iPhone XS Max Vs. iPhone 8 Plus – The iPhone XS Max is a massive phone. It’s the largest of the three iPhones Apple released in 2018, which makes it something of a successor to the iPhone 8 Plus, even though it has more of the iPhone X’s specs.
Not only is the handset big, it’s also hugely popular, even in 2021, you could say iPhone XS Max is a worthy competitor to the likes of iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.
The iPhone XS Max is an expensive device, but with a constant slew of iPhone Max deals you can usually find it for a lower price than it launched at, and that’ll be the case even more during Amazon Prime Day sales.
To help you get a grip on Apple’s massive phablets, both the old and the new, we’ve compared both iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS Max to see what’s changed exactly, and work out what you’ll receive for the huge price tag Apple has put on the iPhone XS Max.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Design and Build
These two phones look very different. The XS Max keeps the design first seen on the discontinued iPhone X and enlarges it to a 6.5in screen, the largest ever on an iPhone.
Thanks to the tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio it’s slimmer than you might imagine. The iPhone 8 Plus has a 16:9 screen and is a whole inch smaller at 5.5in. Because of the aspect ratio differences, the phones are nearly the same size despite looking very different.
In fact, the iPhone XS Max is shorter and thinner than the 8 Plus and only 0.2mm thicker, which you won’t even notice. But to achieve this size it has a notch at the top of the display to hold the camera and Face ID sensors.
The bezels on the iPhone 8 Plus recall the classic iPhone design and means it still has the home button, something the XS Max lacks.
You get a stainless-steel rim around the XS Max and an aluminum one on the 8 Plus, the latter being a bit more grippy. Neither phone has a headphone jack, with only a Lightning port on the bottom.
And the colors differ too. The iPhone XS Max is available in silver, space grey and gold, while the iPhone 8 Plus comes in all those and also adds red to the mix.
The XS Max is the better looking for sheer futuristic allure, but the 8 Plus is still a very premium device.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Display
Both these phones have big screens, but the iPhone XS Max’s is by far the largest at 6.5 inches, while the iPhone 8 Plus is 5.5 inches.
The XS Max is also higher resolution at 1242 x 2688 and 458 pixels per inch, compared to the 1080 x 1920, 401ppi display on the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone XS Max has a narrower aspect ratio too, and it uses OLED, while the iPhone 8 Plus has an LCD display.
The difference in display tech means you can expect better contrast and more vibrant colors from the XS Max.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Camera and Battery
Both the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone 8 Plus have a dual-lens 12MP rear camera, powering things like optical zoom and portrait mode, but the iPhone XS Max has optical image stabilization on both lenses, while the 8 Plus has it on just one.
There are other improvements to the iPhone XS Max’s camera too, including new features like the ability to adjust the depth of field after you’ve taken a photo.
There’s less difference around the front though, as both phones have a TrueDepth front-facing camera, which allows for depth-sensing in Portrait Mode and powers Face ID.
The iPhone XS Max spots a 3,174mAh Li-Ion battery capacity, and has endurance rating of 79hrs. The iPhone 8 Plus meanwhile has a 2,691mAh battery, which we found in our review amounted to all-day life, but not much more.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Software and Apps
Both phones will run iOS 12 very smoothly. The main difference is on the iPhone XS Max you have to use swipe gestures in the UI as you haven’t got a home button. Swipe up to go home, and swipe up and hold to view the app switcher are the main things to learn, with a pull down from the top right to access the control centre.
On the 8 Plus, the home button and swipe from the bottom from control centre are still in place as they have been for some time.
The Face ID camera array on the XS Max can record Memoji and Animoji as it can scan your face in 3D – the 8 Plus can receive these creations, but can’t create them.
Otherwise, you don’t lose out on much by having the cheaper 8 Plus – it’s mainly Face ID and the novelty emoji fun you can have with it.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: OS and Power
A new year means a new chipset, in this case you’re getting the A12 Bionic in the iPhone XS Max, while the iPhone 8 Plus has its predecessor, the A11 Bionic. That’s no slouch, but you can expect truly top-tier power from the iPhone XS Max.
Specifically it’s up to 15% faster and up to 50% more energy efficient – depending on which combination of its six cores are in play. The GPU and neural engine have also been vastly improved for the iPhone XS Max.
There’s less difference when it comes to the operating system. The XS Max ships with the iOS 12, but you’ll be able to update the iPhone 8 Plus to match and both are upgradable to the latest iOS 15.
|Display:||Super Retina OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 625 nits (HBM)||Retina IPS LCD, 625 nits (typ)|
|Resolution:||1242 x 2688 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio||1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio|
|OS:||iOS 12, upgradable to iOS 15.1||iOS 11, upgradable to iOS 15.1|
|CPU:||Hexa-core (2×2.5 GHz Vortex + 4×1.6 GHz Tempest)||Hexa-core (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral)|
|GPU:||Apple GPU (4-core graphics)||Apple GPU (three-core graphics)|
|Memory:||64GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM, 512GB 4GB RAM||64GB 3GB RAM, 128GB 3GB RAM, 256GB 3GB RAM|
|Main Camera:||12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS|
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.4″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom
|12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), PDAF, OIS|
12 MP, f/2.8, 57mm (telephoto), PDAF, 2x optical zoom
|Selfie Camera:||7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard)||7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard)|
|Wi-Fi:||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot|
|Battery:||Li-Ion 3174 mAh, non-removable (12.08 Wh)||Li-Ion 2691 mAh, non-removable (10.28 Wh)|
|Sensor:||Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer||Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Price and Availability
The iPhone XS Max went on sale on 21 September 2018 and costs from $1,099 for the 64GB model. However in 2021, the 64GB model now cost around $449.
The iPhone 8 Plus now costs less than it did at launch, now starting at $349 for 64GB, with a 256GB version available too. Even at launch it was less than the iPhone XS Max.
As you can see, the XS Max is quite a lot more than the 8 Plus.
The iPhone 8 Plus is the most capable iPhone remaining with the home button and no notch. It’s got good battery life, dual cameras and a still-fast processor. With full support of the latest iOS for a few more years, it is by no means a bad choice.
But the iPhone XS Max one of the most powerful iPhone ever. It has a taller, larger, better OLED display, Face ID, and faster performance.
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