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Apple iPhone XS Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Alex Alderson), 09/22/2018

My preciousss - Apple has stuck with its “S” nomenclature even after its anniversary iPhone and has consequently followed the iPhone X with the iPhone XS. As with previous “S” models, the iPhone XS is more a technical refinement of its predecessor than a fundamental departure. The iPhone XS should do everything better than its predecessor without reinventing itself. Read on for our iPhone XS review and to find out whether the device can match expectations.
Update: Added PWM video.

Every year a new iPhone comes fluttering into Apple Stores at the beginning of fall. This remains the same this year too. In this review, we are focusing on the smaller of Apple’s new flagship devices, the iPhone XS. Apple still insists that the device is pronounced the iPhone 10S and not XS. Powering the device is Apple’s new A12 Bionic chipset and 4 GB RAM, the latter of which is a considerable jump in RAM and one which Apple has previously reserved just for its iPad Pro devices. The iPhone XS retains the iPhone X’s 5.8-inch display, but Apple should have improved things like the maximum luminosity and color accuracy.

The device comes with a new camera sensor too, which has larger pixels for improved photosensitivity than its predecessor. The iPhone XS also comes with up to 512 GB of storage and even dual-SIM support. A word of caution on this, practically all iPhone XS devices are equipped with one physical nano-SIM slot and an eSIM slot. Few carriers currently support eSIMs though, the limitations of which are reflected by Apple releasing a version of the iPhone XS with two nano-SIM slots for the Chinese market. Apple has also improved the XS’ IP rating over its predecessor too.

Apple’s pricing for the iPhone XS is breathtakingly high. The entry model with 64 GB of storage costs 1,149 Euros (~$1,347) at launch, while the 256 GB and 512 GB models cost 1,319 Euros (~$1,547) and 1,549 Euros (~$1,817), respectively. The iPhone XS Max costs an additional 100 Euros (~$117) across all three models. What’s more, Apple has replaced both the iPhone 8 and X series with the 10S series, effectively increasing the cost of an Apple flagship device by 350 Euros (~$410).

We have chosen to compare the iPhone XS against its predecessor and other Android flagship devices like the Google Pixel 2 XL, HTC U12+, Huawei P20 Pro, LG G7 ThinQ, OnePlus 6, Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium.

Changelog

Update: First impressions, display measurements (PWM), Wi-Fi performance and initial benchmarks.

Update II: Further benchmarks, battery tests and sections on Communication, Accessories, Connectivity and Speakers have been added.

Update III: Sections added for GPS, Display and Cameras.

Update IV: Sections added for Software, Input Devices, Performance, Temperature and further Battery tests.

Apple iPhone XS (iPhone Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, LPDDR4x
Display
5.8 inch 2.16:1, 2436 x 1125 pixel 463 PPI, Capacitive, 10-point multitouch, OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision, True Tone, Anti-grease coating, 3D Touch, P3 colour space, glossy: yes
Storage
Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs), 512 GB 
, 500.23 GB free
Connections
Audio Connections: Lightning, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Face ID, Barometer, Digital Compass, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Positional sensor and three-axis gyroscope, Lightning, eSIM, Galileo, QZSS
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM/GPRS/Edge: 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900 MHz; UMTS/HSPA+:850, 900, 1,700/2,100, 1,900 and 2,100 MHz); LTE Cat. 16: Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 66, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 46, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.7 x 143.6 x 70.9 ( = 0.3 x 5.65 x 2.79 in)
Battery
10.13 Wh, 2658 mAh Lithium-Ion, 3,81 Volt, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 20 h
Operating System
Apple iOS 12
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix Wide angle: f/1.8, 1.4 ?m, focus pixel, six-lens elements, OIS. 12 MP telephoto lens: f/2.4, six-lens elements, OIS, 2 x optical zoom. True Tone Flash, UHD videos at 60 FPS
Secondary Camera: 7 MPix f/2.2, Full HD videos at 60 FPS
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo Speakers, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, Power supply, Lightning cable, Headphones, Quick Start guide, sticker, SIM tool, 12 Months Warranty, SAR values: 0.99 W/kg, IP68 rated, Qi wireless charging, fanless
Weight
177 g ( = 6.24 oz / 0.39 pounds), Power Supply: 46 g ( = 1.62 oz / 0.1 pounds)
Price
1549 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The iPhone XS color options: Gold, Silver and Space Gray.
The iPhone XS color options: Gold, Silver and Space Gray.

The iPhone XS looks broadly the same as its predecessor save for a new color option. The XS comes in black, white or a new gold finish, the latter of which offers reflections in a pearlescent fashion depending on the viewing angle. The XS shares the same dimensions as its predecessor but is 3 g heavier according to Apple; we could not confirm this during our tests. Contrary to Apple’s documentation, our test device is slightly thinner than its predecessor at 7.65 mm. Additionally, Apple has thickened the camera array, which now protrudes by 1.5 mm from the rear case.

The XS has a stainless-steel frame while the front and back of the device are made from the same unspecified glass. Apple insists that this glass is the most durable of its kind; naturally, we would expect nothing less from Apple.

The XS has excellent build quality with tight and even gaps between materials across the entire device. Moreover, the XS is stiff as a board and made no cracking noises during our best attempts to twist our test device. Our test devices feel good in the hand too and not particularly heavy. However, it is worth pointing out that the gold version is vulnerable to fingerprints. Additionally, while the glass is relatively easy to clean, cleaning the stainless-steel frame requires a lot more effort.

The iPhone XS is dust and water-resistant like its predecessor, but Apple has increased the IP rating to IP68, which should mean that the device can survive up to 30 minutes submerged in water. However, strictly speaking, the rating is IPX8 and not IP68, as Apple does not provide a time limit for submerging the device. The XS is also beer, chlorine, salt water, tea and even wine resistant according to Apple’s keynote. Pleasingly, liquid damage does not invalidate a warranty claim.

The SIM slot continues to only accept one nano-SIM, except for in China where Apple is releasing a true dual-SIM variant. The rest of the world gets dual-SIM functionality from an eSIM rather than a traditional nano-SIM.

The iPhone X and XS from left to right
The iPhone X and XS from left to right

Size Comparison

Connectivity

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The Lightning port remains the only way to connect the XS to a computer or an accessory with a wired connection. Officially the device supports USB 3.0, but Apple has only included a USB 2.0 cable in the box as evidenced by the length of time it took to complete a large data transfer on iTunes. You will need to buy a Lightning cable to USB-C if you want faster data transfer. Apple also offers numerous Lightning adapters to Thunderbolt, card readers, and video connections like HDMI.

The XS retains the same short-range wireless communication that the iPhone X supported. The XS also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, the latter of which is restricted just to read mode.

The sensors remain the same too. Face ID is still the only biometric security method, and no new iPhones have Touch ID support.

The eSIM function is not yet active and will be activated in a forthcoming update.

Top side
Top side
Left-hand side: volume buttons, mute switch
Left-hand side: volume buttons, mute switch
Right-hand side: power button, SIM slot
Right-hand side: power button, SIM slot
Underside: speakers, Lightning port, microphone
Underside: speakers, Lightning port, microphone

Software

A new iPhone release is always synonymous with a new version of iOS. The iPhone XS runs iOS 12, which contains numerous changes from previous iterations. Apple stresses that iOS 12 is much faster than previous versions and should run faster on older devices. Apple is so sure of this that it is pushing iOS 12 out to even five-year-old devices like the iPhone 5S and the iPad Air. Other manufacturers should take note as few of Apple’s competitors currently support their devices for as long as Apple.

iOS 12 brings new features to FaceTime including calls with up to 32 simultaneous participants. Likewise, iMessage has new text effects, emojis, Animojis, and Memojis, the latter of which allows users to create Animojis of their faces. Notifications and the Do Not Disturb feature have been enhanced and further optimized too. Moreover, iOS 12 brings new Siri features and allows the virtual assistant to learn things like routines that are triggered by voice commands among others. Face ID can now also unlock the device with up to two scanned faces.

