Since the beginning, the iPhone, despite it’s premium status, has never been considered in the running for the world’s biggest smartphone interfaces. However, with their latest release – the iPhone XS Max – they’ve pushed themselves to the front of the race with a massive 6.5 inch screen, pushing the envelope of what it means to be an innovative phablet.
Introduction: Release date and price
Relatively speaking, since the release of the original iPhone, apple has charted their own course in every aspect of smartphone development, until the iPhone XS Max – at least in terms of size. The iPhone XS Max is a completely different animal to the prior released iPhone 8 series smartphones. It beats this proceeding generation in every hardware and software specification. From the display size and CPU, and memory to the battery, camera specs and functionality, and RAM options among other things.
The iPhone X family is Apple’s first smartphone series with a bezel-less form factor in their bid yo stretch screen size like other premium smartphone brands. Continuing in the tradition adopted since the phase out of the iPhone 6 family, the XS Max has no 3.5mm jack and supports wireless charging. It also comes with some new functionalities like holding down the power button to activate Siri (turning phone off will require you to hold the power and volume up buttons to trigger an on-screen prompt). The XS Max also supports dual SIM capabilities (one of the sims is an eSIM embedded in the phone). The eSIM is only available in select regions however and is not supported by every carrier.
APPLE’S BIGGEST AND MOST EXPENSIVE IPHONE EVER
The iPhone XS Max was officially released in top tier countries on September 21, 2018, along with the iPhone XS. It is also the costliest smartphone ever released by Apple. The XS Max was released at a starting price of $1099 in the US, £1099 in the United Kingdom, and €1249 in Europe.
Design and display
As stated earlier, Apple finally let go of their seeming resistance to build a truly powerful super-sized smartphone with the release of the XS Max. In the X series family, the XS Max boasts a 6.5 inch display with HDR support. This display is significantly larger than the smaller XS’s 5.8 inch display.
iPhone XS Max design
While the XS Max offers a lot more screen than any other iPhone, they’ve managed to achieve it without significantly increasing the phone’s dimensions. The new 6.5 inch display fits roughly into the same dimensions as the the prior four iPhone Plus releases, thanks to its much higher screen to body ratio (84.4%). This means the phone’s large screen doesn’t feel larger than, say an iPhone 8 Plus in your hands.
While we’re still not convinced off the need of HDR support on this phone, or any phone in general, it – along with the massive screen – is definitely a welcome development for movie and game lovers.
The XS Max records a footprint measuring 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm and weighing in at 208 g (7.34 oz). It comes with an IP68 IEC standard rating. This means than the XS Max can be submerged in water (or almost any liquid medium) to a depth of 2 meters and for up to 30 minutes without incurring any physical or functional damage.
Apple’s Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen remains as vibrant as ever on the XS Max. Apple definitely upped their resolution game on this one with the XS Max sporting a 1242 x 2688 pixel arrangement which translates to a 458 ppi density. This super-sharp display is the iPhone’s best attempt yet at a cream of the crop resolution. And it sits pretty up there too above the resolutions of flagships like the OnePlus 6 and the Huawei P20 Pro. However, it does fall short in comparison to the Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 and Sony’s Xperia XZ3’s QHD powered displays.
In terms of sturdiness and protection, the XS Max performs adequately with its stainless steel frame and scratch-resistant glass panels on the front and back. These panels are also smudge-resistant, thanks to their oleophobic coating.
It seems that Apple had well and truly made Touch ID go the way of the typewriter as they have phased out the fingerprint scanner, making Face ID becomes their sole biometric of choice. It sits in the notch at the top of the screen and is very well integrated with all banking apps, making for a more secure access into our personal data.
While Face ID is still relatively slower than other forms of biometric identification, it doesn’t perform that badly on the XS Max. We did find, however that the face unlock on smart phones like the OnePlus 6 worked a tad faster and performed better when you’re facing the phone from an angle. The Face ID is still some time away from being the best it can be especially in light of the fact that most Face IDs still under perform under certain conditions such as direct sunlight.
Specs and Performance
Apart from its functions, the home button was a staple of the iPhone’s aesthetic pleasure. However, in the spirit of innovation and reinvention, Apple has opted to get rid of it completely with the iPhone X family. Its functionalities have also been taken care of with the release of the new iOS 12 on the XS Max.
The new operating system comes with spanking new features like Screen Time, developed to aid responsible usage of the device. Under the Screen Time settings, you can set a limit to how long you can use your device per use session. This is intended to curb addictive behavior.
There’s also the issue of reach. This is by far the largest screen smartphone which makes it impossible for most people to operate with one hand. On prior iPhones, a double clicking of the home button would shrink the display down to 50 percent of its original size. With the XS Max, you’ll have to navigate to Settings > Accessibility to enable it.
