Apple iPhone Xs review

8.9/10 AVG.
RATING



8.9/10
Informr score
The Apple iPhone Xs currently has an Informr score of 8.9 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 52 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

Verdict

Unless you already own an iPhone X, the Xs is a worthy upgrade to just about any other phone on the market. It offers a great camera, unmatchable performance, a beautiful display, and a sleek design -- but it comes with a hefty price tag.

What's good

  • Fastest mobile phone to date
  • Solid, classy design
  • Great display
  • Fast, detailed cameras
  • Powerful speakers
  • eSIM support
  • IP68 rated

What's bad

  • Price
  • No microSD support
  • No fast charger included
  • No 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter included
  • No 3.5mm jack

Apple’s latest release brings their S Series approach to the iPhone X. This means it’s more of a subtle boost than a full-on sequel. But as the iPhone X broke new ground in terms of design for Apple and it’s still one of the most powerful smartphones to date, the iPhone Xs has big shoes to fill.

It features the same stainless steel frame with reinforced glass front and rear panels as the previous release. However, this time the design is IP68 rated -- allowing for submersion in up to 2m of water for up to 30 minutes. 

The design is so similar to the iPhone X that many reviewers had trouble telling the difference between the two. There is a new colour available for the Xs and the larger Xs Max -- gold -- and the camera is a few millimetres lower on the back. Otherwise, they’re identical apart from screen size.

There’s still no headphone port or home button, instead requiring a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter for your headphones and touch gestures to access features usually reserved for the home key. Reviewers note the adapter is not included with the phone. Still, the package includes Lighting earbuds -- so you’re not out of listening options if you don’t want to carry around an adapter.

There’s also stereo, front-facing speakers that reviewers loved. They found them well balanced and punchy for mobile speakers with some even calling them the best phone audio to date.

You’ll also find a 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display running at 2436-by-1125 pixels. If you were not a fan of the notch design, it’s still present and appears to be the future design for iPhone models. Switching to OLED seems to be a smart move for Apple as reviewers raved about brightness, colour accuracy, and detail. HDR 10 and Dolby vision support are also available to make video and games pop.

Apple chose a six-core Apple A12 Bionic processor with 4GB of RAM to power all those pixels. They claim it offers a 15% increase in performance and 50% increased graphics performance over the iPhone X. Tests from reviewers appear to confirm these claims and benchmarks show it is the most powerful smartphone to date.

The phone runs the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system -- iOS 12. Paired with the new processor, the interface is fluid and reliable. Reviewers had no complaints of slowdown or annoyances.

As with all iPhones, you cannot use a microSD slot to expand storage. However, the phone is available with 64 to 512GB of internal storage -- so planning ahead makes it easy to avoid storage concerns down the road.

The phone offers dual SIM support -- but not in a traditional sense. You can use one standard SIM and an eSim. This new approach makes it possible to download SIM settings from a carrier and switch the virtual SIM in the eSIM when you please.

The Xs sees an upgrade on the camera front -- though it doesn’t look much different. A dual-lens 12MP rear camera with 2x telephoto zoom and 7MP “TrueDepth” front-facing lens are now paired with an image signal processor to provide better results. 

The rear camera also features a larger sensor and bigger sensor pixels. Reviewers found this helped to capture much better shots in low-light. SmartHDR also helps to bring out more detail in shots regardless of lighting.

Finally, there’s adjustable blur after shooting and 4k 60 frames-per-second video recording.

Reviewers found the cameras stellar in terms of colour accuracy, detail, and speed. Many reviews felt the Pixel 2 still offered superior camera performance -- but only slightly.

The Xs includes a 2,658mAh battery. Reviewers found this good enough to reach the end of the day -- if only just. While the phone supports fast charging and wireless charging, it includes neither of the required accessories in the box. So expect to wait awhile for charges to finish unless you buy a fast charger. 30 minutes of charging is good for 22% with the included charger, while a fast charger reaches 55% in the same time.

Overall, reviewers love the phone. But many question whether it’s worth it to upgrade from an iPhone X. If you’re using an iPhone 8 or Android device, the upgrade is likely worth the price. GSM Arena says, “It's the fastest, the prettiest, the sturdiest, the most luxurious, the most skilled, the most expensive. And yet, it's the same iPhone.”

Engadget declares, “These aren't just worthy successors; they're fantastic smartphones in their own right. And thanks to Apple's growing focus on machine learning and the A12 Bionic's Neural Engine, both of these phones have been set up for success as our smartphone software continues to become more sophisticated.”


Operating system
iOS
Processor
2.49 GHz
Screen Size
5.8"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Softpedia

Obviously, choosing between iPhone and Android is a subjective decision and it comes down to a lot of factors. The iPhone XS itself is one of the best phones money can buy right now. But the most important thing is that it’s just not the best. I won’t start a debate here by mentioning which I think...