A completely new feature is the screen time option. The feature serves to better control the device’s usage behavior on the one hand and act as a way for parents to limit children’s time on Apple devices on the other hand, like Google’s FamilyLink. The Apple app is better thought out though particularly for child-focused customization options. While FamilyLink can limit only individual apps, Apple’s equivalent can limit entire app categories. So, a parent could limit a child to spending 30 minutes cumulatively on all games and not 30 minutes on each game. Unfortunately, iOS 12 only allows time restrictions by app categories and not individual apps; these apps can only be defined as exceptions to wider rules. iOS 12 even allows for cross-device configurations.

Users of iOS 11 will also quickly notice a change in multi-tasking. Apps can now be closed faster by simply swiping them up and away from other background apps.

Please see our iPhone XS Max review for a detailed list of changes with iOS 12.

Default home screen
Default home screen
New multi-tasking feature
New multi-tasking feature
App time limit options
App time limit options
App time limit options
App time limit options

Communication & GPS

Almost nothing has changed regarding mobile data connectivity according to the datasheet. The maximum data transfer rates correspond to LTE Cat. 16, which has a maximum download rate of 1,024 Mb/s. However, the XS supports three more LTE bands: 14, 32, and 46. The first two are FDD bands while the latter is a TDD band. These additional bands mean that the XS supports an impressive 27 LTE bands, which should be enough for good LTE connectivity in most countries. Equally, older mobile networks continue to be supported with a wide range of frequencies. Apple has shifted from Qualcomm to Intel modems, which may explain why the XS transfer speeds are the same as its predecessors. However, mobile network communication has improved thanks to the XS’ 4x4 MIMO antenna. We have had no issues so far with mobile network coverage with our XS.

The Wi-Fi module supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standards and has a 2x2 MIMO antenna that works with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. Our test device has lower downlink transmission speeds than both the iPhone X and iPhone 8 when measured with our Linksys EA8500 reference router. Overall, transmission speeds are impressive though. Moreover, the transmission power has improved; our test device maintains a stable 2.4 GHz network connection over 10 meters, but we noticed connection dropouts when further than 12 meters from our reference router on a 5 GHz network.

Distance to the reference router 2.4 GHz – Send 2.4 GHz – Receive 5 GHz – Send 5 GHz – Receive
1 meter 105 MBit/s 104 MBit/s 587 MBit/s 650 MBit/s
5 meters - an inner wall 95.1 MBit/s 101 MBit/s 471 MBit/s 534 MBit/s
10 meters - two inner walls 89.5 MBit/s 92.7 MBit/s 262 MBit/s 202 MBit/s
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
677 MBit/s ∼100% +4%
Samsung Galaxy S9
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
652 MBit/s ∼96% 0%
Apple iPhone XS
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs)
650 MBit/s ∼96%
Huawei P20 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
635 MBit/s ∼94% -2%
OnePlus 6
Adreno 630, 845, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
609 MBit/s ∼90% -6%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=277)
197 MBit/s ∼29% -70%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
647 MBit/s ∼100% +10%
OnePlus 6
Adreno 630, 845, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
612 MBit/s ∼95% +4%
Apple iPhone XS
A12 Bionic GPU, A12 Bionic, Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs)
587 MBit/s ∼91%
Samsung Galaxy S9
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
519 MBit/s ∼80% -12%
Huawei P20 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
437 MBit/s ∼68% -26%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=277)
193 MBit/s ∼30% -67%

The XS uses A-GPS, Galileo, Glonass and QZSS for location services. There is no BeiDou support though. Our test device quickly finds an accurate satellite fix in the GPS Test app even when used inside buildings.

We took the XS on a bike ride to test its location accuracy against a professional navigation device, the Garmin Edge 500. Our test device recorded the course well but deviated by 270 meters over a 9.5 km ride. The Garmin is not free from errors either but does a better job at recording the bike ride than the XS. Overall, the XS should be suitable for all general navigation tasks like running and other fitness activities.

GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Around a lake
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Around a lake
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Loop
GPS test: Garmin Edge 500 – Loop
GPS test: Apple iPhone XS - Overview
GPS test: Apple iPhone XS - Overview
GPS test: Apple iPhone XS – Around a lake
GPS test: Apple iPhone XS – Around a lake
GPS test: Apple iPhone XS – Loop
GPS test: Apple iPhone XS – Loop

Telephone Function & Call Quality

Dialler
Dialler

The phone app is unchanged in iOS 12 and is arranged with several tabs at the bottom of the screen. eSIM integration is new though, but we could not test this at the time of writing as Apple had not released the update activating the XS’ eSIM functionality. We will update this review accordingly when Apple releases this update.

The loudspeaker has better clarity and dynamic range that is noticeably better than the iPhone X’s loudspeaker. Voice quality is good over 3G calls too, but the loudspeaker tends to reverberate. Equally, we had to keep our test device close when making a call over the loudspeaker otherwise voices quickly became too quiet for our call partner.

The XS supports Wi-Fi calling and voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Cameras

Selfie shot with portrait mode on the iPhone XS
Selfie shot with portrait mode on the iPhone XS
Selfie shot with front-facing camera on the iPhone XS
Selfie shot with front-facing camera on the iPhone XS

The XS has a 7 MP front-facing camera just like its predecessor, which has an f/2.2 aperture and supports automatic HDR, retina flash and electronic image stabilization (EIS) for Full HD videos. The front-facing sensor now supports Smart HDR and has better dynamic range than its predecessor, the latter of which helps with taking clearer low-light photos and videos. The front-facing camera can also shoot videos in up to 60 FPS.

The TrueDepth camera works better too and now recognizes outstretched tongues when creating Animojis or Memojis. Likewise, the portrait mode has improved thanks to the better depth of field optics and helped create better bokeh effect photos than the iPhone X. The background of portrait photos appears better exposed on the XS than the X too.

Apple has improved the dual rear-facing cameras as well. The main sensor now has an f/1.8 aperture and 1.4 μm pixels, both of which should take better low-light shots than the iPhone X. By contrast, the secondary sensor has an f/2.4 aperture and 2 x optical zoom for better depth of field effects in portrait photos. Both sensors are optically stabilized and support Smart HDR. Smart HDR is essentially a marketing term and represents nothing more than what other smartphone cameras currently do. Smart HDR is a fusion of the work that the sensor, the ISP, the neural processor unit and software algorithms do. However, the XS’ rear-facing cameras have better dynamic range than those on the iPhone X, to Apple’s credit. Equally, the rear-facing cameras take better portrait photos and do a better job of correctly exposing background imagery than the iPhone X does.

Overall, the main camera has impressed us. Photos have good dynamic range and plenty of detail. While the XS takes better low-light photos than its predecessor, it struggles to capture fine details as demonstrated by the lack of pattern on the rabbit’s shirt in scene 3. The Google Pixel 2 XL falls short in this regard too though. The XS’ telephoto lens does a worse job in these conditions too, with the resulting photo lacking the same sharpness and intensity of color as the one taken with the main camera.

