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iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR: 5 things we love, 5 things we hate

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple released its latest trio of smartphones, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. And like every year, Apple did not fail to disappoint. While there absolutely awesome phones, that doesn’t mean we have zero complaints.


Here are five things we love, and five things we hate about the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.


Tons of color options

iPhone XR
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

In terms of color options alone, Apple tends to be a little conservative when it comes to iPhones. Sure, the iPhone 5c came in exciting colors, but that seemed to be a one-off event, with Apple returning to its more subdued line up the following year.

In 2018, however, it looks like Apple is ready to dip its toe back into the deep end. It released the new iPhone XR in six exciting colors. You’ll find the iPhone XR in black, white, yellow, coral, and blue. Oh, and we can’t forget about the red edition that’s being released at launch for the first time ever this year.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will continue to come in more traditional colors. This year you’ll find them in space grey, silver, as well as a new gold model.

Extra battery life

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you’re seeking a little extra juice, you may want to check out the 2018 iPhones. Apple has made hardware and software improvements to all three phones that will ensure you have plenty of battery life.

While the extra 30 minutes of power Apple claims you get on the iPhone XS isn’t that exciting, it’s definitely better than nothing. The real magic, however, is on the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR: Both phones will reportedly give you an extra hour and a half of power.

So much storage

Ready to store tons of photos or music? This year, Apple went all in on its storage options for all of its new iPhones. Both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are available with three different storage capacities: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.

The iPhone XR comes in three options as well: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB. While you will likely have plenty of storage with nearly any of these phones, you may want to buy one with a higher capacity since none of the phones have external storage slots.

Dual SIM support

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While Dual SIM support may not be exciting for most of us in the U.S., lots of iPhone users around the world are rejoicing. The iPhone XS and XS Max will be the first Apple handsets to support dual SIM technology.

Instead of just creating a hybrid SIM slot, Apple is following the Google Pixel 2’s lead. The iPhone XS and XS Max will have one traditional SIM along with one eSIM.

Most major U.S. carriers will support the iPhone XS and XS Max built-in eSIM later this fall so you’ll be able to easily activate service. That leaves the SIM slot open for international travel or if you’re in an area that doesn’t receive good service from your primary carrier.

Split view on iPhone XS Max

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The iPhone XS Max is the biggest that Apple has ever created and one of the biggest on the market. That means there is lots of extra screen real estate to work with.

Fortunately, Apple is putting that extra real estate to use. Once reserved for iPads, the iPhone XS Max will be the first iPhone to support a split view. That means we will finally be able to have two apps open side by side: A feature that’s been available on most Android smartphones for years.


No more headphone dongle

First, it was the headphone jack, and now it’s the dongle. The 2018 iPhone lineup (and iPhone 8 for that matter) will no longer include a headphone dongle in the box.

If you want to listen to music or movies on your phone, you’re left with two options. You can either embrace Bluetooth headphones, or pay Apple $9 for the dinky little dongle that used to come in the box gratis.

That camera bump

iPhone XR
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Let’s talk about the new iPhones. From the front they look sleek and gorgeous, but if you turn the phone over things quickly change. Yes, we’re talking about that ugly camera bump.

While Apple continues to update and refine its hardware, it just seems to ignore that ugly little bump that makes its phones wobble. Luckily, you’ll likely have a case that will balance things out for you.

The top notch is here to stay

iPhone XR
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Sure, it’s been a year since Apple brought the top notch to the mainstream, but that doesn’t mean we’ve grown to love it. Quite the opposite, actually, since we’ve seen other smartphone manufacturers find creative ways to minimize or eliminate the notch altogether.

The 5W adapter

Seriously, Apple? It’s 2018 and you’re still including a chintzy 5W charger with your iPhones, even though the entire lineup is capable of fast charging. While there were plenty of rumors that an 18W charger would come standard with the 2018 iPhones, we now know that is not the case.

iPhone XS Max Price

When Apple announced the iPhone X last year, it was one of the first smartphones on the market that managed to surpass the $1,000 threshold. The year, Apple’s pushing the envelope a little further with the iPhone XS Max.

The iPhone XS Max comes in at a staggering $1,100: That’s slightly less than the least expensive MacBook Pro. However, iPhones get long-term software support, so it’s not necessary to switch phones every year.

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Steven Winkelman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven writes about technology, social practice, and books. At Digital Trends, he focuses primarily on mobile and wearables…
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