Apple unveiled three new iPhones this year: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
While the iPhone XR is in a league of its own — it doesn’t even go on sale until the end of October — the iPhone XS and XS Max are considered the true successors to last year’s iPhone X, which featured a total redesign that removed the traditional home button in favor of a facial recognition system and an edge-to-edge OLED display.
But if you’re considering the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, which is the right phone for you?
Here are 9 reasons to choose the smaller iPhone XS instead of the larger iPhone XS Max:
1. The iPhone XS is more affordable than the iPhone XS Max.
Price is probably the biggest consideration for most people, and the iPhone XS has the larger XS Max beat when it comes to value.
The iPhone XS starts at $999 for 64 GB of storage, but can cost up to $1,349 for 512 GB of storage.
The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099 for 64 GB of storage, but can cost up to $1,449 for 512 GB of storage.
To be clear, 512 gigabytes is an extraordinary amount of storage — I have over 200 apps on my iPhone X, plus tons of old texts and photos, and I’m only using 62 of my 64 total gigabytes of space (having 100 GB of iCloud storage helps there, but that only costs $0.99 a month).
So, you’ll save at least $100 by choosing the iPhone XS instead of the larger Max model. One hundred dollars may not seem like much, but keep in mind, you’ll also want to buy a handful of crucial accessories like cases and insurance plans on top of the cost of the phone, so these costs do add up.
2. The iPhone XS has the the same display quality as the iPhone XS Max, but in a size that’s more manageable for most people.
The iPhone XS and XS Max both feature the same OLED “Super Retina” display from last year’s iPhone X — the same pixel density, same contrast ratio, same everything.
The only difference, screen-wise, between the iPhone XS and the XS Max, is the size. You’re not losing out on quality.
For most people, the size of the iPhone XS is going to be more manageable. The iPhone XS Max might be perfect for people with large hands, or people who don’t mind using their phone with two hands, since many reviews have noted that one-handed use is not very easy.
The iPhone XS, on the other hand, is much more manageable in terms of overall size, and still has a bigger display than most iPhones that came before it, including last year’s iPhone 8 Plus.
3. The iPhone XS is lighter than the iPhone XS Max.
You might not consider weight when purchasing a new phone, but it matters. You’ll be carrying this device around all day in your hand, pocket, or bag, and you’ll be lifting this thing and holding it to your face several dozen times a day. Weight matters.
The iPhone XS is 6.24 ounces, or 177 grams.
The iPhone XS Max is 7.34 ounces, or 208 grams.
4. The iPhone XS is powered by the same brains as the iPhone XS Max.
This is a big one. Buying the larger phone does not mean you’re getting better performance. The iPhone XS and XS Max are both powered by the same A12 Bionic chip from Apple, which includes a 6-core CPU, a 4-core GPU, and a next-generation neural engine that’s dedicated to machine learning.
5. The iPhone XS and XS Max have identical rear camera systems.
Check out this specs sheet from Apple. There are literally no differences between the rear camera systems in the iPhone XS and the larger XS Max.
6. The iPhone XS and XS Max have identical front-facing cameras, too.
Again, this specs sheet from Apple says it all. Your selfies should look identical regardless of if you’re using the iPhone XS or the larger and more expensive XS Max.
7. The iPhone XS is just as water-resistant as the iPhone XS Max.
Don’t buy the larger phone because you think it’s more water-resistant — that’s not the case.
Both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are equally rated IP68 by the IEC, which means you can submerge these phones down to two meters of water for up to 30 minutes, and you shouldn’t have an issue.
8. The iPhone XS and XS Max both support Apple’s new “dual-SIM” feature.
All the new iPhones, including the iPhone XR, come with Apple’s new dual-SIM feature, which lets people hold one physical nano-SIM card in their phone, as well as an electronic SIM card, or “eSIM.”
Having two SIM cards in your iPhone lets you have two phone numbers and connect to multiple carriers or networks, which is ideal for traveling, or people who don’t want to be bound to a single carrier.
China is getting separate versions of these iPhones that support two physical SIM cards, instead of the eSIM and nano-SIM combination every other country gets.
9. The iPhone XS and XS Max both feature the same Apple ecosystem: iOS.
No matter which phone you get, the iPhone XS or XS Max, you’re going to be getting the same version of iOS 12, the same App Store, and the same security fixes and future updates straight from the company.