- It is robust and very compact, and at the same time comfortable.
- The hardware pulls everything without problems: always fluent and never "lags", and the gestures are much better.
- The sound "not surprising" because it gives a very good experience again, although we miss some adjustment and the minijack.
- The autonomy is not bad, but we expected some improvement with respect to the iPhone X and there is no obvious way.
- iOS is still poor in terms of options for the user in the customization of certain aspects.
It is not the largest, it is not the cheapest, it is the intermediate option of the triple proposal of the Cupertino for 2018. It runs out of those claims but integrates the maximum in Apple hardware for mobile devices, and we have put it to the test thoroughly in our analysis of the iPhone XS.
Although the intermediate refers only to the price and little else, because in reality now is the smallest of the iPhone and is one on one with the iPhone XS Max except on screen. New processor, more RAM, upgraded cameras, software just out of the oven and a starting price over 1,000 dollars. Is it up to this new Apple terminal? Let’s see them in detail.
• PHYSICAL DIMENSIONS 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm, 177 grams
• OLED SCREEN 5.8 inches Super Retina HD
• RESOLUTION Resolution of 2.436 x 1.125 pixels, 458 ppi
• PROCESSOR Chip A12 Bionic with architecture of 64 bits and 7 nm, Neural Engine
• NUCLEOS Hexa-core
• GRAPHIC GPU Apple 4-core
• 4 GB RAM
• MEMORY 64/256/512 GB (not expandable with microSD)
• IOS 12 SOFTWARE VERSION
• LTE CONNECTIVITY, Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with reading mode
• REAR CAMERAS 12 + 12 megapixels wide angle and telephoto (f / 1.8 and f / 2.4), double OIS optical zoom, 4K recording @ 24/30 / 60fps, 4 LED flash
• FRONT CAMERA 7 megapixels, f / 2.2, 1080p recording
• Retina flash, 1080p video
• OTHERS FaceID, IP68 water resistance, 3D Touch GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS
• BATTERY 2,658 mAh
Design: confirmation of a new standard
Turning points take time to draw when it comes to Apple’s design lines. The brand remained iron with its vertical and horizontal symmetry for a front that was becoming obsolete more and more noticeably until last year, as direct competition gouged millimeters to the frames until they were below 10% in terms of the surface of the front they occupied.
The iPhone X was the axe that was stuck in that pillar that represented the traditional aesthetic, and this year the trunk has fallen completely with a total iPhone twins in front and twins in the back. The iPhone XS, the call to be a medium brother more for price than for components, is for practical purposes an iPhone X: same dimensions, same finishes (although different color).
We have edges with a chrome finish that draw a perfect hemisphere with the two crystals of the front and back. All the surfaces are therefore reflective, a uniformity only interrupted by an immovable logo and the protuberance of the double camera and the flash, which remains in the same corner as its predecessor.
It is very comfortable and does not become heavy. Being strict they are three grams more than the iPhone X, but it is very little so that it is perceptible and the sensations in hand are almost clonic as much by touch, as by grip, as by ergonomics.
The position of the buttons is adequate and their functions are going to be the same as we saw in how iOS conformed to a new interaction in which the dependency of a central button had to disappear by force (to minimize, multitasking, Siri identification) , this we will review when talking about software. And the speaker is still in the base, in a good position not to be covered accidentally, accompanied by the USB and not by the audio jack.
In our case we have been able to analyze the gold model, although the “gold” remains only in the aluminum border that we have already mentioned. The back is a warm pink tone, whose brightness also has that nuance, although when resorting to the glass we will have it almost always covered with footprints (the chamois will be, once again, your friend).
Thus, the iPhone XS is the result of the effort that Apple has made to better use the volume of their phones in the respective to introduce a battery of greater capacity. It is the same battery as the iPhone XR inserted in a smaller chassis, and in both cases (and also in the XS Max) these are more compact phones than the Plus models integrating larger diagonal screens.
Display: the AMOLED, the notch and the 458 pixels per inch
In the new iPhones the prominence of the screen reigns. An equity in the design that is not so much in resolution, when the iPhone XR still does not leave the 326 pixels per inch of the “defunct” diagonal of 4.7 inches, while the iPhone XS picks up the baton of the iPhone X and keeps a resolution of 1,125 x 2,436 pixels on a 5.8-inch super AMOLED screen, with 458 pixels per inch.
Sensations similar to those we had with the predecessor, with a degree of clarity more than enough without having to opt for a QHD or more demanding resolutions at the level of resources. Very good at the level of contrast and viewing angles, no matter how we lean the panel with respect to our gaze we can see the content with all its sharpness and without loss of brightness or contrast, and always with the feeling that it is not a crystal thick and there is no distance between the tap and the content.
But let’s talk about temperature and screen technology. With the AMOLED we will continue to have pure and beautiful blacks, as well as the reflections or degradations when the panel is tilted (that adds that magenta or green veil on the screen, but without being annoying or denoting low quality). The screen comes slightly cold from the factory, but good in terms of saturation.
The solution to this? There is not, at least not to the letter, since iOS is still limited in options in regard to give option to adjust the screen to our liking. The True Tone, the only available tool, promises a specific adaptation according to the conditions of the environment and it is true that as soon as it is activated you notice the change, but it is usually too warm (sometimes it seems that the Night Shift is activated).
At the level of tactile sensitivity there are no problems of accidental touches and on the whole surface there is a good detection and response to the taps and pulsations, being able to adjust the desired degree of sensitivity for the 3D Touch (in Accessibility). The optimal solution to the lack of the Home button may still not be the floating bar, but that will be discussed in the software section.
