iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Which of the Apple flagships should you buy?

While the iPhone Xs has had a rocky launch, it’s still one of Apple’s most cutting-edge and powerful flagship phones.

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Which of the Apple flagships should you buy?

However it’s not been selling as well as Apple hoped, leading the company to restart production on its predecessor, the iPhone X. Apple had previously discontinued the iPhone X so it wouldn’t pinch sales from the iPhone Xs, but now it’s coming back as a cheaper alternative to their newer flagship. This means that soon you’ll have the choice between 2018’s iPhone Xs or 2017’s iPhone X when buying a new Apple iPhone.

But which is the best iPhone? Does the iPhone X’s lower price point make it a more worthwhile purchase, or is it worth splashing out a little extra to get an iPhone Xs? We’ve put them head-to-head to work it out.

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Which one should you buy?

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Price

The iPhone Xs is newer and, therefore, costs more. For example, a 64GB iPhone Xs costs £999  whereas you can pick up a 64GB iPhone X for £790.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Apple has only just restarted production on the iPhone X, so it could become even cheaper still. These figures are the lowest you’ll pay right now, but both devices have alternatives with larger storage that costs more.

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Design and display

You’d need to be an Apple expert to be able to differentiate the iPhone Xs and iPhone X based on appearance. They’re both very similar in terms of design, with no home button or TouchID and the small notch still remains.


Differences become apparent when looking at the screens — while both utilise fantastic AMOLED panels for bright lighting, true contrast and strong colour accuracy, the iPhone Xs’ maximum brightness sits at 668 cd/m2 brightness, a big step up from the iPhone X. While not everyone cares about brightness, it’s virtually the only major differentiating factor between the two phones.

READ NEXT: iPhone Xs vs iPhone Xs Max: Does bigger really mean better?

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Battery life and performance

When we tested both devices, we found the iPhone X’s battery lasted for 9 hours and 22 minutes of constant video playback, whereas the iPhone Xs’ battery shot past that for 12 hours and 45 minutes. That’s quite the improvement.

In addition, the iPhone Xs performs tasks considerably better. Its A12 Bionic Processor means it can process more tasks at a faster rate, and although the 60Hz refresh rate means it’ll never top 60fps, it definitely has the potential to. In our tests, it performed offscreen processes at 119fps, well above what anyone will ever need.

READ NEXT: How to boost your iPhone X battery life

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Camera

Both the iPhone Xs and iPhone X have 12-megapixel rear cameras with phase-detect autofocus and a quad-LED flash. However, while this might make the two devices seem equal, it’s what’s going on under the hood that means the iPhone Xs has the better camera.

The iPhone Xs has Smart HDR, so every time you take a picture the phone actually takes eight. It then blends them together, picking out the best lighting and shadow, to create the perfect photo. Therefore it performs better in different light contexts and distances. This balancing works on video footage too, with special stabilisation so a video can go from dark to light areas without too much exposure or contrast.


In our review of the iPhone Xs we’ve got some examples of how this works in effect, at close and distance subjects. Check them out if you want a better example of the difference this makes.

iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: Verdict

The iPhone Xs is, undoubtedly a better phone than the iPhone X, pure and simple. It has a better camera , faster performance, and better screen clarity. It’s a newer phone, with newer technology, so of course it’s better.

READ NEXT: iPhone Xs and Xs Max owners are reporting some pretty frustrating problems

However the major sticking point is the price. Depending on what you want, the iPhone Xs might not justify its nearly-quadruple-figure price tag. While it excels in most areas, it doesn’t excel enough to justify paying over £100 extra unless you absolutely need the best camera technology, or the fastest of phones. In many other areas, it’s almost exactly the same.

But, if you want both power and a low price tag, you may want to consider the iPhone XR, Apple’s low-budget-but-not-that-low alternative to the iPhone Xs. It’s roughly the same price as the iPhone X, and affords you a display and camera almost on par with the iPhone Xs.

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