Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Ultimate Comparison Guide Between the New 2018 iPhones: XR, XS, and XS Max

For the second year in succession, Apple has decided to release a smartphone lineup with three new models, instead of the usual one-two punch that consisted of a regular and a plus-sized phone variant. This time around, one of the phones was designed to appeal to the relatively-low-budget market. Emphasis on relatively—because at a starting price of $749, the cheapest model is still very much within the premium category.

This year’s array of iPhones is made up of the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. All three phones have veered away from the classic iPhone design and are now sporting a fa├žade similar to the iPhone X. 

Instead of packing the cheapest phone with year-old features (like what happened to the cheaper iPhones 5C and SE back in the day), the iPhone XR actually shares a lot of the same features with its two higher-end siblings. 

So what’s new with all of them?

Basically, this year’s lineup is very similar when it comes to core hardware. They do vary regarding screen size, battery capacity, and rear camera, but their similarities are also significant. So what advantages do these iPhones have over their predecessors? Read on.

True Tone, edge-to-edge displays:

Yes, one of the primary distinctions between the XR and the XS models is the display technology (more on this later). But all three models possess the Apple-signature True Tone technology, which automatically adapts the display’s temperature to be compatible with the surrounding ambient lighting. As mentioned above, all of them also have edge-to-edge displays which are interrupted by the infamous notch at the top.

Upgraded Face ID:

Apple made the decision to forego the home button on the iPhone X, and they seem determined to never look back. With this, Touch ID has officially been replaced entirely with Face ID. For these new models, Apple promises even faster recognition and a smarter face-scanning function.

A12 Bionic chip:

The iPhone has been known to offer smooth and fast performance. And things are bound to get even better with the new A12 Bionic chip, which fuses two performance cores, four efficiency cores, and a big eight-core Neural Engine that handles AI and machine learning. All these are packed in a 7nm chip.

TrueDepth front camera:

The front-facing camera now offers enhanced bokeh and a Portrait mode that lets you edit the depth of field after the picture has been taken.

Dual-SIM: Apple has (finally!) jumped into the dual SIM bandwagon, supporting an eSIM and a nanoSIM slot. Some variants are set to come out with two nanoSIM slots. These are for areas (notably China) that don’t have eSIM support.

Stereo audio recording: This feature is nothing new to other Android flagships, but it’s definitely a much-awaited upgrade for the iPhone. All three models have four built-in microphones that capture stereo sound for videos.

Improved primary camera: All three cameras sport an enhanced wide-angle lens, although the XR notably lacks the telephoto lens found on the XS lineup. Apple claims that this new wide-angle lens has a re-engineered sensor that captures greater dynamic range and better low-light photos.

Better battery life and faster wireless charging: All the three models have longer battery life than the iPhone X, with the improvements ranging from half an hour to an hour and a half long. They’ve also mentioned that Qi charging should be faster, but clear benchmarks hadn’t been provided.
iOS 12: All models are set to come out with the all-new iOS 12 out of the box.

Lack of USB-C to 3.5mm adapter: Unfortunately, Apple has now decided to completely snob the 3.5mm audio jack. If the models from last year came with a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, it’s not the same case this year. 

What features are unique to each of the three phones?

Now that we’ve covered their similarities let’s move on to the differentiating factors that’ll help you decide which iPhone to get (if you’re looking to get one).

1. iPhone XS

The 5.7-inch iPhone XS is the most compact of the three models and hence is the most grip-friendly. It’s pretty much the iPhone X, but more powerful, faster, and with the upgraded features listed above.

It has a dual-lens setup at the back, with 12-megapixel telephoto and wide lenses. The front-facing camera, meanwhile, is rated at 7 megapixels. The display uses OLED HDR technology, dubbed as Super Retina and sporting a resolution of 2436 x 1125 pixels

Available in space graygold and silver, the iPhone XS can either have 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB of storage

Unlike the iPhone XR which is stuck at IP67, the XS has an upgraded IP68 water-resistance rating. It also has an extra 30 minutes of battery power compared to its predecessor.

2. iPhone XS Max

The iPhone XS Max is just like the iPhone XS in most of the specs, but with a more significant body, bigger battery, and a consequently-larger 6.5-inch Super Retina display. It houses a resolution of 2688 x 1242 pixels, making it the most prominent display ever on an iPhone. It also should last 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone X.

3. iPhone XR

The cheapest of them all, the iPhone XR comes with a 6.1-inch LCD screen with a 1792 x 828 resolution. This places it in the middle of the two models mentioned above regarding screen real estate. Dubbed as the Liquid Retina display, this is perhaps the biggest differentiator (along with the rear camera setup) between the XR and the XS lineup. 

Sporting an aluminum body with a glass enclosure, the XR is set to come out in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB version. Its battery should also last longer by 1.5 hours compared to the iPhone 8 Plus. As mentioned above, it has missed out on the IP68 upgrade, but it still has respectable water-resistance at an IP67 rating.

It sports a single telephoto lens at the back. Also, 3D touch won’t be available on the XR. Instead, it comes with haptic touch support. 

One of the best things about the XR (aside from the price) is that it comes in a wide array of colors—namely, blue, coral, yellow, white, black, and red.

How much would they damage your budget?

Pricing on these iPhones have also been revealed, and the top-end phones are more expensive than ever. The iPhone XR starts at $749 for 64GB, then $799 and $899 for the 128GB and 256GB versions, respectively. 

The iPhone XS is at $999 for the 64GB variant, $1149 for the 256GB variant, and $1349 for 512GB. Lastly, the XS Max is understandably the most expensive of them all. It starts at $1099 for the 64GB version, $1249 for the 256GB version, and $1449 for the 512GB version.

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