iPhone XS & XS Max Review: What’s the Word? 

Why Buy?


Great camera Still pricey
Long battery life Not much battery improvement over the X
High performance Cameras slightly worse than the 11 
Brilliant display
Improved FaceID
Impressive water resistance
Strongest phone screen
Fast charging capable
Come with iOS 12 installed 

The iPhone XS and XS Max are both a great deal right now – and have decreased in price to $485 and $587 from their retail price of $1,099 since the iPhone 11 came out. 

If you’re looking for great battery life, a solid camera, and the strongest iPhone screen yet – the XS is perfect for you. For a bit higher price, you can elect to go with the iPhone XS Max, which features a larger screen and improved battery life.

This iPhone XS’s quality and value make it an extremely good purchase. In fact, in 2020, we are confident that this is the best used iPhone you can buy right now.

Shop used iPhone XS today for high-quality phones with 30+ functional tests, comprehensive cosmetic inspection, 2 month warranty, 14-day money back guarantee, optional damage protection plans, and cash or trade-in credit for your used iPhone.

iPhone XS Features: What It’s Equipped With

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the iPhone XS with the iPhone XS Max:

iphone xs review

iPhone XS

  • AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
  • GSM & CDMA Unlocked
  • Silver
  • 64GB
  • Premium Pre-Owned
iphone xs max review

iPhone XS Max

  • AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
  • GSM & CDMA Unlocked
  • Space Gray
  • 64GB
  • Premium Pre-Owned


iPhone XS

iPhone XS Max

Price (New) 64GB: $999

256GB: $1,149

512GB: $1,349

64GB: $1099

256GB: $1,249

512GB: $1,449

Price (Used) 64GB: $484.99 64GB: $556.99

256GB: $597.99

Operating system iOS 12 iOS 12
Camera Front Camera: 7MP

Dual Rear Camera: 12MP & 12MP

Front Camera: 7MP

Dual Rear Camera: 12MP & 12MP

Display 2436 x 1125 2688 x 1242
Pixel density 458 PPI 458 PPI
Storage Capacity 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
Processor A12 Bionic A12 Bionic
Network Gigabit LTE Gigabit LTE
Waterproofing IP68 water-resistance rating IP68 water-resistance rating
Home button? No No
Battery 2,658 mAh 3,174 mAh
Screen size 5.8” Super Retina OLED 6.5” Super Retina OLED
Weight 6.24oz 7.34oz
Color options Gold, Silver, Space Grey  Gold, Silver, Space Grey 

iphone xs vs iphone xs max review - features breakdown

iPhone XS Review: Features Breakdown 

Operating System: Brand New iOS 12

The iPhone XS and XS Max came with an operating system upgrade to iOS 12, which paved the way for helpful new features, including: 

  • Screen time feature: Tracks and reports how much time you spend on your device each day, breaking down activity for individual apps. Helps you manage your screen time by providing a weekly summary of your usage.
  • Grouped notifications: In order to address how messy the notifications looked up until iOS 11, iOS 12 supports grouped notifications. You can dismiss all notifications from one app at the same time if you choose. 
  • Animoji with tongue detection: The amount of Animoji characters has increased, adding a ghost, koala, tiger, and tyrannosaurus rex. Additionally, Animoji can detect and mimic when you stick your tongue out. 
  • Memoji: These are custom emojis that you can design to look like you. Choose from ranges of skin color, hairstyles, head coverings, and accessories. 
  • Group facetime: One long-awaited feature added with iOS 12 is the ability to facetime with more than one person. Hop on FaceTime with as many as 32 people on one call, and bring the whole group together, no matter where on Earth you all are. 
  • Measuring app: This AR feature allows you to easily measure the size of a room or furniture, and more – paving the way for AR platforms in the future. 
  • Photos: Now search suggestions are offered such as sharing photos with friends who were at the same event, or filters and effects you might want to apply. You can also search for photos based on who or what is in them – and your iPhone will find related videos and photos. Try typing in “dog”, and find all the pictures of your fur baby easily.  
  • Shortcuts: For those who are busy, shortcuts are extremely helpful. You can string together multiple actions by pushing one button. This is also set up as an automatic app with iOS 12.

