back to article iPhone XS: Just another £300 for a better cam- Wait, come back!

While the XR may be the best value notched iPhone that Apple is making today, some of its compromises may be too much for the target market of customers hanging on to their dated but perfectly functional hardware. We took a look at the iPhone XR and found much to like. Generous (for Apple) battery life and guts shared with its …

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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    SE for me

    I am still using my corporate SE, and have no desire to change it.

    My private phone is a google Nexus, and that's still good enough too.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: SE for me

      I am also still quite happy with my SE. The problem is what I will do maybe three years from now when I finally break it. It will happen at some point, and it's already two years old. If apple aren't making a sanely sized model when this breaks, they've lost a customer.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: SE for me

      I just bought one of the last SEs. I might buy another Apple at some time in the future - if they bring back the 3.5mm headphone socket, that is.

    3. BigSLitleP

      Re: SE for me

      Still using my corporate-gifted SE. If it broke tomorrow, there is no way I would buy any of the current iPhones. Way too expensive for what you get. I'll be switching straight to Android of one flavour or another. It's up to Apple, they can keep losing customers for a long while and still make a profit.

    4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: SE for me

      <italic>"My private phone is a google Nexus"</italic>

      If it's a Nexus, it's not private. That's (one of) the reasons why Android phones are cheaper; because you're the product.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Power efficiency difference

    Anandtech reported that the XS's OLED display is less power efficient than Apple's LCDs even when displaying mostly black images (contrary to expectation). They put this down to the 10 bit colour display silicon that Apple use on the XS consuming power. Other phones that use Samsung's OLED panels (ie, Galaxy, Note) use a more frugal display controller than can only output 8bit colour.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Power efficiency difference

      I think OLEDs are inherently more power hungry, presumably due to the discrete lighting. But, 10-bit colour in a consumer device? Who needs it? It's like some of the hifi stuff out there: technically superb but practically unnoticeable.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Power efficiency difference

        One would expect an OLED panel to more efficient than LED if it was displaying a mostly black image - indeed, this is one of the reasons Samsung is pushing a dark themed UI. LCD screens are backlit as a whole and dark pixels are blocked, whereas OLED screens only light up pixels when required.

        The surprise here is that Apple's OLED solution uses more power than its LCDs even when displaying dark images. This is apparently due to the controlling circuitry Apple use, not the actual panel.

        As for who needs that level of colour accuracy, there are a few trades and professions that benefit from it. Whilst a screen is no substitute for a colour swatch, it can only aid some workflows if the screen gives a better approximation. Historically, Apple may owe their survival in the 90s to Macs use in the DTP trade - at a time that DOS and Windows PCs couldn't be colour calibrated as reliably. It might also be argued that the original Macintosh didn't *need* a GUI, but since it had the required hardware it was then easier to develop DTP software.

        This said, DisplayMate say the Apple specced (Samsung made) OLED is only a smidge better than the Samsung phones that previously wore the crown.

        1. DaLo

          Re: Power efficiency difference

          "there are a few trades and professions that benefit from it"

          Those trades and professions are not likely to be relying on a smartphone display for business critical colour accuracy. In fact I can't think of any trade or profession who would proof something on a smartphone that would require *that* level of colour accuracy and a decent non-10bit display would work just as well.

          Could you imagine the conversation "The colours are slightly off brand"..."That's impossible, I used my iPhone to visually confirm they were correct"

  3. Andy Mac

    I feel like the Iron Islanders need to change one of their sayings:

    “Did you pay the Iron Price, the Gold Price or the Apple Price?”

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Or the Privacy Price.

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

    90% of the releases have been at 6"+. Ok its a narrow diagonal that 6" was last year but its still stupidly big for anyone has < averagely sized man hands ie most women. Case in point my Moto Z play is a 5.5" diagonal and in retrospect too big for my tiny man hands, so I've been looking for a smaller replacement after multiple droppings.

