Apple's iPhone XS Max has the biggest screen, biggest battery and fastest processor that Apple has put into an iPhone.
What is the iPhone XS Max?
Apple's "S" year phones typically emphasise performance over new style points or markedly new features, and it's very clear with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max that this is exactly what Apple has done this year.
They new phones are the iPhone X on a dose of steroids, with improved performance, upgraded camera features and new size formats, but the way Apple has not-so-subtly crept up the prices for handsets is a serious issue that any smartphone buyer will have to resolve before buying.
- It's the iPhone X, but bigger
- More antenna points around the body
- Slippery, which is scary on a phone this pricey
The iPhone XS Max is a big phone, but you'd expect that for anything bearing that kind of suffix.
Measuring in at 157.5x77.4x7.7mm with a carrying weight of 208g, it's one of the largest smartphones you can buy right now, although it's not technically Apple's largest phone.
- Smart HDR gives pleasing image results
- A very guided camera experience
- Video stabilisation is excellent
Apple's taken the slightly unusual step of offering the exact same camera array on the iPhone XS Max as it does on the iPhone XS.
Typically – and this was the case last year between the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X – the "bigger" (and certainly more costly) phone gets a slight boost in camera optics. Stare at the back of an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, and what you'll be looking at are 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.
- Apple's A12 Bionic is the processor that other processors fear
- Lacks split screen or a key reason for such a large display.
- IP68 water resistance, but no change to official Apple warranty
- Gigabit LTE, but not the fastest
- Technically Dual SIM, but not in Australia
- No expandable memory (again), and higher storage choices are expensive.
If 2017's A11 Bionic threw down the gauntlet to competing processors, then 2018's A12 Bionic processor, the heart of the Apple iPhone XS Max, has clearly picked it up, added a few shiny gems and is grinning while it ponders snapping its fingers.
- Best battery life on an iPhone to date
- Wired or wireless charging
- Still lags behind premium Android phones for battery life
The Apple iPhone XS Max's physical size has allowed Apple to throw in what it's calling "the biggest battery in an iPhone ever", although as always it's notably reticent to cite actual battery capacity figures. Here iFixit comes to the rescue, noting that it's actually a split L-shaped 3,179 mAh power pack. That's decent, but well below what we're seeing in Android flagships where 4,000mAh is becoming common.
However, battery life isn't just a numbers game because with larger screens comes the prospect of lower battery life. The more you need to glow, the faster the battery will go, basically.
I'm genuinely torn on the iPhone XS Max. It's Apple's best iPhone to date, it has the best processor in the industry, the camera is good and iOS is easy to use.
It's also very slippery, the battery life doesn't come close to the benchmark of the best Android handsets and, of course, it's super expensive.
Pricing and availability
Apple iPhone XS Max
The cream of the crop
If you want the very best smartphone money can buy, Apple's iPhone XS Max won't leave you wanting.
- You can purchase the iPhone XS Max directly from Apple as well as retailers like JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Catch.
- The iPhone XS Max is also available on contract through Telstra, Vodafone and Optus.
|Display size (inches)||6.5|
|Display resolution (pixels)||2688 x 1242|
|Pixels per inch (PPI)||458|
|Battery size (mAh)||3,179|
|Rear camera (1) resolution||12|
|Rear camera (1) aperture||1.8|
|Rear camera (2) resolution||12|
|Rear camera (2) aperture||2.4|
|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|
|Network category speed||Category 16|
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