Storage: What Are My Options 

The iPhone XS and XS Max are available with 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. We recommend at least 256GB, as software updates, videos, pictures, apps, and other stored documents can add up. If you plan on getting the most out of your iPhone, you should plan ahead when it comes to storage. 

Additionally, the iPhone XS comes with dual SIM support. This is incredible for those who travel or use one device for personal and work. This allows you to manage two numbers or two different data plans from the same device. If you travel internationally often, keep the same phone on you, and simply change the SIM card your phone is using. 

Design: How Different is it from the iPhone X?

The XS is more or less the same in design as the iPhone X. They’re the exact same size, but the XS is also available in gold as well.

It includes the standard Lightning Charging Port, and has no headphone port – but instead connects with AirPods for a smooth wireless headphone experience. 

The iPhone XS speakers have been given a substantial upgrade. The volume and clarity are very impressive for streaming, talking on speakerphone, and for playing music.

There are no changes to the screen or pixel density from the iPhone X to the XS. The XS features an OLED that contains 2436 x 1125 resolution and 458 PPI. Changes did come in the form of improving the dynamic range of the display -making more of the color spectrum visible. Apple boosted the dynamic range by 60% to make the HDR 10 and Dolby Vision effects more impressive. 

Apple upgraded the glass on the iPhone XS screen to be “specially formulated” as the strongest smartphone screen ever. Additionally, the iPhone XS is IP68-rated, meaning your phone can survive in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. If you are someone who enjoys playing music in the shower, they have also made the screen easier to use with slightly wet fingers.

Battery Life & Charging: How Long Will It Last? 

The iPhone XS battery is longer lasting than the iPhone X by 30 minutes. If you are upgrading your phone from any other phone other than the iPhone X, you’ll notice a huge difference in battery life. 

Wireless charging is once again a feature included in the iPhone XS, and also supports extremely fast charging with the purchase of a 18W USB‑C power adapter for the Lightning Port.

The iPhone XS is a perfect example of how hard Apple is working to make charging quick, easy, and convenient – while also improving battery life. 

Camera: Capture All of Life’s Memories 

With the release of the iPhone XS and XS Max, the camera did not receive a huge upgrade from the previous iPhone X, but the camera is still really good. 

Changes include an increase in the size of the pixels to allow greater sensitivity to light, for better low-light photography. The sensors did not change and remain at f/1.8 aperture for the wide-angle and f/2.4 for the telephoto lens. These both contain optical image stabilization and a 1.4nm pixel size. 

Smart HDR was an added feature which essentially combines better autofocus and a stronger image processor (the A12 Bionic chip). 

The front camera boasts a 7-megapixel camera with RGB sensor, f/2.2 aperture, IR camera, and a structured light transmitter. 

All of these camera upgrades make for better autofocusing, lighting adjustments, and clearer photos and videos any time of day, in any lighting. Forget about seeing a sunset and a photo failing to capture its beauty. 

iPhone XS Pros & Cons 

Pros Cons
IP68-rated for water resistance up to 6 feet for 30 minutes of submersion  No lightning port to headphone jack adapter included
Beautiful OLED screen with great brightness and contrast Design is no different than that of the iPhone X
Great cameras in both the front and the back and stereo speakers improved Faster C-Drive charger not included
Dual SIM support The iPhone XS battery is smaller than the previous model X’s battery
Industry-leading A12 Bionic chipset

Overall, the iPhone XS is a strong improvement over the X, and can hold its own against the newer, more expensive iPhone 11 – check out our review here

The upgraded battery life and charging time make it one of the best batteries on the market. The high quality photo and video cameras on both the front and back of the phone allow you to easily capture high-quality footage in almost any type of lighting. 

iOS 12 equips you with even more handy features that make user experience more interactive and seamless than ever.

On top of that, the IP68 water resistance is top of the line, and when you combine it with Apple’s strongest screen ever – the iPhone XS is the most durable iPhone yet. 

Lastly, the ability to support dual SIM cards is highly convenient, particularly for business people or those who travel often. 

iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max: What’s The Difference?

The first obvious difference is that the iPhone XS Max has a larger screen, but with the same pixel density.

The battery life is also improved with the XS Max versus the XS. The talk time of the iPhone XS battery is up to 20 hours compared to the iPhone XS Max’s 25 hours based on wireless talk time. With internet use, the iPhone XS Max’s lasts up to 13 hours as compared to the iPhone XS’ 12 hours.