    Really fancied the Honor 8x but its frikkin huge. Ditto the XR. The X or XS is a much nicer size at 5.8 . (and smaller than my moto) but at the price of 3 or 4 good androids too rich for me. Ditto Sammy S9.

    In the end have settled for an Honor 10 another 5.8"-er, after a tour of all the phone shops comparing widths. Was seriously looking at the P20 Lite just because it was a almost a budget price for a decent 5.8".

    Is anyone actually testing these phone for fit any more? A software shrink mode is no substitute for a handset that fits nicely in your hand.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

      I remember struggling to find a suitable pocket-sized phone a couple of years ago. After a couple of OS updates, the hardware is struggling a bit and performance is suffering. Due to upgrade soon but have a feeling it'll be difficult to find something with performance commensurate with modern mainstream hardware but in a package the size of a phone from 3 or 4 years ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

      90% of the releases have been at 6"+.

      Spot on. Thankfully there are enough plonkers/hipsters/fanbois who want mega sized phones and trade in their old ones. That means some of us can get their cast offs at a good price.

      I picked up an iPhone 8/256Gb for a tad over £300 last week. Perfect condition as it seemed to have been in a case all the time.

      I'll try to pick up another one after crimble as this is the last one with touchID. Try using any facial ID system wearing a crash helmet!

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

        Doing anything that would require a crash helmet suggests to me that you really ought not be unlocking your phone, and probably should be wearing gloves as well...

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          Motorcycle courier perhaps? Drive to your destination, park safely, and tap the relevant button on your phone to let base know you have arrived with the parcel.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

            Motorcycle courier did cross my mind - but I'd expect the phone to be unlocked, and powered from the bike, so that it can deal with things like routing etc...

            At which point you don't need to unlock it at your destination.

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

              'Motorcycle courier did cross my mind'

              Or just a motorcyclist, it's far easier taking a glove off to unlock my phone and answer a message/change playlist/google wtf I am etc. than taking the helmet off and then having to get it back on. In fact with a bluetooth comms set on my helmet I just use the voice guidance for navigation rather than looking at the screen, although Google maps gets very passive aggressive if you miss a turn...

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

                Access to Google Navigation doesn't require the phone be unlocked.

          2. Jaffafa

            Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

            Couriers wear most of their phablets around their neck

        2. DaLo

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          Just because you ride a motorbike and wear a crash helmet doesn't mean that you take it off every time you stop. I don't even take it off when filling with fuel and going in to pay as it is a pain and most fuel stations don't mind nowadays (banks are a bit more concerned!) I made sure my latest phone was waterproof just so I can mount it without a full waterproof case to my handlebars. This has the advantage that riding around southern France in the summer is has maximum cooling - in a case it will generally overheat and switch off constantly.

          However I am not riding at speed reading the latest Brexit news and searching for a new saucepan. I do stop, pick up the phone and take a photo or select a different route when stuck in a long traffic jam, or open the translation app when at a roadside to read a sign, or look at reviews of places to eat when pulled up on the outskirts of town.

          However what I actually do about unlocking is use smart unlock to detect the bluetooth on the bike intercom to keep it unlocked (the bluetooth switches off with ignition) and it has a gloves mode so that I can still use the touchscreen with summer riding gloves on (when stopped!)

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

            "However what I actually do about unlocking is use smart unlock to detect the bluetooth on the bike intercom to keep it unlocked (the bluetooth switches off with ignition) and it has a gloves mode so that I can still use the touchscreen with summer riding gloves on (when stopped!)"

            Seems easy enough.

            Anyone remember the good old days when you just typed in a pin to unlock a device?

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

              'Anyone remember the good old days when you just typed in a pin to unlock a device?'

              I mean I think you can still do that with an Android phone, it's just Apple who seem to find that passe.

