Reviews

Apple iPhone XS Max

The iPhone XS Max changes the formula for Apple. For the last few years, when there’s been a ‘plus’-sized iPhone, the bigger one has been definitively better. The screen size is a matter of personal preference, but they’ve also had significantly longer battery life than the smaller iPhones, and dual cameras instead of single-lens affairs.

Maybe that’s why this 6.5-inch model is called the iPhone XS Max instead of ‘plus’ – because while it’s bigger than the 5.8-inch iPhone XS, they’re otherwise practically identical.

Compared to last year’s iPhone X, they’ve been subtly re-engineered pretty much from top to bottom, but does that kind of refinement keep it at the head of our best smartphones list?

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APPLE IPHONE XS MAX REVIEW: PRICE, MODELS AND AVAILABILITY

The iPhone X made headlines by hitting the £999 ($999) price mark, and the iPhone XS Max cruises right past that into four figures.

It starts at £1,099 for a model with 64GB, you can leap to 256GB for £1,249, or get the 512GB top-of-the-line model for £1,449. Remember, iPhones don’t have microSD card slots, so you’re stuck with whatever amount of storage you start with.

The iPhone XS Max comes in three colours: silver, space grey, and the new gold finish. The gold is the standout this year – it’s a dark, warm colour that’s somewhere between bronze and pure gold.

The iPhone XS Max (or its smaller sibling) are available to buy from the Apple Store online, or through Carphone Warehouse, Three, Vodafone, O2 and EE.

APPLE IPHONE XS MAX SCREEN & SPEAKERS

Given that the only major difference between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max is the screen, we might as well start there.

Watching movies on the screen is especially impressive: all of Apple’s OLED phones support Dolby Vision, which is the most advanced kind of HDR, and is supported by Netflix and iTunes movies, so there’s plenty of content.

Firing up a blockbuster that makes the most of the dynamic range on offer here puts most TVs to shame – the depth of the blacks and richness of the colours is gripping.

As an added bonus, the stereo speakers actually give you true left and right separation if you’re using them – you can hear things move in space as they travel across the screen. Good headphones will always be better, but the speakers are so clear, loud and well-balanced, that this really doesn’t seem like a bad way to watch something.

They’re among the most impressive I’ve heard, though the Razer Phone’s amazing Atmos speakers still have Apple beat, since they somehow also added in height, despite coming from a phone you’re holding just in front of you.

Obviously, the bigger screen of the XS Max makes this experience that much more spectacular than the regular XS (which is the exact same size and resolution as the X before it). But otherwise, the difference between using the bigger version of the phone and the smaller isn’t that pronounced – even less than I’d assumed, to be honest.

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