iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

We are so used to seeing iPhones with big screens that we seem to have forgotten how adamant Apple was in designing their regular phones with 6 plus inches screens. Now that I have gotten that shade off my mind, I feel lighter now, light enough to take my ardent readers through this comparison between 2 Apple phones.

Both phones are so much identical in terms of screen sizes, they come rocking screen sizes over 6 inches. While the iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with iOS 14.1, the iPhone XS Max (sounds funnily like excess max) in return comes with iOS 12 but both can be upgradeable to the latest iOS 14.7. We know similarities are never interesting, ask those who constantly argue about Cristiano and Messi, so let’s take a thorough look at what gives in this iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max article.

Screen Size, display, and physical design

At first glance, it’s difficult to tell these phones apart, the difference in screen size is a very subtle 2 inches. The Pro Max has a screen size of 6.7 inches while the XS Max comes closely behind at 6.5 inches but the brightness and contrast relationship on the former exceeds that of the XS Max, thanks to Apple’s latest XDR technology that accompanies the Super Retina display. The 12 Pro Max also shines brighter with 800 nits (which peaks up to 1800), in comparison, the XS Max produces up to 600 nits.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max boasts a screen to body ratio of 87.4% and weighs 228 grams, it’s also a bit wider than the XS Max, which weighs 208 grams with a screen to body ratio of 84.4%, that is, the screen takes 84% of the whole phone. The resolution on both phones is also very close, the 12 Pro Max having a resolution of 1284 x 2778 pixels as against the XS Max, has 1242 x 2688 pixels, but both offer 458 PPI density.

The design on both phones is identical too, while they are both scratch-resistant, they accumulate smudges over time, though they can be cleaned easily, perhaps this is due to the oleophobic coating. Both phones require attention to be picked off the table, they are premium looking especially with the gold variants but they are as heavy and slippery as it gets. Getting a pouch is highly recommended unless you prefer to see the amazing designs on both phones daily.

When Apple wants to make glass protection for their phone displays, they combine resources with the most popular protective glassmaker in the world, Corning to make customized glasses, while both phones come equipped with stainless steel frames sandwiched between corning gorilla glasses, the front display of the XS Max comes with a scratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating, the 12 Pro Max goes further with scratch-resistant ceramic glass which Apple boasts is far stronger than the latest Corning Gorilla glass, called Victus, with oleophobic coating.

While both offer water and dust-resistant capabilities, both phones are protected against water and other kinds of beverages like soda, beer, and even salty water. The 12 Pro Max exceeds its counterpart as it can stay under 6 meters of water for 30 minutes, the XS Max can stay under 2 meters in a similar amount of time. Need I remind you that the water-resistant feature is mainly to keep phones safe when accidentally dropped in water. You don’t expect to take selfies with your phone under a swimming pool and expect it to function the same.

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Chipset and Memory

While we always complain of the rigid, no-nonsense attitude Apple adopted towards making their devices, one just has to commend them continually ing and updating old phones to the latest iOS, for instance, the 2014 classic, iPhone 6 still gets updates in 2021, it’s unbelievable considering that most Android phones don’t get support after2 or so years. With that being said, I mentioned earlier, the iPhone 12 Pro Max comes rocking iOS 14.1, the iPhone XS Max rocks iOS 12 but both can be upgraded to the latest iOS 14.7.

It’s in the chipset’s design that things start to get interesting, the iPhone XS Max comes equipped with Apple A12 Bionic 7nm chip, it’s an incredibly fast chip but its speed, efficiency, and performance cannot be compared to its counterpart which rocks Apple A14 Bionic 5nm chipset. There’s also little to separate in terms of CPU strength, well aside from the names Apple assigned to their CPUs. 

The XS Max rocks 6-core processors, just like the 12 Pro Max. The XS Max runs on a combo of 2-2.5GHz Vortex and 4 1.6GHz Tempest chips, on the other hand, the iPhone 12 Pro Max combines the power of 2-3.1GHz Firestorm and a quadruple of 1.8GHz Icestorm chips. Both phones however utilize Apple’s 4-core GPUs. Overall, pitting the iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max, it’s really hard to tell their speeds apart, especially when looking at it with ordinary eyes, they both breeze through tasks with ease.

Both these phones are without external memory slots, this is starting to become a norm among smartphones, although someone going for the iPhone 12 Pro Max might not miss this feature, the smallest internal memory variant for the 12 Pro Max is 128GB, which should be handy for all duties and other heavy files like games. The other variants are 256GB and 512GB respectively, each having 6GB of RAM, including the 128GB variant. On the other hand, the smallest internal memory side for the iPhone XS Max is 64GB. This usually should be enough for a normal phone user, the other variants are 256GB and 512GB, like its rival, it also comes with a smaller 4GB of RAM, its admittedly smaller, but these specs run heavy games and carry multitasking functions like it’s lifting the paper. 

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Camera, Video, and Sounds

Whichever phone you decide to go for, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful experience when taking pictures with either of these phones. Both phones boast one of the best camera features in the smartphone market. But looking at the designs of both phones, there are already differences in physical features, but let’s look at the specs of each phone.

It is in the aspect of the camera that the iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max rivalry got a bit more separable, 12 Pro Max boasts triple cameras of 12MPs each while its competition has double cameras, the former also boasts another technology that is lacking on the latter which is the sensor-shift stabilization technology, also known as In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS). It helps the phone’s camera remain balanced when trying to focus and take pictures. 

