iPhone XS review: Finer, faster and much more powerful as Apple takes things up a notch

iPhone XS review: Finer, faster and much more powerful as Apple takes things up a notch

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Apple iPhone XS review (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

APPLE iPHONE  XS REVIEW – from £999

  • FOR – Blistering performance • Improved cameras • More robust design • Best facial recognition on the market • Bigger internal storage
  • AGAINST – Still very expensive • No fast charger in the box • Cheaper iPhone XR could offer better value

If you’re looking to upgrade your iPhone it seems now is a very good time.

has unleashed three new devices on the world with the iPhone XS, larger XS Max and slightly cheaper XR all being unveiled during the firm’s Cupertino keynote earlier this month.

With this expansive lineup of devices, it seems Apple is catering for all tastes with the XS Max offering a huge display and the XR bringing an all-screen design for a little less money.

So what about the iPhone Xs?

This new device sits somewhere between the two with it offering top-end specs but with a smaller screen than both the 6.5-inch XS Max and 6.1-inch XR.

Express.co.uk has been using the XS since it was unveiled at Apple’s HQ and this, without doubt, a very accomplished smartphone.

With an almost identical design to last year’s iPhone X, you get a huge huge 5.8-inch display in a device that’s physically smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus.

This beautiful OLED screen stretches across almost the entire front of the device with only the small notch at the top breaking the seamless flow.

Apple’s Super Retina display is bright, crisp and clear.

Content punches through the screen with ultimate clarity and things are made even better as you can now watch shows and movies in Dolby Vision and HDR10.

Apple iPhone XS

The Apple iPhone XS offers improved durability (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPER)

There’s also the usual True Tone technology which changes the shade of the display depending on the light around you and that makes it much less of a strain on your eyes.

Although the XS doesn’t offer quite the same immersive experience as the 6.5-inch Max, its smaller display does make it easier to handle and it certainly won’t feel as cramped when you squeeze it in your pocket.

Although this year’s XS might look very similar its predecessor – the iPhone X – there are some changes which make it a little more robust.

This new smartphone is crafted from all the very best materials with Apple boasting that it’s their most durable to date.

Considering it’s covered from head to toe in glass that news will come as a huge relief to many.

To help make the XS even more durable, Apple has also made it far better at dealing with water and this smartphone can now survive in up to two metres of the wet stuff for 30 minutes.

Coffee, tea and even beer spills should also leave the XS without a blemish.

Apple iPhone XS review

The iPhone XS features a 5.8-inch Retina display (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPER)

One other big change to the design is the new Gold colour which looks sensational.

This striking new look joins Silver and Space Grey in the iPhone XS lineup and it’s likely to be hugely popular especially as the surgical-grade stainless steel band now colour matches the rear casing.

Ever since the iPhone X launched last year we’ve been big fans of Apple’s design but we do have one small criticism as there is still a large camera bump on the back.

Other technology firms, including Samsung, have managed to reduce this bulge but the iPhone XS continues to wobble when placed on something flat.

Although this bump is mildly annoying we can possibly forgive this design decision as the camera still performs incredibly well.

Apple’s camera is officially the most popular in the world and this latest update brings improvements that will make the millions of photos taken every day even better.

There’s a number of extra features on the XS that will help even the most amateur of photographers take better snaps.

Apple iPhone XS

The iPhone XS features an all-screen design (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

And perhaps the most impressive is something called Smart HDR.

This basically allows the camera to take a number of images simultaneously when the shutter is pressed.

Using some clever technology, including a faster sensor and advanced algorithms, the best parts of each picture are then taken to create the ultimate image.

In our tests, this worked really well with all of our shots looking crisp, clear and packed full of detail.

Even when shooting straight into direct sunlight the camera still coped remarkably well.

Apple has also improved the low light capabilities so you get to see more in your photos when the lighting is poor.

The iPhone X already received a boost to its low light capabilities but the XS takes this to another level with more detail showing even when it’s almost pitch black outside.

Apple iPhone XS camera sample

Apple iPhone XS camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Apple iPhone XS review

Apple iPhone XS camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Both of the rear cameras also now include image stabilisation for blur-free content and the True Tone flash includes a flicker detect sensor which improves auto white balance in your image for more true-to-life colours.

Another huge added bonus of the refreshed dual-lens camera is the ability to change the strength of the bokeh effect after a portrait image has been taken – something Apple is calling Depth Control.

This option first appeared on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 last year and Apple has produced something that’s certainly as good on the Max.