The XS can record videos at numerous resolutions and frames per second. The device can record in 720p at 30 FPS, 1080p at either 30 or 60 FPS and 2,160p at 24, 30 or 60 FPS. While the iPhone X could also record videos at the combination of those resolutions and frames per second, the XS has better low-light exposure for videos recorded in 30 FPS and automatically reduces the frame rate to 24 FPS when the sensors need more light. The XS is also Apple’s first device to record video audio in stereo without the need for an external microphone. Stereo video-recordings work wonderfully in practice and sound good too.

Likewise, our test device takes impressive videos. The OIS enables the camera to take clean tracking shots even when just holding the device and compensates well for minor hand movements. We would recommend choosing lower FPS when filming at night as videos taken at 60 FPS lack the same level of exposure in low ambient light as videos shot at lower FPS.

Overall, the iPhone XS takes impressive photos, particularly in portrait mode, and it offers arguably the best video recordings of any current smartphone.

Screenshot of an Ultra HD video at 60 FPS
Screenshot of an Ultra HD video at 60 FPS
Screenshot of an Ultra HD video at 30 FPS
Screenshot of an Ultra HD video at 30 FPS
Screenshot of a Full HD video at 30 FPS
Screenshot of a Full HD video at 30 FPS

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images
2 x optical zoom
2 x optical zoom
5.5 x digital zoom
10 x digital zoom
2 x optical zoom
Main camera
Main camera
Main camera
Main camera
Main camera as shot from a moving bicycle
Main camera
Main camera
2 x optical zoom
10 digital zoom
Main camera
Main camera
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of color displays the reference color – main camera
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of color displays the reference color – main camera
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of color displays the reference color – telephoto lens
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of color displays the reference color – telephoto lens

We also tested the quality of the XS’ dual rear-facing cameras under controlled lighting conditions against the reference colors of ColorChecker Passport. Our test device captures colors brightly, with rich saturation and a warm white balance. By contrast, the telephoto lens’ color reproduction is considerably duller, darker and with greater saturation while lighter skin tones have a visible red tint to them.

The photos of our test chart highlight the differences between the XS’ two rear-facing camera sensors. While the main camera does a good job at reproducing many fine details at the centre of the image and sustaining a consistent degree of sharpness across the entire image, the telephoto lens is at least a class below its sibling. Areas of color lack uniformity and have a degree of graininess to them while the sensor also struggles to reproduce black text on dark backgrounds accurately. Even lines in the middle of the image lack detail. It is a shame that Apple has not equipped the XS with two rear-facing camera sensors of the same quality.

Photo of our test chart – taken by the main camera
Photo of our test chart – taken by the main camera
Photo of our test chart – taken by the telephoto lens
Photo of our test chart – taken by the telephoto lens
Test chart in detail - taken by the main camera
Test chart in detail - taken by the telephoto lens

Accessories & Warranty

Unfortunately, the amount of accessories that Apple includes in the box has been reduced. The XS comes with a USB Type-A to Lightning cable, a pair of Lightning headphones, a SIM tool, a quick-start guide and a set of stickers. Frustratingly, Apple has omitted the Lightning to 3.5 mm jack adapter that was included with the iPhone X, and the included charger is only 5 V and 1 A, so it is not strong enough for fast charging even though the iPhone supports it. Helpfully, Apple sells stronger chargers or Qi wireless chargers should you wish to charge your XS faster than the standard charger does.

The XS comes with 12 months of manufacturer’s warranty, which is separate from any supplier warranty. Apple continues to offer AppleCare+, which still costs 229 Euros (~$269) and covers two accidental damage repairs. Even with AppleCare+, Apple charges a 29-Euro (~$34) service fee for a display replacement and 99 Euros (~$116) to repair any other damage to the device. In theory, the latter should also cover a total loss of the device too. AppleCare+ is valid for two years from the date of purchase and can be acquired up to 60 days after the device has been bought.

Input Devices & Operation

The XS has no home button and operating the device is all done with gesture controls just like with the iPhone X. iOS 12 refines the gesture controls, but it will still take new users some time to adjust to operating their smartphone entirely with gestures. The touchscreen is easy to use while reacting both quickly and precisely to inputs. We only encountered issues with small input areas within apps that have not been optimized for the X or the XS series’ notches. The one-handed mode works well too, but it must first be activated in Settings.

The XS has Apple’s keyboard preinstalled, but other Android-first keyboards like Google Gboard or SwiftKey can also be downloaded in the App Store should you prefer a change of keyboard. The XS supports 3D Touch too.

Face ID is the XS’ only biometric security feature, but Apple insists that it will unlock your XS faster than an iPhone X can. We believe Face ID is currently the best facial recognition technology in any smartphone, particularly with its accuracy when unlocking the device in the dark.

iOS 12’s new Memoji
iOS 12’s new Memoji
Using the default Apple keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default Apple keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default Apple keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default Apple keyboard in landscape mode
One-handed mode
One-handed mode
3D Touch
3D Touch

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array

The XS has a 5.8-inch OLED panel just like its predecessor. Moreover, the display still operates at a native 2426x1125 resolution with a pixel density of 463 PPI. Other flagship smartphones have higher pixel densities, like the Galaxy S9 or the Xperia XZ2 Premium with their 568 PPI and 760 PPI displays. However, the human eye cannot detect the difference beyond 400 PPI; the higher pixel density is only useful in VR applications where the display is much closer to your eyes.

The XS uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate brightness control, which is common for OLED displays. We measured the PWM frequency at 240 Hz, which is relatively low. Equally, the amplitude curve is so shallow that it should not cause problems for even those who are PWM sensitive.

Apple has equipped the XS with a brighter display than its predecessor and one which is one of the brightest OLED panels we have seen. The XS’ display is brighter than all our OLED-equipped comparison devices and is only second-best to the LG G7 ThinQ, which has an incredibly bright display. Our test device achieves an average maximum brightness of 637 cd/m² as measured by X-Rite i1Pro 2 and has a 94% uniformly bright display. These values are only with the ambient light sensor activated though, without which our test device only achieves 366 cd/m² at the centre of the display. In other words, the display is over 40% darker at maximum brightness with the ambient light sensor turned off than when it is activated. By contrast, the more realistic APL 50 test determines that our test device has a maximum luminosity of 675 cd/m² at the centre of the display. This is considerably less than the 987 cd/m² that the Huawei Mate 10 Pro achieved under identical conditions though. APL 50 determines maximum brightness by measuring luminosity across uniformly distributed light and dark areas.

The XS’ display is also true-tone, which adjusts the luminosity and the color temperature of the display to changing lighting conditions. In practice, this is most noticeable when using the XS in a dark environment as the display will reduce the blue light that is emitted to reduce the strain on your eyes. The XS still supports Night Shift, Apple’s implementation of a night mode, which can further intensify this blue light reduction effect.

Moreover, OLED panels can also individually turn off pixels to create black tones, so the XS’ display effectively has an infinite black level and contrast ratio. The device also supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision too.

