We may be late to the game, but it’s better late than never. The new iPhone XS has just landed at our office and as exciting as it sounds, we are thrilled to test out the phone and so we did. We have an in depth review of the phone after using it for close to a week now. Is the iPhone XS worth all the hype it received or it’s just another regular iPhone with the lift off design from the X? Stay tune to find out more.
If you own or came from the original iPhone X, the design cue of the XS isn’t different at all. The vertically mounted dual camera at the back, missing home button, the notch in its display and everything else is exactly the same. Even the dimensions of the XS and the original X remain the same at 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm. It still has the 5.8 inches Super AMOLED display technology with a resolution of 1125 x 2436 found in its predecessor.
What’s new in the iPhone XS is the latest 7nm A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine for improved face detection and other AI features. The graphics processing unit now has four cores compared to the three cores found in the X. In terms of camera department, the selfie camera is the same 7 MP sensor but this time, it is capable of recording a 1080p video at 60 frames per second. As for the rear cameras, both are 12 MP sensors with the main camera having larger pixels, 1.4µm compared to a 1.22µm in the iPhone X. The secondary camera is still a telephoto lens giving the same 2x optical zoom. Videos can now record in HDR mode and in a wider stereo sound giving a richer and deeper sound than before. This time around, Apple bumped up the RAM to 4GB and offers up to 512GB of storage. Unfortunately, Apple gives the XS a smaller battery rated at 2658 mAh compared to the 2716 mAh battery in the iPhone X.
Any OLED displays are truly amazing, giving a much deeper blacks and richer colours. Apple first introduced the Super AMOLED display to the iPhone X and has since stuck to the display technology for the latest iPhones too. The company is known to use only LCD displays in their phones before the iPhone X. So how does the display looks and feels? For a start, the display is much more natural. This is a high-end phone so you can expect videos and images to appear sharp and rich in colours. By default, the True Tone display is enabled giving a slightly warmer looking display.
Bokeh effect or rather the blurring effect is what most people look for in a smartphone’s camera. This is achievable using the Portrait mode in the very familiar camera user interface which Apple decided to not revamp for now. However, compared to smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, the iPhone XS works well if the object to focus is 2.5m away from the phone. As for the Samsung, it only requires you to stand 1.5m away from the object. Nonetheless, pictures from the camera appear great and definitely goes head to head with its competitors. Optical image stabilization work as intended and videos recorded on the iPhone XS are not shaky at all. The selfie camera performs pretty well in capturing details. Apple upgraded the sensor to enable 1080p video recording at 60fps.
Apple is the first to solely rely on a front facing camera to detect a face and unlock the phone. There have been many concerns in terms of security and we’ll get to that later. First off, the Face ID works great. In an extreme low light condition, and I really mean extreme where you’re in a dark room with only the street light shining into your room, it still manages to detect your face and unlock. However, it would have been better if the phone brings you straight to the home screen upon unlocking. I don’t see myself as someone who would use Face ID as my phone’s security because it could unlock if I have a twin or doppelgänger. If there’s something I wish Apple would bring back, it’s the fingerprint scanner.
Not many smartphones these days are equipped with stereo sounding speakers but it is slowly making a comeback in most flagship phones. The iPhone XS has an amazingly loud stereo speakers. It certainly has clarity and the sound did not distort at all at maximum volume. Sadly, it doesn’t have enough low end, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus which has speakers tuned by AKG and DTS software to give a much better stereo sounding speakers.
The iPhone XS has a smaller battery than the iPhone X but how does it perform? Well, it gave almost a full day of use in a single charge. Using U Mobile’s plan, internet browsing is almost seamless. Websites load pretty quick and scrolling down a long webpage isn’t a problem at all. Video streaming is not too bad as I managed to stream smoothly at 480p. However, you can still watch videos up to 4K resolution in the iPhone XS. Enabling mobile hotspot for a long period of time does drain the battery faster and the phone heats up easily. There’s nothing the iPhone XS can’t handle and this is especially true for gaming. Game plays are buttery smooth, giving one of the best gaming experience in a smartphone thus far. From 90% charged, the iPhone XS dropped to 35% in the span of nearly eight hours of usage. The usages include gaming, calling, mobile hotspot, internet browsing, video streaming and photography.
We are all familiar with Apple devices pricing being the most expensive ones on the market. The iPhone XS is definitely not cheap, starting off from RM 4,999. It is a premium priced phone which is available in Space Gray, Silver or Gold. The real question here is if it’s worth your money. In my opinion, a phone this expensive with very minor upgrades over its predecessor is definitely not worthy. If you’re really looking forward to own the iPhone XS, you may very well get yourself bundled with a phone plan and U Mobile has some of the best mobile plans there is to offer.
AnTuTu benchmark – 336245
3D Mark Sling Shot – 3380
Apple iPhone XS
An iPhone X with minor upgrades, but even expensive