Which one should you buy?


Should you buy the all-new iPhone 11 Pro, or is it a good time to go for last year’s iPhone XS instead? In this article we break down the key differences.

The iPhone XS was a refinement to the iPhone X that preceded it, offering a modest spec bump rather than a reimagining — we went as far as dubbing it “easily the most iterative update to a previous iPhone we’ve ever seen”. It replaced the A11 10nm processor with a more powerful A12 7nm processor and packed 4GB rather than 3GB of RAM. Is the iPhone 11 Pro the big leap forward that we hoped for? Read on for our full rundown and see below for some of the biggest upgrades.

  • Both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone XS have a Max-sized sibling
  • The iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro both have 5.8-inch displays and the Max versions up that to 6.5-inches
  • For the 11 Pro Apple uses the A13 chipset instead of the A12
  • You get an 18w fast charger in the box

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone XS – Design

The iPhone 11 Pro mostly looks familiar to Apple’s smartphones of the past couple of years. It’s still rocking that notch, and it has very slight bezels, curved corners, flat screen. All attractive, although the notch does look a bit dated now in comparison to alternative selfie camera solutions that occupy less space.

The deciding battle in this round comes down to the rear camera. The iPhone XS has a fairly elegant dual-camera set-up, with the flash set between both lenses. Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro has taken the controversial step of a far bulkier square-shaped triple-camera array. The design has already raised hackles, as it seems a world away from the usual slimline aesthetic propounded by Apple.

The 11 Pro comes in a few new colours – including a lovely Midnight Green – and they all have a back that’s got a matte finish.

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone XS – Camera

The most obvious new feature joining the iPhone 11 Pro is the new camera sensor. The new lens is a 12-megapixel, 120-degree ultra wide angle affair which will allow you to snap much wider shots than previously possible, and from demonstration videos it seems that switching between the main and ultra wide angle lens will be very straightforward.

Meanwhile the iPhone XS has just two 12-megapixel sensors, one being a telephoto and the other being the main wide angle snapper. In our review we rated the camera very highly, judging that it takes stunning shots under almost any conditions, and offers the best video recording of any smartphone, boasting OIS-supported footage on 4K at 60fps.

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone XS – Performance

The iPhone XS ran on the A12 Bionic chip, and it posted incredible performance scores comfortably ahead of the rest of the competition. It should serve you very well for several years, since it’s hard to even find content on the app store that pushes this chip to its limits.

But Apple claim that the A13 Bionic chip found on the iPhone 11 Pro is yet another improvement, being both the fastest-ever CPU and GPU ever found on a smartphone. Incredibly, the brand claims that the new chip is 6x faster than its predecessor, a boast we look forward to testing in our upcoming review. On top of that, the efficiency improvement should also save some battery life.

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone XS – Price

The iPhone 11 Pro launch price is $999/£1049. You can pre-order it from this Friday, September 13, at 5am PDT. It will ship from September 20.

The launch price of the iPhone XS was also £999, but the price of that device is very likely to drop now that the next generation has appeared. The iPhone X price sank by £100 after launch, so keep your eyes peeled for a bargain.

iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone XS – Early Verdict

iPhone 11 Pro seems to represent a modest rather than revolutionary upgrade, with the big selling point being the new ultra wide angle lens. The iPhone XS remains a formidable phone, and with a price drop it could be a very tempting prospect.

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