- Bogdan Popa, Softpedia
Deccan Chronicle

These phones possess all the internals that not only make it a great phone but push the all-around envelope of how a phone should be made. The addition of Smart HDR in the cameras, the Neural Engine, the 7nm chip design and all the features make the iPhone XS/XS Max the phones you didn’t know you ne...

- Aaron Almeida, Deccan Chronicle
AndroidPIT

The iPhone XS is a great smartphone that I'll enjoy picking up from time to time to take photos. I'm pleased with the craftsmanship and the size. I also really like the screen, but the iPhone XS isn't perfect. The battery life didn't knock my socks off, iOS continues to annoy me sometimes and I don'...

- Steffen Herget, AndroidPIT
Photography Blog

If you like iPhones for iOS you’ll be extremely pleased with what the camera can produce – as it’s still very, very good – but it’s no longer the no.1 recommendation for those whose main concern is the quality of the camera.

- Amy Davies, Photography Blog
Good Gear Guide

This year’s iPhones are Apple’s most expensive ever. And while expensive flagship smartphones are nothing new, the high pricing inevitably casts a bit of a shadow over things. If you thought that spending over a thousand bucks on last year’s iPhone X was outrageous, expect to lose your shit all over...

- Fergus Halliday, Good Gear Guide


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Apple released the iPhone Xs on September 21, 2018.


The iPhone Xs price will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. You can compare Apple iPhone Xs prices from around the web here on The Informr.


Apple backs up the iPhone Xs with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your iPhone Xs has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Apple support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Apple's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Screen Size
5.8"

The Apple iPhone Xs's screen size is 5.8 inches with 1125 x 2436 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.49 GHz

There is a Apple A12 Bionic Hexa core 2.49 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the iOS 12 operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 7+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
64/256/512 GB

Internal memory is 64/256/ 512 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
2658mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2658 mAh battery. Apple's performance ratings are 1200 minutes, 720 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

iPhone Xs Specs

Overview
Release date September 21, 2018
Regions available USA, Canada, UK, India
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA:
800/850/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/900/1800/2600/2300/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM Yes
Operating System iOS 12

Compare iOS Smartphones

Processor Apple A12 Bionic Hexa core 2.49 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 64/256/ 512 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.19 W/kg
Body: 1.18 W/kg
Languages English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included USB Power Adapter, Manual, Headphones, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2658 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 840 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 720 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 581 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1200 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 10 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Stainless steel
Colors Gold, Space Gray, Silver
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.3 x 7.1 x 0.8 cm (5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 177 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating IP 68
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology OLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1125 x 2436 pixels
Pixel density 458 pixels
Size 5.8 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating Yes
Additional Display Features Capacitive touchscreen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Yes
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Yes
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.8
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Dual lens
Yes
Zoom
2x optical, 10x digital
Flash
Yes (Quad LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, Multi-shot, Panorama, Red-eye reduction, Self-timer, Dual camera feature (12 MP 2nd camera, f/2.4), HDR, Slow motion recording
Video Recording Formats
MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 60 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
7+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Aperture f/2.2
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 60 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, RTF, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF, TXT, HTML
Weather Yes
Stocks Yes
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps
More
Additional comments
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Critic Reviews


Softpedia

The notch iPhone is back for its second generation

from Softpedia

Obviously, choosing between iPhone and Android is a subjective decision and it comes down to a lot of factors. The iPhone XS itself is one of the best phones money can buy right now. But the most important thing is that it’s just not the best. I won’t start a debate here by mentioning which...More

Obviously, choosing between iPhone and Android is a subjective decision and it comes down to a lot of factors. The iPhone XS itself is one of the best phones money can buy right now. But the most important thing is that it’s just not the best. I won’t start a debate here by mentioning which I think is a better phone than the iPhone XS, but if you’re looking in the Android world, there are a few phones offering excellent value for the money without losing the high-quality build that Apple offers.

Read full review

Less

Deccan Chronicle

The best iPhone just got better, bigger

from Deccan Chronicle

These phones possess all the internals that not only make it a great phone but push the all-around envelope of how a phone should be made. The addition of Smart HDR in the cameras, the Neural Engine, the 7nm chip design and all the features make the iPhone XS/XS Max the phones you didn’t know you need but want.

Read full review

These phones possess all the internals that not only make it a great phone but push the all-around envelope of how a phone should be made. The addition of Smart HDR in the cameras, the Neural Engine, the 7nm chip design and all the features make the iPhone XS/XS Max the phones you didn’t know you need but want.

