iPhone XS Max Complete Walkthough (& Tests)

Apple just released three new iPhones and one thing is for sure, if you didn’t like the look of the iPhone X, well, you’re going to have to learn to.

Regardless, I managed to get my hands on an iPhone XS Max and an iPhone XS and figured as is the usual here on this channel I’d try to go complete walkthroughs on them both. If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on my channel is where I try and go through every feature and test I can on the device so you guys are more prepared should you be in the market to buy one.

With that said, here’s the link to the iPhone XS walkthrough I posted yesterday and today we have the iPhone XS Max. Fair warning to those that watched the XS video, this is going to be very similar since they are very similar devices.

First, up all of the phones from the XS, to the XS Max, and the XR coming out later, now sport the same look overall as the iPhone X from last year complete with a notch for the facial recognition sensors, an end to end screen, etc. According to Apple though, the scratch-resistant glass on the front and back for the XS and XS Max is the “strongest ever on a smartphone”.

(Now, as I mentioned in my XS video, I can attest to is pretty strong as my XS Max slid off a high top table at a bar the first day I got it and committed suicide for no reason. Both the XS devices seem more slippery than the X it seems to me if that’s even physically possible).

To my surprise though, I picked up the Max and the only damage was a little bit of paint missing from two of the corners. I was annoyed that it slid off the table but also sort of impressed.

And since both the XS and XS Max are made out of the same materials I’d say they’ve both handle pretty well.

The XS Max comes in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold–with the gold being the color I have here.

The XS Max comes in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GBs of storage with no expandable memory as usual.

And there’s no getting around it, design-wise it is identical to the iPhone XS but just made larger and the XS is basically identical, in design in design again, to the iPhone X.

The dimensions on the XS Max compared to the X (which I’m assuming you’ve at least seen somewhere before researching if you wanted the XS Max) are that it is the same thickness at 7.7mm, but it’s 6.5mm thicker and 13.9mm taller. In fact, sizewise it’s very similar to the iPhone 8 Plus–with just a millimeter difference give or take in each dimension. Also, it’s about 6 grams heavier than the 8 Plus and about 30 grams heavier than the iPhone X

We have the same 7MP f2.2 front-facing camera that we had on the iPhone X.

The screen beneath is a massive 6.5″ AMOLED 1242 x 2688 resolution 19.5:9 aspect ratio display capable of playing HDR10 content. Because of this resolution and despite its larger size it has the same pixel density as the X and XS. Apple also claims that the XS Max (and XS) can display 60% greater dynamic range than the iPhone X.

We still have the same Wide Color Gamut which shows more ranges of colors, a True Tone display which uses the ambient light to adjust the screen to be more color accurate, 3D touch, and our oleophobic fingerprint resistant screen.

The facial recognition features are supposedly faster thanks to a faster software. And, I have to say that in my testing, it is faster for sure.

The iPhone XS Max is now IP68 instead of the IP67 of the iPhone X so that means 2 meters underwater for 30 mins versus the 1 meter before (although Apple still does not recommend testing this in any way).

Sound-wise we have dual stereo speakers like the iPhone X but, according to Apple, they have “wider stereo sound” thanks to more powerful speakers.

Inside the device, we have the new A12 Bionic compared to the A11 Bionic. It’s the industry’s first 7nm chip, with a 6-core CPU (2 performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores), 4-core GPU (50% faster than the A11 GPU), and an 8-core neural processor dedicated to machine learning. The A12 can process 5 trillion operations a second compared to the 600 billion of the A11.

For the camera, we have a dual 12MP camera setup similar to the iPhone X, with one being a wide angle and one being a 2x telephoto. The difference is that they managed to put in a slightly larger sensor behind the lenses with slightly larger pixels. The iPhone XS Max has a 1/2.55″ sensor instead of the 1/3″ of the X and we have 1.4-micron pixels vs 1.22-micron pixels of the X.

Both cameras are optically stabilized still like the X (thankfully).

The true-tone flash has been improved for better color reproduction.

And Apple says this and the XS are the first iPhones to use the Neural Engine in conjunction with the ISP (image signal processor) to do facial mapping and automatically perform red-eye reduction since it can see where the eyes are, as well as better segmentation off hair and foreground vs background for portraits, etc.

This combination apparently also allows for what Apple is calling Smart HDR. In their presentation, this sounds a lot like what HDR does on most phones now where it takes multiple photos at different exposures and combines them algorithmically to create the most balanced shot from pieces of each.

