Best overall

iPhone XS (256GB)

iPhone XS gives you get the best OLED display in the industry, at Plus size, crammed into a body the size of the regular iPhone. Fully Dolby Vision and HDR10 compatible, iPhone XS isn't just the best mobile movie player on the planet right now, but with 4K at 60FPS in cinematic P3 color, it's the best camera as well. That goes double now for stills, with a TrueDepth system in front that can shoot Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting just like the dual-lens system on the back (which now sports double optical stabilization). Face ID lets you unlock your iPhone X with a look and a new face matching system lets you integrate yourself into augmented reality (AR) experiences. And, yeah, Animoji.

Bottom line: If you want the absolute best iPhone and money is no object, get iPhone XS.

One more thing: Comes in silver, space gray, or Gold with matching stainless steel bands.

Why the 256GB iPhone XS is the best

Living on the edge-to-edge.

Once upon a time, Apple only offered one new iPhone a year. Right now, the company has many — iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, the upcoming iPhone XR, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus. That makes choosing the best — and choosing your next iPhone — more complicated than ever.

So why iPhone XS?

iPhone XS means no longer having to choose between a big screen and an easy-to-carry iPhone. You get the world's best OLED display at nearly iPhone 8 Plus size in a body that's just ever-so-slightly bigger than iPhone. And because that display is fully HDR, you can watch iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, and more in Dolby Vision or HDR10. That means deep blacks, popping P3 colors, and details in all the highlights and shadows. It even has TrueTone so, some blue shift at steep angles aside, iPhone X white looks white. No OLED white. Paperwhite.

On the back is an even better version of Apple's dual lens camera system. It fuses an even better ƒ/1.8 wide angle with an ƒ/2.4 "telephoto" lens to provide for up to 2x optical and 10x digital zoom, as well as the computational photography-powered Portrait Mode and (now in beta) Portrait Lighting depth of field and studio effects. And on iPhone XS, both lenses are optically stabilized for about 1/3 stop better performance in low light.

You can shoot in DCI-P3, and in RAW, and new to video: Up to 60FPS 4K and 240FPS 1080p. Apple has officially made one of the best video cameras around. Period.

Up front is the TrueDepth camera system that offers Face ID authentication. It can't do multiple faces the way Touch ID could do multiple fingers, but you also only have to look, not touch, to get into your phone. Daytime, nighttime, hair up, hair down, shaved, bearded, fancy neural nets keep learning so you can keep unlocking.

It also offers Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting for selfies, and face matching for everything from social media filters to Apple's own Animoji. You can now even change the bokeh of a portrait after you've taken it — from ƒ/1.4 to ƒ/16.

Available in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB models, the 256GB version is the best balance of price and storage. It's almost useful enough to be a primary computing device. Almost.

If all you need is a thin-client for your business apps or portals, or a screen and speakers for music and video streaming, you'll easily be able to get away with 64GB. If you want to store all your media, or not have to worry about how many photos or how much video you take, you may want to invest in 512GB.

You can get iPhone XS in silver, space gray, or all-new Gold. The silver model, from an angle, almost looks like the original iPhone. The space grey resembles Apple Watch thanks to its similarly stealth-like vapor coating. The gold matches the new steel gold Apple Watch. They all have glass backs, just like they did in the iPhone 4 days, but this time to facilitate wireless charging using the Qi standard.

You can also get AppleCare+, which means you're only ever a phone call or Apple Store visit away from any fix you may ever need.

Best on a budget

iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone XS is new, different, and... expensive. For some people, it may be too new, too different, and yeah, too expensive. Next month, Apple will have a less-expensive iPhone XR to look at. For now, there's the year-old iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. I'd recommend the Plus for anybody who can handle the size. It has a dual lens camera system, as well as extra long battery life, True Tone display calibration, 4K video at 60FPS, and still super-fast Apple A11 Bionic processor. Also, Portrait Mode for depth-of-field photography and Portrait Lighting for studio-style effects.

Bottom line: If you want a less-expensive or traditional, familiar iPhone, get iPhone 8 Plus.

One more thing: In addition to silver and space gray, it also comes in a rose-tinted gold color.

One other thing: If iPhone 8 Plus is simply too big for you to hold comfortably, you can get the regular sized iPhone 8.

Conclusion

If you really love the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus but don't care about the camera or processor improvements or wireless charging, you can get last year's iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus save a good hunk of change. Otherwise, iPhone XS is the best iPhone available today.

Best overall

iPhone XS (256GB)

iPhone XS gives you get the best OLED display in the industry, at Plus size, crammed into a body the size of the regular iPhone. Fully Dolby Vision and HDR10 compatible, iPhone XS isn't just the best mobile movie player on the planet right now, but with 4K at 60FPS in cinematic P3 color, it's the best camera as well. That goes double now for stills, with a TrueDepth system in front that can shoot Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting just like the dual-lens system on the back (which now sports double optical stabilization). Face ID lets you unlock your iPhone X with a look and a new face matching system lets you integrate yourself into augmented reality (AR) experiences. And, yeah, Animoji.

Bottom line: If you want the absolute best iPhone and money is no object, get iPhone XS.

One more thing: Comes in silver, space gray, or Gold with matching stainless steel bands.


iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR

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