iPhone XS, XS Max will burn your pocket

The new iPhones from Apple are out and they are better than ever. New phones means higher price tags. Do the improvements justify the price tag of new iPhones?

Every year, Apple is the subject of great discussion. Why? Every new year means a new iPhone. Apple’s 2018 Keynote Address at the company’s special event wasn’t any different. The event saw the iPhone family become bigger than ever. Sitting at the top of this family are two devices – the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The question now is, are the Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max worth your hard-earned money?

Specifications Apple iPhone XS Apple iPhone XS Max
Price Rs 99,900 – 1,34,900 Rs 1,09,900 – 1,44,900

A12 Bionic with next-gen Neural Engine and proprietary GPU



Display Super Retina OLED, 5.8-inch, Retina HD (2436x1125p) resolution with 3D Touch Super Retina OLED, 6.5-inch, Retina HD (2688x1242p) resolution with 3D Touch
Internal Storage


Operating System

iOS 12

Rear Camera

12-megapixel + 12-megapixel

Front Camera



Unknown size with fast charging and wireless charging

Dimensions 143.6mm x 70.9mm 7.7mm 157.5mm x 77.4mm x 7.7mm


Fingerprint Scanner


Water/Dust resistance


What’s new about the Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max?

The notch is here to stay – that’s my first thought upon seeing the Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. I don’t mind it either, after Apple said this helped people identify the phone without any branding. They weren’t wrong as that phone design bit is immediately identifiable anywhere it is used.


However, if you were looking for a different design with the notch, you will be disappointed. The iPhone XS/XS Max are similar to the iPhone X on that front with stainless steel chassis and glass front + back panels. The only new bit on the outside is a new Gold colour variant. The iPhone XS has effectively taken the spot of iPhone X in Apple’s lineup, it seems.


Speaking of similarities between Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, they pack Apple’s A12 Bionic chip with a next-gen Neural Engine and Metal 2-optimised proprietary GPU. Per Apple, this hexa-core SOC is 15 per cent faster and 50 per cent more power efficient than A11 Bionic chip. The new GPU is a quad-core unit and offers 50 per cent faster performance than its equivalent on A11 Bionic (per Apple again). That Neural Engine has an octa-core architecture and can perform 5 trillion operations per second.


Both get Super Retina OLED displays. Both are IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. Both are available in three storage variants – 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Both have dual rear camera setup with two 12-megapixel lenses (one a wide-angle with f/1.8 aperture and other a telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture and 2x optical zoom). Both lenses feature Optical Image Stabilization, Quad-LED flash, and offer Portrait Mode with Portrait Lighting.


Both phones get 7-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture and Retina flash. Both have Face ID, wireless charging, no 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple Pay, and dual-SIM with dual standby. Connectivity options on both phones include Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and GPS/GLONASS/Galileo. Time to talk about what separates the two devices (apart from price).


The Apple iPhone XS has a 5.8 inch display (like the iPhone X). The iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch display. Both phones have different dimensions too (143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm for iPhone XS and 157.5mm x 77.4mm x 7.7mm for iPhone XS Max). The iPhone XS weighs 177g while the iPhone XS Max weighs 208g.


The Apple iPhone XS offers 30 minutes longer battery life than iPhone X. The Apple iPhone XS Max, in comparison, offers 1.5 hours longer battery life than iPhone X. However, there is a similarity between both phones here as well. Both phones can fast charging batteries that can be charged up to 50 per cent within 30 minutes.

Are the Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max worth consideration?

Before answering this critical question about the Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, i have to get something off my chest. I am an Apple critic. I like the company and feel that they make some of the most well-rounded products around. I was among the first few iPad 2 owners when it was launched in India. However, my appreciation for the company’s products does not translate into appreciation for their product strategy.


Apple sends mixed signs to everyone around the world. On one hand, it makes great products. On the other hand, it makes them almost unattainable. This makes the purchase case for new devices weak. Further highlighting this issue is the existence of previous iPhones for a lesser price than new ones. In this case, the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus will still be on sale (they are still up on the website), while the iPhone X and iPhone 6S/6S Plus are only found on the comparison page.


While this strategy makes entry into Apple’s ecosystem easier, it also reduces the impact of new phones’ launch (like the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max). Why would Apple want to reduce the impact of its latest products (a head-scratcher, this one)? This brings me to my second criticism. The new iPhones are have jaw-dropping price tags. When they come to India, owing to country’s taxation system, they will become even costlier.


The iPhone XS 64GB costs $999 in US, which should translate to Rs 72,000 (approx). However, it will cost a whopping Rs 99,900 in India. As soon as the prices for the Apple iPhone XS and XS Max were announced, attendees at the event could only do the obligatory applause (no Woos though, as they may have have been looking for their dropped jaws). That’s why no matter how good these phones are, calling them worth consideration is easy but recommending them is near impossible.

Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max – Synopsis

  • Prices start from Rs 99,900 for iPhone XS and Rs 1.09 lakh for iPhone XS Max
  • Coming to India on Friday, September 28, 2018
  • Retain the same design as the iPhone X of 2017
  • Both get A12 Bionic chip with next-gen Neural Engine and proprietary GPU
  • Both have three storage options – 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB
  • Both have Super Retina OLED display with 3D touch
  • Both rated IP68 for water and dust-resistance
  • Both have dual rear camera setup with 12-megapixel wide angle and 12-megapixel telephoto lenses
  • Both have 7-megapixel front-facing camera with Face ID support
  • Both have wireless charging and fast charging support for their inbuilt batteries
  • iPhone XS has 5.8-inch display while the iPhone XS Max has 6.5-inch display
  • Connectivity options – Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS/GLONASS, dual-SIM with dual standby
  • iPhone XS battery lasts 30 minutes longer than iPhone X
  • iPhone XS Max battery lasts 1.5 hours more than iPhone X
  • Colour options available for both phones  – Space Gray, Silver, and Gold
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