Here are some sample photos on the X and the XS Max:

You can now also adjust the bokeh after the fact (something that other companies have had for a while but is great to see on the iPhone finally).

Video-wise we have 4 microphones for recording better stereo sound and we also have the ability to shoot in HDR and have extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps.

Check out a frame from the X and the XS (same camera as the XS Max) below for the difference:

Battery life has apparently been increased by 1.5 hours on the XS Max over the X (whereas the XS gets 30 mins more than the X) thanks to the larger battery ever in an iPhone at 3174mahs. So I tested it, and here are the results:

And they claim it has better wireless charging, as well. And, turns out it is up to 80% for the XS at least, but the X beats the XS to 100%.

Gigabit LTE is finally available on the newer iPhones, as well which means you’ll not only get faster speeds, but you’ll also get better coverage thanks to thinks like 4×4 MIMO which uses multiple antennas to get better signal compared to older iPhones (and again is something we’ve seen and I’ve even done videos on here if you want to learn more about it). Here is a speed test I did with the XS, X, and Note9:

The iPhone XS Max is also dual SIM capable now, so you can use two SIMs with two phone numbers on the device at the same time. Something that’s a bit more important overseas where you might cross country lines and need a different carrier as you do more so than here in the US.

They do this by using the eSIM technology that they’ve been pushing for some time now in their iPads and Watches. Essentially, you have your normal NanoSIM but then there’s a virtual SIM in the device that you can configure for whatever carrier you want that is capable of supporting eSIM. Then you can set them up as different names and whenever you get calls or texts, it’ll notify you as to which one it’s coming from.

In China though, they’ve created a dual physical SIM system since China can’t support eSIM yet and you just have to get a special model that has the dual SIM tray (I bought the iPhone unlocked and mine didn’t have it so be aware of that).

And we have the usual Bluetooth 5.0, Wifi802.11ac, and NFC for Apple Pay, etc.


As for software, the device is running iOS 12 and there isn’t any feature in it that is going to only be on this device that isn’t on the X (except for the adjusting of the bokeh in portrait mode after the photo is taken because Apple likes to withhold these things so you upgrade it seems) and since iOS 12 is out and on most iPhones now apparently chances are you’re used to how it works etc.

Really quickly then, for those of you that this might be your first iPhone without a home button, I’ll do a super fast overview of the UI.


So compared to home button touting iPhones, you now navigate the system using gestures on all the new iPhones.

Firstly, to unlock the phone you can either tap the power button on the right or just raise it while looking at it (contrary to what some people think who haven’t used one of these you do not need to raise the phone to your face–just lift it up as if you were going to use it normally).

At this point, the idea is that you swipe up from the bottom to get to the home screen and face unlock should have already recognized you by then. You can tell when it does recognize you though, by the lock logo at the top showing unlocked. When this happens, if you don’t swipe up and have notifications, it’ll now show the content instead of hiding it.

Once on the home screen, you’ll see all of your apps as icons on a series of screens you can swipe to the left to get to, you can tap and hold on them to reorder them, drag them on top of each other to create folders that then can be swiped through as well, or tap the x to delete them from the phone.

You can also 3D touch on an app icon, which means touching with increased force, to get some quick actions for that app if they are supported by the developer of the app.

Swiping to the right, you get to your widgets, which bring info to the screen from apps that support them without having to open the app. You can tap edit at the bottom here to reorder these, add new ones, or remove them.

On the home screen, you can swipe down to get to the universal search which lets you find apps, websites, etc.

When you’re on any page that isn’t the home page, you can swipe up from the bottom of the phone to get back to the home screen or swipe up and hold it there to get to your multitasking view. In here you can swipe left or right to switch between apps and even swipe up to close them.

Swiping down from the top right of the screen (in the gap between the notch and the edge) will give you the control center which you can use to quickly access settings like Wifi, brightness, Bluetooth, volume, etc.

Swiping down from anywhere on the notch or to its left and you’ll get your notifications that you can tap to interact with, swipe to dismiss, or 3D touch to get quick actions for.

And that’s a quick rundown of the software, as if you’ve used any recent iPhone as I mentioned, you’ll have iOS 12 and the settings, apps, etc. will all be the same. Maybe in the future, I’ll do walkthroughs on iOS versions as they’re released like I used to. Let me know if that’s something you’d want to see.

Otherwise, there you go!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.