iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr (and 7 & 8) -- Which is Right for Me?


Apple has just released brand new iPhones, including the Xs (pronounced "ten S"), Xs Max, and Xr. It's also still offering both the iPhone 7 and 8, while killing off the small-sized iPhone SE — making Apple's iPhone line-up its largest ever, both in physical size and number of options available. Read on for a quick buyer’s guide!

iPhone Xs — this phone is the successor to last year’s iPhone X. Sleek and elegant in every way with its edge-to-edge display, glass front & back, and stainless steel sides, the iPhone Xs feels like a truly premium handset. It has a gorgeous Super Retina OLED display with deep & rich colors (think Plasma TV compared to LCD). The double camera on the back takes stunning pictures, especially with the portrait mode that now has an adjustable depth of field. The Xs also features the same Face ID authentication system of its predecessor, a super convenient way of unlocking your phone without mussing with fingerprints or passcodes. I’d recommend this phone highly to anyone who wants a premium iPhone experience in a mid-sized device that can still be used mostly one-handed. The Xs starts at $999.

iPhone Xs Max — the Xs Max is identical to the Xs, except it’s bigger! Whereas the iPhone Xs features a 5.8” display, the Xs Max offers a massive 6.5” display. To imagine the size of the Xs Max compared to the Xs, think of the size of the iPhone 6 Plus, 7 Plus, or 8 Plus compared to their standard-sized counterparts. This phone is perfect for folks who are wanting to get as much screen real estate as possible on their iPhone, either for viewing photos & video content or for those who need larger text for reading. The Xs Max starts at $1099.

iPhone Xr — the iPhone Xr is Apple’s newest design, offering many of the features of the Xs at a more affordable price point. It sports a similar all-screen display and Face ID as that of the Xs, and you can choose from 6 sweet new aluminum finishes. The phone is about the same physical size as the 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus, with a nearly edge-to-edge display that gives you 6.1” of viewable screen. This means it will feel a bit larger and clunkier if you’re used to a mid-sized phone like the standard-sized iPhone 6/7/8. The display on this device is an advanced LCD called Liquid Retina, not as gorgeous as the Super Retina screen in the Xs, but quite beautiful nonetheless and a definite step up if you only had an iPhone 6 or earlier previously. The camera on the Xr is only a single camera, compared to the double camera on the Xs, but they compensate for this with some fancy technology that gives the ability to adjust the depth of field through software. I recommend the Xr for anyone who wants the latest iPhone tech but doesn’t want to pay $1000+ for a cell phone. ;) The Xr starts at $749.

iPhone 8 — Apple does still sell the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 is the final iteration on the form factor offered since the iPhone 6. The 8 has a 4.7” LCD display while the 8 Plus has a 5.5” display. Both have the classic home button with Touch ID. I would only recommend the 8 or 8 Plus if you’re not tempted by the latest features and price is a concern. The iPhone 8 starts at $599.

iPhone 7 — iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the iPhones released 2 years ago. They will be a year older, slower, and $150 cheaper than the 8, starting at $449. Since cell phones are generally only relevant for 2-4 years tops, I’d recommend against getting one of these unless you must.