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Apple iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus vs iPhone 7 Plus: An in-house competition

29 September 2018 5

The Cupertino giant Apple unveiled three new iPhones this year. All the three iPhones are based on the 10th anniversary iPhone X. The company took the iPhone X basics to design all three variants this year. We can claim Apple uses the iPhone X front for all new iPhones whereas the rear remains same like last year. Usually, the entry-level iPhone is smallest amongst all and also it has toned down hardware but that's not the case this year. The iPhone XR is the new entry-level iPhone from Apple but it features a larger display than the iPhone Xs.

The iPhone 8 Plus successor is announced as iPhone XS Max. It comes with the largest display ever witnessed on any iPhone. It is certainly a huge jump if you already own the last year's iPhone 8 Plus or the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone Xs Max showcases the Apple intention of setting a new size for phablets. Despite having a significantly larger display it is still slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus in terms of overall dimensions.

The iPhone Xs Max is certainly an attractive option if you are amongst those who are looking for premium phablet phone. If you already own iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8 Plus, for sure the first thing in your mind will be whether you should grab the latest iPhone Xs Max or stick to what you already own. The iPhone Xs Max is a huge jump over the predecessor in a number of aspects. Today we will put the latest iPhone Xs Max in a comparison against the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus. It will help buyers to better understand how things changed in the last two years.

It will be an interesting battle how the Max model competes against the Plus models which are in business from past few years. Without any further delay, let's start with the design changes what Apple brought in the last two years.

77.4 x 157.5 x 7.9 mm
6.5 inches - 2688x1242 px
78.1 x 158.4 x 7.5 mm
5.5 inches - 1920x1080 px
77.9 x 158.2 x 7.3 mm
5.5 inches - 1920x1080 px
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Apple introduced a new design with the iPhone 6 lineup. The company retained unibody metal design till iPhone 7. With the iPhone 8 Apple kept the same front-facing design, however, they changed the metal rear with glass body to support wireless charging. So if you owned iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8 Plus, the front design remain same with thick bezels around the corner. The iPhone 7 Plus was the first iPhone without 3.5mm headphone jack and since then the company is relying on the Lightning port for headphones and charging. The placement of fingerprint scanner aka Touch remains same on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 Plus.

The rear camera sensor on all three devices remain single and placed on the top left corner. The best thing is Apple stepped up their design game with the iPhone XS Max. The front-facing and rear design of iPhone XS Max are inspired from the last year's iPhone X.

The iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus chassis are made up of aluminum whereas the iPhone XS Max has a stainless steel chassis. The glass rear is common on both the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS Max has Face ID as the only biometric feature, it lacks the physical home button. Undoubtedly the new iPhone XS Max looks way more beautiful than its predecessors.

The thick bezels design is replaced with a new sleek design. Despite being slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone XS Max features a gigantic display. In fact, it comes with the largest display ever seen on any iPhone. The iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus are IP67 certified which means both the devices can resist under 1-meter deep water for 30 minutes whereas the iPhone XS Max is IP68 certified. If you can bear the loss of the physical home button, the iPhone XS Max is certainly the best-looking smartphone with the stylish edge-to-edge display.


As far as the display is a concern the iPhone XS Max is the largest amongst all. The iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus features a 5.5-inches IPS LCD display panel with a Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Both the devices aspect ratio are 16:9 and the pixels density is 401 pixels-per-inch. Despite being the best in many aspects the display panel on the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus were not amongst the best.

The LCD panels struggle in front of OLED displays from Samsung. This year Apple utilizes the OLED display panel for the latest iPhone XS Max. The display is not only the best in terms of brightness, contrast ratio but also it is fairly large at 6.5-inches. The display supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The OLED display screen resolution is 1242 x 2688 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 19:9 and the pixels density is 456 pixels-per-inch.

The iPhone XS Max looks quite stunning thanks to edge-to-edge display and ultra-thin bezels. Although all the iPhones have above 400 pixels density the iPhone XS Max certainly takes lead due to better display tech.


It's not surprising at all to see the latest iPhone XS Max leading the older iPhones in terms of performance. With each new iteration of iPhone, Apple announces new chipset which brings a significant improvement over the predecessor in terms of performance and speed. The iPhone XS Max is running on the latest A12 Bionic chipset. The new SoC is 40% faster than the predecessor and its CPU and GPU is 50% more efficient. The Neural engine of the latest chipset is capable to handle 5 trillion operations per second.

