What Is the Difference Between iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max?

What Is the Difference Between iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max?

Owning an iPhone is one of the most well established and recognized status symbols in the modern world. In the United States, owning an iPhone is a regular, ordinary affair. But with each iPhone, there is something new that is brought to the table. It is not just an everyday phone. People choose to buy an iPhone because it is the best option for the cities and countries they live in. Apple products certainly make life easier, provided you can afford them! The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are both flagship phones from Apple. The two phones were released in September 2018 and have created waves in the market. This series succeeds the iPhone X, which the company has withdrawn from the market completely. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are the flagship model in its stead. These phones are two of the high-end products released by Apple and are generally on the pricier side, although the prices have certainly come down since their original launch date.

But if you had to pick between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, which one should you choose? What is the basic difference between the two and which would make a better phone? The following is a brief comparison between the two flagship Apple phones.

Design: iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max

The following are the dimensions and weights of both the phones:

  • iPhone XS: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 in) and 177g (6.24 oz)
  • iPhone XS Max: 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm (6.20 x 3.05 x 0.30 in) and 208g (7.34 oz)

The iPhone XS Max is obviously the bigger phone of the two. However, if you notice, it is not that much heavier than the iPhone XS. There is a difference of only 1 oz between the weights of both the phones. It is also close to the weight and size of the iPhone 8 Plus, so if you want to trade that phone up or were ever interested in buying the 8 Plus, the iPhone XS Max is a good option to consider.

Both these models also have IP6 water resistance which means that they can be submerged in three meters of water without encountering any damage. You can also add two SIMs through the standard nano-SIM slot and via the second eSIM slot. Both these SIMs can be used simultaneously. In the Asian market where eSIMs are not as popular, there are variants of the phones where there are two physical SIM card slots.

The phones also have better speakers and are louder than the iPhone X. Both phones have a stainless steel frame. They come in Silver and Space Grey and have a glass back which allows for wireless charging.

Displays: iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max Screens

The display of both these phones is where the main difference lies.

  • iPhone XS: 5.8-inch; 19.5:9 aspect ratio; True Tone OLED; 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi); screen-to-body ratio — 82.9%.
  • iPhone XS Max: 6.5-inch; 19.5:9 aspect ratio; True Tone OLED. 2688 x 1242 pixels (458 ppi); screen-to-body ratio — 84.4%

The iPhone XS Max has a truly majestic display for a phone. The 6.5-inch panel gives the user a great display and if you are okay with having a screen this large, the iPhone XS Max might be the right choice for you.

Apart from the difference in size though, both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are practically identical in terms of display. Both have True Tone, OLED panels, and they both support Dolby Vision, HDR10 and 3D Touch — making them the perfect phones to consumer high-quality video content in.

Camera: iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max

iPhone XS Cameras

Both XS models boast of excellent cameras. In terms of image processing, these two phones stand at par with the Pixel 2. The following are the features that the cameras of both the XS models share:

  • Front ‘TrueDepth’ Camera — 7MP, f/2.2 aperture
  • Primary Rear Camera — 12MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4µm pixel size, Quad-LED True Tone Flash, Portrait Lighting, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS).
  • Secondary Telephoto Lens — 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 1.0µm pixel size, 2x Optical Zoom, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS).

The primary camera on both the XS models has a large pixel size — certainly a lot more than the iPhone X which had a pixel size of 1.22µm in the front camera. The benefit of having larger pixels is that they can take in more light, allowing the phone to shoot beautifully even in low light conditions. With these phones, Apple has also introduced the Smart HDR, which can combine different photos taken at different exposures to create the best version of them in a single shot. This is quite close to how the Google HDR works in the Pixel range — so Apple has certainly upped its game to compete with the Pixel 2, arguably its biggest competitor in the market. The cameras on both the XS models also can adjust background bokeh in the Portrait Mode shots.

Storage and Price: iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max

iPhone X vs. XS Storage

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are two of the most expensive phones in the iPhone range. Naturally, one would exert caution before investing so much money on a phone. There needs to be a guarantee that the money spent will be worth it. At the time of launch, the prices of the phones were:

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  • iPhone XS: 64GB ($999), 256GB ($1,149), 512GB ($1,349)
  • iPhone XS Max: 64GB ($1,099), 256GB ($1,249), 512GB ($1,449)

These are prices in the United States before sales tax. The prices in the UK and other European markets tend to be higher. In India and South America, these are two of the most expensive phones from Apple.

While the 64GB seems to be more than enough storage for most people, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max pushes the envelope and provides storage as high as 512GB. This is especially useful for somebody who is looking for a phone camera to shoot videos with. These models of the iPhone are popular with new digital media houses that are switching to mobile journalism. By comparison, the iPhone X had the highest storage capacity of 256GB. At 512GB, the XS models are truly pushing the edge of technology.

Battery Life: iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max

iPhone Battery Life

There have, for long, been complaints about the iPhone’s battery life. On paper, both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max have a greater battery life than the iPhone X.

  • iPhone XS: 2,658 mAh
  • iPhone XS Max: 3,174 mAh
  • iPhone X: 2716 mAh

However, in effect, the iPhone XS battery life is only about 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X, while the iPhone XS Max’s battery life is about 90 minutes longer than the iPhone X. This is not saying much but it is still considered an improvement.

However, there is good news as both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max have faster and better wireless charging, by Apple’s own admission. When it comes to wired charging, the new iPhones exhibit the same performance and can offer a 50% charge in only 30 minutes. However, Apple still does not provide a fast charger with the box, expecting customers to purchase it separately. This is a disappointment as all other competitors in the market provide the fast charger along with the product. If the phone is this expensive, one does not want to go back to the market to buy the charger separately. These fast chargers are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The minimum one would have to shell out for a fast charger and its cable is $75.


From the comparison above, there seems to be a lot both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max offer. Both phones are more or less the same, except, of course, there is a difference in the size and the display. The iPhone XS Max is certainly the more expensive one of the two because it is larger in size and therefore has a superior display. But when it comes to other things, both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max seem to be on par with each other. As a user, if you are looking for a phone that has a great display and can also shoot superior images, the iPhone XS Max is a great option for you to consider. But if you think the phone is too large and you would prefer to use a phone that is less cumbersome to carry and handle, the iPhone XS is a better (and cheaper) option.

Finally, it has to be said that while both phones are great options, they are both two of the most expensive phones that the company has released. If this is money you are willing to spend, it is certainly money worth spending. If it is too out of your budget, there are other options on the market that do not require you to spread yourself so thin.