iPhone XS Max 3 weeks with iPhone XS Max

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by malikkamran, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. malikkamran macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2016
    Its been 3 weeks and I thought I'd share my experience with the XS Max so far.

    I upgrade every year and use two phones. The older phone becomes the backup and the newer phone becomes the daily driver. I started with the 6 Plus in 2014. I've used the plus sized phones only. I skipped the X, but had the 8 plus. At the moment, I use an 8 plus and the XS Max.

    The good:

    1. The full, edge to edge screen is gorgeous. Using dark mode apps on this screen feels like an immersive experience.

    2. The gesture based navigation is wonderful. I find myself experiencing childish glee at how good it feels, even now. I can't explain it. Its just that good. Its like alt-tab to go back and forth on a computer, but more fluid. Apps don't normally reload when switching.

    3. The front facing camera takes great pictures (with caveats)

    4. The phone is quick and responsive as ever.

    5. Better download speeds. I think this one needs a special mention. The past iPhones I've owned used to see peaks of roughly 2 MBps for download (I use Airtel in India and speeds are atrocious). The XS Max is faster to regain a signal (at times), but can download at peaks of 6 MBps. This is a huge improvement. My LTE iPad Air 2 also maxes out at roughly 2 Mbps (if I'm lucky) . This is the best I've seen ever since I've got 4G/LTE with the 6 plus. My friends who use Android phones with Qualcomm modems/chips see faster speeds though.
    Compared to the 8 Plus:*

    1. My year old 8 Plus running iOS 12.1 beta can easily best the XS Max in terms of battery/run time given my usage patterns. Everyone else will have a different experience. The XS Max seems to be draining battery faster. The bigger screen is certainly a factor here. Maybe a software update will fix it. I feel like the 7 plus had the same sort of battery life.

    2. No substantial difference in the amount of text/content visible in third party apps just yet. This is not a problem with Apple. Third party app developers need to update their apps to take advantage of the Max's screen.

    3. Performance seems the same as the 8 plus, maybe a bit faster. I can't really tell. The 8 Plus felt like a noticeable jump over the 7 plus. But I'm not complaining. Both phones are fast enough. The XS Max doesn't slow down, never looses frames. Overall, I like it.
    The Meh:

    1. The name. XS Max. Would 10s Plus have been that bad? Most people are going to call it the Excess Max. the name is a bit cheesy. But ok, I guess. To me, it feels like someone from Microsoft or Samsung came up with this name.

    2. Face ID: I like it, but don't exactly love it. I'm bald, and wear glasses and a cap when outdoors and it works just fine.
    • Touch ID requires the phone to be touched lightly, but works the moment your finger comes in contact. Face ID is mostly on point, but you have to hold it at the right angle and that can be a bit tricky when you're driving or say, in bed, or if the sun is behind you.

    • There's also the fact that you need to double tap the side button when installing apps. This is a minor quibble.

    • Overall, I'd call it the same as Touch ID in terms of function. Would I be upset if Apple took it away in a future update? No.
    The Bad:

    • The Camera.

    • The camera on an iPhone has started to loose its edge over some Android flagships. This has not bothered me since the phone took good enough pictures and video. For instance, the (professional) reviews of the Pixel 2 had glowing reviews of the picture quality, but always omitted the poor floaty/dreamy video quality which didn't surface till a couple of months after the initial rush of reviews. iPhones performed better at video due to the built in optical stabilization. Samsung phone cameras are a bit too oversaturated for my liking, but can give iPhones a good run for their money, even with their cheaper phones.

    • iPhone cameras just right, and work every time. You point and shoot. The pictures come out looking good (assuming you got the composition right). They aren't the best, but have a higher average of better looking pictures.

    • The camera on the XS Max is by far the biggest disappointment. The camera is capable of taking good shots in good lighting conditions with staticsubjects. There's plenty of detail from the front and back cameras. In fact, in good light, the front camera takes incredible detail. I can zoom in and see all of imperfections in embarrassing detail on my face. It feels like a generation or two ahead of the 8 plus.

    • In low light however, the pictures are atrocious. There's no detail. Faces are horribly smoothed over (aka Beauty Gate). I frequently see blurred hands or faces because the camera screwed up. I feel like I've stepped back in time. I can't remember being so consistently disappointed with any of my iPhone cameras. A large part of the pictures we take are those of friends and family in dimly lit interior settings. The Max screws up more often than not. For example, it got a blurry picture of my friend and I standing in an office! I can't remember when my older iPhones screwed up this bad.