620
cd/m²
628
cd/m²
648
cd/m²
626
cd/m²
639
cd/m²
651
cd/m²
629
cd/m²
637
cd/m²
659
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 659 cd/m² Average: 637.4 cd/m² Minimum: 3.03 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 639 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 2.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
98.8% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 1.9
Apple iPhone XS
OLED, 2436x1125, 5.8
Apple iPhone X
Super AMOLED, 2436x1125, 5.8
Samsung Galaxy S9
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 5.8
Huawei P20 Pro
OLED, 2240x1080, 6.1
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
LCD-IPS, 3840x2160, 5.8
OnePlus 6
Optic AMOLED, 2280x1080, 6.28
LG G7 ThinQ
IPS, 3120x1440, 6.1
HTC U12 Plus
Super LCD 6, 2880x1440, 6
Screen
-7%
-21%
-3%
-70%
-53%
-159%
-24%
Brightness middle
639
600
-6%
529
-17%
569
-11%
477
-25%
430
-33%
974
52%
395
-38%
Brightness
637
606
-5%
527
-17%
578
-9%
453
-29%
437
-31%
975
53%
402
-37%
Brightness Distribution
94
94
0%
96
2%
95
1%
86
-9%
87
-7%
96
2%
90
-4%
Black Level *
0.33
0.49
0.37
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1
1.2
-20%
1.4
-40%
1.3
-30%
2.1
-110%
2.3
-130%
5.4
-440%
1.6
-60%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.2
3
-36%
4
-82%
2.1
5%
8.2
-273%
4.6
-109%
13.1
-495%
3.4
-55%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.2
1.6
27%
1.6
27%
1.6
27%
1.6
27%
2.4
-9%
5
-127%
1.1
50%
Gamma
1.9 116%
2.23 99%
2.16 102%
2.31 95%
2.28 96%
2.28 96%
2.31 95%
2.14 103%
CCT
6364 102%
6707 97%
6358 102%
6401 102%
6425 101%
6160 106%
7480 87%
6536 99%
Contrast
1445
1988
1068

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 240.4 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 240.4 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 240.4 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8698 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

We also checked the color accuracy of the XS’ display with a photo spectrometer and CalMAN software analysis. Unfortunately, it became quickly apparent that we faced the same problem with assessing color accuracy as with the iPhone X. While the XS should be able to display the DCI-P3 color space, we cannot even get our test device to show the smaller sRGB color space. We will contact SpectraCal to find out the reason for these issues.

CalMAN and photo spectrometer issues aside, we can still somewhat measure the XS’ color accuracy. Our test device is impressively color accurate, albeit gray levels are relatively poor, and the color temperature is slightly too warm at 6,364 K. We noticed a golden tint to the display during testing, but we could not replicate this in daily use. The continuing reduction in gamma from mid-grays onwards means that light grays and whites are reproduced too brightly as well. In contrast, the XS does a fantastic job at reproducing mixed colors and is so good that only the trained eye would be able to notice the difference between the XS’ color reproduction and the reference color. No other smartphone does so well in this regard.

Additionally, we measured the display in the evening with the True Tone function activated to visualize its effects more clearly.

CalMAN: Grayscale – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Grayscale – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Mixed colors – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Mixed colors – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Color space – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Color space – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Color saturation – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Color saturation – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Grayscale – True Tone enabled; 15-20 lux; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Grayscale – True Tone enabled; 15-20 lux; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Mixed colors – True Tone enabled; 15-20 lux; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Mixed colors – True Tone enabled; 15-20 lux; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: HDR color space – Without True Tone; DCI-P3 target color space
CalMAN: HDR color space – Without True Tone; DCI-P3 target color space
CalMAN: Color spectrum – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space
CalMAN: Color spectrum – Without True Tone; sRGB target color space

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
4.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 2 ms rise
↘ 2.8 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.1 ms).

Typically, the display of the XS is easy to read outdoors, particularly on cloudy days. We did not have a chance to use our test device outside on a sunny day, but if the XS performs anything like the iPhone X does, then you should have no problems with using the device outside on sunny days. Equally, the XS does not have a particularly reflective display, and it also gets brighter than the X’s too.

It is also worth noting that the iPhone X struggled in air temperatures hotter than 30 °C, at which point the display dimmed drastically and meant that we could see practically nothing on the display in direct sunlight. It remains to be seen whether the XS will also do the same thing.

Using the iPhone XS outdoors
Using the iPhone XS outdoors
Using the iPhone XS outdoors
Using the iPhone XS outdoors

The XS has strong viewing angles thanks to its OLED display. We noticed no color distortions and only minor reductions in brightness even at acute angles. Additionally, our test device does exhibit a shimmer at acute angles that are common with OLED displays. However, most OLED displays have a green shimmer to them while the XS’ is somewhat cooler.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Apple A12 Bionic
A12 Bionic
DiskBench
DiskBench

Apple has equipped the iPhone XS and XS Max with its new Apple A12 Bionic SoC, which is the first consumer-level 7 nm processor. The A12 Bionic has 6.9 billion transistors with two power cores and four energy-saving cores. The A12 Bionic should have up to 40% more power efficiency than the A11 Bionic while still being up to 15% faster too. The A12 Bionic’s power cores clock up to 2.5 GHz and are complemented by both 4 GB of LPDDR4x RAM and an Apple-designed GPU. The latter should be up to 50% faster than its predecessor while the dedicated neural processor unit now has eight cores and can manage up to a huge five trillion processes. By contrast, the A11 Bionic could only manage a measly 600 billion processes.

The A12 Bionic performs well in benchmarks and noticeably better than its predecessor. The A12 Bionic is 13% faster than the A11 Bionic in Geekbench, while the physics scores in 3DMark have improved by between 25% and 42%. Equally, the XS leaves the competition in its wake in GFXBench. The XS struggles against its Adreno 630-equipped counterparts in visual benchmarks though like 3DMark Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme. The XS’ GPU is up to 46% slower than the Adreno 630 in these benchmarks.

The XS’ memory is extremely fast and performs on par to that of the 256 GB iPhone X. We expect that the 64 GB iPhone XS variant will have slower transfer speeds than its higher volume siblings. However, this should not be noticeable in daily use as the 64 GB variant still performs above the level of most UFS 2.1 memory.

The XS sits at the top of our comparison table in most browser benchmarks, albeit in WebXPRT 2015 our test device finished 3% and 4% short of the iPhone X and the iPhone 8, respectively.

The default Safari browser feels snappy in everyday use but struggles when rendering complex websites like the Typo3 backend. However, this seems like more of an OS issue than a browser one as both Chrome and Edge equally struggle. By contrast, these two browsers do not struggle to load Typo3 on Android smartphones.

The XS has excellent system performance. We did not notice any stuttering during our testing.

