Every year a new iPhone comes fluttering into Apple Stores at the beginning of fall. This remains the same this year too. Apple still insists that the device is pronounced the iPhone 10S and not XS. The device comes with a new camera sensor too, which has larger pixels for improved photosensitivity than its predecessor. Best Displays , for University Students. The iPhone XS looks broadly the same as its predecessor save for a new color option.
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The XS comes in black, white or a new gold finish, the latter of which offers reflections in a pearlescent fashion depending on the viewing angle. The XS shares the same dimensions as its predecessor but is 3 g heavier according to Apple; we could not confirm this during our tests. Additionally, Apple has thickened the camera array, which now protrudes by 1. The XS has a stainless-steel frame while the front and back of the device are made from the same unspecified glass. Apple insists that this glass is the most durable of its kind; naturally, we would expect nothing less from Apple.
The XS has excellent build quality with tight and even gaps between materials across the entire device. Moreover, the XS is stiff as a board and made no cracking noises during our best attempts to twist our test device.
Our test devices feel good in the hand too and not particularly heavy. However, it is worth pointing out that the gold version is vulnerable to fingerprints. Additionally, while the glass is relatively easy to clean, cleaning the stainless-steel frame requires a lot more effort. The iPhone XS is dust and water-resistant like its predecessor, but Apple has increased the IP rating to IP68, which should mean that the device can survive up to 30 minutes submerged in water.
However, strictly speaking, the rating is IPX8 and not IP68, as Apple does not provide a time limit for submerging the device. Pleasingly, liquid damage does not invalidate a warranty claim. The Lightning port remains the only way to connect the XS to a computer or an accessory with a wired connection.
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Officially the device supports USB 3. The XS retains the same short-range wireless communication that the iPhone X supported.
The XS also supports Bluetooth 5. The sensors remain the same too.
The eSIM function is not yet active and will be activated in a forthcoming update. A new iPhone release is always synonymous with a new version of iOS. Apple stresses that iOS 12 is much faster than previous versions and should run faster on older devices. Apple is so sure of this that it is pushing iOS 12 out to even five-year-old devices like the iPhone 5S and the iPad Air.
Likewise, iMessage has new text effects, emojis, Animojis, and Memojis, the latter of which allows users to create Animojis of their faces. Notifications and the Do Not Disturb feature have been enhanced and further optimized too. Moreover, iOS 12 brings new Siri features and allows the virtual assistant to learn things like routines that are triggered by voice commands among others. Face ID can now also unlock the device with up to two scanned faces. A completely new feature is the screen time option. The Apple app is better thought out though particularly for child-focused customization options.
So, a parent could limit a child to spending 30 minutes cumulatively on all games and not 30 minutes on each game. Unfortunately, iOS 12 only allows time restrictions by app categories and not individual apps; these apps can only be defined as exceptions to wider rules. Users of iOS 11 will also quickly notice a change in multi-tasking. Apps can now be closed faster by simply swiping them up and away from other background apps.
iPhone XS Review
Almost nothing has changed regarding mobile data connectivity according to the datasheet. The maximum data transfer rates correspond to LTE Cat. Equally, older mobile networks continue to be supported with a wide range of frequencies. Apple has shifted from Qualcomm to Intel modems, which may explain why the XS transfer speeds are the same as its predecessors.
We have had no issues so far with mobile network coverage with our XS. Our test device has lower downlink transmission speeds than both the iPhone X and iPhone 8 when measured with our Linksys EA reference router. Overall, transmission speeds are impressive though.
Moreover, the transmission power has improved; our test device maintains a stable 2. There is no BeiDou support though. Our test device quickly finds an accurate satellite fix in the GPS Test app even when used inside buildings. We took the XS on a bike ride to test its location accuracy against a professional navigation device, the Garmin Edge Our test device recorded the course well but deviated by meters over a 9.
The Garmin is not free from errors either but does a better job at recording the bike ride than the XS. Overall, the XS should be suitable for all general navigation tasks like running and other fitness activities. The phone app is unchanged in iOS 12 and is arranged with several tabs at the bottom of the screen. We will update this review accordingly when Apple releases this update. Voice quality is good over 3G calls too, but the loudspeaker tends to reverberate.
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Equally, we had to keep our test device close when making a call over the loudspeaker otherwise voices quickly became too quiet for our call partner. The front-facing sensor now supports Smart HDR and has better dynamic range than its predecessor, the latter of which helps with taking clearer low-light photos and videos.
The front-facing camera can also shoot videos in up to 60 FPS. The TrueDepth camera works better too and now recognizes outstretched tongues when creating Animojis or Memojis. Likewise, the portrait mode has improved thanks to the better depth of field optics and helped create better bokeh effect photos than the iPhone X.
The background of portrait photos appears better exposed on the XS than the X too. Apple has improved the dual rear-facing cameras as well. Both sensors are optically stabilized and support Smart HDR. Smart HDR is essentially a marketing term and represents nothing more than what other smartphone cameras currently do.
Equally, the rear-facing cameras take better portrait photos and do a better job of correctly exposing background imagery than the iPhone X does. Overall, the main camera has impressed us. Photos have good dynamic range and plenty of detail. The Google Pixel 2 XL falls short in this regard too though. The XS can record videos at numerous resolutions and frames per second. While the iPhone X could also record videos at the combination of those resolutions and frames per second, the XS has better low-light exposure for videos recorded in 30 FPS and automatically reduces the frame rate to 24 FPS when the sensors need more light.
Stereo video-recordings work wonderfully in practice and sound good too. Likewise, our test device takes impressive videos. The OIS enables the camera to take clean tracking shots even when just holding the device and compensates well for minor hand movements. Overall, the iPhone XS takes impressive photos, particularly in portrait mode, and it offers arguably the best video recordings of any current smartphone. Choose a scene and navigate within the first image.
One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device. Our test device captures colors brightly, with rich saturation and a warm white balance.
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While the main camera does a good job at reproducing many fine details at the centre of the image and sustaining a consistent degree of sharpness across the entire image, the telephoto lens is at least a class below its sibling. Areas of color lack uniformity and have a degree of graininess to them while the sensor also struggles to reproduce black text on dark backgrounds accurately. Even lines in the middle of the image lack detail. It is a shame that Apple has not equipped the XS with two rear-facing camera sensors of the same quality.