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 Plus||iPhone XS Max|
|Display: 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 LCD||Display: 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: 32/128/256GB||Storage Options: 64/256/512GB|
|RAM: 3GB||RAM: 4GB|
|Camera: Single lens 12MP||Camera: 12MP + 12MP, OIS, Wide-Angle Lens|
|Battery Size: 2900mAh||Battery Size: 3174mAh|
|CPU: A10 Fusion||CPU: A12 Bionic|
|Wireless Charging: No||Wireless Charging: Yes|
|Water Resistant: No||Water Resistant: Yes - IP68|
|Price: ||Price: |
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.
- iPhone XS Max – The iPhone XS Max has a 6.5in display, features Apple’s biometric authentication system called Face ID. Its industrial design feature an all-glass back and a stainless steel frame.
- iPhone 7 Plus – The iPhone 7 Plus, from a design perspective, looks outdated. It’s got a big forehead and chin and sports the old school Touch ID, biometric fingerprint reader. Design-wise, it’s a phone that had its heyday back in 2016, which is where it should have stayed.
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.
- iPhone XS Max – The iPhone XS Max features an edge-to-edge OLED display that is 6.5in and has a 2436×1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi. Without a doubt, the iPhone XS Max’s display wins the day here-well, almost.
- iPhone 7 Plus –The iPhone 7 Plus features a 5.5in LCD display with bezels that has a 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi.
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.
- iPhone XS Max – the XS Max features the A12 Bionic chipset. This A12 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores, which is absolutely INSANE. The CPU is almost twice as fast as the A10.
- iPhone 7 Plus – the iPhone 7 Plus features Apple’s A10 Fusion chipset. The A10, while a beast back in the day, is 50% slower than the A12 in most things. Look, it’s going to be good enough for your media playback and productivity apps, but if you’re a gamer or really into augmented reality, the A10 isn’t the chipset you want.
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.
- iPhone XS Max – The iPhone XS Max features a 7MP front-facing camera (as does the iPhone 7). But the killer benefit is in the rear camera. The iPhone XS Max features a dual-lens 12MP rear camera complete with a wide-angle and telephoto lens and dual optical zoom. It also supports advanced photo features like portrait photography.
- iPhone 7 Plus – The front camera is a 7MP setup, just like the iPhone XS Max has. But where things get really interesting with the phone’s camera technology is on the rare of the iPhone 7 Plus – it features a dual-lens 12MP system with wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom, and 4K video recording.
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.
As for storage, the XS Max offers three sizes: 64, 256, or 512GB. The iPhone 7 Plus only comes in 32 or 128GB.
- iPhone XS Max – 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB
- iPhone 7 Plus – 32GB & 128GB
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:
- Talk time: iPhone XS Max – 25 hours. iPhone 7 Plus – 21 hours.
- Internet use: iPhone XS Max – Up to 13 hours. iPhone 7 Plus – Up to 13 hours.
- Video playback: iPhone XS Max – Up to 15 hours. iPhone 7 Plus – Up to 14 hours.
- Audio playback: iPhone XS Max – Up to 65 hours. iPhone 7 Plus – Up to 60 hours.
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.
- iPhone XS Max – The iPhone XS Max’s battery will get you about 13 hours of battery life with mixed usage. It also features wireless charging, which the 7 Plus lacks.
- iPhone 7 Plus – The iPhone 7 Plus uses a slightly smaller battery than the iPhone XS Max and, thanks to that, it will get you about one hour less of battery life on average than the XS Max. In this respect, the iPhone XS Max is definitely superior. However, it still lacks performance compared to larger Android phones.
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.
- iPhone XS Max – The 6.5in iPhone XS Max will cost £1099 (64GB), £1249 (256GB), or £1449 (512GB).
- iPhone 7 Plus – Unlocked the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus will cost £569 (32GB) and £669 (128GB).
|iPhone 7 Plus||iPhone XS Max|
|Price: ||Price: |
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
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 7 Plus Specs & Features (Full Comparison)
Here are the specs for the iPhone XS Max:
- Display: 6.5-inch OLED display with a 2688×1242-pixel resolution at 458ppi
- Dimensions: 157.5mm x 77.4mm x 7.7mm
- Weight: 208 grams
- Storage: 64, 256, or 512GB
- Processors: A12 Bionic
- Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video.
- Rear camera: Dual-lens 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K video
- Battery: Up to 13.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
- Other: Face ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP68 waterproof
- Color options: Silver, Space Gray, and Gold
And here are the specs for the iPhone 7 Plus:
- Display: 5.5in Retina HD LCD display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi
- Dimensions: 158.2mm x 77.9 mm x 7.3 mm
- Weight: 188 grams
- Storage: 32 or 128GB
- Processors: A10 Fusion chip
- Front camera: 7 MP
- Rear camera: 12 MP Dual Lens telephoto and wide-angle, optical image stabilisation
- Battery: Up to 12.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
- Other: Touch ID, NFC, 3D Touch, IP67 waterproof
- Color options: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which is better iPhone 7 plus or iPhone XS Max?
The iPhone XS Max is by far the better iPhone when comparing it to the iPhone 7 Plus. The XS Max has the MUCH better CPU, MUCH better camera, and MUCH better disaply. It also has advanced tech like Face ID
Q: Should I upgrade from iPhone 7 Plus to iPhone XS?
If you can get an iPhone XS for cheap, it’s worth upgrading from the iPhone 7 Plus. However, Apple no longer makes the iPhone XS. Their newest iPhone is the iPhone 12 series, which is a much better phone to get.
Q: Is iPhone 7 Plus still worth buying in 2021?
Probably not. The iPhone 7 Plus is ancient compared to today’s smartphones like the iPhone 12. Unless you can get an iPhone 7 Plus for next to nothing, go with a newer iPhone like the iPhone 12.
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.