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HomeGeneralThree new iPhones reviewed: Faster, bigger, cheaper

Three new iPhones reviewed: Faster, bigger, cheaper


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The iPhone X is dead. Long live the iPhone X!

What I mean by that, of course, is that the new 2018 iPhones are named (and designed) to be tuned-up versions of last year’s iPhone X. There are three of them: one faster, one bigger, and one cheaper.

Here they are:

iPhone XS. Incredibly, Apple capitalizes it like that—XS—but somehow expects people to say “10 S” instead of “excess.” Anyway, this model is last year’s iPhone X—same size, price, and screen—with some upgraded components, as described below. Costs $1,000 to $1,350 (for 64 to 512 gigabytes of storage—yes, 512 gigabytes, which is laptop territory).
iPhone XS Max is the exact same thing, but bigger. It’s basically the size of past year’s Plus models—but because Apple eliminated the margins above and below the screen, the screen is much bigger. For something that’s 6.5 inches diagonal, the Smax (as some are calling it) feels surprisingly small in the hand. Maybe that’s because it gains its area mostly in height, not width. It costs $1,100 to a staggering $1,450.

iPhone XR. The R could stand for “reduced price” ($750 and up) or “rainbow colors”—it’s available with a back panel in black, white, red, yellow, coral, red, or blue. Then “10 R”’s size is halfway between the XS and the Max. Yes, it’s 25% less expensive, and most of what you sacrifice, you probably won’t miss: it comes with a fantastic LCD screen (rather than OLED technology) and doesn’t have a Force Touch (pressure-sensitive) screen. The only painful loss is iPhone X’s dual lenses on the back, one of which is a 2X zoom.

Those are insanely high prices; that’s the way phones are going these days (see also: Samsung and Google). But it’s worth pointing out that Apple is keeping the iPhone 7 and 8 models alive, for a lot less money: $450 and $600, respectively.

The “cheap” one, the XR, won’t be available until October, and Apple didn’t provide samples to reviewers. It did hand out some beautiful, shiny new XS and XS Max phones for reviewers to try.

What’s new
If you had to describe new X-class phones, you’d use a lot of the same language people used last year to describe the iPhone X:

All screen. There’s no empty space above or below the screen. More screen, less phone. Better yet, the XS models are OLED screens—the stunning colors and deep blacks (million-to-one contrast ratio!) of organic LED technology. And oh, man, on that XS Max model—that much OLED is truly glorious when you’re looking at movies and pictures. Of course, this means the controversial “notch”—the gap in the top edge where the cameras and sensors hide—is on all three of the new models.

No home button. You use various swipes and side-button presses to perform the functions of the old Home button. Here’s my complete list of the new gestures.
Face ID. No more fingerprint reader. Instead, the phone has a face scanner that unlocks the phone when it recognizes you. Apple says that it’s faster on the new models, but it was exactly the same as the iPhone X in my tests. In iOS 12, released on Monday (here’s my review), you can train your phone to recognize a second face.
Wireless charging. “Wireless charging” these days means putting your phone on a special charging pad instead of plugging in a power cord. Apple uses the same charging standard that Samsung and other companies use, called Qi (pronounced “chee”). You can use any company’s Qi charger; for example I like one from Anker, which simultaneously props up your phone so you can use it as a clock or watch a video. (Over a year ago, Apple said that it was developing a charging pad of its own, but it never came out, and has been mysteriously deleted from the Apple website.)
The iCamera
You won’t find much in the way of new capabilities or features in these phones. It’s all under the hood—and a lot of it is about photography.

I’m not sure why we even call these things phones anymore; the last thing most kids do with their phones is talk into them. Really, a better name for the iPhone would be iCamera. It is, Apple says, the most used camera model on earth.

Apple made some small changes to the wide-angle lens on the back (the 2X zoom lens is the same). It does better in low light.

But the bigger news is brought to you by the faster set of chips inside, now called the A12. Apps open much faster than they did on the iPhone X, videos export faster, that kind of thing. Nobody was complaining about the speed of existing iPhone models, but now app writers have some headroom for more demanding tasks in the future.

The A12’s prodigious number-crunching prowess also makes possible what Apple calls Smart HDR.

HDR has been around. It stands for high dynamic range. Turns out that a camera sensor still isn’t as sensitive as your eyeball. The sensor can’t take in as wide a range of brights to darks. So canny photographers take several photographs of the identical scene at different exposures—one too bright, one too dark, one in the middle—and then use software to combine them to produce a complete spectrum of lights and darks.

Today’s phones and cameras can do that automatically—and the new iPhones take the concept a step further, not only combining multiple exposures but performing dozens of other analysis and adjustment steps in the process.

Source: Yahoo Finance