AnTuTu v7
MEM (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
12409 Points ∼71%
Apple iPhone X
11107 Points ∼64% -10%
Samsung Galaxy S9
8294 Points ∼48% -33%
HTC U12 Plus
17441 Points ∼100% +41%
LG G7 ThinQ
9149 Points ∼52% -26%
Huawei P20 Pro
13795 Points ∼79% +11%
OnePlus 6
10660 Points ∼61% -14%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
6736 Points ∼39% -46%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (7312 - 12409, n=2)
9861 Points ∼57% -21%
Average of class Smartphone (2797 - 17441, n=144)
6622 Points ∼38% -47%
UX (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
66469 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
50699 Points ∼76% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S9
55698 Points ∼84% -16%
HTC U12 Plus
54419 Points ∼82% -18%
LG G7 ThinQ
57962 Points ∼87% -13%
Huawei P20 Pro
45397 Points ∼68% -32%
OnePlus 6
57506 Points ∼87% -13%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
50408 Points ∼76% -24%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (59570 - 66469, n=2)
63020 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (6403 - 67386, n=143)
27028 Points ∼41% -59%
GPU (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
148790 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
94618 Points ∼64% -36%
Samsung Galaxy S9
91292 Points ∼61% -39%
HTC U12 Plus
96681 Points ∼65% -35%
LG G7 ThinQ
101265 Points ∼68% -32%
Huawei P20 Pro
77063 Points ∼52% -48%
OnePlus 6
106980 Points ∼72% -28%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
107528 Points ∼72% -28%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (129473 - 148790, n=2)
139132 Points ∼94% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (2724 - 148790, n=144)
32892 Points ∼22% -78%
CPU (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
120510 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
99873 Points ∼83% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S9
88577 Points ∼74% -26%
HTC U12 Plus
87198 Points ∼72% -28%
LG G7 ThinQ
87900 Points ∼73% -27%
Huawei P20 Pro
71704 Points ∼60% -40%
OnePlus 6
91540 Points ∼76% -24%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
81694 Points ∼68% -32%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (106600 - 120510, n=2)
113555 Points ∼94% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (7548 - 120510, n=144)
43822 Points ∼36% -64%
Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
348178 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
256297 Points ∼74% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S9
243861 Points ∼70% -30%
HTC U12 Plus
255739 Points ∼73% -27%
LG G7 ThinQ
256276 Points ∼74% -26%
Huawei P20 Pro
207959 Points ∼60% -40%
OnePlus 6
266686 Points ∼77% -23%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
246366 Points ∼71% -29%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (302955 - 348178, n=2)
325567 Points ∼94% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=144)
110567 Points ∼32% -68%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
1711 Points ∼99%
Apple iPhone X
1682 Points ∼98% -2%
Samsung Galaxy S9
1099 Points ∼64% -36%
HTC U12 Plus
1437 Points ∼83% -16%
LG G7 ThinQ
1374 Points ∼80% -20%
Huawei P20 Pro
1273 Points ∼74% -26%
OnePlus 6
1386 Points ∼81% -19%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
1400 Points ∼81% -18%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (1711 - 1731, n=2)
1721 Points ∼100% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=471)
680 Points ∼40% -60%
Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
15875 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
9248 Points ∼58% -42%
Samsung Galaxy S9
6373 Points ∼40% -60%
HTC U12 Plus
7945 Points ∼50% -50%
LG G7 ThinQ
7906 Points ∼50% -50%
Huawei P20 Pro
3725 Points ∼23% -77%
OnePlus 6
7949 Points ∼50% -50%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
7743 Points ∼49% -51%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (15659 - 15875, n=2)
15767 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15875, n=471)
1622 Points ∼10% -90%
Memory (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
4169 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
1219 Points ∼29% -71%
Samsung Galaxy S9
2669 Points ∼64% -36%
HTC U12 Plus
3641 Points ∼87% -13%
LG G7 ThinQ
3744 Points ∼90% -10%
Huawei P20 Pro
4050 Points ∼97% -3%
OnePlus 6
3799 Points ∼91% -9%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3704 Points ∼89% -11%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (1815 - 4169, n=2)
2992 Points ∼72% -28%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 4798, n=471)
1171 Points ∼28% -72%
System (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
12202 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
10281 Points ∼84% -16%
Samsung Galaxy S9
6234 Points ∼51% -49%
HTC U12 Plus
7862 Points ∼64% -36%
LG G7 ThinQ
8070 Points ∼66% -34%
Huawei P20 Pro
5965 Points ∼49% -51%
OnePlus 6
8228 Points ∼67% -33%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8418 Points ∼69% -31%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (11675 - 12202, n=2)
11939 Points ∼98% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=471)
2367 Points ∼19% -81%
Overall (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
6097 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
3737 Points ∼61% -39%
Samsung Galaxy S9
3285 Points ∼54% -46%
HTC U12 Plus
4252 Points ∼70% -30%
LG G7 ThinQ
4257 Points ∼70% -30%
Huawei P20 Pro
3271 Points ∼54% -46%
OnePlus 6
4308 Points ∼71% -29%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
4288 Points ∼70% -30%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (4895 - 6097, n=2)
5496 Points ∼90% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=475)
1185 Points ∼19% -81%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
11598 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
10255 Points ∼88% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S9
8786 Points ∼76% -24%
HTC U12 Plus
8812 Points ∼76% -24%
LG G7 ThinQ
9029 Points ∼78% -22%
Huawei P20 Pro
6756 Points ∼58% -42%
Apple iPhone 8
10380 Points ∼89% -11%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8522 Points ∼73% -27%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (11244 - 11598, n=2)
11421 Points ∼98% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (1099 - 11598, n=219)
4145 Points ∼36% -64%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
4824 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
4265 Points ∼88% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S9
3688 Points ∼76% -24%
HTC U12 Plus
2429 Points ∼50% -50%
LG G7 ThinQ
2448 Points ∼51% -49%
Huawei P20 Pro
1922 Points ∼40% -60%
Apple iPhone 8
4162 Points ∼86% -14%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
2457 Points ∼51% -49%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (4774 - 4824, n=2)
4799 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=220)
1224 Points ∼25% -75%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
2960 Points ∼82%
Apple iPhone X
2361 Points ∼65% -20%
Samsung Galaxy S9
2486 Points ∼69% -16%
HTC U12 Plus
3197 Points ∼88% +8%
LG G7 ThinQ
3255 Points ∼90% +10%
Huawei P20 Pro
2926 Points ∼81% -1%
OnePlus 6
3432 Points ∼95% +16%
Apple iPhone 8
1989 Points ∼55% -33%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3620 Points ∼100% +22%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (2960 - 3027, n=2)
2994 Points ∼83% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (549 - 3669, n=323)
1575 Points ∼44% -47%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
3712 Points ∼71%
Apple iPhone X
3463 Points ∼66% -7%
Samsung Galaxy S9
3553 Points ∼68% -4%
HTC U12 Plus
3488 Points ∼67% -6%
LG G7 ThinQ
5006 Points ∼96% +35%
Huawei P20 Pro
3017 Points ∼58% -19%
OnePlus 6
5212 Points ∼100% +40%
Apple iPhone 8
2581 Points ∼50% -30%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
5190 Points ∼100% +40%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (3712 - 3726, n=2)
3719 Points ∼71% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (69 - 5220, n=323)
1102 Points ∼21% -70%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
3514 Points ∼74%
Apple iPhone X
3138 Points ∼66% -11%
Samsung Galaxy S9
3244 Points ∼69% -8%
HTC U12 Plus
3419 Points ∼72% -3%
LG G7 ThinQ
4471 Points ∼94% +27%
Huawei P20 Pro
2996 Points ∼63% -15%
OnePlus 6
4673 Points ∼99% +33%
Apple iPhone 8
2421 Points ∼51% -31%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
4734 Points ∼100% +35%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (3514 - 3544, n=2)
3529 Points ∼75% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (86 - 4734, n=331)
1055 Points ∼22% -70%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
Points ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S9
2600 Points ∼75%
HTC U12 Plus
2774 Points ∼80%
LG G7 ThinQ
3150 Points ∼91%
Huawei P20 Pro
2885 Points ∼84%
OnePlus 6
3452 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone 8
1774 Points ∼51%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
2541 Points ∼74%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (2713 - 2713, n=2)
1357 Points ∼39%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 3642, n=354)
1472 Points ∼43%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
Points ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S9
4569 Points ∼55%
HTC U12 Plus
5637 Points ∼68%
LG G7 ThinQ
7633 Points ∼92%
Huawei P20 Pro
3335 Points ∼40%
OnePlus 6
8252 Points ∼100%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
8219 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (7055 - 7055, n=2)
3528 Points ∼43%
Average of class Smartphone (104 - 8312, n=354)
1498 Points ∼18%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
Points ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S9
3911 Points ∼62%
