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Apple iPhone XS Max vs Huawei P20 Pro: A battle between two finest flagships

23 September 2018 5

Last year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of iPhones, the Cupertino giant announced three new iPhones. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were regular iterative models whereas the iPhone X was the special edition variant with a new notch design. Later on, the iPhone X success prompted the company to keep this design overhaul for the future iPhones.

That is why this year all three iPhones have the notch design even the entry-level iPhone XR. The iPhone X successor model comes with almost similar design and size, however, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus successors have drastic changes in the design department. The most premium amongst all is the new iPhone Xs Max phablet from Apple. Being the premium variant, it brings the best display, top of the line hardware, large battery, latest iOS, superb dual rear cameras and much more to attract premium segment buyers.

In past year or so since the bezel-less design is in trend, the companies are trying to fit in large displays with minimal bezels. A couple of years ago the 5.7-inches smartphones were considered as phablets and now all phablets have above 6-inches display. Before buying the new iPhone Xs Max, the customers surely will consider all the best options in the same niche. We already put the latest iPhone Xs Max against the Galaxy Note 9, today we will compare it against the Huawei's P20 Pro.

Despite being almost six months old, it is still the best camera phone on the market. The stylish design and OLED display make it an attractive option for most of the flagship phones buyers. Without any further, let's find out how Apple iPhone Xs Max stacks up against the Huawei P20 Pro.

77.4 x 157.5 x 7.9 mm
6.5 inches - 2688x1242 px
73.9 x 155 x 7.8 mm
6.1 inches - 2244x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

As mentioned above, this year instead of bringing a brand new design the company relied on what they introduced last year with the iPhone X. The iPhone Xs Max could be easily dubbed as a giant model of iPhone X with same aspect ratio and same placement for dual rear cameras.

The front-facing side is covered with an edge-to-edge OLED display panel with a notch at the top of the display. The notch features depth-sensing selfie camera with Face ID. This year none of the iPhone has a physical button instead the company relies on Face ID only. The chassis is made up of stainless steel with glass covering the rear side. The dual rear sensors are once again on the top left corner.

No matter it isn't changed from last year but still, you will find it attractive in hands. The iPhone Xs Max dimensions are 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.9 mm and weigh 208g. Despite being slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but still, it packs a giant display panel thanks to bezels-less design with a notch.

This year Huawei was amongst the first OEMs to adopt the notch design which Apple introduced last year. However, the notch on the P20 Pro is significantly smaller than the iPhone X. The company not only brought notch but also brings a physical home button on the front below the display. The P20 Pro fingerprint scanner is embedded under the physical home button. Like most of the latest smartphones, the P20 Pro has a glass and metal sandwich design.

Things get interesting if you look at the P20 Pro's rear. It is the first Huawei smartphone with triple camera setup aligned vertically on the top left side. The two sensors are slightly protruding whereas the third sensor is embedded within the body. Another best thing is P20 Pro is available in gradient finish which showcases different colors from different angles.

Unfortunately, both the devices lack the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The P20 Pro is an IP67 certified device whereas the iPhone Xs Max has an advantage here of being an IP68 certified device. It can resist up to 1.5 meters deep water whereas the P20 Pro's resistance ends at 1 meter. In terms of looks both are devices are quite striking, now it's up to you which notch design you prefer.

Display

This year many companies introduce flagships with OLED displays. Apple iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have OLED display panels, the iPhone Xs Max features a gigantic 6.5-inches display. Its an AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1242 x 2688 pixels. The display pixels density is 456 pixels-per-inch. Currently, the iPhone Xs Max has the largest display ever introduced on an iPhone.

Huawei also uses the OLED panel for their flagship P20 Pro. However, it is not as larger as its competitor. The P20 Pro sports a 6.1-inches display with Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2240 pixels. Its pixels density is 408 pixels-per-inch.

Both the devices display panel is flat from edges. However, considering the pixels density the iPhone Xs Max display will have better color accuracy, contrast ratio. However, the changes won't be visible with normal eyes.

Hardware

Huawei is one of those few OEMs who doesn't rely on the Qualcomm for their flagships SoCs. The company uses their own Kirin 900 lineup SoCs. The P20 Pro is running on the Octa-core Kirin 970 SoC. The best thing about this chipset is the dedicated Neural processing unit. The Octa-core chipset is accompanied with 6GB RAM and built-in native storage is 128GB. It lacks support for memory expansion via MicroSD.

However, you can purchase the top of the line model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. Although it is amongst the fast phones, the company is all set to bring kirin 980 next month with the Mate 20 series. Thanks to the dedicated NPU, it handles AI tasks quite efficiently.

