iPhone XS Max vs iPhone X

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone X

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone X


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iPhone XS Max vs iPhone X it was launched last year, the iPhone X was Apple’s first real advancement in iPhone displays since the iPhone 4. For 2018, Apple is all-in on the X design with three new iPhones (although the iPhone XR doesn’t launch until next month).

The iPhone XS is a slight upgrade to the iPhone X, but the iPhone XS Max offers the largest display ever in an iPhone. At 6.5 inches, it offers 18% more screen in a body that’s almost identical to the iPhone 8 Plus. The resolution has been bumped up to 1242×2688 pixels, offering a modest 458 ppi pixel density.

On paper, you should definitely upgrade to the iPhone XS Max if you want the best screen, but is the iPhone XS Max the best screen available on an iPhone? Is bigger really better?

Understanding display technology

Apple uses OLED display technology in its new iPhones (including the iPhone X) versus the LCD technology it uses in the iPhone 8 and older devices. The main difference between both technologies is that OLED displays are able to turn on individual pixels, while LCD displays use a backlight underneath the screen. As a result, OLED displays offer much deeper blacks, more vibrant colors, and a higher contrast ratio, but they are known for favoring a blue tint or being red-shifted.

OLED displays aren’t new, as Samsung and other companies have been using them in flagships like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for years, but Apple first adopted them last year with the iPhone X. LCD still plays a part in Apple’s offering, as the new iPhone XR features the iPhone X design with a lower-cost LCD display.

There are plenty of competing display standards, but to test the iPhones, we used the DCI P3 standard. Apple says its displays are calibrated to that standard – which offers a wider range of colors than the sRGB standard it used in the past – but we also tested it against the sRGB standard as a point of reference. We also ensured that Apple’s True Tone display was turned off since this will adjust the temperature of the display based on the surroundings.

How much you enjoy a display is subjective, but we can use the following tests to discern which iPhone offers the best display:

  • Display brightness: Specifically, how bright is the display? We test this with and without the presence of ambient light, as well as with auto brightness turned off. This allows us to see the max brightness the iPhone can achieve, which impacts upon legibility in direct sunlight and the playback of HDR content.
  • Color temperature: Ever noticed that some screens a little warmer than others, or some have a slight tint? What we think of as white light is different coming from every screen – try putting two phones next to each other and displaying a fully white background, you’ll notice they are slightly different.
    • To understand the color temperature of a display, we measure how cool or warm the light is, in degrees Kelvin. Normal daylight temperature is 6500K, which is otherwise known as D65. A color temperature under 6500K means it’ll have a yellow hue to it, while above 6500K means it will have a slight blue tint. Displays are rarely calibrated to exactly 6500K, so there’ll be some variation, but it only becomes really apparent when you have excessive color temperatures (2000K either side of D65).
  • Gamma: This test simply refers to how well the screen can display all the brightness values from black to white. This is an excellent test of contrast, and while there’s no standard for gamma, we look for results between 2.1 and 2.2, which is ideal for movie playback. Too high a number means you’ll get banding (where it doesn’t display a continue color gradient, but a series of steps), while too low will result in a lack of contrast.
  • Color gamut: When Apple (or any company) says it supports X percentage of the DCI P3, rec.2020, sRGB (or any other) standard, how accurate are these claims? The answer directly impacts on the overall experience: if you’re trying to watch HDR content on your iPhone, it will need to support 100% of that applicable standard for you to get the full experience.

Now we understand the measurements behind displays, how do Apple’s new devices stack up? Specifically, is newer really better?



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