iPhone XS Max First Impressions - MAX, coming from an 8+

Adelphos33

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 13, 2012
957
558
Picked up my MAX last night. A few thoughts

1) OLED screen is super nice. The colors seem more vibrant, blacks are definitely darker. 1080 video looks great

2) I think the phone is easier to handle than the 8+ given it is slightly narrower

3) The screen is “longer,” not really bigger than the 8+, if that makes sense

4) I am liking the gestures without the home button. I’ve already gotten the hang of Apple Pay. FaceID, when it works, is better than Touch ID, but it can be a bit clunkier (doesn’t really work in bed in the dark, for example).

5) In terms of the smoothness of the OS, I really don’t notice any difference between the MAX and the 8+, of my 6S before that for that matter. These phones are all very smooth

6) At first glance, the camera is better, but I need to take more photos

Overall, this phone is great and the technology is much better. However on a day to day performance basis, you aren’t getting that much more true usability versus an 8+ or 7+, so I can see why people say these phones are expensive. There are a lot of 6/6s/7 users out there, and I can see a lot of them going for an 8 or an 8+ instead of this phone. The XR is a bit of a wildcard.

Still I’m very happy with my purchase. With the X series, I feel like the best move is to buy a phone with a lot of storage (256G or more), get Apple Care, get a good case and hold on to it for three or four years.
 

wineandcarbs

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2008
851
112
Thanks for the review! And for the honest impression in terms of everyday usage. Would you mind comparing how a book in iBook looks on the XS Max and the 8+? I understand that the screen is a different ratio than the 8+. I'm wondering if, font size settings the same, the larger screen makes a difference for reading? (in terms of what you can see on the screen, etc.)
 

ApplePieAlaMode

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2014
113
108
San Diego, CA
For me, I’m seeing a yellower screen on the Max but I know this cools down over time. My 8+ had a yellow tint on launch last year too but cooled down significantly in a month or so. Other than that, I did notice a difference in the camera. Some good things, some not so good things. I did a lot of side by sides with the 8+ in different lighting. What I noticed is, the Max is crisper and sharper in many instances, but much noisier. There is a bit more grain. The 8+ had less detail but a more buttery finish to it. I’m thinking the new HDR on the max creates a lot of compression thus creating some noise at close inspection. Anyone else notice this? (I’m a photographer so these things are quite obvious to me)
 

tonybarnaby

macrumors 68020
Dec 3, 2017
2,146
1,498
Texting is exactly the same, which is huge for me. I need a wide keyboard. I miss the 8+ in a way, even though the max is a better phone.
 

wineandcarbs

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2008
851
112
Texting is exactly the same, which is huge for me. I need a wide keyboard. I miss the 8+ in a way, even though the max is a better phone.
out of curiosity, what do you miss? and I hear you on the keyboard! I think once you get used to a bigger keyboard it's an adjustment going back, moreso than going from a smaller one to a larger one.
 
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tonybarnaby

macrumors 68020
Dec 3, 2017
2,146
1,498
out of curiosity, what do you miss? and I hear you on the keyboard! I think once you get used to a bigger keyboard it's an adjustment going back, moreso than going from a smaller one to a larger one.
I like Touch ID better. Face ID works well, but like most of us I have spent years taking my phone out of my pocket and immediately pushing the home button. Many times my phone will be in front of me on the table. With the 8+ I can just push the home button and open it. With the max, I have to look at it or enter my code. I also felt kind of silly spending $1099 on a phone, but it’s something I use a ton. The 8+ was my first iPhone, so I’m not a longtime user. I’m probably wrong, but I feel like the 8+ would survive a drop better. I never dropped it, though.
 
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Arni99

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2011
542
258
Vienna, Austria
FaceID works in darkness very well but in bright sunlight, when the sun is behind you it might struggle a bit.
Advice:
Do not hold it too close to your face.
 

