The iPhone XS and XS Max Review: Bigger Is Now Definitely Better
For the past few years, I have been a naysayer on one feature of smartphones: their growing size.
My position was unusual given the increasing prevalence of larger screen devices. The world’s top phone makers have all added more substantial glass screens to stretch from one edge of their smartphones to another, on the theory that people can better enjoy their apps and content on an ample display.
Apple helped seal the deal last week when it announced that its new phones this year ― the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max ― would have screens that measured between 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches diagonally, compared with 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches two years ago. In fact, the 6.5-inch screen on the iPhone XS Max is Apple’s biggest ever. (The original iPhone in 2007 started with a 3.5-inch screen.)
苹果上周推出的本年度新款手机iPhone XR、XS和XS Max，也为这个趋势站台，它们的对角线尺寸介于5.8英寸（约合15厘米）至6.5英寸（约合17厘米）之间，而两年前的版本是4.7英寸（约合12厘米）至5.5英寸（约合14厘米）。事实上，显示屏达到6.5英寸的iPhone XS Max，是苹果有史以来最大的手机。（第一款iPhone于2007年推出，屏幕为3.5英寸[约合9厘米]）。
I have been troubled by this trend. These devices spend a lot of time in your pocket and your hand, and there are often compromises in portability and comfort when the screens balloon in size. For those reasons, I never liked the Plus phones, the line of iPhones that Apple introduced in 2014 with 5.5-inch screens. They felt impossible to use with one hand and far too bulky in a pocket.
So it’s humbling to come to you now with another confession: The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max may be making me a convert to bigger smartphones.
所以，现在我要心怀谦卑地向你们坦白另一件事：iPhone XS和iPhone XS Max可能会让我转向更大的智能手机。
Last week, I began testing both new iPhone models. I had predicted that the larger display on the XS Max would be unwieldy in my pocket and make the phone cumbersome to hold with one hand while typing and reaching for buttons inside apps.
There were other things I figured I would dislike. The prices of Apple’s phones, for one, have shot up. The XS will start at $999 and the XS Max at $1,099 when both become available on Friday, compared with $699, $799 and $999 for new iPhones last year. The iPhone XR, which will be released on Oct. 19, is starting at $749.
还有其他的方面，我想我也不会太喜欢。比如，苹果手机的价格越来越贵。XS的售价从999美元起，XS Max从1099美元起，而去年的新款iPhone的起价分别为699美元、799美元和999美元。10月19日发布的iPhone XR起价749美元。
None of the new phones were making huge technological leaps from last year, either. The iPhone XS and XS Max have a dual-lens camera, while the XR has a single-lens camera. All three iPhones include Face ID, the feature for unlocking the phone using face recognition.
与去年的型号相比，今年的新款手机在技术上并没有出现巨大的飞跃。iPhone XS和XS Max搭载一个双镜头摄像头，而XR配备的是单镜头摄像头。所有三款iPhone都带有面部识别功能，也就是用脸给手机解锁。
Yet after running the 6.5-inch XS Max alongside the 5.8-inch XS through different situations and conditions for a week, I was surprised by my reaction. Far from being disappointed by the supersized devices, I was delighted.
The trade-offs of the new jumbo model felt minor. By eliminating the bezels, which are the screen’s borders, Apple did a terrific job of increasing screen size without adding bulk or compromising the usability of the XS Max. I still think the smaller XS is a better fit for most people, but many would enjoy the XS Max.
这款巨无霸型号在设计上并没有做出太大的妥协。通过消除屏幕边框，苹果在增加屏幕尺寸而不增加体积或降低XS Max的可用性方面，做得很不错。我仍然认为较小的XS更适合大多数人，但很多人会喜欢XS Max。
Here’s how all the testing went down.
The iPhone XS Max
iPhone XS Max
I began by testing the iPhone XS Max because why not start with the biggest device? I moved my SIM card and all my data from an older iPhone to the new gadget and took it with me to dinner parties, bars, meetings and the gym.
我从iPhone XS Max开始测试，为什么不从最大的设备开始呢？我把SIM卡和所有数据从旧的iPhone转到新设备上，带着它去参加晚宴、泡吧、开会和健身。
After three days, I was surprised by how good it felt to use the XS Max with one hand. A key factor was how Apple had managed to cram a bigger screen into a slightly smaller body. (The body of the Plus phones was 6.24 inches by 3.07 inches, while the XS Max’s body is 6.2 inches by 3.05 inches.)
三天后，单手使用XS Max的感觉之好令我惊讶。一个关键因素是苹果设法将更大的屏幕塞入略小的机身中。（Plus手机的机身为6.24英寸[约合15厘米]x 3.07英寸[约合8厘米]，而XS Max的机身为6.2英寸[约合15厘米] x 3.05英寸[约合8厘米]。）
These changes amounted to meaningful improvements in ergonomics and overall convenience. I was able to hold the XS Max in one hand and type messages easily. In contrast, my thumb could not reach keys on the sides of the older iPhone 8 Plus, like the shift key or the backspace key, because of the space taken up by the bezel.
