iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 7 Plus – How Do They Compare?

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 09/03/19 •  8 min read

Apple has introduced its flagship smartphones for 2018 and the biggest and best on is the iPhone XS Max. It’s an absolute BEAST of a phone with an edge-to-edge display that reaches 6.5in. That’s the biggest ever in an iPhone.

The XS Max succeed the Plus series in previous models. But Apple is still keeping those Plus models around at cheaper prices–including the two-year-old iPhone 7 Plus. But just how does it compare to the new XS Max? Let’s take a look.

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 7 Plus Specs (Quick Comparison)

iPhone 7 PlusiPhone XS Max

Display: 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 LCDDisplay: 6.5-inch 1242 x 2688 OLED 
Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (188g)Dimensions: 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm (208g)
Storage Options: 32/128/256GBStorage Options: 64/256/512GB
Camera: Single lens 12MP Camera: 12MP + 12MP, OIS, Wide-Angle Lens
Battery Size: 2900mAhBattery Size: 3174mAh
CPU: A10 FusionCPU: A12 Bionic
Wireless Charging: NoWireless Charging: Yes
Water Resistant: NoWater Resistant: Yes - IP68


A big difference in design is that the iPhone XS Max lacks a Home button. The iPhone 7 Plus still has the Home button we all know and love. This means the iPhone 7 Plus also still has Touch ID. The iPhone XS Max lacks Touch ID and replaces it with Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system. The rest of the features of each phone’s display and design are relatively the same: both have 3D Touch displays, and NFC.

And while both phones are waterproof, the iPhone XS Max is rated IP68, which means it can stay submerged for 30 minutes up to two meters deep. The iPhone 7 Plus is rated IP67, which means it can stay submerged for 30 minutes up to one meter deep.

One more thing on design–while both models come in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, only the iPhone 7 Plus comes in Rose Gold–still a stunning color.

Winner? iPhone XS Max – It’s a work of art compared to the 7 Plus.


iPhone xs max white
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The largest difference between these two giant phones is in their display. The resolution of the iPhone XSMax’s screen is a breathtaking 2688×1242-pixels at 458ppi edge-to-edge OLED. Compare that to the iPhone 7 Plus’ 5.5in display with a 1920×1080-pixel resolution at 401ppi. But the iPhone XS Max’s display is even more impressive considering its edge-to-edge. Further, because it’s edge-to-edge the iPhone XS Max can actually fit a larger usable display into a footprint a bit smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus.

Winner? iPhone XS Max – Its Display Is Bigger And More Beautiful.


As far as the CPU is concerned, the new XS Max has a better processor than the iPhone 7 Plus. The XS Max features the A12 Bionic chipset–and upgrade over the 8 Plus’ A11 Bionic. The new A12 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores. The GPU now has 4 cores. Finally, the Neural engine now has 8 cores for machine learning and is almost 10x faster. Apps launch almost twice as fast on the XS and Machine Learning runs nine times faster on 1/10th the energy. In other words, the A12 Bionic absolutely flies.

Winner? iPhone XS Max – It’s 50% More Powerful Than iPhone 7 Plus.


iphone 7 plus camera
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Where cameras are concerned, the iPhone XS Max and iPhone 7 Plus are fairly identical. Both feature a 12MP wide-angle and telephoto dual-lens rear camera that offers optical image stabilization and optical zoom. However, the iPhone XS Max features dual optical image stabilization, whereas the iPhone 7 Plus only considers single optical image stabilization.

Both also feature the same front camera, a 7 MP sensor that also records 1080p HD video. However, the iPhone XS Max’s front camera has a few more tricks. It can use Apple’s new Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji features of iOS. The iPhone 7 Plus’s camera doesn’t have access to those. An, of course,e the iPhone XS Max’s front camera is a TrueDepth camera for Face ID support.

Winner? iPhone XS MAX has a vastly superior rear camera; it’s more powerful and captures significantly better images. Video is also a lot better too.

Storage Options

As for storage, the XS Max offers three sizes: 64, 256, or 512GB. The iPhone 7 Plus only comes in 32 or 128GB.

Battery Life

iPhone xs max all
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The iPhone XS Max has just a slightly larger battery than the iPhone 7 Plus. But it doesn’t make that much of a difference as far as usability is concerned between both devices. Here’s how the battery life compares between the two in Talk Time, Standby Time, Internet Use, Video Playback, and Audio Playback:

One of the major differences in the power department, however, is that the iPhone XS Max features wireless charging–something the iPhone 7 Plus does not have.

Winner? iPhone XS Max – It Has Better Battery Life Than iPhone 7 Plus


Unlocked the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus will cost £569 (32GB) and £669 (128GB). The 6.5in iPhone XS Max will cost cost £1099 (64GB), £1249 (256GB), or £1449 (512GB). Needless to say, that is a HUGE price difference. But the differences in tech are also immense.


That premium for the iPhone XS Max does get you a massive amount of more stuff including a bigger display and a sexy new design, wireless charging, an insanely faster processor, more storage, an OLED display, and Face ID. If that appeals to you, the answer to which to buy is clear.

When it comes to design, display, and processing power, the choice is clear: go with the iPhone XS Max. It’s the more modern of the two phones and its power as a workhorse can’t be beaten by the iPhone 7 Plus.

Another option worth considering, however, is picking up a newer refurbished iPhone – something like the iPhone X or iPhone XR, which you can get for 40% less than retail via Gazelle, our #1 pick for refurbished iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs.

MORE: Find Out What The Best Value iPhone is Right Now

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 7 Plus Specs & Features (Full Comparison)

iPhone 7 plus
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Here are the specs for the iPhone XS Max:

And here are the specs for the iPhone 7 Plus:

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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