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iPhone XS Max Review: The Phone I Hate To Love

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10:09   |   Sep 29, 2018

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iPhone XS Max Review: The Phone I Hate To Love
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  • (techno pop music)
  • - When Apple announced to the world
  • that the price tag on it's iPhone XS Max
  • would start at $1100, my reaction went like this.
  • Now that's not because I'm inherently averse
  • to four-figure smartphones.
  • As I said in my latest Samsung review,
  • the Galaxy Note9 packs in enough capability
  • to justify it's price.
  • But when Apple does it, it's different.
  • Because, let's get right into it, this is the company
  • that continues to ship these top-end phones
  • with the very slowest charger you can find.
  • You wanna a faster top-up,
  • that'll be $50 for the charger, please.
  • Oh, and don't forget the $19 cable, either,
  • which is also the only way you can connect to a new MacBook
  • without a dongle.
  • This is the company that, more than any other,
  • is responsible for the inconvenient omission
  • of the headphone jack on phones.
  • Until now, it's offered the convenience
  • of an adapter in the box,
  • so you can still use your own headphones.
  • Well, no more.
  • That'll be $9.
  • And while everyone else is standardizing
  • around USB-C for their charging ports,
  • Apple stubbornly sticks with it's own lightning port.
  • That means, when I go on a trip,
  • I can charge my Android phone, Bluetooth headphones,
  • laptop and gaming console, all using a single cable.
  • When I toss in an iPhone, not so much.
  • And so the question then becomes,
  • how, despite all of this, is Apple
  • still a trillion dollar company?
  • Or maybe, more directly, why do people keep buying iPhones?
  • (rock music)
  • You don't need to look any further
  • than my own comment section
  • to see the reflexive answer to that question,
  • that the company's customers are sheep
  • who will buy anything with an Apple logo on it.
  • Obviously, that's garbage.
  • The truth is tougher for some to swallow.
  • This, right here, really is
  • one of the best smartphones you can buy.
  • And even as someone who prefers Android,
  • I'm here to tell ya, it's better,
  • in some ways, than your Android phone.
  • Take the screen.
  • DisplayMate says the OLED panel on the iPhone XS Max
  • has close to textbook perfect calibration and performance.
  • But that's not really all that special.
  • You can also get a nearly perfect display
  • on the aforementioned Galaxy Note 9.
  • Where Apple stands out is
  • in how it builds that display into the phone.
  • Almost everyone has a notch in their phones thee days,
  • but Apple is one of the only companies I've seen
  • that doesn't also introduce an unsightly chin
  • below the display.
  • That's because Apple's design
  • folds the OLED panel back on itself
  • giving more room for the display controller
  • which, no doubt, increases the cost of manufacture.
  • Also driving up those costs
  • is the reason the notch is there in the first place.
  • An improved cluster of cameras and sensors for Face ID,
  • which lets you unlock the phone just by looking at it.
  • This is the first year Apple
  • is replacing fingerprint sensors with Face ID
  • across the whole lineup.
  • Well I kinda ranted about that when the news first broke,
  • a week with the phone has gotten me used to it.
  • Watching all my waiting messages unlock
  • as the phone recognizes my face
  • still feels like wizard magic.
  • And while I still think fingerprint sensors
  • are more convenient, Face ID is now
  • fast and reliable enough that,
  • if you told me I had to use it exclusively,
  • I could live with it.
  • Also faster and more reliable, wireless charging,
  • which I had to use in a hotel room recently
  • because I'd forgotten to pack a lightning cable.
  • (slow upbeat music)
  • The iPhone XS Max scores another win with iOS 12.
  • Gestures were introduced in last year's iPhone X,
  • but they've been honed here.
  • It's now much easier to trigger reachability
  • with a swipe down on the gesture bar
  • which brings notifications within range of your thumb.
  • Those notifications are also now grouped
  • into batches by app, making them much easier to deal with.
  • I've really gotten into the swing of fast app switching
  • by swiping on the gesture bar.
  • And it's just as handy today
  • as it was when palm first introduced it back in 2009.
  • And, while iOS's system-wide back gesture isn't new,
  • it's especially handy on a phone as big as the Max.
  • You just swipe from the left side to go back
  • in basically any app.
  • It's great.
  • I'm also seeing what others have reported
  • since iOS 12 dropped.
  • Performance is very fast, in particular
  • with respect to launching the camera,
  • which we'll come to in a second.
  • Battery life is also quite good.
  • The XS Max usually got me to bed after a 14-hour day,
  • with about 20% remaining.
  • In my kind of usage, which is heavy on
  • streaming audio over Bluetooth,
  • that endurance puts this iPhone behind Huawei and Blackberry
  • and slightly ahead of the Galaxy Note9.
  • I still have all my usual issues with iOS.
  • The boring grid of apps.
  • The lack of customizability.
  • The confusing button assignments
  • and the strangely unbalanced looking power screen.
  • It's like they didn't finish it.
  • And Siri continues to kind of wallow along
  • as a sometimes helpful, but usually not, sidekick.
  • But making up for all that
  • is a catalog of higher quality apps
  • that are almost always more fully-featured to use
  • than their Android counterparts.
  • The exceptions tend to be Google apps
  • like YouTube Studio, which stutter more on the iPhone.
  • As I say, that's all familiar stuff
  • but the silicon driving the experience is brand new.
