iPhone XS (Max) Review

Hi guys, it's KJ the Mi Tech Guy here. I'm back home for MIT's winter period and CES is right around the corner so I'm pretty excited to push out a lot of content over the next month.

The iPhone XS Max is a phone that I find difficult to recommend sometimes, but still happens to be the phone that has my sim card in it. In fact, it has been my daily driver for the majority of the past three months. In this video, I won't focus much on the specs,but instead I'll go over the good, the bad, and everything in between of using the iPhone XS Max as my daily driver.
iPhone XS (Max) Review

Let's get right into it. My timeline of smartphone daily drivers has gone like this: In order, I used the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Note 4, Note7, S7 Edge *(Note 7 recall)*, S8+, *started YouTube* Note 8, Pixel 2 XL, S9+, One Plus6, Note 9, and finally the iPhone XS Max. If you noticed, the last iPhone that I reallyused as a daily driver for a significant amount of time was the iPhone 5, so I've been an Android guy for quite some time now.

Let me tell you what got me to switch forthe time being: I can't review any Apple product without mentioning the Apple Ecosystem. It is why time and time again, people are drawn to Apple products seemingly disregarding the absurd prices at times. But I understand those people. I own an iPad Pro, Mac Book Pro, and i Mac Pro,and especially as a student, it is impossible to express how much it has helped to have my lecture notes, homework assignments, photos, and Safari tabs synced between all of my devices through iCloud. Considering additional Apple exclusives like Memoji and Air Drop, being in the ecosystem is a very pleasant experience. I can even send and receive phone calls, face times,and i Messages from all of the devices.

The Apple Ecosystem has been a great thingfor quite some time now, but it still had not been so great that I had to switch. With the iPhone XS Max, the phone itself isactually what had drawn me in, not the ecosystem. When I first picked up the phone, I noticedhow solid the phone felt. Whether it was the gold stainless steal sidesor how well the phone fit in my hand, it just looks and feels like I a very premium device. And what I was missing last year was a devicewith a bigger form factor. The iPhone X was intriguing, but it just felttoo small for me. Now the XS Max has its impressive 6. 5 inchSuper AMOLED display that is easily one of the best displays on any smartphone this yearin terms of clarity and colors. Text looks crisp and all colors look greatin whatever media you're consuming.

It even gets plenty bright enough for outdoor use, as well as very dim for night time use. Pair this premium design with the A12 Bionic,which is still the fastest chip on any smartphone, and you get a phone that made me take a hardlook at it. The A12 Bionic, along with Apple's optimization and a decent 4 GB of RAM, makes everything so fluid on this phone.

From navigating between apps to scrolling through menus and social media, I'm hard pressed to find a smoother user experience on anyother device. Face ID has also been great. It’s something that I miss when I go too thee devices. With Face ID, I usually forget that the phone is even locked, and it just unlocks by the time I swipe up to unlock. Face I D even works in apps and web pages, which always helps me quickly log in. The efficiency in the processors also helps the phone with its battery life.

I am a heavy user with my smartphones, and since using this phone every day since launch, I've probably felt inclined to charge it only one or two times while I was still awake. Every other instance, it has made it through the day just fine, leaving me with usually upwards of 20% battery left.

The biggest surprise I had with this phone,was actually with its camera. The 12 megapixel cameras on the back of this phone have competed with the best of the best smartphone cameras this year. In my opinion, it is the clear cut 2nd best smartphone camera I have ever tested, and this is only because of how well the Pixels process images.

If you want to see for yourself how the iPhone XS Max's camera competes with other top smartphone camera systems, make sure to check out the camera comparisons I have out with the Note 9, Pixel 3 XL, and even last year's iPhone X. All in all, the iPhone XS Max captures solid video with decent stereo audio, and also has probably the best HDR capabilities of any phone thanks to its new Super HDR feature.

With the XS Max's camera system, you'll be satisfied with the images shot in any lighting condition, both indoors and outdoors. The first blatantly bad thing about the iPhoneXS Max is its price. It just costs too much money. Since it doesn't have expandable storage,if you want any more than 64 GB here in the U. You'd have to spend at least $1250. The price even goes all the way up to almost$1500.

That is just insane when there are phones like the One Plus 6T that can do 90% of what the iPhone XS Max can for less than half the cost. Top this off with the fact that Apple doesn't even include a headphone dongle or fast charger in the box, just makes the price seem border line insulting.

Up until the latest update a couple of weeks ago, my XS Max would go unresponsive maybe once a week for about a minute or so.

And with a product this expensive, hiccups like that are inexcusable, especially when they are there the first two or three months after release. Lastly, iOS is growing more and more outdated every year there isn't a major overhaul. iOS has been long overdue for major changes,and it’s a shame that no matter how good the chipsets and optimization is, we can't really use the phone to its full potential because of how limiting iOS is.

So the phone itself initially got me intrigued enough to give it a chance as my daily driver. But it was in fact the Apple ecosystem andthe other little things that made me enjoy the experience enough to continue to use itas my main phone.

Little things like having the content of notificationshidden until it recognizes your face, or being able to quickly activate reachability to usethe phone with one hand make the user experience feel seamless Then there are features like an integratedvisual voicemail system that automatically transcribes the audio for you or being ableto confirm Apple Pay purchases on your computer from your phone that I didn't know I'd everneed or want.

Then there's my ability to pair the phonewith by far the most advanced smartwatch on the market right now in the Apple Watch Series4, that make I think the most productive smartphone to smartwatch pairing possible.

Top this all off with the peace of mind thatyou'll be able to take your phone in to an Apple Store for any sort of assistance, andyou get a device that is not only a smartphone, but also part of an overall pleasant and premiumexperience.

So yeah, I still don't think that the iPhoneXS Max is the perfect phone by any means, it does have its flaws. It has a terrific camera system, the fastestchipset, and a premium design. But it's also very expensive and has a limitedoperating system that can't take advantage of the power onboard. So there are still many instances where Iwill not recommend someone get the iPhone XS Max.

However, to say that the iPhone XS Max isan overpriced piece of junk is just false. With a XS Max, you still get one of the bestcameras, best screens, stereo speakers, iP68 water and dust resistance, wireless charging,and Apple Pay. You're getting a very premium device to bea part of a premium Apple Ecosystem, and to many people who have experienced the convenienceof the Apple Ecosystem, the phone is well worth the price.

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