There's something about the iPhone XS Max. It's the same as my other iPhones, but yet different. I've owed all of the iPhones since the 3GS, with the exception of the iPhone 7. My favorite iPhones of all time have been the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 6S. Now the top place for best iPhone of all time is the iPhone XS Max. This phone is perfect. My previous phone was the iPhone X. It was the phone I had been waiting for, or so I had thought. Unfortunately, my experience with the iPhone X wasn't a great one. I've wiped and reset the phone more times than I care to count. Apple couldn't, or wouldn't help me. When the iPhone XS Max launched, I couldn't leave the X behind fast enough. The Screen My jaw dropped. The screen is huge and not in a distracting way. It's absolutely beautiful. I didn’t see the big deal about OLED on the iPhone X. I thought it looked the same as my LCD based 6S Plus. With the XS Max, I see what the hype was about. Colors are properly saturated, vibrant, whites are whites, and blacks are blacks on the 6.5” inch canvas. There’s so much more room to process photos, view videos, and create movies. I don’t know anything about the science behind all this, but this has to be the best screen in a smartphone ever. I love looking at this thing. I loved the size of the "Plus" phones. I got the X because I could have the same screen size, yet in a smaller package. That was a mistake. It felt too small to me. It was also too narrow. The XS Max fits perfectly in my hand. The Cameras When I first got my iPhone X, I went out and explored Galveston Island and Moody Gardens to get "sample" photos. I was amazed at the quality. I had just came from the iPhone 6S, so the camera improvements were noticed. The top feature I was eager to see was the "portrait mode". It worked. Sometimes. It needed more work, especially when compared to The Pixel 2. Portrait Mode would simply over compensate its bokeh effect. It couldn't tell the subject from the background and thus, you would get unnatural looking blur. Understandably, one can't expect bokeh quality you would get from a DSLR, but for a smartphone, when the effect worked, it worked pretty well. The iPhone XS Max now allows me to control the bokeh effect by changing the aperture variable after taking the shot. So when they iPhone gets it wrong I can change a few settings and get it right. Exposure is greatly improved as well. Blown highlights were a problem for me on the X, despite its supposed improvements. With the new processing algorithms Apple uses in the XS, photos are more well controlled and have greater dynamic range. Having a clean shot is crucial since I usually put my photos through some type of post processing. Photos are clear. Low light performance is excellent. Perhaps the photos look "too digital" with the Smart HDR feature (sometimes I want the shadows to be shadows), but what I do know I'll be shooting with my iPhone more and more instead of taking along by Sony RX100 V. Connectivity I will tell anyone who will listen, that my iPhone X has connectivity issues. It was slow on AT&T's LTE network. I didn't get any reception in my office building. My phone basically didn't work or worked slowly unless I was using it during off peak hours or on wi-fi. All of that is gone now. I can get reception in my office, although not as fast as I would like, but I don't have to step outside anytime I need to use my phone. AT&T LTE is what it is. I get variable speeds depending on what time of day it is and where I am in the city, but now it's more consistent. My previous phone simply didn't function with a weak signal. It was so bad that I vowed that I'd make sure my next iPhone had a Qualcomm chip in it (my X was an AT&T model that had an Intel modem). When I heard that Apple was going Intel only for modems in these iPhones, my heart sank. I was looking to switch carriers in order to have a Qualcomm modem in my iPhone X. All of those fears have been put to rest. The connection is reliable. Consistent and reliable connectivity shouldn't even be a feature to be discussed, but there was clearly something wrong with my X. Now I see the reason the XS added more antennas. Apple will never admit it, but the XS fixed those short comings with adding more antennas. Battery Life I'm back to all day battery life folks. I take my phone off the charger at 4:30am to hit the gym. At 10pm, it's back on the wireless charger with 15% battery life. Days of heavy usage, I can top off a charge on my 30 minute drive on the way home from work. My X would need to hit the charger about 2pm consistently. Didn't matter if it was iOS 11 or iOS 12. It was such a problem, I bought a cheaper wireless cradle for my office desk. I still don't know what the deal was, according to Apple, the phone was one. 11 months in, the batter life was 90%. iOS 12 You can have the best looking phone with all the latest and greatest hardware in the world, but none of that matters if the operating system is not up to par. Much of my experience of the iPhone X was due to iOS 11. That had to be the most unpolished iOS ever. All of the issues I had with iOS 11 are gone with iOS12. Everything is smoother, silky, and buttery. Animations are great. The calculator app works. I don't get random reboots or home screen re-springs. Apps don't seem to crash. The only quip I have with iOS 12 is some apps don't render properly for the new screen size. This is really on the developers to fix and I'm sure they will in due time. Again, I have to be cliche: This is the best iPhone ever. It literally just works.