Everything changed with the release of the iPhone X. Apple changed the iPhone design, security, and (most controversially) the pricing of a premium smartphone. One year later, the iPhone XS raised the bar even higher, but are there enough differences to recommend an upgrade? This article explains in which terms iPhone X differs from the iPhone XS. 


The iPhone X was Apple’s first step into OLED panels, quickly setting the standard for everyone else. Predictably, the iPhone XS significantly improves, yet the essential specifications remain unchanged. The iPhones X and XS both have 5.8-inch 19.5:9 aspect ratio, True Tone OLED screen, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 PPI), 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and 82.9% screen-to-body ratio. 

Yes, Apple has installed an OLED display of the same size and resolution in the iPhone XS and boasts that it will give 60% more dynamic range with HDR content. This is backed up with Dolby Vision / HDR10 compatibility, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to observe the Difference in photos and video.

Another significant adjustment is what Apple calls “120Hz touch sensing.” Contrast this with a 120Hz refresh rate, which the Razor phone uses to glisteningly flawless effect. The pace at which the phone will scan for touch input is 120Hz. The iPhone XS should feel more responsive than the iPhone X the minute you touch it since it responds to touch input twice as rapidly as the iPhone X (60Hz display refresh rate stays the same).

Additionally, Apple asserts that the Face ID facial recognition mechanism located within the notch on the iPhone XS is “faster” even though the notch is still present (and is not smaller).

Identical Design

Although you can thoroughly examine the iPhone XS’s display to see its improvements over the iPhone X, the same cannot be said of their designs.

  • iPhone XS: 177g and dimensions of 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm 
  • iPhone X : 174g and is 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm 

Yes, the Difference in weight is 3g. However, despite this, Apple has improved the design, though they are challenging to see. 

The first Difference is IP68 water and dust resistance over the iPhone X’s IP67 certification. It means you can now submerge your iPhone in up to three meters of water instead of just one.

Following that is a 25% boost in speaker volume and stereo capability, which Apple boasts will produce noticeably clear left and proper channels. The iPhone X boasts compelling speakers (even louder than the front-firing, stereo-supporting Pixel 2), so this should be a pleasant addition for anybody who enjoys listening to podcasts while cooking.

The most visible and least obvious change is Apple’s implementation of dual-sim functionality – a first for the iPhone line. 

Besides that, the stainless-steel frame introduced with the iPhone X is still present, as is the more polarizing glass back necessary for wireless charging.


Apple’s A11 chipset (iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus) gave by far the quickest performance of any phone, and the new A12 processor in the iPhone XS (as well as the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR) will keep that title:

  • Apple A12 ‘Bionic’ chipset in iPhone XS: Six-Core CPU, Four-Core GPU, M12 motion coprocessor, 4GB RAM
  • Apple A11′ Bionic’ chipset in iPhone X: Six-Core CPU, Three-Core GPU, M11 motion coprocessor, 3GB RAM

Apple promises a 50% increase in graphics performance and another 50% increase in power efficiency while idle. A 15% increase in peak performance is less striking, but the iPhone X already has plenty of power.

In terms of intelligence, Apple claims the A12 will enhance an image, while it is behind the iPhone XS’s performance improvements with Face ID. A bump to 3GB of RAM could aid multitasking, an area where Apple has lagged competition.

Furthermore, the iPhone XS includes “faster” wireless charging and substantially faster 4G networking with a jump from Cat 12 to Cat 16 LTE and compatibility for the 600MHz band.

Support for 600 MHz is a very fantastic feature. 600 MHz is a slower network band, but it spans a large region and is utilized by networks to provide coverage to previously unconnected areas. Because the iPhone XS is the first iPhone to support 600 MHz, this will be significant for folks who live in 600 MHz-only locations.


Apple’s version of Google’s “HDR+” technology, dubbed “Smart HDR,” blends the best elements of several images captured at various exposures into a single picture. Due to upgrades to Portrait Mode, the iPhone XS can now modify background blur after an image has been captured, giving it a Samsung-style party trick. This should dramatically increase dynamic range, a particular iPhone weakness.

In terms of hardware, the iPhone XS has one significant improvement in addition to new six-piece lenses. The pixel size is a clue if you need one. The iPhone XS should perform far better than the 1.22 m pixels on the iPhone X since its 1.4 mm pixel size equals that of the Pixel 2, and larger pixels can capture more light.

The iPhone XS has a front camera that can also shoot Portrait photographs. 

Battery Life and Charging 

You’ll be glad to learn that the iPhone XS has better endurance as the iPhone X didn’t have great battery life. You won’t be as impressed when you learn that Apple claims it is just “30 minutes longer.” This is unexpected considering the A12’s 50% improvement in idle efficiency, and Apple really ought to have included a larger battery:

  • iPhone XS – 2,658 mAh
  • iPhone X – 2716 mAh

The term “faster” wireless charging is ambiguous and doesn’t imply much of an increase over the 7.5W output of the iPhone X. Something that is in no way even close to the 15W that the Qi-standard it utilizes supports.

Second, even though the iPhone XS has the same rapid wired charging as the iPhone X (a 50% charge from flat in 30 minutes), Apple has included a slow charger with the new phone.


The iPhone X and the iPhone XS share a lot of identical qualities despite the tiny differences mentioned in this article. Since Apple stopped selling the iPhone X when it released the iPhone XS, you can no longer purchase a new iPhone X through Apple. However, you can find iPhone X at carrier stores like Phone Daddy for $220. Also, you can find a used iPhone XS at a lower price at the exact location. 


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