First Impressions: iPhone XS Max Has Some Great Subtle Improvements

iPhone XS Max

I got my hands on the iPhone XS Max. And even though I’m not blown away by it, there are some things that have me quite impressed. I will have a full review soon, but these are my initial impressions.

  • This thing is big. It’s not too big to carry as my main phone, but it’s big.
  • The screen is, perhaps, the most gorgeous one I have seen on a smartphone. It looks slightly better than the screen on the iPhone X in terms of color accuracy and saturation.
  • I don’t notice much of a difference between the camera on this and the X. I do like the fact you can adjust the depth-of-field after you take the picture (though I find this only works in Portrait mode). The photos look slightly better in darker-lit situations.
  • The new stereo microphones are a welcome addition and they do make the videos come to life. However, I don’t find as much separation as I did using the mics on Sennheiser’s AMBEO Smart Headset.
  • I love the gold finishing on the back.

  • The stereo speakers have a wider soundstage and can substitute for Bluetooth speakers in many cases. I used the speakers on the iPhone XS Max to play music in my car, and I didn’t miss turning on my car’s stereo system.
  • The speakers can get very loud without distortion.
  • Face ID works a little faster than it did on the X. Perhaps, it works more accurately too.
  • My eyes thank the larger text on this new iPhone.
  • This just feels so solid in your hands.
  • The bigger screen makes the XS Max even better to use as your car GPS.
  • The battery seems to last about an hour more than it does on the iPhone X. Even this slight bump is much needed and appreciated.
  • This has become my favorite new device to watch Netflix or Hulu on.

Of course, the question everybody wants to know if they should upgrade to the iPhone X Max. If you don’t have an iPhone X, I would say that even though the XS Max is expensive, you’ll find the upgrade absolutely worth it. However, it gets more iffy if you have the iPhone X. If you can sell your iPhone X so you will only have to end up with around $600 coming out of your pocket, the upgrade will be worth it. My full review will be coming within the next couple of days. 

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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