Apple shook things up last year with the introduction of the iPhone X, a phone that ushered the company into a new era of smartphone design. It was pegged as the ultra-premium offering in Apple’s lineup, a cut above the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and introduced a ton of new features to the series that we hadn’t seen before – like Face ID, Animoji, and yes, the controversial notch.
Its successor, the iPhone XS, is naturally superior in almost every imaginable way. Then again, its launch begs the question of whether or not it’s worth an upgrade going from the iPhone X to the XS – or in the case of those torn between the two, which one is the better investment.
These are the type of questions we intend on answering in this comparison, so if you’re curious as well, please do read on!
Not surprisingly, the iPhone XS features a recycled design. This shouldn’t come as a shock, especially with how Apple has traditionally reused the previous generation’s design with its S-line of iPhones – so that’s what we see here! As the iPhone X, the XS flaunts a premium design comprised of stainless-steel frames sandwiched together by smooth glass surfaces. While their dimensions are identical, the iPhone XS tips the scale at a slightly heavier 177 grams, versus the iPhone X’s weight of 174 grams. Frankly, it’s negligible and hardly noticeable holding the two in our hands.
If there’s one major difference with the designs, it’s that the iPhone XS provides better water and dust resistant IP68 rating – whereas the iPhone X features an IP67 rating. The difference in this is basically that the iPhone XS is tested to survive under 2 meters of water for 30 minutes, versus the iPhone X which is tested at a depth of 1 meter. Another key differentiating factor is that the iPhone XS is available in a third color – gold – while the iPhone X comes only in silver or space gray. Beyond that, the designs of the two phones are practically are identical.
The iPhone X introduced Face ID last year, which offers one of the most accurate and detailed facial recognition technologies on a phone. Naturally, Apple has revised it for the iPhone XS to make the recognition process faster. In reality, though, we don’t see a significant change in that, as the iPhone X recognizes and unlocks in just about the same time as the XS. The newer TrueDepth camera in the iPhone XS still isn’t perfect, as a variety of factors can hinder it. For example, we still sometimes find it having difficulties under bright sunny days or when we’re wearing sunglasses.
On paper, both phones feature 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED Displays with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 pixels. Therefore, details are going to be identical no matter how you look at their respective displays. Moreover, if you visit Apple’s comparison page for its iPhones, you’ll notice that the X and XS are pretty much are spec’d identically. In our benchmark testing, however, we’re able to uncover a few minuscule differences that favor the iPhone XS. Take for example its peak brightness output of 664 nits, which is a smidgen better than the 640-nit brightness of the iPhone X. On top of that, the XS has a slightly more favorable color temperature of 6640K – versus the 6883K color temperature of the iPhone X.
In all fairness, the improved characteristics of the XS are extremely small. Color reproduction in the sRGB color gamut chart is also spot-on with the two, so the evidence here points to the obvious that they’re almost identical. And you know what? That’s exactly what we witness when it comes to watching HDR content on either phone. With their vibrant colors, stunning clarity, and potent brightness, we have two evenly matched displays here with no real victor.
We’ll cut straight to the point here. There’s nothing different between the interface with both phones, considering that they’re running the most up-to-date version of the platform – iOS 12! Everything about them is identical, from the way they employ gestures, to the arrangement of the home screen, to even accessing certain settings and options through Control Center. There’s nothing different. This honestly shouldn’t be a shock because the beauty of iOS is its uniformity from device to device.
Performance and Memory
Apple stressed a lot on the performance improvements with the iPhone XS’ new A12 Bionic chipset which, according to the company, brings up to 15% increased performance for the two high-performance cores, while the four low-power cores consume up to 50% less energy. That’s not very indicative of the real performance gains, but we guess those aren’t tremendous. This would bode well for battery life, but we’ll expand upon that later on.