iPhone XS Max Pros & Cons Review

Picture of the iPhone XS Max, by iPhone

- Analysis by KJ David

Remember when Steve Jobs said no iPhone over four inches? Well, Apple totally doubles back on that statement (if it has not already with some of the older iPhone models) with the iPhone XS Max, the largest iPhone model as of its release.

This 208-gram-heavy big brother to the iPhone XS suffers from a couple of obvious cons, such as the absence of a microSD card slot for storage expansion (512GB of maximum internal memory does not sound too shabby, though) and its lack of a 3.5mm headset jack , the latter of which Apple resolves through their rather adaptable Lightning Connector. Additionally, its 6.5-inch OLED screen, despite reaching a premium-class 625 cd/m2 maximum brightness level and offering 3D Touch , fails to impress us with its 458ppi pixel density , knowing that some of the best phablets around do not go any lower than 500ppi.

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Jumping over to imaging, the XS Max safely levels with many of its Android counterparts by rocking a dual 12-megapixel rear camera that delivers 4K/UHD (3840 x 2160) video-recording , a 240fps slow-motion video capture mode, and a Portrait Mode with depth controls. It also features a rarely-seen (as we were reviewing its pros and cons) quad-LED true-tone flash . While you're here, make sure to check out the best photography-driven smartphones listed here at Phonerated.

Sitting right above its display is this large-screen iPhone's 7-megapixel TrueDepth front-facing camera whose underwhelming raw pixel resolution is countered by pros like Smart HDR, Portrait Lighting, and the Face ID facial recognition system. It also offers Animoji and Memoji, which allow users to craft personalized avatars and emojis for social media.

Under the hood, the XS Max's hardware specs consist of Apple's self-branded A12 bionic chip aided by a dedicated Neural Engine , which the brand claims is a more powerful and more power-efficient iteration than the A11 -- the engine used by this model's now-discontinued iPhone X mother model (Check out the market's fastest phones here). Stamina-wise, although Apple did not specify its actual battery capacity at the time of writing, the iPhone XS Max's 25-hour promised talk time and 65-hour music playback time sound just about right to us, at least relative to its aforementioned pros and cons.

Tying everything together is the XS Max's IP68-certified (waterproof and dust-tight) housing which measures a mere 7.7mm slim , making it sound sexy compared to a lot of other waterproof flagships of its time.

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So, although we spotted a couple of weak points as far as display is concerned, this 6.5-inch iPhone nevertheless sounds like a viable choice for high-class shoppers who think that large is the way to go.

On-paper Review score:

First, the Cons:

Apparently no HDMI port:

It's all well and good that the iPhone XS Max can record high-resolution 3840 x 2160 movies, but we were disappointed not to find any evidence of the XS Max featuring an HDMI port (which is convenient to watch HD videos on your shiny HDTV.)

Any memory expansion slot?:

Our research didn't show that the iPhone XS Max had a slot for memory expansion.

Unknown weight:

It's frustrating that we could not find its weight information.

Now, the Pros:


It is described as a rugged phone (more sturdy, better water-resistance, etc).


NFC can be used for electronic payments and other applications.

Very large screen:

We're dealing with a hefty display here, making it a phablet: 6.5 inches and a resolution of 2688 x 1242 pixels means about 16.11 square inches and an image quality of at least 458 dots per inch (DPI)!

High-definition (Dual 12-megapixel) camera:

It includes a high-resolution built-in camera (Dual 12-megapixel) with the following options: Burst Mode, Exposure control, Live Photos, Panorama (up to 63MP), Photo geotagging, Portrait Mode (advanced bokeh, Tap-to-focus, Timer, depth control).

Average front cam:

The selfie cam resolution seems just about average.

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