[First cut] iPhone XS: “X” on the outside, “S” on the inside

Cannot see the change? It lies within!

by: - Last updated on: September 28th, 2018

Apple launched a new generation of the iPhones this year and we could smell 2017 in the air. The company, just like last year, launched three devices out of which two sported dual cameras and one carried a single lens. And just like last year where the design of one of the phones (iPhone X) stood out, this time too one did (surprise, surprise, it was the iPhone XR). And while the iPhone XS Max also dipped its toes in the “design changes” pool, just a little this time, there was one device which was just interested in sunbathing – the iPhone XS. It took a lot of vitamin specs, making it stronger on the inside as compared to the iPhone X and all the sun also reflected its tan (golden) shades on its body, but hey it did seem so much like more of iPhone X sameness.

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iPhone X, where’s the ‘S’?

Confession: we were actually very tempted to just go with our first impressions of the iPhone X here. Let’s not kid ourselves: the two devices are pretty much THAT identical in terms of looks. But then for those who have been living under a rock and decide to come out only to read the first impressions of the iPhone XS, here goes nothing.

Just like the iPhone X (and we will try to resist the temptation to use that sentence opener), the front of the iPhone XS is almost all covered with the display, paired with the (in)famous notch. The notch holds the front facing camera, stereo speaker and microphone along with a bunch of sensors. The crowd might hate them and Apple may have slimmed them down to the best of its capability, but the iPhone XS still comes with very thin, but visible, bezels around the screen.

We received the Space Grey variant of the device, and therefore, even flipping the phone around did not give us major iPhone XS feels (those who get the gold one might get them). On the top left side of the glass back, Apple has placed the vertical capsule shaped primary camera unit that juts out big time (again). A little down south towards the right is the company’s logo in reflective silver color, creating a good contrast with the color of the back. There is also iPhone marking placed a little above the base of the smartphone.

Glass on the front, glass on the back and sandwiched between the two layers is the stainless steel silver frame of the device. The left side of the iPhone XS carries the ring/silent toggle which is followed by the volume buttons. On the right, the phone holds the side button (aka the lock/ power button) below which is the SIM card slot. The top of the smartphone is bare while the base brings the Lightning connector, the microphones, and the other stereo speaker.

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But looking like its predecessor ain’t necessarily a bad thing. At 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm and 170 grams, the iPhone XS, just like its predecessor, sits beautifully in the hand. Those who still have their hands glued to a metal back might find the phone a little slippery but there is no second guessing that the iPhone Xs has set the bar pretty high when it comes to premiumness and hand feel.

iPhone X, here’s the ‘S’

It might all seem way too similar on the outside but it is the insides that truly matter and the iPhone XS definitely comes with some very notable changes as compared to its predecessor. The display is not one of them – it is identical to that of the iPhone X in terms of specs, at least. The 5.8-inch Super Retina HD, all-screen OLED multi-touch display comes with 2436 x 1125‑pixel resolution. That said, the company claims to have improved the brightness, colors, and contrast on the iPhone XS.

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Now here comes the big change — the device runs on Apple’s latest A12 Bionic chipset with next-generation Neural Engine. The company claims that the chipset is the “smartest and the most powerful chipset” and is supposed to be 50 percent faster than the already fast A11 Bionic chip.

The smartphone comes with same number of megapixels as the iPhone X in the camera department. The iPhone XS sports a combination two 12-megapixel sensors for its primary camera where one is wide angle lens (f/1.8) and the other is a telephoto (f/2.4). For the primary camera, it offers a 7-megapixel sensor (f/2.2). It also offers 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. Apple says that the new chip will also make a significant difference in camera performance, be it in Portrait Mode or in terms of good old speed (of photography and processing).

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In the battery zone, the company claims that the iPhone XS can last up to 30 minutes more than the iPhone X. It might not seem like a lot but certainly should make a difference for heavy users. The smartphone also comes with 50 percent faster-charging capabilities as compared to its predecessor, and also has support for wireless charging.

The phone comes with IP 68 rating which makes the phone dust and water resistant, a step up from IP 67 last time around, which means you can let the new iPhone go a little deeper in the water. It runs on iOS 12 and sports sensors like FaceID, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor amongst others – and face unlock we are told will work faster than before. The connectivity options on the device include Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. A major change on the iPhone XS is dual SIM support. While there is only one physical slot for a SIM card, you can use an eSIM for another network connectivity.

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The price remains on the stiff side too, starting at Rs 99,900 in India. There may be no difference in the looks of the iPhone XS as compared to the iPhone X, but the company claims to have improved every aspect of the phone as compared to its predecessor, and that processor especially is supposed to make a massive difference in terms of performance. Just how much of it is actually true, you can find out in our detailed review. As of now, we can say that the iPhone XS is a lot of X on the outside, with some S on the inside. We have scratched the X surface (no, not literally), now let’s see how the innards perform. Stay tuned!

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