Reviewers like Apple’s new iPhone XS, but don’t necessarily recommend buying one
Those who’ve already reviewed Apple Inc.’s new iPhone XS and XS Max like the devices, but that doesn’t mean they think you should buy them.
The general consensus from the early Apple AAPL, +0.17% reviews is that the XS and XS Max are the best iPhones around, though they may not be for everyone. In particular, reviewers have highlighted that those who currently have the iPhone X or are hunting for the best value should probably sit this one out. (The iPhone XS and XS Max, starting at $999 and $1,099, respectively, are currently available for preorder and will officially go on sale Friday.)
For example, the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern wrote that while she appreciated the faster speed of the iPhone XS line and “missed the speed boost a bit” when she switched back to her old phone, she doesn’t think that the processor alone is enough reason for iPhone X owners to pony up money for a new device. She also said that the cheaper iPhone XR, which is due out in October and has yet to be reviewed, “sounds more like a great deal.”
See also: This shopping hack will get you 60% off an iPhone XS
That said, there was a lot Stern liked about the XS line. She plopped the phone into the hands of 7-foot-7-inch Gheorghe Mureșan, who ties for the tallest basketball player in history, and determined that he was about the only person whose hands would make the iPhone XS Max look small by comparison.
“Taking photos, watching videos, FaceTiming, Fortniting, even writing emails felt more immersive on the big phone,” Stern wrote, though she argued that Apple still isn’t making the best use of the 6.5-inch screen. She also found it a bit tricky to use the phone one-handed.
iPhone XS Max Reviewed—With Help from Tallest NBA Player Ever
CNBC’s Todd Haselton, as well, praised the iPhone XS and XS Max but didn’t find many noticeable differences between them and the iPhone X.
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He did highlight key improvements to the camera, which help add more “bokeh” and blur to portrait photos. Haselton liked that users can now adjust background blurs after taking a picture.
“The extra 2x telephoto lens is really useful for when you want a quick zoom and can’t move in closer, and it’s a feature you won’t find in the cheaper iPhone XR,” he added.
Scott Stein at Cnet commented that this seemed to be the first time that Apple didn’t reserve all of the best features for its larger-screen model. “This year, the iPhone XS and XS Max have identical processors, RAM and cameras,” he wrote, so users who choose the Max are paying up exclusively for more screen real estate (and a bit more battery life).
Read: Why would anybody buy the iPhone XS?
He questions whether users will feel that the extra screen space justifies the larger body. “The Max might be growing on me, but the 5.8-inch iPhone X (and XS) already pulled off a great feat in fitting more screen in a smaller size,” Stein said. “Going back to a bigger phone after that feels like defeating the purpose.”
Nilay Patel at the Verge compared the iPhone XS Max to the Plus models of yore, concluding that the screen may be beautiful but it sometimes creates problems. For example, because of the bezel-free design, it’s harder to reach the top of the screen and summon the control panel. And Patel found the large screen to be “absolutely killer” for videos and gaming, but he craved a bit more “information density” on the device, writing that the phone would benefit from an extra row of apps on the home screen and picture-in-picture video options.
See also: Apple stock slips as analysts say iPhone preorders appear stable or down from last year
The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen, meanwhile, admitted that he’s slowly coming around to larger-screen phones after trying the XS and XS Max. “After three days, I was surprised by how good it felt to use the XS Max with one hand,” he wrote. Reading maps, writing long emails, and following recipes are all easier on the bigger device, he determined.
Chen liked those big-screen features but cheered the “portable and pocketable” nature of the smaller XS. “If you are a more casual technology user who wants a superb smartphone that is comfortable to carry, I recommend you go for the XS,” he wrote. “If you plan to treat your phone as a primary computer, go for the XS Max.”
Apple shares inched up 0.2% in Tuesday’s session, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.71% of which Apple is a component, gained 0.7%.
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