这些变化在人体工程学和整体便利性方面是有意义的改进。我可以一手握住XS Max并轻松输入消息。相比之下，由于边框占据空间，我在单手使用旧款iPhone 8 Plus时，拇指无法触及侧边的按键，比如切换键或退格键。
And I found the jumbo-screen XS Max particularly beneficial in several instances. While driving, it was easier to read maps. The bigger screen made writing longer emails ― a task that I usually do on a laptop ― more pleasant. The display was also nice for reading recipes in the kitchen.
While browsing Instagram next to my partner, I said to her: “If you can use this thing with one hand, who would want the smaller phone if you only have to pay $100 more for this huge screen?”
“But does it fit inside your pocket?” she asked.
The iPhone XS
That brings me to the iPhone XS. After taking the larger XS Max everywhere with me for three days and feeling good about it, I switched to the iPhone XS ― and immediately experienced a sense of relief.
这让我想到了iPhone XS。在随身带着大块头的XS Max过了三天并且感觉很不错之后，我转而使用iPhone XS――立刻就有了一种解脱感。
I found I simply preferred the XS’s smaller body for the very basic task of moving around. Having the smaller phone in my pocket felt less obtrusive during dog walks, long hikes and gym sessions.
I also found the XS easier to use as a camera. While the XS and XS Max share identical camera systems, which produce excellent, clear photos with natural-looking colors in normal and lowlight conditions, the smaller phone worked better in a pinch because it was easier to pull out of a pocket and quickly stabilize to take a clear shot.
As a self-diagnosed phone addict who is trying to cut down on screen time, I decided the XS also felt healthier for me. The XS Max screen was so good-looking that I wanted to keep reading articles and looking at photos on Instagram. When I used Apple’s new Screen Time feature to monitor my use of each device, I discovered that I spent an average of roughly five and a half hours a day on the XS Max, two hours more than on the XS.
我自认是手机瘾君子，并且试图减少使用手机的时间，我认为XS对我来说也更健康。XS Max的屏幕非常好看，以至于我想一直用它阅读文章，在Instagram上看图片。当我用Apple新的“屏幕时间”功能来监控自己对每台设备的使用状况时，发现我在XS Max上平均每天花费大约五个半小时，比XS多两个小时。
So where does that leave us? I concluded I no longer had any real objection to the bigger size of the iPhone XS Max, but felt that the smaller XS was still a better mobile phone because it was just as capable but more portable and pocketable.
那么我们该怎么选呢？我的结论是，我不再对iPhone XS Max的大尺寸有任何实际的反对意见，但我依然认为，较小的XS是一款更好的手机，因为它的能力同样强大，但更方便携带，可以放在口袋里。
That means if you are a more casual technology user who wants a superb smartphone that is comfortable to carry, I recommend you go for the XS. If you plan to treat your phone as a primary computer, go for the XS Max.
One flaw frustrated me in both iPhones: the poor design of Reachability, the software feature that was designed to make larger phone screens easier to use with one hand. On past iPhones, Reachability let people tap the home button twice to lower the top of the screen and reach for the buttons up there. Now there is no home button, so the new way to trigger Reachability is to swipe down from the bottom of the screen.
That’s problematic because when you swipe from the bottom, it’s easy to unintentionally hit a button on the bottom of an app, like the search tab inside Instagram or the video tab inside Facebook. There is a clear opportunity here for Apple to use the iPhone’s pressure sensitivity, called 3D Touch, to let you press hard on the bottom of the screen to trigger Reachability. But for now, we are stuck with swiping down.
Apple said the Reachability swipe gesture was designed as a quick action to let people easily reach for the top of the screen.
What about the iPhone XR?
So who should get the entry-level iPhone XR? Apple did not provide a review unit for the XR because it will be released next month, so I can’t say with authority.
But I suspect it will largely come down to whether you can live with a single-lens camera, which doesn’t do as good a job taking those D.S.L.R.-like photos with a blurred-out background and a sharpened foreground. The XS is about $250 more than the XR, but after shooting photos like the one below, I’m sold on dual-lens cameras.
For years, Apple customers have gotten in the habit of buying a new iPhone sight unseen. But now that there are several sizes for different prices, I encourage you to try before you buy. It may not hurt to wait for the XR’s release next month so you can test all three in a store. Play with the cameras and pay close attention to how each phone feels in one hand and inside your pocket.
It’s important that you find the right fit: Since you have to pay so much for your next iPhone, you will probably live with it for a long time. And who knows? You might assume you will dislike a bigger screen and then change your mind ― just as I did.