Need some help? Call 0203 869 4251 | Lines open until 6pm


iPhone XS Max Review | Is Apple’s most expensive iPhone worth it?

If the beautiful 5.8 inch display of the iPhone XS just doesn’t cut it for you, and only the best possible big screen iPhone experience will do, then you need the iPhone XS Max. But be warned you need deep pockets.

And I don’t just mean it’s an expensive phone, you will actually need deep pockets. This is a big phone. In many ways you’re getting exactly the same kind of performance as you would from the smaller iPhone XS but just with an incredibly luxurious big screen, which measures in at 6.5 inches. If you’re coming from one of Apple’s Plus size phones, you will not need to adjust to the overall size of a XS Max too much. And as usual, Apple has made it possible to use one-handed mode for extra ease of use.

iPhone XS Max

Use your face, not your finger

What will take maybe just a little bit longer to adjust to is the lack of the home button with the fingerprint scanner hidden away within it. Instead. Of course, we have Apple facial unlocking tech tucked away inside the notch at the top of the screen. But once you’ve lived with the device for a few days, you feel right at home and you’ll be enjoying the new swipe gestures to get around the new version of iOS. For what it’s worth. I thought the facial unlocking on the original iPhone X was super-fast and accurate. But it’s been improved here. And it’s now even quicker than ever. It makes living with this device a real pleasure.

The display

So let’s take a detailed look at this display. This is of course an OLED panel, like the smaller iPhone XS, but not an LCD display, like the one you’ll find on the new iPhone XR, which we’ll come back to at the end of this review.

You can’t underestimate how impressed you’ll be when you first watch back some high definition content on the XS Max. So what makes this screen so good? Unsurprisingly, the OLED display produces blacks that no LCD can and the colours are beautifully balanced and natural on the XS Max. The other thing is there is no real area of weakness here to let down performance. So you have a one million to one contrast ratio with supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision.

Don’t forget you get the same 458ppi as the XS, and True Tone really does keep those colours looking natural throughout the day. Whether you’re indoors under artificial lighting or out and about. Viewing angles are excellent too and it’s worth remembering that the stereo speakers now have better separation and they really are excellent.

You can watch back content on that amazing screen and know that the stereo speakers won’t let down the performance.

iPhone XS Max

The camera

The camera tech is seriously impressive. You’ll get even better photos from the XS Max than from the iPhone X. This is because we’ve got more processing power under the hood and the addition of HDR, which really does help with bringing additional clarity to images when you need it. The two 12 megapixel lenses give you a really solid base for getting incredibly good DSLR-like shots. I find the quality from the telephoto lens to be just as good as the wide angle lens which is something that you can’t say about all dual-lens systems.

Over on the front, the seven megapixel camera is excellent and great looking selfies are a doddle. You can even get that same focal effect with the blurry backgrounds in your portrait shots, albeit not to the same high standard as with the main rear camera setup.

iPhone XS Max photo


For me though, the most impressive aspects of this amazing camera tech is what you can do with video. Very few phones have ever been able to capture super smooth video in 4K and the XS most certainly does. It’s amazing actually. Slow motion video is also really impressive. And defaults at 240 frames per second, 1080p. If you enjoy capturing high quality video, the XS Max really is the one you want. And of course you can watch it back on this gorgeous screen.

iPhone XS Max camera

Battery life

But nothing is perfect. So where does this XS Max fall short? Well, the battery life is reasonable. A full day of normal use isn’t a worry, although for phone this size with a new A12 Bionic processor on board, I was hoping for a little bit more. Currently the longest lasting iPhone battery-wise is the iPhone XR.

It’s big and expensive, but then again it is the best spec iPhone available

Let’s not pretend that this phone is anything other than extremely expensive. Sure, it’s premium in terms of spec. Probably the most premium phone on sale right now. But here’s the thing, the size of the overall device won’t be for everyone. As I mentioned at the beginning of this video, if you’re coming from a plus size phone, you’ll be fine. But for me, I just find it a little bit too big to comfortably carry around. I prefer the pocket ability of the regular XS and even the XR and that’s where things get interesting too. Because if you don’t mind dialling down the premium materials, camera and screen tech, you can get an amazing deal with the XR, especially if you want to get more than just the basic amount of storage.

Before you pull the trigger on a XS Max, definitely check out our review of the XR it might surprise you just have capable it is for the price.

View the latest iPhone XS Max deals.

Got a question about the iPhone XS Max? Fire away in the Comments below or tweet us on Twitter.

Subscribe for mobile news, tips and exclusive offers straight in your inbox

Head to directmobiles.co.uk for the best smartphone and SIM only deals

Visit our YouTube channel Direct Mobiles TV for the latest smartphone reviews

Follow us and never miss an update…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/directmobilesuk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DirectMobilesUK
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/directmobiles/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/direct-mobiles-uk/
The DMob Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/7mTrNvRCXWWnkGilycRL7s
Amazon Alexa: Just say “Alexa, enable Direct Mobiles” or https://amzn.to/2HiksLD 

Do you want the latest smartphone news, reviews and exclusive offers straight in your inbox? Subscribe to the Direct Mobiles Newsletter.

More from Direct Mobiles

iPhone 11 green

iPhone 11 Review

A worthwhile iPhone upgrade It seems like every Apple iPhone launch is the tech event of the year, a chance to rip up the rulebook

Read More »