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

Also, the 12 Pro Max’s camera is equipped with a TOF 3D LiDAR scanner which makes the camera capture data from a farther distance compared to other smartphones, a feature which the XS Max lacks.

The iPhone XS Max however has a Quad-LED dual-tone flash while the 12 Pro Max features a Dual-LED dual-tone flash.  They come very close in terms of creating awesome videos with their respective cameras, they both record at 4K resolutions but the 12 Pro Max features Dolby Vision HDR which moves at a whopping 60fps and creates a wider range of very vibrant colors as a result of its dynamic metadata.

The selfie camera on the iPhone XS Max comes at 7MP and can record videos at 1080p whereas the selfie camera on the 12 Pro Max runs on 12MP, it can record 1080p videos at 120fps, and 4K videos at 60fps.

When it comes to sound, there’s nothing to separate these two with both lacking earphone jacks, they produce stereo sounds from their loudspeakers and these sounds are amazing, easily the best sounds on any smartphone. Both phones combine sounds from the normal speakers and the sounds produced from their respective earpieces to create the sounds.

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Sensor and Connectivity

I was quite taken aback when I learned for the first time that the iPhone XS Max doesn’t come equipped with a fingerprint for unlocking the phone. As Apple ditched the Touch ID, the fingerprint feature was also thrown out the window, it’s quite a bold move on the part of Apple and well, the move paid dividends as the iPhone XS Max was one of the hottest (if not the hottest) phones in the market when it was released, majorly because the Face ID is accurate to a very large extent. As a result, people didn’t miss the fingerprint sensor, they even actually welcomed its elimination, giving way to a larger screen in a compact structure.

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone XS Max Face ID feature is quite responsive, once you wake the phone and swipe up to unveil the Face ID, the phone gets unlocked almost immediately but there are phones in the smartphone world that unlock faster with facial recognition. It’s when you have used such phones, like the Oneplus 6 that you can detect the subtle gap in unlock speed. This technology has seen much improvement in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the unlock speed with Face ID on this one is second to none, at least as at the time of writing. This might be as a result of the introduction of the Ultra-wideband which helps the phone access much more data at a faster rate. 

When it comes to other forms of connectivity, you will need to look through these phones with a microscope because there’s barely any contrast between both the phones here. Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC capabilities are the same, they both lack an Infrared port and radio, they both utilize the lightning USB 2.0 for charging. They are almost on the same level in terms of WLAN capacity but the 12 Pro Max slightly edged this as it supports the band 6. Also, in terms of network connectivity, they both offer almost the same features but the iPhone 12 Pro Max comes equipped with the latest 5G for internet connectivity.

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Battery, Charging, and Endurance

When the iPhone XS Max was first released, it boasted the Apple phone with the biggest battery, it is equipped with a Li-Ion 3174 mAh non-removable battery that can last up to 16hours of talk time when on a 3G network and can last up to 65 hours when it’s being used to play music. On the other hand, when you consider that the iPhone 12 Pro Max deals with a screen just 2 inches larger than its rival with a bigger 3687 mAh non-removable battery, you would expect higher performance and the 12 Pro Max did just that. It can withstand 20 hours of calls on a 3G network and can stay alive for 80 hours when being used as a music player.

Both phones charge super quickly, the 12 Pro Max charges up to 50% from the dead in 30 minutes with its 20W fast-charging capability while the XS Max can do the same with its 15W fast charging, both phones support wireless charging. After all, is said and done, the 12 Pro Max squeezes out a battery life of around 95 hours while its counterpart manages 79 hours.

Some minor charging issues were reported on the XS Max upon its release, where the phone doesn’t charge after it is being plugged in, this is easily sorted by accessing Settings -> Face ID and enabling the USB accessories option. Also, the issue has been fixed with an iOS update patch. 

Other Miscellaneous Differences

Let’s start with the fact that both phones are made with premium materials and they look gorgeous, possessing the strongest, most durable shatter-resistant glasses on the planet and they come in varying colors too. The XS Max comes in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold colors whereas the 12 Pro Max comes in 4 variants, Graphite, Silver, Pacific Blue, and Gold.

Both phones look most premium in the gold variants, scratches, smudges are more apparent on the silver, going for the graphite 12 Pro Max would be more ideal in my view. It replaces the Space Gray on Apple phones and it should withstand rougher use than the other colors variants.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a much newer phone compared to the XS Max, the former was released in November 2020, XS Max entered the market 2 years earlier, September 2018 and it is a much cheaper phone compared to the 12 Pro Max which is currently priced at more than double the price of the XS Max. 


The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the clear winner here and for a myriad of reasons, but most obvious is that it is a much newer phone compared to the XS Max hence, it boasts more features and upgrades, the few weaknesses (which are really few) found on the XS Max has been corrected and improved upon in the iPhone 12 Pro, but I have to say I wasn’t expecting the iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 12, Pro Max, to be so close in features and specs and it was quite exciting. 

If you are not hard-pressed to just jump on the latest phones bandwagon, the XS Max is still a super bargain and it is a phone that can stand toe to toe with any other device in terms of raw power, performance, camera, and endurance and the Face ID works great too. Also, the fact that it is upgradable to the latest iOS means you never miss a beat in terms of software performances and bug improvements. 

Image Source: Flipkart

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