There is, of course, some training to adjust the automatic brightness, and nothing else would come to it. It usually stays low when we move to a darker environment and it is necessary to add something more manually for a better visualization, and when the light hits directly the experience would improve with a greater maximum brightness.
In the case of iOS, there is no ambient screen or equivalent: we have two sections in the settings for the screen, but the lock can still be customized only at the background level. But at least there is already a grouping of notifications and we can wake up the screen by entering it or touching it, which means that unlocking by FaceID or consulting notifications are very comfortable, but there are few customization options.
Software: iOS 12 tells us more about the mobile and about us
It is costing him to let go (a few years), but iOS is less and less shy and opaque and in this year’s version we finally have some more information about the use, especially in what apps we use and how much. A double-edged sword that tells us which app is the most responsible for that percentage (hidden) of battery decreases, but also reminds us of what we spend more minutes of our time, if productivity, entertainment, social networks (which are different things, apparently), physical activity, creativity, consultation and other categories.
They are novelties that we see already in the adjustments, whose aesthetic is maintained with the lines of design that forged the transcendental iOS 7 and have been settling with the subsequent versions. “Time of use” is added to the first sections (after the connectivity section), which includes the tools to self-limit the use of certain apps and the blocking of content, being able to share between devices by iCloud to create a statistics of joint use.
For a first version of the system, iOS 12.0 goes quite well, both in this terminal and in others inferior in hardware such as the iPhone 7. The plus that supposes having components to the last one adds a permanent fluidity and that there are no stops, closures unexpected or lags, although there is some very specific bug (we did not load the tab of Photos in iCloud and the camera sometimes did not start, having to reopen it).
Another novelty worth commenting is the possibility of creating shortcuts, or what is the same, chains of actions that allow something to be done quickly by triggering a single trigger, such as a call to Siri. We have to download the own app to be able to create them, or pull Siri’s suggestions, and we can configure actions such as sending a message to someone in a certain situation or sharing creations from the latest photos on our social networks
Otherwise, iOS remains unchanged, without audio settings, few for the screen and with the default gesture navigation (by removing the Home button). Gestures that work very well, without having a big learning curve and keeping the ones we saw on the iPhone X (although we noticed more sensitivity for good). We remember them:
• Minimize app (press the Home button on previous iPhones): stretch from the bottom edge up and let go (with a little up, enough).
• Multitasking (double click on the Home button): like the previous one, but keeping the touch until the carousel of apps in the background emerges. The change is that to close apps just slide them up.
• Siri (keep Home button pressed): keep the side button pressed (there is also the call with “Hey, Siri”).
• Screen capture: simultaneously press the side button and volume up and release at once (ie, do not keep, if we do not activate the option to turn off).
• Turn off / emergencies: simultaneously press the side button and the volume up or down button.
Thus, it is a very comfortable navigation, although the only thing that would be missing is a gesture of “back” (as for example implanted MIUI) so that it has just been round. What has been said: it is easy to get used to gestures, they are very fluid and have a good level of sensitivity, and unless we are used to unlocking by fingerprint, the Home button is not missing at all.
One of the big bets of Apple within all this turning point that supposed the iPhone X was the advanced facial identification. To replace the TouchID, something that had supposed a remarkable change in the interaction (and that they had known to put to work in conjunction with the Taptic Engine), could not be something simple or conventional, and FaceID proposed an evolution taking the recognition of the face to a flat safer and more advanced than the analysis of a photograph.
Last year we made it difficult and approved with good grades, and this time we will not lower the rating. If anything, we would add a few tenths because he recognized us even by adding sunglasses or changing the hairstyle in very low light conditions. In fact, it works without problems in the almost absolute darkness.
Goodbye, the iOS battery consumption statistics have become larger. After adding the calculation of the state of the battery in beta version in the updates of iOS 11, in iOS 12 more information about energy consumption and user activity is shown, both at the time level and the type of use.
We could expect a similar autonomy to the iPhone X, since as we have seen before the capacity of both batteries is similar (2,716 milliamps / hour on the iPhone X compared to 2,658 on the iPhone XS, as shown in iFixit). Although part of the difference will also be in what may have changed the management of consumption by the system and the efficiency of the processor, so let’s see how is this average.
According to the consumption we make a load will hold us a day, with about 5-7 hours of average screen. Despite the ability to resemble the iPhone 8 Plus, we did not close the day with that 20-30% battery after intensive use; if we dedicate ourselves to squeeze the camera (for example, two sessions of 1: 30-2 hours) will have to charge it in the afternoon (having started the day with 100%), something that is not surprising as this use (and taking into account the heating).
With a less demanding use, with hours of wifi and data, alternating multimedia playback, browser, social networks and some camera, the iPhone XS can stand the day well. It is not an outstanding autonomy nor out of the ordinary, but at least it gives to leave calm of house without being pending to take over an external battery or to have near a plug.
Of course, what we still do not forgive is that Apple considers it sufficient to deliver a 5-watt charger when the terminal supports fast charging. The difference we already saw with the 8 Plus, and although in this case we have not yet been able to test the wireless and the fast charge, only changing by the 12-watt (of the iPad mini) the difference is already noticeable, passing 3 hours and about 20 minutes less than half (to have a reference, in 30 minutes you get a 25% charge with the 5-watt and 40% with the 12-watt).
For its part, the system now informs more about what is consuming more resources or which app is the one that we have used the most (and with these data gives us the information about our use that we have seen before), but does not present much choice as regards to try to optimize something that expense. We have the mode of low consumption that was incorporated some versions ago and that minimizes aspects such as brightness so that there is greater savings and extends the autonomy a bit longer, but there is not a series of optimization tools as we can see in some layers of Manufacturers software for Android.