Apple is a phablet phone company now. Last September Apple introduced three new iPhones, all with screens 5.8in or larger. The biggest of which, the iPhone XS Max goes to 6.5in.
- Interested in the best iPhone you can buy right now? Check out our ULTIMATE guide to Apple’s best value iPhones…
But Apple has kept some of its previous phablets on sale too, including the year-old iPhone 8 Plus. So just how does this older phablet stack up against Apple’s newest, phablet, the iPhone XS Max? Let’s take a look.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus Quick Comparison
|iPhone 8 Plus||iPhone XS Max|
|Display: 5.5in Retina HD display with 1920x1080 resolution at 401ppi||Display: 6.5-inch 1242 x 2688 OLED|
|Dimensions: 158.4mm x 78.1 mm x 7.5 mm (202g)||Dimensions: 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm (208g)|
|Storage Options: 64 or 256GB||Storage Options: 64/256/512GB|
|RAM: 3GB||RAM: 4GB|
|Camera: 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K video||Camera: 12MP + 12MP, OIS, Wide-Angle Lens|
|Battery Size: 2900mAh||Battery Size: 3174mAh|
|CPU: A11 Bionic||CPU: A12 Bionic|
|Wireless Charging: No||Wireless Charging: Yes|
|Water Resistant: No||Water Resistant: Yes - IP68|
|Price: ||Price: |
- iPhone XS Max – The iPhone XS Max has a 6.5in display, features Apple’s biometric authentication system called Face ID. It’s industrial design feature an all-glass back and a stainless steel frame.
- iPhone 8 Plus – The iPhone 8 Plus, from a design perspective, looks outdated.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. Though it only came out last September, its design looked dated compared to flagship iPhones and Android devices.
- 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 8 Plus –The iPhone 8 Plus features a 5.5in LCD display with bezels that has a 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi. That’s not as good as the iPhone XS Max’s display.
- 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 8 Plus – the iPhone 8 Plus features Apple’s A11 Bionic chipset. The A11 isn’t any slouch, but it pales in comparison when it comes to the A12.
Winner? iPhone XS Max – It’s 50% More Powerful Than iPhone 8 Plus.
- 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 8 Plus – The front camera is a 7MP setup, just like the iPhone XS has. It also has the same rear camera as the XS Max: it features a dual-lens 12MP system with wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilisation, 2x optical zoom, and 4K video recording.
- iPhone XS Max – 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB
- iPhone 8 Plus – 64GB & 256GB
- iPhone XS Max – The iPhone XS Max’s battery will get you about 13.5 hours of battery life with mixed usage. It also features wireless charging.
- iPhone 8 Plus – The iPhone 8 Plus uses a slightly smaller battery than the iPhone XS Max and, thanks to that, it will get you one about hour less of battery life on average than the XS Max. In this respect, the iPhone XS Max is definitely superior. But do note that the iPhone 8 Plus also features wireless charging like the XS Max.
Winner? iPhone XS Max – It Has Better Battery Life Than iPhone 8 Plus, but just barely.
- iPhone XS Max – The 6.5in iPhone XS Max will cost £1099 (64GB), £1249 (256GB), or £1449 (512GB).
- iPhone 8 Plus – Unlocked the 5.5in iPhone 8 Plus will cost £699 (64GB) and £849 (256GB).
|iPhone 8 Plus||iPhone XS Max|
|Price: ||Price: |
Apple introduced the new iPhone XS Max not too long ago. The phone is Apple’s latest, biggest flagship device. And as with all new iPhones, once it comes out, it pushes previous iPhones down the rung. While the iPhone 8 Plus is a great phone for the price, it really can’t compete with the iPhone XS Max.
The iPhone XS Max is the pinnacle of Apple’s innovation. It has the best camera, the best performance, and the best operating system. It also features the company’s FACE ID and it looks totally stunning. If you want the best of the best, Apple’s iPhone XS Max is what you go for.
The iPhone 8 Plus, while good in its hay day, is now pretty old. It’ll still work OK, but if you’re after a cheaper iPhone you are 100% better off going the reconditioned route via Gazelle – you can get iPhone 8 and iPhone X handsets for 40% less than from Apple.
For a full breakdown on how they compare, read on for our full comparison of the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS Max…
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus Full Comparison (More Details)
For years the Plus line of iPhones was Apple’s largest, topping out at 5.5in. That all changed last year when Apple introduced the iPhone X with its 5.8in screen. But now that screen looks tiny compared to Apple’s latest and greatest flagship, the iPhone XS Max.