Being able to tweak this DLSR-style depth of field is a really nice addition that works seamlessly.

If it’s selfies you love then the 7-megapixel front-facing camera now adds Portrait Mode so you can make those photos of your face look a little artier.

Apple iPhone XS camera sample

Apple iPhone XS camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Apple iPhone XS

The camera now allows the depth of field to be changed after the photo is taken (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

For video, the option to film in 4K and super slow motion continue to appear plus there’s four built-in mics to record stereo sound.

Of course, all of this new camera and display technology needs to be powered by something and Apple’s new A12 Bionic processor does this in abundance.

These blisteringly fast brains offer a new level of grunt making the XS the most powerful smartphone Apple has ever made.

The A12 Bionic features a 7-nanometer chip that delivers huge performance in a more efficient design.

This means everything you ask of the XS is performed with minimal effort and this device is phenomenally slick to use.

There’s also another useful feature of the A12 as it is actually able to drive this device whilst using up to 50 percent less power.

Apple iPhone XS

The new Super Retina display offers an excellent viewing experince (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

This means that you’ll easily get a full day’s usage on a single charge.

Although the XS won’t last as long as the larger XS Max the battery life appears good.

Express.co.uk is still continuing our full test and will update this review in the coming days.

If things do run low the iPhone XS can be fast charged but it’s worth noting that Apple doesn’t supply this powerful plug in the box so you’ll need to pay an extra £50 to get access to this feature.

Not packing a more powerful plug in the box is still baffling to us especially with the XS already costing so much.

It seems a little cheeky to ask customers to pay even more to refill their new iPhone faster.

Wireless charging is also available although again you’ll need to splash out on a Qi charging dock.

One other thing that is missing from the box is the headphone dongle.

Since ditching the headphone port back in 2016, Apple has always supplied this adapter in the packing but you won’t find this useful lead arriving with the XS.

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS review (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPER)

Apple iPhone XS

There’s no headphone port or adapter now supplied in the box (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPER)

Apple now wants you to pay another £9 for the privilege of using your wired cans.

Despite the lack of headphone ports, dongles and fast chargers, there’s plenty of nice added bonuses on the iPhone XS including some superb speakers.

These offer a wider stereo sound which certainly brings a more immersive experience whilst watching movies and listening to music.

Along with the improved audio, there’s also the ability to now add a dual SIM to the iPhone which allows you to have two numbers on the same device.

This double SIM option will arrive, via a software update, later this year so we’ve not been able to test its functionality but it should certainly be a useful addition when it arrives in the coming months.

Apple iPhone XS

(Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Apple iPhone XS

The clever TrueDepth allows you to create Memojis (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Like its predecessor, the XS can also produce some fun interactive Animojis via the front-facing TrueDepth camera and there’s now the addition of Memojis in iOS 12 which offer some added entertainment.

Finally, there’s the great news for anyone who’s phone is always out of memory as you can buy this phone with a whopping 512GB of internal storage which is the biggest Apple has ever included. 

This top-end option isn’t cheap but at least it means Apple keeps up with Samsung who recently announced its Note 9 now includes this major memory boost.

If the 512GB sounds too much there’s also 64BG and 256GB options available.

PAYING THE PRICE

Like last year’s iPhone X, the new XS starts from £999 for the 64GB model.

That already makes it one of the most expensive phones you can buy but things get even more expensive if you want that extra memory.

Going for the fully-loaded 512GB model will set you back a wallet-busting £1,349 – ouch!

Apple iPhone XS

The camera still has a larger bump which can be annoying when placed on a table (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPER)

VERDICT

Since we took delivery of the iPhone X last year this device has been continued to impress with it offering a slick and powerful experience.

And now this flagship has been taken up a notch with the new XS.

This latest phone is even more powerful and the camera upgrades, added memory and more robust design all add to the appeal.

Despite a few minor niggles, such as the lack of fast charger and high price, it’s hard not to recommend the iPhone XS but it might be worth waiting before buying one.

Within the next few weeks, the .

This phone offers many of the features from the XS, such as the A12 processor and wireless charging, but at a much lower price.

In fact, when the XR hits shops in October it will cost almost £250 less.

It’s worth noting that XR doesn’t have an OLED display or dual-lens camera but it may be worth checking out the reviews of this lower-priced phone before hitting the XS buy button.

If you simply can’t wait or have already decided the XS is for you there’s very little wrong with this new flagship.

This is a fantastic phone that you will find very hard to beat.

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