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Photographers: Details To Help You Choose Between iPhone XS, XR

Have you decided to upgrade your iPhone, but you’re not sure if you should get the iPhone Xs or XR? Is it even worth considering the slightly-more-expensive Xs Max? Are the speakers on these models really that awesome? Here’s what you need to know.

When Apple got rid of the iPhone X, they launched the XR, XS, and XS Max. The XR starts at $749, the Xs at $999, and the Xs Max at $1,099. All three models come with upgraded features that would please the average person regardless of what model they choose. However, if you use your iPhone for photography or videography, the model you choose matters. (Related: Friday Five: Tips for Shooting Better Holiday Photos with Your iPhone)

What’s the best model for photography and videography?
The iPhone XS Max is ideal for gaming, streaming, and photography largely due to its 6.5” Super Retina OLED display – the largest iPhone display to-date. If you’re going to stream videos, the HDR display provides industry-leading color accuracy and stunning contrast and brightness. The battery also lasts 1.5x longer than the previous model but it’s slightly heavier than the XR and XS.

With the exception of the 6.1” LCD display, the iPhone XR’s screen is inferior to both the XS and XS Max.

Screen specs for the XR:

  • 6.1” display
  • 1792×828 pixels (326ppi)
  • 1,400:1 contrast ratio
  • 79% screen-to-body ratio
  • The XR has been downgraded from OLED to LCD
  • Cannot display full HD 1080p content
  • Doesn’t have Apple’s pressure sensitive 3D Touch technology, although most functions have been replaced with a “long press.”

Screen specs for the XS:

  • 5.8” display
  • 2436×1125 pixels (458ppi)
  • 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 9% screen-to-body ratio
  • Maintains OLED display

Screen specs for the XS Max:

  • 6.5” display
  • 2688×1242 pixels (458ppi)
  • 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • The screen is nearly 100% of the body and there is no physical “home” button

These specs are important to consider whether you’re a hobbyist, or a professional. The iPhone XS Max seems to be the best option

There are plenty of reasons for photographers and videographers to love the XS Max, and for just a couple hundred dollars more, it makes sense to get it.

The iPhone XS Max does something spectacular: it automatically adjusts the white balance according to the color temperature of the light you’re in. It also comes with a 512GB storage option, which means you don’t have to worry about running out of space testing your shots and taking video.

In addition to a drastic increase in storage space, this model is far more efficient and powerful than previous iPhone models thanks to Apple’s A12 Bionic chip.


Apple is introducing advanced technology with the XR, XS, and XS Max
All three models come equipped with the new A12 Bionic chip. According to Apple, the A12 Bionic chip is “the smartest, most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.” That’s a big claim to make, but it does have a six-core CPU, a four-core GPU, and an updated Neural Engine, the component that handles artificial intelligence tasks. Apple’s 2017 Neural Engine had two cores and could handle 600 billion operations per second; the A12’s Neural Engine has eight cores and can handle 5 trillion operations per second.

What do all these numbers boil down to? Faster apps.


Why should you care about speed? It’s all about the apps
If you’re a photographer or videographer, you rely on apps to function fast and smooth. You probably won’t notice the increase in speed while you’re snapping photos, but you will notice a difference while editing your shots. The fast processing capabilities of the A12 chip make the Xs Max run 9x faster than last year’s model.

Your next iPhone will be an investment
Gone are the days of $400-$600 iPhones. The good news is, these new models are packed with upgraded technology and features that make them business tools for many. You can still use these models to text with friends and Skype with family, but Apple has really gone out of their way to turn the iPhone into a device that functions as professional equipment. With that said, it’s worth investing in a device that will enrich both your personal and professional experience.

Anna Johansson
the authorAnna Johansson
Contributing Author
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for,, and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.
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