Back in 2017, when iPhone X hit the market, it was a complete game-changer. It was clear that Apple had reinvented the design, overhauled the security and specs, and (controversially) the price as well. It was a definite upgrade and a whole class ahead of its predecessors. But when Apple introduced iPhone XS one year later, many users were left wondering: is it worth the upgrade?

The design of the two is almost the same, so it begs the question, what did change? Let’s find out.

The Design: Somewhat Similar

The iPhone X completely revolutionized the familiar iPhone design that’s been around since the 6. Ditching the bezel-and-home-button setup in favor of an edge-to-edge display, it was a whole lot more polished than the phones before it. It did cost considerably more, but users mostly agreed the upgrades were worth every penny.

The iPhone XS is quite the opposite. Visually, it’s pretty much identical to iPhone X, save for the addition of a Gold color option. The design has aged really well, though, and not many were asking for an overhaul.

The Screen: Much More Dynamic

When it comes to the screen, there appears not to be much of a difference, at first glance. Like the iPhone X, the screens stand at 5.8 inches with an OLED display that’s 2436×1125 (458ppi). It still supports HDR playback in both Dolby Vision and HDR10. But the XS does go one step ahead.

The display has 60% more dynamic range than previously. This means that the contrast is much starker and the visuals pop a lot more than with the X.

The Camera: A Drastic Upgrade

If there’s one change that is more drastic than any of the others, it’s the camera. On paper, it seems like not many alterations have been made; like iPhone X, the XS also features a dual 12-megapixel camera at the back, one of them being a wide-angle (f/1.8) and the other a telephoto lens (f/2.4). Like before, the dual camera setup allows for 2x optical zoom, bokeh effects, and stunning portraiture.

But what the XS does feature is a new, smarter HDR enabled by the A12 SoC. This vastly improves the dynamic range of pictures, by recovering a lot of highlight and shadow areas. It also has better low-light performance and a slider option that lets users adjust the background focal depth in Portrait mode, giving you manual control over bokeh and blur.

The front camera again has similar specs—7MP with sensors for Face ID security and Animoji. But they’re more secure and faster than before.

Performance and Battery: More Enhanced

Performance wise, the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chip was considered in a league of its own when it came out. With the A12 Bionic, however, Apple has improved the performance by an order of magnitude that’s truly astounding.

The XS also features 4GB RAM in contrast to iPhone X’s 3GB.

While the battery of XS is smaller than that of X, it is much more efficient. And according to Apple, it can last you up to 30 minutes longer.

The Verdict: Close Enough

To some Apple users, the difference between the two may not seem that much, save for the camera and performance. It may seem excessive (XSive?) to some people to get a more expensive but pretty-much similar model; but for avid Apple users, the new XS is a must-have!

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