    • The XS Max takes bad pictures in low light. I hope a software update fixes it. I really do. I can't believe the DXO mark scores. My eyes are seeing a different story. Am I "holding it wrong"?
    Part of the reason I'm being so critical of the camera is the increased cost of the XS Max. The 8 Plus was about 25% cheaper than the XS Max at launch last year. And as of now, it feels like the better phone. I don't mind Apple making their phones more expensive, but it shouldn't come with worse functionality. That, to me, is unacceptable.
  2. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 604


    Jan 17, 2013
    Wales, United Kingdom
    The 8+ is an awesome phone and like yourself I struggle to see the benefits of the Max in terms of how much more expensive it is. You are essentially getting the same experience and so far my 8+ has been solid. I’ll be keeping it for 2 years at least and see no need to change it while newer devices are as meh as they have been lately. Never has there been a time until now where buying an older device offers pretty much the same thing as a new flagship.
  3. akash.nu macrumors 604


    May 26, 2016
    I don’t agree with your conclusion on low light shots on the Xs max. I’ve taken plenty good shots in very low light conditions.


    This is an example from my recent trip. There was no light at all, other than the moon.
  4. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    Surprised by your thoughts on the camera.

    At worse the max is the 2nd best camera on a smartphone for me.
  5. alpi123 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2014
    Silly how can people even care about the name of a phone and consider it when buying...

    Pixel 3 and iPhone Xs share the same sensor specs. It's just that Google uses long exposure/slow shutter in its Night Mode. You can get the same feature with third party apps and some offer motion blur removal too.
  6. spooklog macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2015
    New Hampshire
    Have to say I agree with much of what the OP said. I have an 8+ and a Max and frankly I enjoy them both, and for the moment I'm using the Max and keep the 8+ as my back-up phone. Nonetheless, I've been through thick and thin with my 8+ and consider it vital to have--not quite so much with the Max. One feature that stands out with the Max are the speakers. They are similar to the 8+ but I believe they are distinctly louder and clearer. Nearly every call I make I use the speaker (on both phones) and I think the Max takes the edge in call clarity and volume.
  7. 12vElectronics macrumors 68040


    Jul 19, 2013
  8. Wide opeN macrumors 6502a

    Wide opeN

    Aug 27, 2010
    The more I think about it, the more I think they named it that to get away from Samsung's copying ways.

    If that's the logic, then I understand.
  9. 12vElectronics macrumors 68040


    Jul 19, 2013
    I think there are certain buzzwords that make people feel a certain way about a product. I’m sure Apple spent millions on market research when it comes to naming devices.
  10. lah macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2010
    Disagree about the camera. I find the low light performance very good for a smartphone. I’ve gotten some incredible night shots with my XS.
  11. Fille84 macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Did you get a freakin fake iPhone dude? I mean the camera is a huge step in the right direction if you ask me. The Pixel was far better before with its hdr+, but with the smart hdr iPhone is just as good, if not better than the Pixel. And in darker conditions I also think it's holding up pretty well with ok detail, gives me the more true to real life brightness than phones that uses some kind of "night mode". And if you want the picture a little bit brighter just touch to focus and adjust the brightness-slider a bit.
  12. tonybarnaby macrumors 65816

    Dec 3, 2017
    Pixel and mate pro phones both destroy any iPhone camera.
  13. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    They don’t destroy it at all

    It’s better but it’s far smaller than you seem to think
  14. Shanghaichica macrumors G3


    Apr 8, 2013
    DXO mark the puts the max ahead of the pixel 3. Only the P20 Pro and mate 20 pro have higher scores but they both have 3 cameras.
  15. SoYoung, Jan 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019

    SoYoung macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2015
    I don't know how is the battery on the 8+, but the battery on my XS max is truly superb. Since the day I got it last october, I never had my battery bellow 30% of usage and I use my phone a good 3 or 4 hours a day. Its the best battery I ever had on an iPhone so far.

    For the performance, I think we reached a point of maturity on smartphones and I don't see the point of upgrading every 1-2 years anymore. I upgraded from a 6s+ and honestly, for everyday task, I don't see a huge difference in speeds. Apps stay open in background a little more on my Max, but that's it. I don't say the new phones don't perform well, I just say that compared to a 3 years old device, its just a little quicker, but not that much. Its not like the old days when you upgrade to an iPhone 4s or 5 from a 3GS anymore.

    For the new gesture, I just love it. I'd never go back to an home button anymore. The only thing I don't like is like OP said : Having to press 2 time on the front button when confirming purchase and FaceID.

    I also miss landscape home screen like the plus iPhones.
  16. gtmac macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Mine still has issues with my Audi Bluetooth!!
  17. PeterRollback macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2015
    I don necessarily agree that the camera should be on the bad side, but everyone uses their devices differently. I think the camera is wonderful.

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