HTC U12 Plus
4585 Points ∼73%
LG G7 ThinQ
5799 Points ∼92%
Huawei P20 Pro
3223 Points ∼51%
OnePlus 6
6304 Points ∼100%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
5492 Points ∼87%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (5205 - 5205, n=2)
2603 Points ∼41%
Average of class Smartphone (127 - 6378, n=362)
1281 Points ∼20%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
27400 Points ∼75%
Apple iPhone X
25633 Points ∼70% -6%
Samsung Galaxy S9
26851 Points ∼73% -2%
HTC U12 Plus
33810 Points ∼92% +23%
LG G7 ThinQ
27817 Points ∼76% +2%
Huawei P20 Pro
22441 Points ∼61% -18%
OnePlus 6
34191 Points ∼93% +25%
Apple iPhone 8
24131 Points ∼66% -12%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
36762 Points ∼100% +34%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (27400 - 27717, n=2)
27559 Points ∼75% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (7095 - 36762, n=509)
12424 Points ∼34% -55%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
160199 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
112489 Points ∼70% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S9
48433 Points ∼30% -70%
HTC U12 Plus
81726 Points ∼51% -49%
LG G7 ThinQ
80534 Points ∼50% -50%
Huawei P20 Pro
33472 Points ∼21% -79%
OnePlus 6
81269 Points ∼51% -49%
Apple iPhone 8
112424 Points ∼70% -30%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
81502 Points ∼51% -49%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (159735 - 160199, n=2)
159967 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 160199, n=509)
16693 Points ∼10% -90%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
77128 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
64169 Points ∼83% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S9
41093 Points ∼53% -47%
HTC U12 Plus
62152 Points ∼80% -19%
LG G7 ThinQ
56669 Points ∼73% -27%
Huawei P20 Pro
30176 Points ∼39% -61%
OnePlus 6
62241 Points ∼80% -19%
Apple iPhone 8
62006 Points ∼80% -20%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
64152 Points ∼83% -17%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (77128 - 77599, n=2)
77364 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=510)
14167 Points ∼18% -82%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
251 fps ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
177.4 fps ∼71% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S9
144 fps ∼57% -43%
HTC U12 Plus
98 fps ∼39% -61%
LG G7 ThinQ
144 fps ∼57% -43%
Huawei P20 Pro
121 fps ∼48% -52%
OnePlus 6
150 fps ∼60% -40%
Apple iPhone 8
161.3 fps ∼64% -36%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
150 fps ∼60% -40%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (226 - 251, n=2)
239 fps ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=536)
29.3 fps ∼12% -88%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
60 fps ∼50%
Apple iPhone X
59.4 fps ∼50% -1%
Samsung Galaxy S9
60 fps ∼50% 0%
HTC U12 Plus
59 fps ∼49% -2%
LG G7 ThinQ
60 fps ∼50% 0%
Huawei P20 Pro
60 fps ∼50% 0%
OnePlus 6
60 fps ∼50% 0%
Apple iPhone 8
119.8 fps ∼100% +100%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
60 fps ∼50% 0%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (60 - 60, n=2)
60 fps ∼50% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=539)
24.2 fps ∼20% -60%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
115 fps ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
88.2 fps ∼77% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S9
73 fps ∼63% -37%
HTC U12 Plus
72 fps ∼63% -37%
LG G7 ThinQ
63 fps ∼55% -45%
Huawei P20 Pro
61 fps ∼53% -47%
OnePlus 6
66 fps ∼57% -43%
Apple iPhone 8
70.8 fps ∼62% -38%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
71 fps ∼62% -38%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (107 - 115, n=2)
111 fps ∼97% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 115, n=458)
15.6 fps ∼14% -86%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
60 fps ∼52%
Apple iPhone X
58.5 fps ∼51% -2%
Samsung Galaxy S9
45 fps ∼39% -25%
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼31% -42%
LG G7 ThinQ
41 fps ∼36% -32%
Huawei P20 Pro
54 fps ∼47% -10%
OnePlus 6
58 fps ∼51% -3%
Apple iPhone 8
114.5 fps ∼100% +91%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
58 fps ∼51% -3%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (59 - 60, n=2)
59.5 fps ∼52% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=461)
15.2 fps ∼13% -75%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
62 fps ∼94%
Apple iPhone X
48.9 fps ∼74% -21%
Samsung Galaxy S9
46 fps ∼70% -26%
HTC U12 Plus
39 fps ∼59% -37%
LG G7 ThinQ
51 fps ∼78% -18%
Huawei P20 Pro
39 fps ∼59% -37%
OnePlus 6
56 fps ∼85% -10%
Apple iPhone 8
54 fps ∼82% -13%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
58 fps ∼88% -6%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (62 - 69.3, n=2)
65.7 fps ∼100% +6%
Average of class Smartphone (1.3 - 69.3, n=323)
13.3 fps ∼20% -79%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
48 fps ∼44%
Apple iPhone X
44.1 fps ∼40% -8%
Samsung Galaxy S9
24 fps ∼22% -50%
HTC U12 Plus
31 fps ∼28% -35%
LG G7 ThinQ
26 fps ∼24% -46%
Huawei P20 Pro
36 fps ∼33% -25%
OnePlus 6
54 fps ∼49% +13%
Apple iPhone 8
109.7 fps ∼100% +129%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
56 fps ∼51% +17%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (48 - 58.9, n=2)
53.5 fps ∼49% +11%
Average of class Smartphone (2.6 - 110, n=325)
13.2 fps ∼12% -72%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
38 fps ∼97%
Apple iPhone X
31.8 fps ∼82% -16%
Samsung Galaxy S9
28 fps ∼72% -26%
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼90% -8%
LG G7 ThinQ
33 fps ∼85% -13%
Huawei P20 Pro
23 fps ∼59% -39%
OnePlus 6
35 fps ∼90% -8%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
35 fps ∼90% -8%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (38 - 40, n=2)
39 fps ∼100% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (0.72 - 40, n=253)
9.21 fps ∼24% -76%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
31 fps ∼84%
Apple iPhone X
27.7 fps ∼75% -11%
Samsung Galaxy S9
14 fps ∼38% -55%
HTC U12 Plus
20 fps ∼54% -35%
LG G7 ThinQ
17 fps ∼46% -45%
Huawei P20 Pro
22 fps ∼59% -29%
OnePlus 6
32 fps ∼86% +3%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
37 fps ∼100% +19%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (31 - 31, n=2)
31 fps ∼84% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (1.1 - 50, n=256)
8.36 fps ∼23% -73%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
2606 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
1702 Points ∼65% -35%
Samsung Galaxy S9
1436 Points ∼55% -45%
LG G7 ThinQ
1176 Points ∼45% -55%
Huawei P20 Pro
887 Points ∼34% -66%
OnePlus 6
1169 Points ∼45% -55%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (2407 - 2606, n=2)
2507 Points ∼96% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (36.3 - 2606, n=69)
666 Points ∼26% -74%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
272.3 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
224 Points ∼82% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S9
67.721 Points ∼25% -75%
HTC U12 Plus
87.036 Points ∼32% -68%
LG G7 ThinQ
88.081 Points ∼32% -68%
Huawei P20 Pro
58.255 Points ∼21% -79%
OnePlus 6
87.695 Points ∼32% -68%
Apple iPhone 8
206.7 Points ∼76% -24%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
71.172 Points ∼26% -74%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (272 - 273, n=2)
273 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=392)
35.1 Points ∼13% -87%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
609.1 ms * ∼5%
Apple iPhone X
718 ms * ∼6% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S9
2077.8 ms * ∼18% -241%
HTC U12 Plus
2409.6 ms * ∼21% -296%
LG G7 ThinQ
2484.1 ms * ∼21% -308%
Huawei P20 Pro
3852.2 ms * ∼33% -532%
OnePlus 6
2445 ms * ∼21% -301%
Apple iPhone 8
730.8 ms * ∼6% -20%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3179 ms * ∼27% -422%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (603 - 609, n=2)
606 ms * ∼5% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=547)
11743 ms * ∼100% -1828%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
43280 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
35255 Points ∼81% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S9
15233 Points ∼35% -65%
HTC U12 Plus
16285 Points ∼38% -62%
LG G7 ThinQ
16720 Points ∼39% -61%
Huawei P20 Pro
11584 Points ∼27% -73%
OnePlus 6
17026 Points ∼39% -61%
Apple iPhone 8
34163 Points ∼79% -21%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
13360 Points ∼31% -69%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (43114 - 43280, n=2)
43197 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=528)
5255 Points ∼12% -88%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
345 Points ∼96%
Apple iPhone X
354 Points ∼99% +3%
Samsung Galaxy S9
163 Points ∼45% -53%
HTC U12 Plus
257 Points ∼72% -26%
LG G7 ThinQ
252 Points ∼70% -27%
Huawei P20 Pro
182 Points ∼51% -47%
OnePlus 6
252 Points ∼70% -27%
Apple iPhone 8
359 Points ∼100% +4%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
211 Points ∼59% -39%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (345 - 347, n=2)
346 Points ∼96% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (27 - 362, n=263)
105 Points ∼29% -70%
WebXPRT 3 - --- (sort by value)
Apple iPhone XS
159 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone X
130 Points ∼82% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S9
63 Points ∼40% -60%
HTC U12 Plus
101 Points ∼64% -36%
LG G7 ThinQ
97 Points ∼61% -39%
Huawei P20 Pro
69 Points ∼43% -57%
OnePlus 6
98 Points ∼62% -38%
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
75 Points ∼47% -53%
Average Apple A12 Bionic (155 - 159, n=2)
157 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (37 - 159, n=43)
58.7 Points ∼37% -63%

