iPhone XS

Best iPhone iMore 2019

The iPhone XS is the best iPhone you can buy today. It fits a Plus-sized screen into a regular-sized iPhone with an almost bezel-free design and the best display and camera technology on the market.

Our pick

iPhone XS

The perfect iPhone for most people without being too much phone.

iPhone XS is the top-of-the-line across the board when it comes to features, technology, and future proof. The screen size is perfect for most people and with up to 512GB of storage, you'll never have to worry about running out of space for your photos, videos, apps, and games.

Who should buy the iPhone XS

Most people will find the iPhone XS to be the perfect fit. It's Apple's latest and greatest, so it's the most future-proof. The screen display is the most advanced, and the camera is better than any other iPhone on the market. The 5.8-inch display is perfectly fitted into a case that's smaller than the iPhone Plus model, so you get more screen for less size.

If you're currently using and iPhone X, this may not be the phone for you. Though there were some fantastic upgrades from the previous model, the average person isn't likely to notice the differences.

If you're on a budget, Apple has kept some older-model iPhone devices in stock that may not hit your wallet as hard.

Is it a good time to buy the iPhone XS?

Absolutely! Apple just released the iPhone XS in September 2018. If Apple continues it's traditional yearly update pattern, the next model iPhone isn't due out until fall of 2019.

Reasons to buy

  • Edge-to-edge display
  • Most advanced camera
  • Depth-aware front facing camera
  • Face ID
  • Large screen in small body

Reasons not to buy

  • Expensive
  • No Home button

You can't get more well-rounded than this

Once upon a time, Apple only offered one new iPhone a year. Right now, the company has many — iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, the iPhone XR, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus. That makes choosing the best — and choosing your next iPhone — more complicated than ever.

So why iPhone XS?

iPhone XS means no longer having to choose between a big screen and an easy-to-carry iPhone. You get the world's best OLED display at nearly iPhone 8 Plus size in a body that's just ever-so-slightly bigger than iPhone. And because that display is fully HDR, you can watch iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, and more in Dolby Vision or HDR10. That means deep blacks, popping P3 colors, and details in all the highlights and shadows. It even has TrueTone so, some blue shift at steep angles aside, iPhone X white looks white. No OLED white. Paperwhite.

On the back is an even better version of Apple's dual lens camera system. It fuses an even better ƒ/1.8 wide angle with an ƒ/2.4 "telephoto" lens to provide for up to 2x optical and 10x digital zoom, as well as the computational photography-powered Portrait Mode and (now in beta) Portrait Lighting depth of field and studio effects. And on iPhone XS, both lenses are optically stabilized for about 1/3 stop better performance in low light.

You can shoot in DCI-P3, and in RAW, and new to video: Up to 60FPS 4K and 240FPS 1080p. Apple has officially made one of the best video cameras around. Period.

iPhone XS means no longer having to choose between a big screen and an easy-to-carry iPhone.

Up front is the TrueDepth camera system that offers Face ID authentication. It can't do multiple faces the way Touch ID could do multiple fingers, but you also only have to look, not touch, to get into your phone. Daytime, nighttime, hair up, hair down, shaved, bearded, fancy neural nets keep learning so you can keep unlocking.

It also offers Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting for selfies, and face matching for everything from social media filters to Apple's own Animoji. You can now even change the bokeh of a portrait after you've taken it — from ƒ/1.4 to ƒ/16.

Available in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB models, the 256GB version is the best balance of price and storage. It's almost useful enough to be a primary computing device. Almost.

If all you need is a thin-client for your business apps or portals, or a screen and speakers for music and video streaming, you'll easily be able to get away with 64GB. If you want to store all your media, or not have to worry about how many photos or how much video you take, you may want to invest in 512GB.

You can get iPhone XS in silver, space gray, or all-new Gold. The silver model, from an angle, almost looks like the original iPhone. The space grey resembles Apple Watch thanks to its similarly stealth-like vapor coating. The gold matches the new steel gold Apple Watch. They all have glass backs, just like they did in the iPhone 4 days, but this time to facilitate wireless charging using the Qi standard.

You can also get AppleCare+, which means you're only ever a phone call or Apple Store visit away from any fix you may ever need.

Alternatives to the iPhone XS

Though the iPhone XS is the prefect iPhone for most people, it's not the perfect iPhone for everyone. You may want an even bigger screen and don't mind the larger device. Maybe you're on a budget and the thousand dollar starting price is just too much for your pocketbook. Luckily, Apple offeres a variety of iPhone options now for those on a budget and those with big taste.


iPhone XS Max

It's the biggest iPhone you can get with a behemoth of a screen at 6.5 inches.

For some, bigger is better and the iPhone XS Max has the biggest iPhone screen you can get. It's got all the same top-of-the-line features as the iPhone XS but with an edge-to-edge display, the screen is practically as big as a tablet.

Considering the iPad mini is 7.9-inches, the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max sounds way too big to fit in your pocket, but don't be confused by those numbers. It's actually smaller than the iPhone Plus, even though the display is a whole inch bigger! It's that edge-to-edge display that gives the iPhone XS Max the extra screen real estate without taking up any additional room in your pocket.

Budget pick

iPhone 8 Plus

If you want a less-expensive or traditional, familiar iPhone, get iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone 8 Plus is a fantastic iPhone, complete with depth-of-field Portrait mode photography that will make your photos shine. It's not the best-of-the-best, but if you're on a budget, you won't regret this purchase.

iPhone XS is new, different, and... expensive. For some people, it may be too new, too different, and yeah, too expensive. I'd recommend the Plus for anybody who can handle the size. It has a dual lens camera system, as well as extra long battery life, True Tone display calibration, 4K video at 60FPS, and still super-fast Apple A11 Bionic processor. Also, Portrait Mode for depth-of-field photography and Portrait Lighting for studio-style effects.

Bottom line

The iPhone XS is the best iPhone you can buy today. It fits a Plus-sized screen into a regular-sized iPhone with an almost bezel-free design and the best display and camera technology on the market. It's the perfect iPhone for most people.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Rene Ritchie is the foremost authority on all things Apple and has insider knowledge about the goings on at the biggest tech company in the world. He knows everything, literally everything, there is to know about the iPhone.

Lory Gil is the Managing Editor of iMore and knows here way around an iPhone. She's known as the four-inch iPhone fan (R.I.P.).

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