The Apple iPhone XS Max is an S year iPhone, which means it’s an upgrade on a model that is already there and you should not expect much.
The Apple iPhone XS Max is an S year iPhone, which means it’s an upgrade on a model that is already there and you should not expect much. That has been the tradition with iPhones. But the iPhone XS series parts from that logic as Apple has chosen to launch a processor that moves from 10 to 7 nanometer architecture this year. That alone means this phone has a processor that packs in many more transistors and is capable of doing stuff its predecessors could not. So the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is more about the stuff you can’t see than those you can. And there is a lot here you can’t see, or should not really bother to understand.
First let’s look at the stuff you can see. The iPhone XS Max is technically the largest display Apple has ever offered. I will not call it the largest phone Apple has sold, because it is clearly the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus. So for users like me the iPhone XS Max, despite being a new form factor, offers a lot that is familiar—for instance the grip I am used to from the Plus devices which I preferred for the extra real estate they used to pack.
The iPhone XS Max is also about this extra real estate. This phone is for those who like to consume more, be it reading on the Super Retina display or just binging on videos with the HDR enabled screen. In fact, for those who love to watch video or hear music without a earphone, this phone has the best speakers, that too stereo, Apple has ever packed in a phone. At just above 200g this phone offers me the weight that comes as an assurance that this is a device that will be with you whatever you do.
If there is something excess in the XS Max, other than the 6.5-inch display, it has to be the extra power behind the hood. The A12 Bionic processor is made to offer the power needed for the era of machine learning and augmented reality. It is endowed with the cores and GPU needed for the smartphone to have a mind of its own, offer answers before questions are asked and bring in computation where none was possible before. The A12 Bionic, Apple claims, can offer nine times more power for Machine Learning processes, at a tenth of the power needed last year.
This also means Apple can start talking about computational photography where the processor and neural engine can take the already good photos to an altogether new level. This is the first phone that can click a photo with details in the back and foreground. Though I am a bit afraid a sillouhette might be hard to click now, the Smart HDR is more the result of high-end computing than great optics. This is the kind of stuff that gives goosebumps to cellphone photographers like me.
So who should buy a phone like this? Well, it is a great upgrade for Apple users who have been on the Plus size models since the iPhone 6. I will recommend this for those already on the iPhone X. If you look at the Apple iPhone XS Max as a powerful computing device that you are going to carry for 12 hours a day, then the price may just be justified. The best phone has to come at a price, and in India that is Rs 1,09,900. But if you can afford it, the chances are you will not regret it one bit.
Estimated street price: Rs 1,09,900