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iPhone XS vs XS Max vs XR: all the differences


Apple has hit us with three new iPhone models: the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR, and by now, you probably already know that the XS is the successor to last year's iPhone X, the XS Max is the larger version, while the XR looks similar but makes some compromises and it's more affordable, but which one should you choose and what are all the differences?

We look at all the big and obvious differences, but we also highlights little details that are different, so that you get a complete picture of how all three new iPhones differ between each other.

And to make it all easier to see, we have put it in the table right below:

*Apple does not provide official RAM numbers. RAM numbers provided here are estimates from benchmark apps.

One thing that we could not fit in this table is that the iPhone XR also has slightly, but noticeably bigger bezels around the screen. The reason for these bezels is that the XR uses an LCD screen and Apple just cannot bend and fold this screen as much as the OLED screen on the XS, so you end up with bigger bezels.

We double checked to see that Apple indeed uses the same main camera in all three iPhones, and this is indeed the case. Also, for the first time, a single-camera iPhone can now take Portrait shots. The XR uses software to recognize the subject and put it in sharp focus, while blurring the background.

We were also pleasantly surprised to see that the iPhone XR has the longest lasting battery of any iPhone so far, even beating the XS Max. Apple says that the XR lasts an hour more than the XS Max in video, and compared to previous iPhones, it lasts half an hour longer than the iPhone 8 Plus, the previous champ, while the XS Max lasts an hour and a half on top of the iPhone X.

One minor thing you might have skipped is that the XR is a hair thicker at 0.33 inches, compared to the 0.3-inch iPhone XS, and it weigh quite a lot for an aluminum phone at 6.84 ounces. We have a detailed size comparison that puts the physical size of all three new iPhones against their Android rivals here.

Final Words

The more we look at the differences, the more we see the similarities

Overall, the more we look at the differences, the more we realize that this new crop of iPhones are actually very, very similar, all sharing the world's first 7nm chip, the Apple A12 Bionic, all have similar welcome improvements in the camera, including portrait mode and depth control, all have improved battery life and actually the XR has some new colors that you won't find on the XS.

The only thing keeping you from buying an iPhone XR right now is that Apple is running a bit late with manufacturing and pre-orders for the $750 new iPhone start on October 19th, while pre-orders for the XS series are already live.

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Apple iPhone XR specs
  • Display 6.1 inches 1792 x 828 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A12 Bionic 3GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2942 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x
Apple iPhone XS specs
  • Display 5.8 inches 2436 x 1125 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A12 Bionic 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2659 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x
Apple iPhone XS Max specs
  • Display 6.5 inches 2688 x 1242 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A12 Bionic 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3179 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x

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