The world’s most expensive smartphones are also the world’s best. PERIOD.
Apple has worked out what’s important to Fitness First members. If you want to track your workouts, the Apple Watch can sync with selected machines in several Fitness First clubs. And if you like to post the results of your training to Instagram, it’s taken care of you with the second-gen iPhone X range, the XS, XS Max and XR, which take photography to a new level.
The underlying technologies are the same in the XS and XS Max, and mostly the same in the XR. All three are the fastest iPhones ever made because Apple’s A12 Bionic chip crushes every other phone processor.
And they’re also the most expensive. The 6.5” XS Max with 512GB of memory is $2369 – the price of a powerful laptop. The 5.8” XS ranges from $1629 to $2199 depending on how much memory you choose. The 6.1” XR is the more “affordable” version at $1299 to $1479. It’s almost identical to the XS and XS Max except for a lower-res screen (I could barely tell it apart) and it lacks the 2x telephoto lens and sensor.
But no matter which of the three you get, your photos will be improved due to the new wide-angle sensor and image processor on the A12 Bionic chip, which are common to all. These components work with the new AI software for better detail capture and low-light performance.
Specifically, photos with extremes of contrast, such as those with bright objects in the background, will show more detail around the objects’ edges. For example, if you’re shooting someone against a low, bright sun in the morning or late afternoon, they will appear less dark and more detailed. Similarly, if you snap a brightly lit shop window at night, you’ll now get more detail around it – the light won’t wash everything else out.
Another improvement is in the Bokeh effect of Portrait Mode, where the subject is sharp and the background is blurred. You can even change the depth of field and fade out the background after the shot is taken with Depth Control.
The new Portrait mode options range from Natural and Studio lighting to my favourite, Stage Light, in which the background around the subject is entirely blacked out as if you’re on a theatre stage. The Bokeh effect and Portrait Lighting work really well together when you’re taking Portrait mode selfies, elevating the selfie to a new level.
And if you’re taking exercise videos, the quality is the best I’ve seen on any phone. Not only has Apple has incorporated much better image stabilisation, but it comes with improved low-light performance. It also has an extended dynamic range in 4K recordings of up to 30fps.