Read full review

Less

AndroidPIT

Great display, very good camera, perfect craftsmanship

from AndroidPIT

The iPhone XS is a great smartphone that I'll enjoy picking up from time to time to take photos. I'm pleased with the craftsmanship and the size. I also really like the screen, but the iPhone XS isn't perfect. The battery life didn't knock my socks off, iOS continues to annoy me sometimes and I d...More

The iPhone XS is a great smartphone that I'll enjoy picking up from time to time to take photos. I'm pleased with the craftsmanship and the size. I also really like the screen, but the iPhone XS isn't perfect. The battery life didn't knock my socks off, iOS continues to annoy me sometimes and I don't really feel like the rear camera matches the rest of the smartphone's design that well.

Read full review

Less

Photography Blog

Image quality is fantastic

from Photography Blog

If you like iPhones for iOS you’ll be extremely pleased with what the camera can produce – as it’s still very, very good – but it’s no longer the no.1 recommendation for those whose main concern is the quality of the camera.

Read full review

If you like iPhones for iOS you’ll be extremely pleased with what the camera can produce – as it’s still very, very good – but it’s no longer the no.1 recommendation for those whose main concern is the quality of the camera.

Read full review

Less

Good Gear Guide

Astonishment at a price

from Good Gear Guide

This year’s iPhones are Apple’s most expensive ever. And while expensive flagship smartphones are nothing new, the high pricing inevitably casts a bit of a shadow over things. If you thought that spending over a thousand bucks on last year’s iPhone X was outrageous, expect to lose your shi...More

This year’s iPhones are Apple’s most expensive ever. And while expensive flagship smartphones are nothing new, the high pricing inevitably casts a bit of a shadow over things. If you thought that spending over a thousand bucks on last year’s iPhone X was outrageous, expect to lose your shit all over again once you see the asking price for the larger-sized XS Max.

Read full review

Less

Mobile Syrup

Stepping it up

from Mobile Syrup

The camera in the iPhone XS and XS Max is undoubtedly the best Apple has produced to date, even if it doesn’t feel like a huge leap forward. It’s a good step in the right direction because it’s starting to address shortcomings. For a brand that once held off competitors in mobile photograph...More

The camera in the iPhone XS and XS Max is undoubtedly the best Apple has produced to date, even if it doesn’t feel like a huge leap forward. It’s a good step in the right direction because it’s starting to address shortcomings. For a brand that once held off competitors in mobile photography, Apple has been playing catch-up for years. At least the gap is smaller now than it was before.

Read full review

Less

TrustedReviews

A superb handset

from TrustedReviews

With the same steep starting price as last year’s iPhone X, the new iPhone XS still feels overpriced based the market’s general price/performance balance but that’s nothing new where Apple is concerned. Not a huge upgrade over the iPhone X, but a good choice if you're stuck on an older iPhone and fancy something new.

Read full review

With the same steep starting price as last year’s iPhone X, the new iPhone XS still feels overpriced based the market’s general price/performance balance but that’s nothing new where Apple is concerned. Not a huge upgrade over the iPhone X, but a good choice if you're stuck on an older iPhone and fancy something new.

Read full review

Less

TechPP

Dial S for Superb

from TechPP

If you want (and can afford) one of the best smartphones in tech town in general and the latest and best iPhone in particular, the iPhone XS is a no-brainer. It might look like a dead ringer for the X, but its performance is very much on another level.

Read full review

If you want (and can afford) one of the best smartphones in tech town in general and the latest and best iPhone in particular, the iPhone XS is a no-brainer. It might look like a dead ringer for the X, but its performance is very much on another level.

Read full review

Less

Beebom

A powerful and gorgeous device

from Beebom

The iPhone XS is one of the best devices of this year. Priced at a premium, the iPhone XS is one of the few devices that look, feel, and perform like it's worth the price. The iPhone XS is the perfect upgrade for anyone using an iPhone 8 Plus or anything older, and it looks like it will remain a...More

The iPhone XS is one of the best devices of this year. Priced at a premium, the iPhone XS is one of the few devices that look, feel, and perform like it's worth the price. The iPhone XS is the perfect upgrade for anyone using an iPhone 8 Plus or anything older, and it looks like it will remain a fast, snappy device even after a few years, which is not something we can say for a lot of smartphones out there.

Read full review

Less

Digit

Impressive display, top-notch performance

from Digit

The Apple iPhone XS is powered by an impressively fast A-12 Bionic chip, features an HDR10 and Dolby Vision certified display and continues to take great photos and videos. However, the iPhone XS with its average battery life and the astronomical price isn't a smartphone for everyone.

Read full review

The Apple iPhone XS is powered by an impressively fast A-12 Bionic chip, features an HDR10 and Dolby Vision certified display and continues to take great photos and videos. However, the iPhone XS with its average battery life and the astronomical price isn't a smartphone for everyone.

Read full review

Less



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