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Which iPhone?

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By Prof. Rom Feria

The 2018 iPhone line-up is a tad confusing for most people who are looking at upgrading. Apple released three (3) new iPhones: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. Which one to choose, at least for me, isn’t that easy.

Back in the day, Apple just had one model, and your options are colors and storage size. Then Apple started offering two different models, with size, camera, colors, and storage sizes to choose from. Last year, Apple offered three: the usual two models as in previous years, and a new radical design change, the iPhone X, at a hefty price premium. I got suckered to get the iPhone X — being a big fan, and also wanting to experience the latest and greatest technology from Apple.

Whilst it could have been an easier choice between the newer iPhone X model, the iPhone XS, and the bigger sibling, the iPhone XS Max — which is exactly the same, except for the size, Apple threw a wrench in my decision process, with the cheaper, equally capable iPhone XR, which differs from the XS series a bit.

Deciding on whether to get the iPhone XS vs the iPhone XS Max boiled down to the size and price. Unlike the Plus models that came with a better camera before, there is nothing you can do on the XS Max that you can’t on the XS, except for the split-screen in landscape mode, something that I rarely use on the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone XS is the one for me.

Now that iPhone XR made it complicated. The XR is bigger than the XS, but smaller than the XS Max. It has an LCD screen, compared to the XS’s OLED. It has one rear-facing camera vs the XS’s two (same wide-angle lens, plus a 2X telephoto one). To add to the confusing equation, the XR, at least when bought in HK or China, gives you a two nano-SIM option, vs the eSIM-nanoSIM combo of the XS. Finally, the XR is less expensive (you can get a 128GB option vs the XS’s 64GB for almost the same price), and has color options.

So which one did I get? My preference for the OLED screen and telephoto lens swayed me towards the iPhone XS, but the price difference made me think twice — same price, double the storage on the iPhone XR. I re-evaluated my storage usage on my iPhone X, and it revealed that I still have 30GB free, out of the 64GB storage capacity (thanks iCloud)! I ended up with one last parameter to check — pocket-ability, and the iPhone XS takes the cake here. Yeah, I could have preferred the dual nano-SIM configuration from HK, but since I don’t travel that much anymore, this advantage quickly didn’t matter much, besides, I figured that most of the countries I go to probably offers prepaid eSIM support, too.

How about you — which one are you getting?

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