  • Apple's new A12 processor is built
  • on a seven nanometer process, which is
  • technically, very interesting, but we're tight on time,
  • so I'm gonna skip past it and just tell you
  • that it powers everything from the dialer app
  • to the enhanced camera features.
  • The former produces the very same crisp quality voice calls
  • as the prior model,
  • while the latter, well, take a look.
  • (techno music)
  • To give the iPhone XS Max the full credit it deserves,
  • this is a camera I'd trust with almost any task
  • I usually come upon.
  • And, as you saw before, that includes
  • filming a walk and talk on a suburban sidewalk.
  • The ad spot you'll see at the end of this video
  • has some excellent slow motion clips
  • from the XS Max to go along with this one.
  • And if you need more features
  • than the simple camera app offers,
  • there are plenty of options in the app store.
  • But by now, you've probably heard of
  • the strange beautification effects
  • the new HDR mode has on selfies.
  • More annoying to me is that this phone
  • still doesn't do portrait shots any better than most,
  • glasses or headphone wearers be forewarned.
  • And even though the lighting effects are now,
  • apparently, out of beta,
  • well, it doesn't always seem like it.
  • ( )
  • Anecdotally, in some side-by-side shooting
  • with the Galaxy Note9, I found colors more accurate
  • and appealing from the Samsung device,
  • a sentiment many of you agreed with on Instagram.
  • And I found Google's Pixel 2
  • still gave me the more visually-satisfying shots
  • on the whole, even if it's using heavy processing to do it.
  • (techno music)
  • There's so much more to say about the iPhone XS Max.
  • And, if you want a true deep dive
  • by the very epitome of an Apple connoisseur,
  • I learned a ton from Renee Ritchie's 26-minute video
  • over at Vector, which I'll link you to in the description,
  • along with the written review at iMore.
  • But as happy as the iPhone XS Max
  • will make the devout Apple user,
  • I just can't get past that price tag.
  • Look, there are great arguments for the Apple ecosystem,
  • from the awesome backup and restore,
  • to the focus on privacy,
  • and, more shallowly, this phone just looks and feel so good.
  • But we used to be able to buy these benefits
  • for like half of what the iPhone XS costs.
  • And we used to enjoy more attention to detail in return.
  • Those portrait errors I talked about,
  • the curious asymmetry of the bottom speaker grilles,
  • the way you can barely feel the joint
  • between the steel rail and the glass back on your palm.
  • Those are tiny little quibbles, yeah,
  • but they're exactly the kind of details
  • that Apple of old used to obsess over to justify its prices.
  • Forgive the generalization,
  • but the new Apple just seems to be happy charging you more,
  • while, in some ways, offering you less.
  • While I'm sure the company is right
  • that many people are already
  • plunking down the dollars for that privilege,
  • it's not for me.
  • Not when there are phones across the aisle
  • in the Android world, that cost almost universally less,
  • offer a much wider array of exciting diversity,
  • and which, most importantly,
  • let you live your mobile life your way.
  • And, just like I said on the Galaxy Note 9 review,
  • a glass phone is still a glass phone.
  • So protect it with a special case
  • from today's sponsor, Tech 21,
  • at a special price for Mr. Mobile viewers.
  • Tech 21's EVO Check cases come in fun new colors
  • and the pure soda trims even have built-in bubbles.
  • Bubbles, because, soda, get it?
  • More importantly, Tech 21 cases
  • pack impact-absorbing materials
  • called flex shock and bullet shield,
  • that are as tough as they sound.
  • They're drop-tested 20 times to keep your phone protected
  • from drops over 10 feet,
  • and they don't interfere with wireless charging either.
  • Get 15% off your Tech21 case for the iPhone XS,
  • or almost any phone, at the link in the description below.
  • And thanks to Tech21 for sponsoring this video.
  • As always, folks, there was a lot to cover in this video,
  • and I didn't get to cover nearly half of what I wanted to.
  • So hit me up in the comments, or, on these social channels,
  • with questions I may not have gotten to in the video.
  • And if you're a XS Max owner,
  • I especially wanna hear from you.
  • Let me know how you feel about the biggest iPhone yet.
  • Until next time, thanks for watching.
  • And stay mobile, my friends.
  • (electronic music)

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Description

A long video for a big phone: the iPhone XS Max Review is here!
Sponsored by Tech21. Use code MRMOBILE-15 for 15% off cases ( http://bit.ly/mrmob_ipxs ) and screen protection ( http://bit.ly/iphonexs_screen )

[iPHONE XS MAX REVIEW]

The iPhone XS Max does everything Apple set out to do. It crams a colossal screen into a manageable casing; gives it a battery big enough to last all day despite that display; and it brings improvements in everything from the camera to Face ID to iOS itself to fashion a worth competitor to that “other” gigantic phone across the Android aisle: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9. But the iPhone XS Max also carries a price tag starting at $1099, and despite how many people will buy it at that price – I can’t say I’ll be one of them. Join me for the iPhone XS Max Review!

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[ABOUT THIS VIDEO]

MrMobile’s iPhone XS Max Review was produced following eight days using an iPhone XS Max review device purchased by Mobile Nations. Retail device running final software. Tested on Project Fi / T-Mobile US in Greater Boston, MA and New York City, NY.

[LINKS]

iPhone XS / iPhone XS Max Review [iMore]:
https://www.imore.com/iphone-xs-review

iPhone XS / iPhone XS Max Review [Rene Ritchie]:
/watch?v=5Z1YSZh51uY

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