The iPhone XS Max has two nano-SIM card slots. But the smaller-sized iPhone XS has room for one nano-SIM card so you will need to have an eSIM if you want to use a secondary SIM with that device.

Both phones are a great choice depending on what you’re looking for. If you don’t need the dual SIM cards, for around $60 more, you can purchase a used iPhone XS Max and get more battery life and a larger screen. 

Is the iPhone XS the Best Used iPhone in 2020?

The iPhone XS is without a question the best used iPhone in 2020, at least in terms of features. The 11 is still too new for many people to be trading it in, meaning used ones are far and few between, and the price is still high. 

Should I Buy an iPhone XS in 2020, Is It Worth It? 

When it launched, the iPhone XS was the best phone that Apple ever made. It has a faster processor, an extremely durable screen, improved battery life, and an impressive camera. 

Aside from the brand new iPhone 11, many still consider it to be the best iPhone on the market. Because many people upgraded immediately to the 11, there are tons of premium used iPhone XS and XS Max models at affordable prices. 

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Buy A Used iPhone XS Online | Glyde

Shop cheap used iPhones online with Glyde and save hundreds on trusted Apple products. With over 30+ quality checks for each phone, a 14-day back guarantee, up to 2-year damage protection plans, and cash or credit for your old phone – Glyde is the best place to buy used phones.

Trade In Your Used iPhone & Upgrade

Upgrading your phone is a satisfying feeling. But you know what makes the feeling even more satisfying? Getting paid cash for your used phone. Start your upgrading journey today by taking a quick trade-in quiz and get paid fair value to sell your iPhone.

iPhone XS FAQ: What Else Should I Know?

Have more questions before making a decision on the iPhone XS? We’ve got the answers: 

Is the iPhone XS still worth buying?

The iPhone XS is still one of the most powerful iPhones on the market and now at an even better price than ever before. The best way to get the most out of your iPhone XS is to purchase one used online from a trusted source like Glyde. 

How much does the iPhone XS cost used?

Used iPhone XS models start at $484.99 and the XS Max starts at just $597.99. But, you can easily save even more money on your used iPhone by trading it in for cash or store credit. 

Is the iPhone XS waterproof? 

With an IP68-rating for water resistance, your iPhone XS can survive in water up to 6 feet deep for 30 minutes of submersion. It’s not suggested you bring it in water for extended periods of time, but if you drop it in a bit of water – you don’t have to fret. 

Should I get the iPhone XR, XS, or XS Max?

If you want to save the most while sacrificing a few features, then the XR is the best option for you. 

If you want the incredible camera and dual SIM capability of the XS and XS Max, then those are the better option for you. 

When it comes to XS versus XS Max, you will need to decide if you want a larger phone – as that is truly the only notable difference between the two. 

Is the iPhone XS camera the best camera on an iPhone?

The XS camera is no comparison to the new tri-camera on the iPhone 11 Pro, but it is certainly close to the quality of the new iPhone 11 camera. Aside from these two newest models, the iPhone XS has one of the best iPhone cameras. 

Bottom Line on the iPhone XS 

If you’re looking for the most value on an iPhone, the XS might be the right choice for you. Its features speak for themselves, and it can hardly be beat in price. If you can settle for a slightly worse camera than the 11, you could save hundreds buying used phones online. With a price tag starting at $485, it’s hard to find a better iPhone for less. 

Learn More About Used iPhones

Still need more information to find the best used iPhones for you? Here are some product reviews and guides that can help you narrow down your search and select the best phone: 

Shop Used iPhones Online | Glyde 

Want to find the best deals on high-quality, trusted used iPhones? At Glyde, we work with trusted suppliers to help you save hundreds on like-new iPhones models. With 30+ quality checks, damage protection plans protection, a money back guarantee, and some of the best prices anywhere – Glyde has everything you need to get the most out of your used phone. 

Browse our collection of pre-owned phones to find the exact model you’re looking for based on storage, model, color, and more. Get started, and trade in your old phone for cash or credit – then use it towards a premium pre-owned phone to save even more. Don’t wait, upgrade to the exact phone you want today and save hundreds.  

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  1. June 27, 2020
  2. July 2, 2020

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