Undoubtedly the latest A12 Bionic is currently the most powerful SoC in the market. It is the first 7nm chipset which is available in the market. Huawei's 7nm Kirin 980 powered smartphone yet to hit the market. Despite the fact the iPhone 8 Plus's A11 Bionic chipset is one year old, it is still amongst the best performing SoCs in the market. The Bionic lineup chipsets are hexa-core. The iPhone 7 Plus is running on the quad-core A10 Bionic chipset.

In terms of RAM and memory, all three have 3GB RAM and base variants with 64GB storage. The iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus the top of the line models have 256GB storage whereas the iPhone XS Max top tier variant has 512GB storage.

Specs iPhone XS Max iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 7 Plus
Display 6.5-inches 5.5-inches 5.5-inches
Display tech OLED LCD LCD
Screen resolution 1242 x 2688 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels
Chipset A12 Bionic A11 Bionic A10 Fusion
Storage 64, 512GB 64, 256GB 64, 256GB
Rear camera Dual 12MP Dual 12MP Dual 12MP
Front camera True depth 7MP 7MP 7MP
Battery 3,174mAh -- 2,900mAh
USB Lightning port Lightning port Lightning port
IP-ratings IP68 IP67 IP


The iPhone 7 Plus comes with a 2,900mAH battery cell whereas the latest iPhone XS Max has a 3,174mAh battery cell. All three iPhones have enough juice to last one day on a single charge. The iPhone 8 Plus and XS Max also support fast and wireless charging. However wireless and fast charger isn't shipped with the box instead the buyers will have to purchase it as an extra accessory. Apple claims the iPhone XS Max battery will last longer than the iPhone X.


On paper, you may find all three iPhones have the same camera sensor on the rear and front. All have a dual 12MP sensors on the rear side. The primary sensor is a color lens with f/1.8 aperture whereas the secondary sensor is a telephoto module with f/2.4 aperture. The primary sensor on all the devices has optical image stabilization. The iPhone XS Max secondary sensor also has OIS. All provide optical zoom up to 2x without affecting the quality.

However, Apple made improvements to the cameras with each new iteration. Apple brings a number of new software tricks to improve the capturing capabilities of iPhone XS Max. A new smart HDR mode is introduced which auto adjust the HDR image. Despite having a single camera the iPhone XS Max can capture portrait shots and even allows the user to add different apertures bokeh effects after capturing shots.

Up front, the selfie snapper is a TrueDepth 7MP sensor which not only captures selfies but also it supports 3D Facial recognition and Animoji. Apple also claims the video capabilities of iPhone XS Max are improved. Despite being older iPhones, the cameras on both iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus are good enough to be amongst the best in the market. With the iPhone XS Max, Apple indeed stepped up the performance of their camera.


With each new iteration, Apple rolls out a new version of iOS. This year iPhone XS Max is pre-installed with iOS 12 straight out of the box. The iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus were announced with iOS 10 and iOS 11 respectively. Now the good thing is Apple currently rolling the latest iOS 12 for older iPhones to make sure all the devices are up-to-date. All the devices will receive update even for next year as well. Being the latest iPhone XS Max has an advantage of receiving updates for a longer period. The UI on the latest iPhone is gestures based whereas older iPhones have different UI because of a physical home button.


As expected the iPhone XS Max is the most expensive amongst all. The base variant with 64GB storage costs $1,100. The iPhone XS Max is up for pre-orders from September 14th with a release from Sep 21. The top of the line model has 512GB storage.

With the release of new iPhones, the older iPhones will be available at discounted pricing. The iPhone 7 Plus can be purchased for as low as $650 whereas the iPhone 8 Plus is currently around $700. All the iPhones support major carriers and networks across the globe.


It's not surprising to see the latest iPhone XS Max is better than the predecessor in terms of design, display, hardware, cameras, battery. Undoubtedly the iPhone XS Max is a huge upgrade over the last year's iPhone 7 Plus. The new edge-to-edge OLED display, stainless steel chassis, latest A12 Bionic chipset makes it a pie that everyone wants to eat.

The iPhone XS Max is certainly capable to beat its Android counterparts till next year. So if you want a beast and budget is not a problem the iPhone XS Max is certainly the best option amongst all. However, if you don't want iPhone without a physical button or don't have issues with older hardware the iPhone 8 Plus is still a pretty good option at this price range. Last but not the least the iPhone 7 Plus is also a good buy at $670.

Which phablet iPhone would you like to have as your next companion? Feel free to share your views in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons.

(last update 20 March 2020 @ 09:03)



Apple iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus vs iPhone 7 Plus: An in-house competition
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It does happen like the makers do bring out different variants in storage or color options later. This news doesn't create that many ripples as to the original launch. But yes, on the storage front, Apple is pushing the limits.


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