iPhone XS Max review

Apple's biggest, priciest iPhone ever

iPhone XS Max

TechRadar Verdict

Apple finally delivers an iPhone with a huge screen, and for movie-watching, game-playing fans the iPhone XS Max is an exciting new addition to the range. It certainly costs a lot, but if you can get past the price, the XS Max offers up a supersized experience.


  • +

    Screen great for gaming & movies

  • +

    Camera is a strong offering

  • +

    Extremely fast


  • -

    Price: most expensive iPhone ever

  • -

    Size can make it tricky to handle

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We've come a long way from the original iPhone with a 3.5-inch screen to the latest iPhone XS Max (pronounced ‘Ten S Max’) that has almost twice the screen size of the original. At 6.5-inches, it's the largest phone Apple has ever made and shows the trend of users gravitating towards larger devices.

Besides being the largest iPhone, it's also the most expensive (mainstream) phone that Apple, or any other manufacturer has ever made. It's a premium product from every angle but whether that's enough to justify its high price tag will be a choice that each individual will have to make for themselves.

Unlike previous generation of iPhones where the Plus model also offered some additional features besides the larger screen and battery, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max are identical products and you're not losing out on any feature by choosing either of these devices and your purchasing decision will boil down to the size of the device.

If you are comfortable with the size of the iPhone XS Max, it is the phone to get. The larger screen creates an immersive experience that you won't get with any other iPhone, especially when it comes to videos and games. The larger battery will also keep the phone usable till the end of the day.

iPhone XS Max price and availability

  • iPhone XS Max 64GB price: AED 4649 / SAR 
  • iPhone XS Max 256GB price: AED 5,279 / SAR 
  • iPhone XS Max 512GB price: AED 6,129 / SAR

Last year’s iPhone X price tag pretty much started the trend of pushing premium phone prices upwards and we weren’t expecting the new iPhone XS or XS Max to cost any less. While Apple has kept the prices of the iPhone XS similar to last year, the Max is priced roughly 400 Dirhams more at each capacity.

Both the iPhone XS and the XS Max are available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB configurations with the Max starting at AED 4,649- about AED 420 more than the iPhone XS. 

If you want more internal storage, the 256GB iPhone XS Max price is AED 5,279 while the most expensive 512GB version will set you back a whopping AED 6,129. That makes the iPhone X Max the most expensive mainstream phone we’ve come across. Granted you’re getting a top-end phone with incredible specs, but that is a lot of money to spending on a new phone. 

The phone was released on September 21 and is available across Apple Stores in the UAE as well as respected retailers across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. 

iPhone XS Max


  • Same design as iPhone X, but bigger
  • A touch shorter and narrow than the iPhone 8 Plus, with a bigger screen

With this being an “S” year in iPhone’s timeline, we weren’t expecting much of a design refresh and the iPhone XS looks almost identical to last year’s iPhone X. The iPhone XS Max is, more or less, a bigger version of the XS measuring 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm. If you’re an iPhone Plus user, the iPhone XS Max feels very similar in size to that.

Where it differs is that you have a much larger screen which looks fantastic but also means that there is no way you’ll be able to use the iPhone XS Max with one hand. And though Apple says that it’s used the strongest glass on the iPhone XS than any other smartphone, we highly recommend getting a case for it.

As big as the iPhone XS Max is, it surprisingly feels smaller and lighter than it looks. It’s impressively thin which is probably the reason it feels as such though we will say that we prefer a curved back when it comes to larger phones as they sit better in your hand whereas the iPhone XS is completely flat.

iPhone XS Max hands-on gallery

What's more impressive is that the XS Max manages to squeeze a huge 6.5-inch display into a body that's a touch shorter and narrower (at 157.5 x 77.4mm) than the iPhone 8 Plus, which only boasts a 5.5-inch display.

While the iPhone XS Max does feel a little chunky in the hand there's no questioning the fact that you're getting a huge amount of display real estate crammed into a form factor which does a good job of keeping it usable.

The steel frame around the outside and the new formulation of glass on the front and rear – which is tougher than the glass on the iPhone X – give the iPhone XS Max a supremely premium look and feel, while its resistance to dust and water has also been enhanced.

Apple has upped the protection to IP68, enabling the iPhone XS Max to be submerged to a depth of up to two meters for 30 minutes without suffering any ill effects. Apple claims it's tested the protection in a number of liquids, including salt water, chlorinated water, milk, wine and beer, although we wouldn't advise purposefully exposing the handset to any of these.

It's worth noting that Apple's warranty, like those of all phone manufacturers, doesn't cover 'liquid contact' damage, which means if the liquid resistance does fail on the iPhone XS Max you won't be covered.

iPhone XS Max

The headphone jack is gone for good from iPhones

Apple has introduced a new gold colour with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max which is what we received for review. It’s a subtle gold and more on the classy side that the gaudy side. The stainless steel frame is also polished gold and adds a bit of bling to the phone. There is some kind of coating on the frame which makes the iPhone X Max less slippery than last year’s iPhone X. 

As far as all the buttons and connectors are concerned, it’s pretty much a replica of the iPhone X from last year with the volume buttons and mute slider on the left and the power button on the right. The SIM card tray sits below this key, but there's a new feature inside the iPhone XS Max (and XS). The handset is dual SIM enabled, with an eSIM embedded inside the handset.

This allows you to insert a SIM from the carrier of your choice, and then enable the eSIM on a different plan or carrier. It's worth noting that not all carriers support eSIM technology, and availability varies by region. We have yet to hear about any regional telcos supporting eSIM for the iPhone XS, however, considering that Etisalat supports eSIM on the Apple Watch, there is a possibility that they will be first to support it on the iPhone as well.

Speaking of connectivity, the antenna lines on the iPhone XS are set up slightly different  that last year’s model. Like the iPhone X, there are four cuts\- two on each side, but on the iPhone XS, there are two additional cuts- t one cut on the top right and another on the bottom left. Apple claims that the iPhone XS has the fastest LTE speeds and supports the highest number of network bands and this could be related to that.