iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR: Which one to buy now

Apple iPhone tends to get better and smarter every time when the Cupertino firm releases a new model. This year, Apple welcomed three new iPhones to the world after months of leaks and rumors. 2018 iPhone lineup did not bring significant, revolutionary changes to the fan-favorite series, but it marked Apple’s shift from its traditional design language. This year’s iPhones are expected to be giant hits for Apple, building on the previous series traction with tons of under-the-hood improvements. The iPhone XS and XS Max act as the successors to the iPhone X and are promising major upgrades through excellent camera performance and reworked hardware components.

If you are planning to grab one of this year’s iPhones, but still confused between those devices, then we are here to help. In the section below, we break down the differences between the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR so you can decide which one is right for you.

For some background, 2018 iPhone lineup is now available for purchases in select markets. In reality, the iPhone XR release was slightly delayed to October this year due to supply issues. The cheaper iPhone is expected to boost Apple’s sales performance in emerging markets thanks to its price tag. Tech experts say that Apple will sell 10 million iPhone XR units by the end of the year.

  1. iPhone XR

The iPhone XR was not a surprise at this year’s September as rumors regarding a cheaper iPhone had been circulating for months. In reality, the iPhone XR does not come cheap as previously expected as it starts at $749 for the 64GB model. However, it still ranks among the hottest items during this year’s shopping holiday season.

With the iPhone XR, Apple removed some of the more premium features of the XS and XS to keep the price in check. However, it is much more affordable than its siblings. What sets the XR apart from the XS and XS Max lies in its range of different colors. This reminds me of the iPhone 5C, a 4-inch iPhone that was released in 2013. In reality, the iPhone 5C was a great phone thanks to its powerful chip. However, it failed to live up to expectations, with most users criticizing its plastic body. The XR is a different story as it retains the design language we saw on the iPhone X. It seems that Apple has learned a lesson.


The biggest difference between the iPhone XR and its siblings is in terms of display. Indeed, the XR sports the so-called Liquid Retina Display with lower resolution and contrast ratio when compared to the XS and XS Max. In reality, the XR uses an LCD panel which is not as vibrant as the OLED panel. Besides, the XR’s display lacks HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. It instead comes with True Tone technology and tap to wake feature.


Under the hood, the XR comes with the same A12 Bionic chip as the XS and XS Max. The chip is built using the 7nm process and offers a much-improved performance when compared to its siblings. Basically, the XR can handle every task you throw at it.

In terms of the camera, the XR features the same primary camera as the XS and XS Max. It lacks the secondary 12MP telephoto lens on the back, meaning that it does not offer 2x optical zoom. However, the XR supports a full set of camera features like Portrait mode, smart HDR, True Tone Flash, and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). In short, the XR is a better choice for those who are looking for an advanced iPhone for a lot less money.

  1. iPhone XS Max

The XS Max is the biggest iPhone ever released to the market. The device comes with a 6.5-inch OLED display to offer a massive experience. The display offers a high resolution but still has the same pixel density as the XS out there. Both XS and XS Max include support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 for better picture quality.

According to Apple, the XS Max lasts longer than its siblings mainly thanks to its bigger battery. In reality, Apple has been improving battery life on its iPhones in recent years following reports of rapid battery drain. Earlier this year, Apple admitted that the company was slowing down older iPhones due to aging batteries. Apple’s move was met with a lot of controversies on the market, which forced Apple to add Battery Health feature in iOS 11.3 update.


Under the hood, the XS Max is powered by the A12 Bionic chip, coupled with 4GB of RAM. The adoption of the new chip allows for smooth multitasking and better dual-camera performance. Apple claims that the A12 Bionic chip is 50 percent faster and more power-efficient than the A11 chip.

When it comes to the camera, the XS and XS Max share the same optics, including the dual rear shooters. The cameras on the XS Max are packed with a number of features like Optical Image stabilization (OIS), Portrait Lighting, and True Tone Flash. On the front, there is a TrueDepth-enabled snapper, allowing for better selfies in low-light conditions.


However, the XS Max is not cheap out there as it sets you back $1,099 for the basic model. The maxed-out model costs up to $1,449, which marks the most expensive iPhone on the market. Meanwhile, the XR retails for $899 for the model with 256GB of internal storage, which is $200 less than the 64GB XS Max.

iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are among the most wanted phones on the market. If the screen is all that matters to you, then the XS or XS Max should be a better choice. Don’t forget to share with us your thoughts on which one is right for you.

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