wineandcarbs

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2008
851
112
I like Touch ID better. Face ID works well, but like most of us I have spent years taking my phone out of my pocket and immediately pushing the home button. Many times my phone will be in front of me on the table. With the 8+ I can just push the home button and open it. With the max, I have to look at it or enter my code. I also felt kind of silly spending $1099 on a phone, but it’s something I use a ton. The 8+ was my first iPhone, so I’m not a longtime user. I’m probably wrong, but I feel like the 8+ would survive a drop better. I never dropped it, though.
Thanks! I love big screens so I’m tempted to upgrade but my 8+ is pretty new and the XS Max is over $1500 where I am for 64gb (more than my MBPs and MB!) so I may have to hold off a bit longer, especially if the day to day experience isn’t too much different and because I also want an Apple Watch. That screen makes it tempting though!
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
9,090
2,549
Seattle
FaceID works in darkness very well but in bright sunlight, when the sun is behind you it might struggle a bit.
Advice:
Do not hold it too close to your face.
This x1 billion. FaceID works flawlessly in the dark. The reason people think it doesn’t is because often they have their glasses off in bed in the dark and are therefore holding the phone too close to the face.
 
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x34

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2014
557
325
Thanks! I love big screens so I’m tempted to upgrade but my 8+ is pretty new and the XS Max is over $1500 where I am for 64gb (more than my MBPs and MB!) so I may have to hold off a bit longer, especially if the day to day experience isn’t too much different and because I also want an Apple Watch. That screen makes it tempting though!
there people who will tell you the opposite, but the xs max is not that different to your 8+
i even find the 8 plus screen feels still bigger and wider. the rounded edges and the notch feel a bit "uneven".

also the camera is not that huge upgrade people are insisting it is, rather a marginal one.
 
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Supermallet

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2014
1,307
656
I’ve had Plus phones since the 6. I loved the 8 Plus. But after two days with the Max I couldn’t imagine using a Plus again as a daily driver. The screen is gorgeous and the edge to edge real estate is something I never want to give up again. The notch doesn’t even bother me except in some full screen games.

The camera is significantly better in my opinion. Portrait mode was mostly a gimmick in the 7/8 Plus to me, and now I’m getting far better photos in that mode. And the shutter lag the 8 suffered from is gone.

The screen gestures are intuitive and far easier to engage than the tapping and pressing of the home button. Switching apps is so much easier now that I don’t have to use 3D Touch in the lower corners. And I thought I would have issues with FaceID but after using it just two days I’m slightly annoyed I waited a year to get an X phone.

The 8 Plus was a great phone, but the Max is a stellar phone.
 

3rdiguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2012
1,182
342
I'm coming from the 8+ as well and enjoy the full page of information on websites and in apps like Flipboard. Camera is great so far but I haven't tapped the potential yet. It feels solid in the hand just like the 8+ felt coming from the 7+. I really thought Face ID would be worse but it works great especially in the dark. Watching video fit to screen is awesome and the notch doesn't bother me at all. I am having issues with my Belkin Dock but that has to do with the Lightning connector.
 

csurfr

macrumors 68020
Dec 7, 2016
2,310
1,745
Seattle, WA
Today is my first full day with the Xs Max, and all I can say is “wow”. It has been off the charger since around 11:30am, it’s now 1am PST, and with over 7 hours of screen on time, the battery is still sitting at 35%. Truly amazing. My X never came close to providing over 12 hours of life, and I think I could get another 5 or so easily. I am absolutely impressed.
 

Adelphos33

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 13, 2012
957
558
I have the apple leather case on - the in-pocket experience is similar to the 8+

After a day. Battery life seems slightly better now than the 8+ was a year ago.

I’m bought all of the power accessories last year (fast charging brick, wireless charging), so I’m glad I don’t have to buy all that again this year.
 

yOyOYoo

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2005
643
32
CA
I came from a 7 Plus. On launch day picked up an XS, but after 2 days of using it, I could not get used to how small the screen was. The biggest issue for me was the scrunched up keyboard, I kept making typos. I also could not get the font size to a level I was used to - it was either too small or too big on the XS. So luckily they had the Max in stock at my local Apple store. I was able to purchase it and return the XS same day.

I'm loving this screen, it's extremely gorgeous and huge, huge, huge! I thought it would be weird missing the touchID, but I've already gotten used to FaceID now. Great phone, I'm glad I returned my XS.
 

HarryWild

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2012
1,540
396
Holding the Max is better the the Plus size. Looks fabulous! Very happy so far!
 

macblitz

macrumors member
Sep 12, 2014
97
13
i have the 8plus and Xs max. I put them side by side and I can't really tell why Xs oled screen is better than lcd.
Therefore, I think i would been happy with the Xr which is $350 cheaper.

Xs max is great phone nevertheless, just not worth $1100. I'll keep it though but I would recommend people to get the Xr.
 
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