Reviewed: iPhone XS Max

Getting a new iPhone has been a long-awaited event for me—three years altogether. My last phone was an iPhone 6s Plus because I did not like the Taptic home button that was on the iPhone 7 and 8. I wanted to get the iPhone X last year but did not want to go back to a smaller phone (even if I knew the screen size was similar to my iPhone 6s, it still looked and felt small.)

Transitioning from an older iPhone to the XS Max was not as daunting as I had thought. Allow me to share my experience.

Full Disclosure: The iPhone I got was released to the Hong Kong Market.

Design: 4.5/5

The Gorgeous iPhone XS series comes in 3 colors: silver, space grey, and gold. All models are beautifully made and impressive with glass back and a stainless-steel antenna band. The silver and the space grey look more sober, understated and business-like, while the gold is bright and eye-catching. I think the stainless-steel antenna band really adds an elegant oomph to the phone.

The 6.5 inch all-screen XS Max looks and feels great. The additional real estate makes a huge difference as it allows for 24 icons or folders in each Home Screen. I was able to organize my apps in 23 folders and fit them all in the main screen, making everything accessible in just two taps.

I have to say that I like the ingenious way Apple designed the dual-SIM tray, allowing two physical SIMs to be installed back to back, with the bottom (2nd) SIM held in place by a spring mechanism.

My one gripe about this new iPhone is the notch at the top. When playing a video or a game on landscape mode, the outer edge where the notch is isn’t visible or accessible. One more thing that might bother some people is the asymmetrical speakers at the bottom.

Hardware: 4.5/5

I was blown away by the hardware, almost all major components in this phone is best in class. Everything has been upgraded or supersized. The Super Retina HD with True Tone OLED display is pretty amazing. The A12 Bionic Chip with next generation Neural Engine is the most advanced mobile processor bar-none. Comparing it to how my old phone performed, the difference is pretty dramatic.

The dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras have no equal in the mobile phone world. And the TrueDepth camera system ensures superfast facial recognition, which unlocks the phone in a blink. Gigabit-class LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, bigger storage capacity, great speakers… need I say more?

User Experience: 4.5/5

This is my best phone ever! It ticks all the boxes: all-screen Super Retina HDR display, super-fast processor, big storage capacity, great sound, amazing camera, and most important, dual SIM.

Setting up the phone from the iCloud backup of my previous iPhone was surprisingly quick. My messages, contacts and the native apps synced almost immediately. The third party apps took a bit longer as I had to reinstall and update some of them from the App Store.

With the new iPhone, now I can truly say that I only need one phone. What I like about the way it works is that I can designate which line I use for each contact, and there is no lag no matter which SIM I use. I know that Android phones have had dual-SIMs in the past, and my other phone is actually a dual-SIM model, but I feel it is a totally different ball game with having dual SIM on an iPhone.

What’s more, with the dual SIM, I now enjoy access to mobile data from two different carriers. I can use only one at a time, but in case signal is weak in a particular location, I can easily switch to the other provider and resolve any connectivity issues.

I like everything about this iPhone, except for the battery life. I still need to recharge my phone by midday. And without TouchID, it is a bit difficult to unlock the phone when you are not within camera range.

Value: 4/5

Most expensive phone ever! This high-specs phone is accompanied by a premium price. But I love this phone. I think I can even ditch my iPad Pro when I travel and just bring this and still be able to do all the work I need to do on the go. That alone will lighten my carry on baggage. Plus, because it’s not a tablet, I don’t need to take it out on a separate tray at the security check.

Bottomline:

It’s not yet the perfect phone, but it’s the best iPhone to date.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE November 2018 Issue.

Reviewed by Presy Alba

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