent phone? There’s no doubt about it! It has a stunning display, is extremely fast, and has an outstanding camera. The XS has a steep retail price of Rs.99,000. If you really want the phone, but don’t want to empty your wallet for it, you can rent it for cheap from RentoMojo! We let you rent the phone for an affordable monthly price for a minimum period of 6 months. After 12 months are up, you also have the option of buying the phone–or trading it in for a newer one. Learn more here.