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IPhone Xs Review

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One year after the release of the iPhone X, Apple has returned in 2018 to completely revamp its entire phone lineup with multiple new handsets based on last year’s $1,000 flagship: Say hello to the iPhone Xs. But that’s not all, because this year, Apple’s flagship has a supersized sibling in the new iPhone Xs Max.

As before, the smaller iPhone Xs features a 5.8-inch screen, while the new Xs Max gets a monstrous 6.5-inch screen that’s even bigger than what you’d get on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, with both sporting OLED display tech for incredibly colorful pictures and videos. But for these fearing what sounds like a monstrous device, fear not, because thanks to much slimmer bezels, the iPhone Xs Max is about the same size as last year’s iPhone 8.

Additionally, Apple says its OLED screen are now even brighter too and sport 120Hz refresh rates and HDR support for enhanced viewing and smoothness, and for all you 3D touch fans out there, both the Xs and Xs Max have that too. But a good viewing experience isn’t all about the screen, sound matters too. So Apple has given both phones new speakers with what Apple is calling wide stereo sound as well.

A Full FaceID Future

Of course, one of the iPhone X’s most loved and hated features has returned as well, with both the Xs and Xs Max getting FaceID notches up top. Powered by Apple’s TrueDepth camera system, crammed inside that little notch is an ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, flood illuminator, infrared camera, and a 3D dot projector that can scan your face to make sure that you—and hopefully only you—can unlock your device. Apple says it has even upgraded the iPhone’s algorithms and secure enclave so that FaceID recognizes you faster.

The Guts

Like clockwork, inside both the Xs and Xs Max, Apple has once again made a new chip called the A12 Bionic to help boost general performance and AI-related processing. Apple claims the A12 Bionic is the industry’s first 7 nanometer chip, though Huawei would almost certainly disagree. It’s got a 4-core CPU and a 6-core GPU totaling 6.9 billion transistors, with a mixture of high and low-performance cores in order to more efficiently handle various workloads with energy efficiency gains of up to 40 or 50 percent.

And when it comes to the “Bionic” part of the A12, Apple says the real star of the chip should be its neural engine which is comprised of eight cores dedicated to AI and machine learning duties. Elsewhere, other parts of Apple’s SoC boast improved ISPs, video processing, memory controllers and more, which should result in more fluid operation, something that has been one of the iPhone’s biggest selling points over the years.

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And for those who need a ton of room to store photos, videos, apps and anything else, max storage on the iPhone has doubled from 256GB to 512GB. Apple is even saying that with the new A12 Bionic and some of the performance upgrades in iOS 12, launching apps on a new iPhone Xs or Xs max should happen 30 percent faster.

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