        3. incorrect

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          Fuelling up? I have to take my glove off to unlock the tank, but then I have to tap in my (longish) passcode to use the pay-for-fuel app. Sadly, my bike loves gas stations.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

            "Fuelling up? I have to take my glove off to unlock the tank, but then I have to tap in my (longish) passcode to use the pay-for-fuel app. Sadly, my bike loves gas stations."

            So they ban mobile phones on forecourts (pointlessly) then expect you to pay with an app on the mobile phone they just banned...

            That's brilliant...

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

        It's weird, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact was not an uncommon phone - in my local pub I had one, and so did a large builder bloke and a petite young woman. However, Sony aren't making an XZ3 Compact, and the XZ2 only had a Snapdragon 650 (though there might be a sound reason for that, such as not needing to push as many pixels, or doubling down on a Compact's already excellent battery life).

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          "It's weird, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact was not an uncommon phone - in my local pub I had one, and so did a large builder bloke and a petite young woman. However, Sony aren't making an XZ3 Compact, and the XZ2 only had a Snapdragon 650 (though there might be a sound reason for that, such as not needing to push as many pixels, or doubling down on a Compact's already excellent battery life)."

          Ah, no.

          The XZ1c has an 835, the XZ2c has an 845. It was the XZc that was a downgrade, quickly reversed.

          Typically Sony release one new compact a year, I think the XZ1c was an extra because the X was so poor. We wouldn't expect an XZ3c, if there is another it should be 4. And if I'm right the XZ2c will drop to the price at which I'll buy it.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

            @Voyna i Mor

            Thank you for correcting me. Oops, I meant the XZ2 *Compact* only had a Snapdragon 650. Some previous Compact phones had the same SoCs as their bigger brothers, but not the XZ2 Compact.

        2. LochNessMonster

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          "However, Sony aren't making an XZ3 Compact"

          They [i]do[/i] make the 5" 1080p XZ2 Compact, however.

          "XZ2 only had a Snapdragon 650"

          Both the XZ2 and XZ2 Compact use the SD845 SoC.

          While I'm here....

          "The XS will survive a short dip in the deep end of a pool[...]"

          Please stop with this twaddle. Every pool I've visited that has a "deep end" has it because of diving boards, and is therefore at least 3m deep. This greatly exceeds even Apple's generous 2m/30mins IP68 rating. IP68 is proof against sink/toilet drops, pub misadventures and heavy rain, nothing more.

        3. Jaffafa

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          I have a Xperia XA1 plus at 5.5 inches but when I see people have something bigger than me, I get jealous. I want something bigger. There is an XA1 Ultra at 6 inches but I want to get rid of this one first.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

      When I got my 6+ back when that was the latest model, eveyone at work thought it was a woman's phone, and all the men would get the smaller iPhone 6 or similar. I think it is something to do with the fact that men tend to keep their phones in their trouser pockets, and phablets don't fit there, whereas nothing fits in women's pockets so that's not an issue.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

        > , whereas nothing fits in women's pockets so that's not an issue.

        Female police officers in the USA choose wear the male versions of the uniforms. Why? The female versions of the uniforms have the same small, unfit-for-purpose pockets that is the norm for women's trousers.

        1. holmegm

          Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

          That's because women's trousers are not *intended* to be functional ... at least, not for the function of carrying stuff around.

      2. Craig 2
        Joke

        Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

        "whereas nothing fits in women's pockets so that's not an issue."

        Why would they need to when everything is within easy reach in the cupboards & drawers?

      3. Korev Silver badge

        Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

        >whereas nothing fits in women's pockets so that's not an issue.

        The current fashion for skinny jeans means that you can usually see the large smart phones in her (or his) pockets

    4. TheRealRoland

      Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

      People laughed when I first showed them my samsung note 2. I still use that to control my Canon camera with, via USB :-)

      Come to think of it, perhaps i can do something similar with my Blackberry Playbook...

    5. localgeek

      Re: 2018 is the year of stupidly sized phones

      I had to take the current A+ test last week. CompTIA is still touting any phone from 5-7" as a "phablet." Given that nearly all smartphones are now larger than 5", I'm thinking it's time to retire the designation.

