The thing is, we're still in the middle of testing our iPhone XS and XS Max -- you can expect our full, detailed review soon. In the meantime, we've picked up on a few things that you should definitely keep in mind before these new flagship phones go on sale.
Living the Max life
The iPhone XS is an incredibly fast, highly polished machine, but let's face it — everyone wants to talk about the iPhone XS Max. I can't blame them, either: making big versions of phones isn't new for Apple, but cramming an 6.5-inch Retina display into a phone sure is. This is the largest screen the company has ever squeezed into an iPhone, and much like last year's iPhone X, it's absolutely lovely to look at.
Actually using it, however, can be a different story. For people with massive hands, the Max is a no-brainer. Everyone else should be prepared to shimmy their hands up and down the phone a lot. Even though the Max is roughly the same size as the iPhone Plus models we've seen over the years, the lack of bezels around the screen mean you'll actually have to stretch your thumb a little more to reach items at the top of the display. I strongly, strongly prefer phones that don't force to you use them with two hands, but the iPhone XS Max often left me with no choice.
People without the same hang-ups will probably find a lot of pleasure in watching HDR movies (with improved stereo sound, no less) on this huge display, and using certain apps in a multi-paned landscape mode is genuinely helpful sometimes. Still, if you've ever looked at a big, older iPhone and felt an anticipatory cramp in your wrist, you're better off buying an iPhone XS... or waiting for the less expensive iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS and XS Max both use Apple's new 7nm A12 Bionic chipset, and it's definitely a powerhouse — the company says the A12's twin "performance" cores are up to 15 percent faster than last year's A11, and the built-in GPU is nearly 50 percent faster compared to the original iPhone X. That means snappier all-around performance (especially in graphically intense games), though you might be hard-pressed to spot the difference if you splurged on an iPhone X last year. I didn't notice a huge leap in performance when launching apps and zipping through iOS 12 on the iPhone XS, but it's there if you're willing to look for it. Of course, that was entirely by design.
The chipset was designed with a more pronounced focus on graphical performance and machine learning, so gorgeous games and apps that need to run complex ML algorithms on the phone stand to benefit the most. (Obviously, we'll dig deeper into how the A12 Bionic handles those in our full review.) There's no question that the XS and XS Max are the fastest phones Apple has ever made, but you'll really notice those performance gains in specific situations.