On the other hand, Apple introduces A12 Bionic SoC this year with the new iPhone Xs Max. The chipset is accompanied with 4GB RAM. At the moment it is not only the fast SoC from Apple but also it outclasses its Android counterparts with a clear margin on numerous benchmarks.

The new Apple SoC CPU and GPU is 50% more efficient than the predecessor. It is the first SoC in the market built on the 7nm process. Huawei Kirin 980 will be second SoC in the market built on the 7nm process. In terms of sheer performance, the iPhone Xs Max is certainly the fastest phone on the market.

Specs iPhone Xs Max P20 Pro
Display 6.5-inches 6.1-inches
Screen resolution 1242 x 2688 pixels 1080 x 2240 pixels
Chipset A12 Bionic Kirin 970
RAM 4GB 6,8GB
Storage 64, 256, 512GB Non-Expandable 128, 256GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera Dual 12MP 40+20+8MP
Front camera 7MP 24MP
Battery 3,174mAh 4,000mAh
USB Lightning port Type-C
3.5mm headphone jacl No No
OS iOS 12 Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI
Camera

Huawei did not follow the traditional dual cameras route for the P20 Pro instead the company sets a new precedent for the premium segment flagships by introducing triple Leica certified rear cameras. The P20 Pro comes with a 40MP color sensor with f/1.8, a 20MP monochrome sensor with f/1.6 and 8MP telephoto sensor. The first two sensors have optical image stabilization whereas the third sensor provides lossless optical zoom up to 3x.

The triple rear cameras not only provide the best low-light shots but also provides detailed photos in stable lightening conditions. Last but not the least the company uses AI to detect scenes which allow the camera to better adjust the settings when it identifies what it is capturing. The autofocus is motion-based and also it can capture slow-slow motion videos. Up front the selfie snapper is 24MP. Overall all four cameras are best in class that's why it achieves whopping 109 scores at the DxOMark and still, no phone camera has enough grunt to beat it.

On paper, the camera's setup on the latest iPhone Xs Max isn't different from the predecessor. The rear side has dual 12MP sensors whereas the selfie snapper remains 7MP. The company introduces a few software tweaks and also utilizes the grunt of the new chipset. Apple iPhone X was highly regarded as the best phone for portrait shots. The company improved this aspect even further by allowing the users to add bokeh effects even after capturing shots. A new Smart HDR is introduced to capture better-detailed shots.

Although the iPhone Xs Max cameras are good enough to grace the latest Apple phones but still behind the P20 Pro triplet. So if you are looking for a camera-centric phone the P20 Pro is a better choice.

Software

As everyone knows new iPhones are shipped with the latest version of iOS, same is the case here the iPhone Xs Max is pre-installed with iOS 12. On the other hand, the P20 Pro was announced with Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI skin over it. The first Huawei with Android Pie most like will be Mate 20 and its larger sibling. We won't claim which OS platform is best, both feature-rich, tons of apps and games are available on both the platforms.

Due to third party skin, the Android devices took months to receive the latest version of OS whereas that's not the case with iPhones. That is why iPhone takes lead here due to better software support for a longer period.

Battery

The P20 Pro lights are kept on by a 4,000mAH battery cell and it comes with Huawei SuperCharge fast charging tech. Despite having the glass rear it lacks support for fast charging. The iPhone Xs Max is packed with a 3,174mAH battery cell. It supports fast and wireless charging but unfortunately, you will have to spend extra to enjoy these features. The company doesn't ship fast charger and wireless charging pad with the box. ​

Price

Being almost six months older, the P20 Pro is currently available at the much significantly lower price tag. It was announced at 900 Euros for the European region and around $1,000 for the US buyers. Now you can grab it for as low as $750 via Amazon. The company didn't release the P20 Pro officially in the US and also it lacks support for CDMA networks (Sprint and Verizon).

As expected the iPhone Xs Max is the most expensive iPhone ever announced by Apple at a price tag of $1,099 for the base variant. However, the good thing is it will be available form all major carriers in the US and across the globe.


Conclusion:

Undoubtedly both the devices can be regarded as the two best flagship phones on the market, however, the key selling aspects of both the devices are different. The iPhone Xs Max comes with a stylish glass and metal clad design, edge-to-edge OLED display, latest hardware and OS with top-notch integrated performance, improved cameras. On the other hand the P20 Pro ultra thin notch design, one of the best hardware in the Android arena, best-in-class cameras, two days battery life.

If you want a powerhouse with latest iOS, the iPhone Xs Max is certainly a good choice but it costs way more than any other iPhone in the market. The P20 Pro is currently a better value for money with the best cameras and great battery life.

Feel free to share your thoughts regarding the iPhone Xs Max vs Huawei P20 Pro in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons in coming days.

(last update 19 October 2018 @ 09:53)

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