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iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: Detailed Comparison

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  • 7 min read

For the second year, Apple has released three new phones simultaneously. Except for the increasingly complicated names, this year’s iPhone line is arguably the most complex so far! The three new iPhones share a lot in common, with only minor differences here and there.

In this post, we compare the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR over these ten parameters to help you decide which one to pick.


iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: 10 similarities and differences

The iPhone XS and XS Max continue the $1000+ trend, with the base model (64 GB) priced at $999 for the iPhone XS and $1,099 for the iPhone XS Max.

If you’re willing to spend, you can pick up the 512GB model priced at an outrageous $1,349 and $1,449 for the XS and XS Max, respectively.

However, the iPhone XR might interest you if you’re on a tight budget. Priced at $749 for the 64GB variant, this might be the best bang for the buck in the current iPhone lineup.

Also read: How to check your iPhone’s battery health? Tips for a longer battery life


Apple iPhone XR, XS, XS Max and Watch 4: Price, preorder and features

The XS and XS Max both feature a beautiful Super Retina OLED display. The XS has a 5.8-inch display of 2436 x 1125 pixels, while the XS Max has a mammoth 6.5-inch display of 2688 x 1242 pixels. Both devices have an identical pixel density of 458ppi.

Things get more interesting with the iPhone XR. The XR sports a Liquid Retina LCD, which Apple calls the “Most advanced LCD Display on a phone”.

The display specs out at 6.1 inch LCD with a resolution of 1,792×828 pixels with a pixel density of 326ppi. However, at the price it will be sold, a screen that isn’t even Full HD is disappointing.

All three phones have a True Tone display and the same max brightness. The XR, however, lacks a 3D array.

Also read: Pre-order the Apple iPhone XR from October 19


iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: 10 similarities and differences

All three phones are pretty much the same concerning design and overall looks. They still have the same notch as the iPhone X, alongwith a similar basic design.

The only difference here is the size, being 5.9 x 3.0 x 0.33 in, 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 in and 6.2 x 3.0 x 0.3 in for the XR, XS and XS Max, respectively.

The iPhone XS weighs about 177gm, and the XS Max is slightly heavy at 208g. Both phones, however, have an identical IP68 water resistance rating. The XR has a somewhat low IP67 rating and weighs about 194g.

The iPhone XR brings a splash of colour to the lineup this year. While the XS and XS Max are available in your standard iPhone colours (Gold, Rose Gold, Black), the XR is available in a range of bright, splashy colours like Yellow and Blue.


iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: 10 similarities and differences

Rear Camera

Apple has always had some of the best smartphone cameras. This year’s lineup is no exception to this fact. The XS and XS Max sport an identical Dual 12MP wide-angle (f1.8) and 12 MP telephoto (f2.0) lens camera setup.

You get the fantastic Portrait mode along with 2x optical zoom, dual optical image stabilisation, and Smart HDR.

The XR, however, only gets a single wide-angle lens identical to the one on the XS and XS Max. It has an updated version of the software Portrait mode that can capture an image with the bokeh effect.

As far as video recording capabilities go, all three phones are identical. They can capture 4k at 24, 30 or 60 FPS and 1080p at 30 or 60 FPS.

Slow motion recording is available on all three devices with support for 1080p at 120 or 240 fps. Time-lapse recording capabilities stay intact. Oh, and the stereo audio recording is finally here!

Front Camera

Interestingly, Apple made no compromises on the front camera between the XS, XS Max and the XR. They all feature the same TrueDepth 7 MP f2.2 camera with Retina Flash and Portrait Mode. Animoji and Memoji are also available with the iOS 12 update.

Also read: iPhone’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi don’t turn off via control centre of iOS 11


iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: 10 similarities and differences

The iPhone XS and XS Max are available in 64, 256 and 512 GB variants, while the iPhone 0XR is available in 64, 128 and 256 GB.


Apple claims that the iPhone XS will last about 30 minutes more than the iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max about 1.5 hours more than the iPhone X, and the iPhone XR about 1.5 hours more than the iPhone 8 Plus.

All three phones have wireless Qi charging, which is supposed to be faster than the iPhone X. They are also quick charge capable, with up to 50% charge in 30 minutes.

Apple claims a talk time of 20 hours on the XS and 25 hours on the XS Max and XR.


iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: 10 similarities and differences

The XS, XS Max and XR are all powered by Apple’s latest and greatest A12 Bionic chip featuring a next-generation neural engine.


Once again, all three phones are identical in this area. They come with a three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and barometer.


Last but not least, Apple has finally caught up and now offers a dual-sim setup on this year’s iPhone lineup, which includes a nanoSIM and eSIM — except for China, where two nanoSIM slots have been provided.

The XS and XS Max feature Gigabit-class LTE while the XR has 4G-LTE Advanced. All three devices have identical connectivity options like 802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO, NFC Readers, WIFI calling, Bluetooth 5.0 with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS and VoLTE.


iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR: 10 similarities and differences

All three phones have an identical authentication procedure, FaceID. Apple claims that it has reworked the FaceID authentication stack to make it faster, more reliable and more secure.

Which one should you buy?

I’ll break it down into three simple points

  • If you want the biggest iPhone screen ever – iPhone XS Max
  • No compromise camera and 2x optical zoom – iPhone XS or XS Max
  • Latest budget iPhone or the best value for money – iPhone XR

If you are still in love with the Home Button, iPhone 7 and 8 are still around. They’re still above-average phones, and with all the price cuts and discounts, now might be the best time to buy them.

You might also like: iOS 12 compatible devices: iPhone, iPad and iPod

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: