When thinking of buying a new phone, it’s always good to consider old flagship phones that may be worth purchasing today. The iPhone 11 (September 2019) and the iPhone XS (October 2018) were once the best that Apple had to offer and are still great devices to have, especially with the bonus of a more affordable price tag compared to the release price.
While some manufacturers will roll out new phones that are barely different from the previous model, there were quite a few changes implemented between the iPhone XS and iPhone 11. These include upgrades in size, display, camera, performance, battery life, and colors. Keep reading to learn more!
What’s the difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XS?
Between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XS, there’s no clear winner on which is better. Benefits in some areas are balanced by cons in others. Consider what qualities are most important to you and check out the differences in the two devices below!
Size & Durability
Compared to the iPhone 11, the iPhone XS is ever so slightly smaller, thinner & lighter. The iPhone 11 measures 5.94 x 2.92 x 0.33 inches, while the iPhone XS is 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches. In terms of screen-size, this equates to a diagonally 6.1-inch screen on the iPhone 11 and a 5.8-inch screen on the iPhone XS.
While both phones are a sandwich of glass on the front & back and metal in the middle, the actual metal used differs between the two. The iPhone 11 is made of aerospace-grade aluminum, while the iPhone XS is made of surgical-grade stainless steel. The softer aluminum means that the 11 is slightly more prone to dents and scuffs than the XS.
Still, both phones have an equal IP68 rating in terms of splash, water, and dust resistance. Both can withstand up to 2 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
As stated above, the newer iPhone 11 has a slightly bigger screen than the iPhone XS. There is also a difference in the display technology. The changes are mostly imperceptible to the naked eye unless one really knows what they’re looking for, but the contrast is there.
Surprisingly, the older iPhone XS has the superior display. It has a sharper resolution, as well as a higher pixel density. The iPhone XS has a 2436-by-1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi. The iPhone 11 has a lower 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi.
Additionally, the XS’ OLED display allows it to show rich color and deep blacks. While color accuracy is comparable on both phones, the iPhone 11’s LCD display means that blacks won’t look perfect when placed in dark rooms.
The iPhone 11 has a slightly bigger screen than the iPhone XS.
Overall, the main difference would be that, when placed side-by-side, the iPhone XS will show bolder, sharper displays, but only if you really look closely.
Unsurprisingly, Apple gave the iPhone some new camera features when they released the iPhone 11 after the iPhone XS.
Though, not necessarily an upgrade, the camera system between the two differ most significantly. Both have dual rear cameras, with one of them being the standard Wide lens. For the iPhone 11, the other lens is an Ultra-Wide. For the iPhone XS, it’s a Telephoto lens.
Which lens is better will depend on the intended usage. For those who like capturing wide-angle shots, such as of expansive landscapes, then the Ultra-Wide on the iPhone 11 would be great to have. On the other hand, those who anticipate needing to zoom in a lot for footage may be better off with the XS’s Telephoto lens or paying extra for the iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, which includes that lens. Without that Telephoto lens, the device’s digital zoom for photos goes from 10x to 5x.
The iPhone XS’s dual-camera system includes a Wide lens and Telephoto lens.
Besides that difference, the iPhone 11 does have some clear upgrades. The 11’s camera system has Night Mode and Deep Fusion, as well as a brighter True Tone flash than the XS.
The iPhone 11 also fares better when it comes to the front camera. Front camera photos are higher quality on the 11 (12MP photos versus 7MP). Additional features include 4K video, slo-mo video, and QuickTake video.
Released a year apart, the 2019 iPhone 11 has the advantage in performance compared to the 2018 iPhone XS, as is expected with most new Apple releases.
With the release of the iPhone 12 and its A14 Bionic chip, the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic chip with third-generation Neural Engine is no longer considered the fastest smartphone chip in the world. Still, it is 40% more efficient than its predecessor, the A12 Bionic chip, which is found in the iPhone XS.
- iPhone 11: A13 Bionic chip with third-generation Neural Engine
- iPhone XS: A12 Bionic chip with second-generation Neural Engine
For those worried about how long their device will last during the day, there is a phone between the two that fares better. The newer iPhone 11 has an extra 3 hours of video playback over the iPhone XS. Specifically, the iPhone 11 has up to 17 hours of video playback, while the iPhone XS has up to 14 hours.
The iPhone 11’s battery life for video playback (streamed), or video downloaded and watched over the internet, is 10 hours. Apple didn’t start reporting this until 2019, so the official number for the iPhone XS is unknown.
The iPhone 11 also has longer battery life for audio playback: up to 65 hours compared to the iPhone XS’s 60 hours.
Color & Capacity Options
While they don’t affect the performance of the device, a big interest to some may be the color or capacity options that each iPhone has. The iPhone 11 has double the color options compared to the iPhone XS, with no overlapping colors. The iPhone XS comes in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. The iPhone 11 comes in Purple, Yellow, Green, Black, White, and (PRODUCT)RED.
While the iPhone XS has fewer options in colors, it does have an option that offers more storage than the 11. Both models offer 64GB and 256GB options. However, between the two, only the iPhone XS has a 512GB option and only the iPhone 11 has a 128GB option.
Ready to buy an iPhone 11 or iPhone XS?
After considering the differences between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XS, you can decide which model is best for you and then start the next step of purchasing the device!
If you’re looking to save money without sacrificing quality, consider pre-owned iPhones as opposed to buying a brand new device. While the iPhone 11 can be found at a majority of retailers, the iPhone XS is officially discontinued by Apple, making online marketplaces like Glyde the best place to find, compare, and purchase either device.