Apple iPhone XS review: Plans | Pricing | Specs

Apple iPhone XS
Apple iPhone XS Find out more Buy now

Apple's iPhone XS provides the power of the Apple A12 Bionic in a more compact frame than the iPhone XS Max.

Apple iPhone XS 2018 at a glance
When did the Apple iPhone XS come out? Launched on 12 September 2018, pre-orders from 14 September 2018 with availability from 21 September 2018
What’s new about the Apple iPhone XS? Colourful designs, Apple A12 Fusion processor, 5.8-inch OLED display, improved battery performance
How much does the Apple iPhone XS cost? $1,629 to $2,199 depending on storage capacity

Where the iPhone XS Max is Apple's "phablet" phone for the larger phone crowd, the iPhone XS looks back to where Apple used to be for those who want the complete iPhone experience on a smaller device.

Which isn't to say that the iPhone XS is a backwards-looking device in every aspect. There are clear design cues taken from 2017's iPhone X as well as price points that shift the goalposts for what you'll pay for a new Apple phone ever upwards.


Design

  • iPhone X style with more screen space
  • Antenna points boosted around the frame
  • Slippery to hold, so a case is a must

Camera

  • Dual cameras shoot well
  • Smaller camera body makes it easier to snap shots
  • Video stabilisation is great

In previous years, if you opted for the "smaller" iPhone, you were usually stuck with just a single camera of lesser quality. That's not the case this year because while the iPhone XS is Apple's smallest 2018 smartphone, it shares the exact same camera specifications and sensors as the larger and more expensive Apple iPhone XS Max. Apple does produce a single lens 2018 iPhone, but that's the cheaper iPhone XR.

At the back of an iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, you'll find dual 12MP lenses. The wide angle 12MP lens has an f/1.8 aperture, while the 2x optical telephoto lens has an f/2.4 aperture.

Performance

  • Apple's A12 Bionic is easily the fastest processor you can get in a mobile
  • IP68 water resistance, but not a good idea to get wet thanks to warranty woes
  • Gigabit LTE, but not the fastest
  • Technically dual SIM, but not in Australia
  • No expandable memory (again).

Apple put itself firmly in first place for processor performance with the stellar Apple A11 Bionic at the heart of the Apple iPhone X, so it had its work cut out to do even better with the A12 Bionic that runs the Apple iPhone XS.

It's managed just that, with a processor capable of some truly astounding computational performance.

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Battery life

  • Battery capacity is increasing
  • But actual battery life still lags behind Android's best.
  • Still lags behind premium Android phones for battery life

Apple has long had an issue with battery stamina, largely because it's consistently chased thinner devices, and with that design choice, it's given itself much less space for actual batteries. The iPhone XS packs in a 2,658mAh battery, which is slightly down from 2017's iPhone X and a degree below the 3,174 mAh battery in the iPhone XS Max.

Verdict

The iPhone XS sits in a relatively high price bracket, although not quite as eye watering as that of the Apple iPhone XS Max. That's a handset that we'd argue is overpriced, where the iPhone XS is merely expensive, at least in its lower storage capacities.

At the same time, the combination of a top-notch camera and the power of the Apple A12 Fusion make for a compelling handset. It's easier to pocket than the iPhone XS Max, and it'll leave a much smaller dent in your wallet too.

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Apple iPhone XS

Apple's most advanced smartphone

The iPhone XS is Apple's vision of what the future of smartphones looks like. Get yours today.

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OS iOS 12
Display size (inches) 5.8
Display resolution (pixels) 2436x1125
Pixels per inch (PPI) 458
Processor Apple A12 Bionic
Height (mm) 143.6
Width (mm) 70.9
Depth (mm) 7.7
Weight (g) 177
Battery size (mAh) 2,659
Wireless charging Qi
Internal storage 64GB
256GB
512GB
MicroSD expansion N/A
Fingerprint scanner No
RAM 4
Water resistance IP68
Rear camera (1) resolution 12
Rear camera (1) aperture
Rear camera (2) resolution 12
Rear camera (2) aperture
Rear camera (3) resolution
Rear camera (3) aperture
Front camera (1) resolution 7
Front camera (1) aperture 2.2
Front camera (2) resolution
Front camera (2) aperture
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed Category 16
NFC support Yes
Updated December 17th, 2018
Name Product Processor type Display size Display resolution Internal storage Provider in CTA
Apple A12
6.1
1792 x 828
64GB
128GB
256GB
Apple A12 Bionic
5.8
2436x1125
64GB
256GB
512GB
Apple A12
6.5
2688 x 1242
64GB
256GB
512GB
A11
5.8
2436 x 1125
64GB
256GB
A11
4.7
1334 x 750
64GB
256GB
A11
5.5
1920 x 1080
64GB
256GB
A10
4.7
1334 x 750
32GB
128GB
256GB
A10
5.5
1920 x 1080
32GB
128GB
256GB
A9
4
1136 x 640
32GB
128GB
A9
5.5
1920 x 1080
32GB
128GB
A9
4.7
1334 x 750
32GB
128GB
A8
4.7
1334 x 750
16GB
32GB
64GB
128GB

Compare up to 4 providers

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This table was last updated on 17 Dec 2018.
Loading phone pricing...
RetailerModelPriceCurrencyBuy it
Kogan Apple iPhone XS (64GB, Space Grey) | iPhones | 1589 AUD Buy it
Apple iPhone XS 64GB Space Grey 1629 AUD Buy it
The Good Guys Apple MT9E2X/A iPhone Xs 64GB - Space Grey at The Good Guys 1629 AUD Buy it
Amazon Australia Apple iPhone Xs 64GB - Space Grey 1651.38 AUD Buy it
DWI Apple iPhone XS 64GB Dual sim (nano-SIM & eSIM) SIM FREE/ UNLOCKED A1920 - Gold 1729 AUD Buy it
eBay Apple iPhone XS - Space Grey / Silver / Gold - [Au Stock] 1785.05 AUD Buy it
Kogan Apple iPhone XS (256GB, Space Grey) | iPhones | 1829 AUD Buy it
The Good Guys Apple MT9H2X/A iPhone Xs 256GB Space Grey at The Good Guys 1879 AUD Buy it
Officeworks iPhone XS 256GB Silver 1879 AUD More details
Apple iPhone XS 256GB Space Grey 1879 AUD Buy it
eBay Apple iPhone XS (256GB, Gold) 1987.66 AUD Buy it
DWI Apple iPhone XS 256GB Dual sim (nano-SIM & eSIM) SIM FREE/ UNLOCKED A1920 - Space Gray 2059 AUD Buy it
Kogan Apple iPhone XS (512GB, Space Grey) | iPhones | 2149 AUD Buy it
Officeworks iPhone XS 512GB Silver 2179 AUD More details
eBay Apple iPhone XS 512GB - Gold - [Au Stock] 2191.8 AUD Buy it
Apple iPhone XS 512GB Space Grey 2199 AUD Buy it
The Good Guys Apple MT9L2X/A iPhone Xs 512GB Space Grey at The Good Guys 2199 AUD Buy it
DWI Apple iPhone XS 512GB Dual sim (nano-SIM & eSIM) SIM FREE/ UNLOCKED A1920 - Space Gray 2299 AUD Buy it
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Alex Kidman

Alex Kidman is a multi-award-winning consumer technology journalist and the Tech & Telco Editor at finder.com.au. He's been writing about consumer technology topics for more than two decades, and enjoys breaking down complex topics into their component parts. He has written for just about every major Australian technology publication, and is a former editor of Gizmodo Australia, PC Mag Australia, and CNET.com.au.

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