Legend

 
Apple iPhone XS Apple A12 Bionic, Apple A12 Bionic GPU, Apple 512 GB (iPhone Xs)
 
Apple iPhone X Apple A11 Bionic, Apple A11 Bionic GPU, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Exynos 9810, ARM Mali-G72 MP18, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
HTC U12 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
LG G7 ThinQ Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei P20 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
OnePlus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Apple iPhone 8 Apple A11 Bionic, Apple A11 Bionic GPU, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
 
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash

* ... smaller is better

Games

The A12 Bionic coped with any game that we threw at our test device. There are minor flaws though, particularly that GameBench currently will not work on the XS, but the developers are planning on rectifying this in the next few days. We will update our benchmark tables when they have done so. The main issue we have with the XS and playing games is the notch. Most games run as if the screen has no notch, so parts of games are obscured by the notch. This is particularly frustrating when menus are obscured by the notch. Additionally, PUBG Mobile has a few graphical artefacts when playing the game in full details.

Games run smoothly in general though and the improved speakers heighten the gaming experience. The sensors and touchscreen worked without issue throughout our testing.

Asphalt 9 Legends
Asphalt 9 Legends
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
PUBG Mobile
PUBG Mobile

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench battery test: T-Rex
GFXBench battery test: T-Rex
GFXBench battery test: Manhattan
GFXBench battery test: Manhattan

The XS is a relatively cool device at idle with surface temperatures remaining below 30 °C. Our test device reaches a maximum of 39.9 °C on the front of the device and 43.4 °C next to the rear camera housing under sustained load, which we simulated by running the Relative Benchmark. Above 40 °C surface temperatures will feel warm to the touch, but they are not dangerous to either the user or to the device.

We also tested the behavior of the SoC under sustained load with the GFXBench battery test, which uses the Metal API on iOS. Our test device consistently performed well during the 30 rounds of the older T-Rex benchmark that we subjected it to, but it is a different story in the more-demanding Manhattan benchmark. During the latter, we noticed performance drops of 10% after three rounds of the benchmark. Performance leveled out until the 11th round where it then dropped again and continued to do so until the final round. By the end of the benchmark performance had dropped by around 24% compared to our test device’s initial score.

Max. Load
 39.8 °C
104 F
39.9 °C
104 F
36.5 °C
98 F
 
 37 °C
99 F
36.5 °C
98 F
34.9 °C
95 F
 
 33.1 °C
92 F
35.1 °C
95 F
33.3 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 39.9 °C = 104 F
Average: 36.2 °C = 97 F
35.6 °C
96 F
43 °C
109 F
43.4 °C
110 F
34.1 °C
93 F
38.1 °C
101 F
39.6 °C
103 F
33.2 °C
92 F
36 °C
97 F
36 °C
97 F
Maximum: 43.4 °C = 110 F
Average: 37.7 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  33.7 °C = 93 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-260
Heat-map of the front of the device under sustained load
Heat-map of the front of the device under sustained load
Heat-map of the rear of the device under sustained load
Heat-map of the rear of the device under sustained load

Speakers

Pink Noise Curve
Pink Noise Curve

The XS has dual speakers just like its predecessor. The more powerful speaker is located on the underside of the device next to the Lightning port while the secondary speaker is integrated behind the earpiece grille. Subjectively, Apple has improved the sound quality, and audio sounds more spacious, but this is only noticeable when playing the XS next to an iPhone X. Our pink noise curve confirms this and demonstrates that the XS’ speaker reproduces both mid and high tones linearly. However, the two tonal ranges sound far apart from each other so audio sounds somewhat tinny at maximum volume. We would recommend setting the speakers to medium volume for the best audio experience.

Alternatively, you could use Bluetooth 5.0 for audio playback over wireless headphones or speakers. Bluetooth audio worked well during our tests, and we did not experience any interference even when the device and our headphones were separated from each other.

