Comparing the iPhone XR, XS and XS MAX on best key features and costs is a quick way to decide the best new iPhone to buy. We also toss in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 (the lowest price starting under $450) to help with the decision process. This is a quick summary, just to get you started.
The best thing about all three new models, is the razor-thin case and amazing screen which covers the entire face of the iPhone. Gone is the circular home button – unlocking is done with the Face ID using the forward facing camera.
Common to the XR, XS and XS MAX is the new A12 Bionic processor.
These three new iPhones also support Wireless charging (works with Qi chargers), in addition to the standard charging with a cable/charger through the lightning port. Here are some options from Amazon (and you can read our review on the 15W Belkin Boost):
The XS and XS MAX have an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen, while the XR was the previous generation LED screen. The OLED is crisper than the LED, and has a better color contrast with deeper blacks. You’ll probably only notice this if you put the devices in a side-by-side comparison.
iPhone XS MAX
This is the biggest ever screen on an iPhone, at 6.5 inches. It’s also the most expensive, starting at $1,100. You get 3 memory configurations to choose from: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Expect to pay about $200 for each memory step.
You get a total of three cameras: one front facing (7MP), and two on the back (12MP each). The first rear camera is a really great wide-angle, fixed lens. The other is a telephoto lens which features optical zoom, up to 2X. Combining this with the 5X digital zoom, you can get a 10X overall max zoom.
Expect to get around 9 to 10 hours of heavy usage on a full charge.
Weighing 7.34 ounces, this is the heaviest iPhone by about half an ounce.
With the iPhone X now discontinued, you can think of the XS as the upgraded replacement. It has the smallest screen, 5.8 inches, at prices starting at $1,000. As with the MAX, you can configure with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of memory. Each bump-up will cost an extra $150 to $200.
The XS has the same 3 cameras as the XS MAX, with the same 2X optical zoom, 5X digital zoom and combined 10X zoom.
Fully charged, you should get up to 11 hours before the battery gets dangerously low in the red zone.
At 6.24 ounces, this is the lightest of the new series (but still an ounce heavier that the 8, and nearly 2 ounces more than the 7).
The XR is the lowest priced, starting at $750, of the three new iPhones. The screen, at 6.1 inches, is sized between the smaller XS and larger XS MAX. It comes in three capacities: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. It’s a reasonable $50 to $100 for additional memory step-ups, making the 256GB a relatively affordable $900.
The single rear-facing camera is the same as on the XS and XS MAX. Missing is the second telephoto lens which allows for true optical zoom on the other two devices. You’ll still get the full 5X digital zoom though.
Where the XR comes out ahead (other than the lower price) is longer battery life. Some tests are showing one to two hours more life for the XR, reaching a full 13 hours before getting to the red zone.
Available in six vivid colors – Red, Gold, White, Coral (Orange), Blue, Black. Although once you put a case on this investment, does it really matter?
Weighing 6.84 ounces, this is in the middle of the three new iPhones.
As of publication, the XR is still only available to the public for pre-order.
iPhone 7 & 8
The 7 is least expensive new iPhone you can get, starting around $450. The 8 is $100 more at $550. What sets these apart from the new X-series are the fatter bezels and the round home button on the screen face.
The screen is only 4.7 inches, but the single front camera (7MP) and single rear camera (12MP) are the same resolution as the newer phones.
You can get the 8 configured with either 64GB or 256GB of memory, and the 7 is half that (32GB or 128GB).
At 5.22 ounces for the 8, and 4.87 ounces for the 7, these are the lightest iPhones Apple has in production.
The 8 was the first iPhone to support Qi-Wireless Charging, but the 7 is strictly cable only.
For everyday use, the XR is our winner for the long battery life, light weight and better pricing.
If you are into photography (both taking pictures, and showing them) and are looking for a possible iPad / Tablet replacement all-in-one, go big with the XS MAX.