When last year’s Apple iPhone X was released I was thrilled with it due to the small overall size, large screen, minimal bezels, touch gestures, and more. Four months after I owned one I gave up Android as my primary platform and used the iPhone X until last month.
After using the Apple iPhone XS Max, see our full review, for the past two weeks it is time to send it back to T-Mobile. The large form factor offers nothing unique over the iPhone XS and even though I usually like big phones this 6.5 inch iPhone doesn’t excite me like the iPhone X.
Also: iPhone XS Max review: The iPhone’s future is big and bright
A plus-sized phone with no plus optimization
The iPhone Plus models of the past came with some functions found in the iPad, such as landscape home screen support, split-screen mode, and more extensive landscape support for apps. While the iPhone XS Max has a substantially larger display than the iPhone X/XS, none of these Plus features are supported.
The iPhone XS Max is just a bigger iPhone XS Max with the accompanying larger display and larger capacity battery. As Brandon mentions in the embedded video below, the XS Max battery capacity is only 19 percent higher than that found on the iPhone XS. This is a much smaller difference between standard and Plus models of the past.
Other big phones offer more
One reason my wife keeps using Samsung Galaxy phones is the better cellular reception, especially in weak signal areas. While I haven’t seen WiFi issues as some have reported, I have seen the Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei P20 Pro outperform the iPhone XS Max in terms of cellular reception.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 also offers something unique with the S Pen that helps justify the large size of the phone. Samsung also has higher screen density so you can see more on the phone while the larger iPhone XS Max doesn’t offer much of a difference over the iPhone XS.
The battery life of the iPhone XS Max is fine and likely to get you through a full day, but the Huawei P20 Pro can get you through two. The upcoming Huawei Mate 20 devices are also likely to be multi-day phones with massive battery capacity.
Thank you T-Mobile
I purchased the iPhone X last year using the T-Mobile Jump on Demand program and used that program to purchase the iPhone XS Max. Thankfully, I can return the XS Max today and then choose to keep my current iPhone X or switch to the iPhone XS. Given there is no difference in monthly payments, I am likely going to switch to an iPhone XS in a couple of weeks.
Given that you can switch every 30 days if you like, I could even make the jump to an iPhone XR. The XR is possibly going to be the most compelling iPhone this year with the lower price, vivid color options, and most of the internals seen on the iPhone XS and XS Max.
It is wonderful that the cameras and all internal specs, except the battery of course, of the smaller iPhone are the same as the larger iPhone since I hated that Apple required you to purchase the larger size phone just to get all that Apple had to offer in an iPhone. However, this year that means I will either keep my iPhone X or pick p the iPhone XS for the improved cameras, processor, and slightly higher water resistance.