You could also use a wired connection for audio playback. The included Lightning headphones will be enough for most users, but they will not sound good enough for audiophiles. Apple has removed the Lightning to 3.5 mm jack adapter from the XS’ accessories, but you can buy it as an optional accessory. Higher quality headphones will have more detailed sound and a lower noise profile than the included headphones though.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203030.12530.123.53129.328.44026.9265032.826.66324.824.58020.723.210019.535.712518.644.216021.451.72002552.625017.454.531516.255.440018.458.250015.461.763013.56580013.764.2100013.768.4125014.673.4160014.975.9200014.476.4250014.777.1315014.677.4400014.878.3500014.776.9630014.676.580001575.61000014.966.91250015.159.61600014.951.8SPL27.287.3N0.967.5median 14.9median 65Delta1.411.628.62724.92424.624.526.42530.830.823.625.820.222.919.927.817.638.619.150.619.150.317.454.116.959.516.862.215.165.916.56915.670.71573.315.572.115.372.415.773.515.574.515.575.815.476.215.874.61678.215.873.216.169.916.165.517.359.327.986166.7median 16median 69.90.68.33033.936.137.63228.229.429.431.541.127.928.722.123.1222421.223.521.528.120.337.718.442.617.351.516.757.81763.116.163.615.869.115.872.715.37015.870.214.9731571.514.770.914.772.51571.315.1761572.815.472.91561.716.34827.683.6157.3median 15.8median 69.11.912.5hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseApple iPhone XSSamsung Galaxy S9Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Apple iPhone XS audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 16% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.6% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.5% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 11% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 42% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 50% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Samsung Galaxy S9 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (86 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 23.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 95% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 24% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 68% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 34.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.5% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 37% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 50% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 64% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 28% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

Power Consumption

Apple has improved the power consumption of the XS when compared to the iPhone X. Power consumption remains relatively high at idle with the display set to minimum luminosity. Power consumption levels stayed broadly the same when we set the device to maximum brightness, but the display only got truly bright when we shone a light on the device, which caused the ambient light sensor to ramp up the display brightness. When we did this power consumption increased to 1.94 W, which is still relatively economical given that we were running the device at maximum brightness.

We determined the average power consumption under sustained load by running Asphalt 9. Our test device averaged 4 W during this test, which is 26% higher than what the iPhone X achieved. However, this is on par with our other comparison devices except for the Huawei P20 Pro.

Please note: The P20 Pro appeared to power throttle significantly during our power consumption tests, so our results are not an accurate reflection of how much the device will consume in daily use.

We used the Relative Benchmark to determine the XS’ maximum power draw. Our test device consumed up to a maximum of 6.54 W during this test, which is higher than the capacity of the 5 W power supply that Apple includes in the box. This means that the included charger cannot recharge the device when it is operating under a sustained load. We suspect that the XS may consume more power in daily life but that our method of measuring power consumption from the 5 W power supply fails to adequately measure how much the XS could consume under sustained load.

The XS supports fast charging and Qi wireless charging, for which you must buy additional chargers. A quick charger could recharge the XS up to 50% in 30 minutes while the included charger takes about 15 minutes longer. Our test device takes 2 h 15 m to recharge fully with the included charger.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.12 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.95 / 1.34 / 1.48 Watt
Load midlight 4 / 5.13 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Apple iPhone XS
2658 mAh
Apple iPhone X
2716 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9
3000 mAh
Huawei P20 Pro
4000 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3540 mAh
OnePlus 6
3300 mAh
Average Apple A12 Bionic
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
-33%
18%
16%
-34%
-4%
-7%
-14%
Idle Minimum *
0.95
1.03
-8%
0.65
32%
0.84
12%
0.67
29%
0.6
37%
0.975 (0.95 - 1, n=2)
-3%
0.884 (0.2 - 3.4, n=612)
7%
Idle Average *
1.34
2.4
-79%
0.81
40%
1.54
-15%
2.5
-87%
1
25%
1.37 (1.34 - 1.4, n=2)
-2%
1.725 (0.6 - 6.2, n=611)
-29%
Idle Maximum *
1.48
2.6
-76%
0.92
38%
1.57
-6%
2.51
-70%
1.6
-8%
1.59 (1.48 - 1.7, n=2)
-7%
1.997 (0.74 - 6.6, n=612)
-35%
Load Average *
4
2.96
26%
4.76
-19%
2.47
38%
4.3
-8%
4.3
-8%
4.3 (4 - 4.6, n=2)
-8%
4.03 (0.8 - 10.8, n=606)
-1%
Load Maximum *
5.13
6.6
-29%
5.16
-1%
2.49
51%
6.87
-34%
8.6
-68%
5.92 (5.13 - 6.7, n=2)
-15%
5.7 (1.2 - 14.2, n=606)
-11%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The XS has a 2,658 mAh battery, which is 58 mAh smaller than the iPhone X’s battery. However, this reduction in battery capacity coincides with increased power efficiency.

Hence, the XS outlasts its predecessor by an average of 13%. The XS has better battery life than the Galaxy S9 and the Xperia XZ2 Premium too, both of which have larger batteries. However, the XS is 10% short of the XS Max with its 3,174 mAh battery and 16% less than the OnePlus 6, which has a 3,300 mAh battery. This is no surprise though as the XS has a smaller battery than all our comparison devices.

The most comparable battery life tests are those where we set display luminosity to 150 cd/m² on all devices. We do this for our Wi-Fi and H.264 video-playback battery life tests. The XS sits in the middle of the pack in the former but finishes in third place in our H.264 video battery life test behind the P20 Pro and the OnePlus 6.

We turn all energy-saving modes off during our battery life tests, particularly those that the system offers when battery life drops below 20%. In daily use, we managed a day’s use out of the XS, but we would recommend having a charger on-hand if you plan to do any computationally intensive work during the day like playing games or taking lots of photos.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
24h 02min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Safari Mobile 12.0)
9h 30min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 05min
Apple iPhone XS
2658 mAh
Apple iPhone X
2716 mAh
Apple iPhone Xs Max
3174 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9
3000 mAh
Huawei P20 Pro
4000 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
3540 mAh
OnePlus 6
3300 mAh
Battery Runtime
-13%
5%
-22%
24%
-11%
16%
Reader / Idle
1442
1292
-10%
1305
-10%
1182
-18%
1727
20%
1347
-7%
1806
25%
H.264
745
634
-15%
801
8%
609
-18%
784
5%
520
-30%
791
6%
WiFi v1.3
570
564
-1%
742
30%
474
-17%
744
31%
547
-4%
762
34%
Load
245
180
-27%
223
-9%
164
-33%
345
41%
235
-4%
246
0%

Pros

+ bright and color-true OLED display
+ broad mobile network frequency coverage
+ impressive main camera
+ excellent craftsmanship
+ eSIM support (per update)
+ dust and liquid-resistant

Cons

- non-expandable memory
- no headphone jack
- restricted NFC
- only 12 months warranty
- mediocre telephoto lens

Verdict

The Apple iPhone XS in review
The Apple iPhone XS in review

The Apple iPhone XS is an exercise in fine-tuning. The device has not only a faster and more economical SoC than its predecessor, but it also has a more dynamic camera, larger storage options, an improved IP rating and OS improvements associated with the jump to iOS 12. Above all, the screen time function may prove useful to parents looking to restrict their children’s time spent playing games. The design of the device remains the same, but we have come to expect that with “S” devices. The only aesthetic change is that Apple also sells the XS in a new gold color, which we particularly like.

The Apple iPhone XS offers plenty of great technology for the price of a small MacBook Pro or an iMac.

The XS has some drawbacks but no real flaws. The battery life is okay, albeit better than the iPhone X. The new iPhone XS series has also buried Touch ID, and all new iPhones only rely on Face ID for biometric security. Additionally, while Apple has improved camera performance in low light, the telephoto lens is noticeably inferior to the main camera sensor. We would have liked Apple to have used a better telephoto sensor as we also criticized the iPhone X for the same reason.

Our biggest criticism of the iPhone XS is its price. The 64 GB model starts at 1,149 Euros (~$1,347) with the 512 GB version costing a ridiculous 1,549 Euros (~$1,817). You will have to dig deep to buy the latest iPhone outright, and the XS does not bring enough new features to the table to justify upgrading from the iPhone X. Ultimately, the last word on the matter is your wallet’s.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple iPhone XS Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2018-09-22 (Update: 2018-09-28)