iPhone Xs review: Everything need to know about Apple’s latest handset
And how good the camera really is
So, we’ve been hands-on with Apple’s new iPhone Xs since it launched at the end of September. A month later, and we’re still awed by how beautiful it is, how smoothly it functions and how it leaves its competition miles behind.
Let’s start with what you first see: the 5.8-inch screen. It’s fitted with what Apple calls a Super Retina display (458 pixels per inch), which renders everything in some seriously exquisite HDR — colours are vivid, blacks are deep (called true blacks), and the bonkers resolution means that movie-watching and gameplay are elevated and how. Let’s just say we’ve been Netflixing on the iPhone Xs and it’s a sheer pleasure. Plus, there’s also a beautiful stereo-sound upgrade Apple gave the iPhone Xs. Watch a video where audio moves from one side to another (like a car chase) and you’ll realise just how much this adds to the immersive quality of the entire experience.
Of course, to be able to provide users with such a buttery experience, there has to be some serious muscle under the hood. Which there is. The iPhone Xs is powered by the A12 bionic chip. This little technological wonder is the Neural Engine, and a real powerhouse. It’s also the reason why we have 512GB iPhones for the first time. When analysts say phones get smarter every year, they’re not lying. The A12 is so fast and powerful that it can glide through 5 trillion operations per second. By comparison, last year’s iPhone X, which had the A11, could only do about 600 billion. The A12 is why everything in this phone functions as amazingly effortlessly as it does, from your camera (more on that below), to the astounding video capability we just talked about above.
If you’re moving from anything other than an iPhone X to the new iPhone Xs, this will be the first time you meet Face ID. At first, we thought, “surely it’s easier to just access your phone using Touch ID than having to look at it each time you want to unlock it”, but Apple has made it a very painless process. Its TrueDepth camera system accurately maps the geometry of your face, and at under two seconds, it’s amazingly quick.
Ok, let’s be honest, this is the main reason you’ve read this far, and that’s fair, because this is the biggest stunner on the iPhone Xs. Two 12-megapixel cameras (one wide-angle; the other telephoto), a very intelligent camera sensor (which means larger, deeper pixels for improved color fidelity and better low-light photos), and a Quad-LED true-tone flash means that your photos are as close to real life as possible with perfect white balance. And everyone’s favourite feature, portrait mode, is back and it’s better and more badass than ever. What’s more, on the iPhone Xs, you can now adjust depth of field after you’ve taken your photo. This means that you can manually tweak until you’ve achieved a bokeh you’re proud of. Ten points to Depth Control!
The writer’s pet, shot by him on an iPhone Xs
Animoji and Memoji:
We’ve wasted far too much time obsessing over the Animoji and Memoji functions on the iPhone Xs, but it was totally worth it. Thanks once again to the TrueDepth camera, you can now create your own customised emoji that is more responsive than ever — it captures and analyses over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in more than a dozen different Animoji, including a panda, unicorn, and robot. But if you really want to stand out, it’s the Memoji you need to master. It’s like Animoji, but more personal, because it’s you! Memoji lets you create an Animoji that is the closest reflection of yourself, right down to customisable eyes, hair, even glasses. Watch out though, it’s a wormhole of endless hours of fun. You’ve been warned! (only on iOS 12)
Ready to be amazed? The iPhone Xs’s augmented reality (AR) function let’s you actually bring things into the real world, via your display. Say you saw a bag online that you wanted, but you couldn’t really tell just how big it was or how curved the corners were. Well, now you can. Websites and etailers (like Shopify) have begun rolling out the AR function. So when you’re browsing via Safari on your iPhone Xs and you see that bag again, click on the AR icon and the bag appears in the real world through your phone screen. Place it somewhere (a table, or the floor) and use the AR functionality to move it around, rotate it, or place it next to a real object for scale. Online shopping is never going to be the same again.
The iPhone Xs is undoubtedly the smoothest, most advanced phone we’ve had the pleasure of getting our hands on, of late. We’re still tapping into its vast potential daily, and despite using it for a few weeks, there’s still so much this beast of a phone is capable of. We went from falling in love with its golden sheen during unboxing, to obsessing over the quality of its photos and the responsiveness of its functionality. Plus, it’s taken our Insta-game up 100 notches too.
The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB capacity models in space grey, silver and a new gold finish starting at Rs 99,900 and Rs 1,09,900, respectively, at Apple Authorised Resellers.