Hardware Specification comparison
|iPhone XS Max||iPhone XS||iPhone XR|
|Display size, resolution||6.5-inches; 1242 x 2688 pixels||5.8 inches; 1125 x 2436 pixels||6.1 inches; 828 x 1792 pixels|
|Pixel density||458 ppi||458 ppi||326 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.20 x 3.05 x 0.30 inches||5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches||5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm||143 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm||150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||208 g; 7.34 oz||177 g; 6.24 oz||194 g; 6.84 oz|
|Mobile software||iOS 12. Upgradable to iOS 12.1.3||iOS 12. Upgradable to iOS 12.1.3||iOS 12. Upgradable to iOS 12.1.3|
|Camera||Dual 12-megapixel cameras||Dual 12-megapixel cameras||Single 12-megapixel camera|
|Selfie camera||7-megapixel camera||7-megapixel camera||7-megapixel camera|
|Processor||64-bit hexa-core A12 Bionic (7nm)||64-bit hexa-core A12 Bionic (7nm)||64-bit hexa-core A12 Bionic (7nm)|
|Storage||64/256/512 GB||64/256/512 GB||64/256/512 GB|
|RAM||4 GB||4 GB||3 GB|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 3174 mAh battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 2658 mAh battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 2942 mAh battery|
|Fingerprint sensor||Face ID||Face ID||Face ID|
|Connector||USB 2.0, proprietary reversible connector||USB 2.0, proprietary reversible connector||USB 2.0, proprietary reversible connector|
|Special features||Smart HDR; IP68 standard water and dust resistant; Dual SIM||Smart HDR; IP68 standard water and dust resistant; Dual SIM||Smart HDR; IP67 standard water and dust resistant; Dual SIM|
While testing this out, we did notice a significant improvement from the iPhone X. General phone operation and switching between apps was a lot more fluid. Application load times – even heavy-duty games and editing software – were faster.
Thanks to the new and improved chip, the XS Max recorded a multi-core score of 11,465 on our Geekbench 4 CPU test, better than the iPhone X’s score of 10,247. Overall, the iOS12 has a top-notch user experience.
The XS Max has a fixed 4GB RAM single option and three flash memory versions of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
Battery and Camera
This is the first time Apple has ever reached or exceeded an mAh value of 3000 for its power pack. The XS Max has a battery power of 3174 mAh. With the bigger power pack and improved efficiency of the A12 Bionic chip, the XS Max can last a single day of activity when used moderately.
A LARGER BATTERY PLUS IMPROVED SOFTWARE LEAD TO NOTICEABLE GAINS
Heavy-duty users who run heavy apps though can expect a shorter run time before they need to charge it. As expected, the phone also has wireless charging capability and comes with an alternative fast-charging block option in the box.
The XS Max carries on the same camera specs as the iPhone X. Two vertically arranged 12MP rear lenses for telephoto (f/1.8) and wide-angle (f/2.4) respectively. In the middle of both lenses sits a Quad-LED True tone flash. The front camera maintains a 7MP lens. All cameras on this phone are upgraded with the new Smart HDR feature, increased pixel size and bokeh effect on portrait shots. This makes it an overall better camera batch than on the iPhone X.
All in all, the XS Max is the best phone on Apple’s smartphone line up at the moment. With its deceptively big screen — the phone’s frame has smaller dimensions that the iPhone 8 Plus — it has managed to create appeal for the market section of users that do heavy-duty gaming and Netflix and Amazon Prime binge watchers. The 6.5-inch (along with the new HDR support) has finally afforded users a device that can take full advantage of the massive repository of games, apps, music, movies and TV shows on the iTunes and App Store.
However, the XS Max isn’t for everybody. For all this device is and promises, the one thing it isn’t is cheap. Starting at a staggering price of over $1000, it doesn’t really make sense for regular phone users.
If you’re a regular user and don’t have that kind of money to put down on a phone but you still want a high-end Apple smartphone, there are other options you can try out.
First is the iPhone 8 Plus. This phone feels as big as the XS Max (it’s actually slightly bigger than the XS Max) although it has a display size of 5.5 inches. It also has a lot of the goodies on the XS Max like wireless charging, glass protection, and dual camera capabilities. The OS is also upgradable to the XS Max’s iOS 12 and not to mention, the 8 Plus received a price cut upon the release of the XS and XS Max. Plus, there’s always the welcome relief of the presence of a home button for the iPhone traditionalists.
Then there’s the iPhone XR. It comes with a single rear camera, LCD touch screen tech and, no wireless charging. Still, this doesn’t make this a bad phone by any stretch. It comes with a huge 6.1-inch screen and is powered by the same chip on the XS and XS Max, making it a truly efficient powerhouse in its own right.
Our last but not least recommended alternative is the iPhone XS. This phone was released together with the XS Max and has exactly the same build and specs. The only difference is that it has a smaller 5.8-inch screen. So you can say it delivers the same punch in smaller packages. It is the most expensive alternative of our recommendations though.
Should you decide to stretch your budget to accommodate the XS Max, you’re almost guaranteed to regret nothing. However, for general users with smaller palms and/or smaller budgets who still want the best money can buy, any of our recommended alternatives will serve you just right.
So you have your brand new iPhone XS Max purchased and what happens if you drop it and smash the screen? Would it be expensive to repair it?
Here’s an idea of iPhone XS Max screen repair cost:
Apple repair prices
|iPhone XS Max||£25||£326.44|
|iPhone XS, iPhone X||£25||£282.44|
|iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus||£25||£166.44|
|iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus||£25||£152.44|
|iPhone 6, iPhone SE||£25||£132.44|
Third party repair prices
Alternatively you could use local third party iPhone repair service provider, such as iFix. It will be much cheaper, but it will void your Apple warranty. It’s ok though if it’s already out of Apple’s 1 year warranty.
|Model||Genuine screen||Aftermarket screen|
|iPhone XS Max||£250||£190|
|iPhone XS, iPhone X||£220||£180|
|iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus||£95||£70|
|iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus||£70||£68|
|iPhone 6, iPhone SE||£65||£55|
Apple iPhone XS Max
iPhone XS Max is the best phone on Apple's smartphone line up at the moment. With its deceptively big screen, phone's frame being smaller dimensions then the iPhone 8 Plus, it is a great buy and we would recommend spending an extra buck on it!
- Good low light camera
- Water resistant
- Double the internal capacity
- Lacks clear upgrades
- Same design used for last three phones
- Battery life unimpressive