Should You Get the iPhone X Instead of the iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR?
October 16, 2018 Andrew Cheng

Generally, iPhones are some of the most costly smartphones in the market, and this is further magnified this year with the introduction of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Take the recently revealed retail prices of the new iPhones in Malaysia. Retailing from RM3,599 for the iPhone XR, the prices shoot up to RM4,999 and RM5,399 for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max respectively.

Needless to say, these are very, very hefty price tags. If you’re looking to get a brand new iPhone, should you really even consider getting the new models this year? After all, even the most “affordable” new iPhone goes for RM3,599. That’s a lot of money.

With the steep price tags of the new iPhones in mind, older iPhone models are worth considering. More specifically, last year’s best Apple device, the iPhone X. Although the iPhone X has been officially discontinued, you can still get the device well below its original retail price now. Let’s take a look at what you’ll miss out if you opt to get the iPhone X instead of the latest iPhone models.

First and foremost, you’ll be sacrificing performance with the iPhone X. It’s powered by Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, and compared to the new A12 Bionic processor found in the new iPhones, the latter offers up to 15% increase in CPU performance. On top of that, it also has a better GPU – supposedly up to 50% better – and improved power-efficiency, thanks to the A12’s smaller 7nm size.

That being said, the A11 Bionic is still a plenty capable chip, even if compared to the latest crop of processors found in other high-end Android smartphones in the market now. Yes, that include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, Samsung’s Exynos 9810 processor, and Huawei’s Kirin 970 SoC. Although the A12 chip is superior, there’s no denying the high performance level of the A11 processor here.

Besides performance, the iPhone X’s camera isn’t quite as good as the iPhone XS and XS Max. Although the XS and XS Max also feature two 12MP camera sensors as their predecessor, the primary 12MP shooter boasts larger pixels for improved camera performance. As for the iPhone XR, it’s not known yet exactly how its single rear camera stacks up to the iPhone X’s dual camera system – the XR is not officially available in the market yet – but considering the fact that the XR has the same primary 12MP sensor as the more expensive XS and XS Max, it should have better camera performance than the X.

Okay, so you’ll be sacrificing some performance and camera capability with the iPhone X, but there are some positives. For one, you’re getting a very similar display as the iPhone XS. Both devices feature 5.8-inch 2436 x 1125 Super Retina HD OLED displays, and as far as I can tell, they look virtually the same.

However, if you opt to get the iPhone XS Max instead, that particular device offers a larger 6.5-inch OLED panel. It’s a different story if you want the more affordable iPhone XR. Not only does the XR come with an LCD panel – generally considered to be less desirable than an OLED screen – it’s also a lower resolution 1792 x 828 display. Sure, it’s a larger 6.1-inch screen than the iPhone X’s 5.8-inch panel, but note that the XR lacks 3D Touch support.

Display isn’t the only aspect of the iPhone X that is similar to the newer iPhones; you’re also getting the same Face ID system on the X. Although the A12 Bionic’s next generation Neural Engine improves Face ID’s recognition speed – just a tad, in my testing – it’s still mostly the same hardware.

Last but not least is design, and…the iPhone X looks and feels a lot like the iPhone XS. Both phones have stainless steel frames, glass backs, and identical appearance. You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the iPhone X and iPhone XS.

It’s also worth noting that the iPhone XR does not look quite as sleek as the iPhone X. The XR has thicker bezels all around the display, and the aluminium frame isn’t as premium as the X’s stainless steel frame. However, you do have a wider variety of colours to choose from with the XR – it’s available in white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and red.

So all in all, is the iPhone X worth considering over the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR? Absolutely. You will sacrifice in a couple of areas like performance and camera, but the amount of money you save by getting the iPhone X over the newer iPhones may be worth it.

Much like older flagship smartphones, just because the iPhone X is an older model doesn’t mean it’s not worth purchasing. Consider how much you’ll save by getting the iPhone X: if the price difference is large enough, by all means, go for it.