      My LG V30 is already unreasonably large to squeeze into my pants pocket.

  5. DrBobK

    6 -> XS

    I am just one of those people and, yes, the size of the XR put me off. So far, so good for me with the XS. For my use the battery comfortably lasts a day (and will go a decent way into the following day). It just works.

    1. The Corner of Moron

      Re: 6 -> XS

      Indeed, I'm very happy with my XS after upgrading from a 7.

      My battery life is great, I used to plug in my phone every night but don't bother with the XS, knowing a little Car Play juicing on the commute will keep it chugging along nicely.

      Since the XR came out however (and seems to be so good for £250 less than my XS) I was kicking myself a little bit for splashing out.

      I think that the sheer size of the XR would have been too much for me though, the XS is pretty much as hefty as I want a phone to be.

      So yeah, a XR would have been more than enough phone for my use, but I'm a happy XS customer.

      1. macjules Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: 6 -> XS

        I have an iPhone X, bought in typical fanboi mode "since its a bloody Apple product, init?". Apart from not quite comprehending that glass screens can break and the horrendous cost involved if you do not have AppleCare, I must say that this is the best iPhone I have ever owned by far.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Confused

    For a long time it seemed obvious which I-Phone was which but the new range has me confused. Not that I'm planning to buy one but I wonder: is it just me?

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Confused

      It's not just you. I may have upgraded this year to the X (which is better in all respects than the XR, bar the chips), had it had dropped in price instead of just being dropped. So I looked a used X prices and they appear to be £790 ish, a gamble I'm not ready to take.

      Richard is spot on when he says the "budget" XR is expensive and the XS is positively eye-watering meaning I have no apple model to upgrade to this year, no cash to Apple from me.

      I was very reluctant to move to the iPhone 6 due to the size, the XS size is as big as I'd ever even consider. I'm told Apples suppliers are reducing the number of conveyor belts coughing out the XR parts, but Apple will rather recycle excess stock than reduce prices.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Confused

        I'm told Apples suppliers are reducing the number of conveyor belts coughing out the XR parts

        Interesting. I guess this could be similar to the S6 / S6 Edge thing where people preferred the more expensive model. Of course, at these prices Apple can't really lose.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Confused

      XS, pronounced Excess whatever Apple might say, is the top of the range one that has an excessive price tag.

      XR - the R indicates that it has a relatively more reasonable price tag.

      8 & 8+ are last year's models at a lower price. I've just bought the 8+

      1. Vector
        Angel

        Re: Confused

        "XS, pronounced Excess whatever Apple might say..."

        Yeah, I'm sticking with the (unintended) double entendre too!

    3. mildy bemused

      Re: Confused

      "is it just me?"

      No, and the problem is that you can't go by price. For some features, the cheaper ones are better than the more expensive ones.

  7. MiguelC Silver badge

    That photo Apple uses to promote the X family

    Always looks to me like the phone is bulging enormously, like if the battery's ready to explode...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not me

    I've had iphones since the first jail-broken versions appeared here. I'm currently on my last .... a 6s+ I just can't justify :

    Annual price gouging

    The fragility of an all glass phone and associated repair bills (with more price gouging)

    don't know what to get though as I don't like android's snooping either ....

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Not me

      Put your phone in a case and apply a toughened glass screen protector. Sure, it'll add some bulk, but physics dictates that protection requires bulk, regards of whether it's built into the phone or added after purchase in the form of a case. It's works on well on my all-glass Samsung.

      Wireless charging (which adds to the potential lifespan of your phone since damage to your sole port no longer renders the phone useless) rules out a metal back. The back must be stiff to protect internal components. Glass back plus case is a reasonable solution.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Not me

        Put your phone in a case and apply a toughened glass screen protector.

        Ie. the device, as sold, is not fit for purpose as the OP says: stupid design choice makes the device inherently susceptible to breakages.

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