This 6.5in beast is MASSIVE–the biggest iPhone Apple has ever made. You have major updates to the phone’s internal specs and features, as well as Apple’s blazingly fast A12 chipset, which is one of the first 7nm CPUs to hit the market.
Competition is stiff right now; you have the prospect of the Galaxy S10 in Q1 2019, as well as Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and the Huawei Mate 20 PRO. Never before have punters had so much choice when it comes to high-power handsets. In addition to this, Apple’s got three phones on the market instead of its usual two.
But Apple has decided not to do away with the Plus entirely. It’s still keeping the iPhone 8 Plus available for sale. So how do the two models compare? Let’s take a look.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Specs
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 8 Plus:
- Display: 5.5in Retina HD display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi, 3D Touch enabled
- Dimensions: 158.4mm x 78.1 mm x 7.5 mm
- Weight: 202 grams
- Storage: 64 or 256GB
- Processors: A11 Bionic
- Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video
- Rear camera: 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K video
- Battery: Up to 12.5 hours battery life mixed usage.
- Other: Touch ID, NFC, 3D Touch, IP67 waterproof
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Display & Design
The most obvious difference between these two giant phones is in their display and design. The resolution of the iPhone XS Max’s screen is a massive 6.5in 2688×1242-pixels at 458ppi edge-to-edge. Compare that to the iPhone 8 Plus’ 5.5in display with a 1920×1080-pixel resolution at 401ppi–and of course, that’s not an edge-to-edge display like the iPhone XS Max has. What’s even more impressive is that though the iPhone XS Max has a larger display, the device actually has a smaller physical footprint than the iPhone 8 Plus (but not by much). Why that is, of course, is because the iPhone XS Max has the edge-to-edge display, while the iPhone 8 Plus still has its thick bezels.
The other obvious difference is that the iPhone XS Max lacks a Home button. It jettisons it in favor of a gesture-based Home control. The iPhone 8 Plus still has the Home button we all know and love. This means the iPhone 8 Plus also still has Touch ID. The iPhone XS Max lacks Touch ID and replaces it with Apple’s new Face ID facial recognition system.
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 8 Plus is rated IP67, which means it can stay submerged for 30 minutes up to one meter deep.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Battery, Storage, and CPU
The iPhone XS Max has just a slightly larger battery than the iPhone 8 Plus. Will you see any difference because of it? A bit. But as you can see from the battery life specs below, each device is very similar. Another similarity each device has is that they both offer wireless charging. 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 8 Plus – 21 hours.
- Internet use: iPhone XS Max – Up to 13 hours. iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 13 hours.
- Video playback: iPhone XS Max – Up to 15 hours. iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 14 hours.
- Audio playback: iPhone XS Max – Up to 65 hours. iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 60 hours.
Both devices also feature wireless charging.
As for storage, the XS Max offers three sizes: 64, 256, or 512GB. The iPhone 8 Plus only comes in 64 or 256GB. As far as the CPU is concerned, the new XS Max has a better processor than the iPhone 8 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 CPU is 15% faster and 40% more energy efficient than the previous A11. The GPU now has 4 cores and is 50% faster. Finally, the Neural engine now has 8 cores for machine learning and is almost 10x faster. Apps launch 30% faster 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 vs iPhone 8 Plus: Camera
Where cameras are concerned, the iPhone XS Max and iPhone 8 Plus are nearly identical. Let me caveat that by saying both front cameras are 7MP and feature Retina Flash. However, the front camera on the XS Max is a True Depth camera, meaning it supports Face ID. Also, the iPhone XS Max’s front camera has a few more tricks. It can use Apple’s Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji features of iOS. The iPhone 8 Plus’ camera doesn’t have access to those.
On the rear camera, both models feature a 12MP wide-angle and telephoto dual-lens rear camera that offers dual optical image stabilisation and optical zoom. Both also record 4K HD video.
iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: Cost & Verdict
|iPhone 8 Plus||iPhone XS Max|
|Price: ||Price: |
Unlocked the 5.5in iPhone 8 Plus will cost £699 (64GB) and £849 (256GB). The iPhone XS Max will be available on September 21 and cost £1099 (64GB), £1249 (256GB), or £1449 (512GB). That £400 premium for the iPhone XS Max does get you a lot more, primarily a bigger display and a sexy new design. If that appeals to you, the answer of which to buy is clear.
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.