Pros: The iPhone XS Max has a big, brilliant display and a little more battery life than the XS. It benefits from the improvements that the XS also has: faster speeds, some durability and water resistance improvements, better camera and dual-SIM support.
Cons: It’s so, so, so expensive. If the iPhone Plus models were too big for your hands, this one will be, too.
In General: The supersize iPhone XS Max crams a 6.5-inch screen and all of the same great features of the iPhone XS into a Plus-size body — but it’s not as huge a leap up as you might think.
There are three new iPhones in 2018, in three different sizes and prices. The iPhone XR is the more affordable and has the best battery-life of the new iPhones. The iPhone XS is the smallest, and the sleekest. But the iPhone XS Max is the showboat.
If you’re looking for the biggest iPhone of 2018 with the biggest screen, look no further: the iPhone XS Max is the larger-screened premium phone many will crave, but only a few can actually afford, or need. Essentially, compared to the iPhone XS you get a larger screen size, more pixels and a battery that lasts longer for $100 more.
So if you’re OK with the $1,099 and up price, go for it. It’s a beautiful, if unnecessary, luxury.
However, if you want a larger-screen iPhone, but don’t want to pay quite as much, you might want to check out the iPhone XS. It’s a better bet for value and battery life.
The thing is, though, the 5.8-inch iPhone X (and XS) already pulled off a great feat in fitting more screen in a smaller size. Going back to a bigger phone after that feels like defeating the purpose. But it’s a personal choice.
What does that screen size give you? The display on the XS Max has tons of pixels: 2,688×1,242, in fact. Movies and games, in particular, look great on it. It’s a damn nice display… the OLED looks better this time around, and I’ve enjoyed just looking at it. It’s my favorite Apple device display. But when held side by side with the XS, it’s not always easy to see the difference.
The smaller XS’ screen resolution is 2,436×1,125 pixels. That’s not a huge difference. The Max’s extra size can be helpful when editing photos or watching videos, but it’s still a long way from the canvas size of any iPad.
Compare that against the iPhone XR and its slightly smaller, lower-resolution (but still totally fine and crisp) display, and the iPhone XS Max is even harder to justify.
One small thing: the notch at the top of the XS Max is the same as those on the X and XS, and it feels like it vanishes more on the larger-bodied phone.
Oh, the price! This phone starts at $1,099 in the US with only 64GB of storage. From there it skyrockets up to a max of $1,449 with 512GB of storage, which is basically the cost of a MacBook Pro.
XS advantages vs XR: a few key ones to note. The XS and XS Max have the same insides and cameras this year, which is great for consistency, and also means the Max isn’t necessary. Key differences in the XS line over the lower-cost XR amount to:
- Dual rear cameras instead of a single one: check out our XS Max to Note 9 camera comparison, and the a camera comparison between the iPhone XS and XR.
- Improved cellular antennas (4×4 MIMO, with Gigabit LTE, which could help both data speeds and connection quality in some areas)
- A more durable construction
- That nicer-looking (but subtly so) OLED display
- 3D Touch (do you care?)
- An extra meter of water resistance