Should You Be Paying €1000 for a Smartphone? – iPhone XS Max Review

The iPhone XS Max, just another iPhone with a hefty price tag. Think of the countless amount of things that you could spend with €1000; it’s a lot of money. For some they have no problem dropping down that amount of cash for a phone, for most, it’s a major turn off. It’s been 2 months since I’ve been using my 64GB iPhone XS Max after the death of my iPhone 7 that I’ve had for three years and the Cubot Cheetah 2 that I’ve been using as a temporary replacement for two months. Was shelling out €1,279 worth it?


The iPhone XS Max is a big phone. The largest display on an iPhone and just seeing iOS on such a large 6.5 Inch screen is indeed a pleasant experience. The iPhone XS Max is the same size as a plus iPhones, except that chunky bezel and chin you got, are now screen. There is glass on the front and back of the phone which Apple calls the world most “durable” glass on any smartphone. I don’t think I would risk testing that out and would highly recommend a screen protector and case if you think about picking it up. And a stainless steel band that goes around the sides.

The new gold color which I have is beautiful. I was always a huge fan of the gold iPhones, what put me off them was the white bezels, but now with that near bezeless screen that is black, I was hooked. The gold on the glass is more of a beige color. It isn’t a gaudy blingy gold that you would find on those “24 karats” skins. It’s a very subdued color, but the stainless steel sides are blinged out, which I don’t mind.

You can tell apple put a lot of thought process into ways they can make this €1,000 device look premium and feel premium. The notch, is something you can’t do without mentioning, yes it stands out, yes, it can be distracting at first especially when watching videos, but really after a while, you get used to it.


The performance on the iPhone XS Max truly makes the user experience of the phone pleasant. It’s quick, snappy and fluid. The gestures and navigation are all so buttery to use. The A12 Bionic chip is a powerhouse and way ahead of its time. With 4GB of RAM, multitasking is also great to use without apps refreshing which we all find annoying.

With the iPhone XS Max you are getting superb performance when it comes to browsing and gaming and with iOS a smooth reliable and stable experience.

The speakers on the iPhone XS Max are amazing. They’re loud, full, and have a bit of bass to it. Great for music, amazing for movies. They are a lot more stereo sounding. Both earpiece and the bottom speakers are loud and sync well together dynamically to create a nice stereo sound, which wasn’t the case for previous iPhone where the bottom speakers were louder. I don’t know how Apple pulled off such great sound, but they did and it’s great.


The OLED display on the iPhone XS Max is amazing. Now I won’t lie, I’m not a fan of OLED displays. I find them way too over saturated; I like for colors to be accurate and the iPhone XS Max delivers on that.

You’ve got vibrant colors that aren’t too heavily saturated and deep inky blacks. Coming from a 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch Cubot phone, the 6.5-inch display is enormous. Almost too big sometimes as it can be challenging to navigate around the phone. Let’s just say, this phone is not for one-handed use, yeah you can get away with scrolling through apps and swiping, but don’t expect to reach something at the top of the screen one-handed. Even if you’ve got big hands, using the iPhone XS Max will be a challenge.

My only gripe with Apple on this display is I felt like they could’ve taken more advantage of the screen and added some more features, you have landscape mode in stock apps similar to the iPad, but I feel it needs more than just that.

Battery Life

The battery life on the iPhone XS Max is the best battery life I’ve ever had on a smartphone. I travel a lot and use google maps a lot, so I don’t get lost. Bluetooth is on all the time as I own an Apple Watch. Occasionally I play games, I heavily use Instagram, facebook all the typical stuff you probably use too and can go a whole day using the phone without charging it until when I go to sleep.

The 3714 mAh battery which is the biggest battery on an iPhone, is indeed a powerhouse. Once you wake up in the morning and have your phone charged up at 100%, you sure don’t have to worry about charging it again anytime soon.


I own a mirrorless camera. A Sony A6000 with a 50mm F1.8 lens. After getting the iPhone XS Max, I don’t bring it around with me everywhere anymore. Why? Well, because the camera on the iPhone is impressive. In some aspects better than my A6000. As a photographer, I never thought I would be saying this, but its true.

Thanks to smart HDR and the larger sensor the dynamic range on the iPhone is crazy impressive. Generally, If I take a photo of sunset for example on my A6000, yeah it would look nice. But then I would have to get my memory card. Put it into my laptop, look for the pic, put it on Lightroom. Bring down the highlights, bring up the shadows, add any other touches to create a beautiful overall photo. With the iPhone? None of this is needed, the images look good when you take them. What you see is what you get. Obviously in terms of raw quality a mirrorless/DSLR camera will always be ahead of smartphone cameras, but smartphones seem to be catching up.

The telephoto lens is also convenient. I find myself using that many times when I don’t feel like getting closer to what I’m capturing. It zooms in, all without ruining any quality.

Videos are awesome too. The iPhone XS Max shoots up to 4k in 60FPS which my A6000 can’t do as well as recording in 1080p at 240FPS.

Portrait mode is improved. It looks incredible and works with pretty much anything and not only on human faces. Some scenes looks near identical to a mirrorless camera, but it’s not fully there yet in terms edge selection which does produce weird results sometimes. Having the ability to control the aperture after you take a photo is game changing, something I find myself using quite a lot.

All the photos I’ve shown above are all unedited. No filter or enhancement was added. Looks pretty great right? Now when we actually edit photos is when it gets even better.

Face ID

The iPhone XS Max is the first smartphone I’ve used without a fingerprint scanner. Does it suck? No. Could it be improved? Yes. I love Face ID. For me, It’s so much more convenient using your face to unlock your phone or as a security feature in apps. It’s quick, simple and works.

There are occasions where it might not work as well, like your phone being flat on a table or when you’re using your phone at night and its close to your face. But then there’s also occasions touch ID doesn’t work like when your hands are wet or sweaty. Everyone has their preferences on both options, but Face ID is the future. I don’t see Apple going back to fingerprint scanning anytime soon.


Should you spend €1000 euro on a smartphone? Is the iPhone XS Max worth the price?
Those are the two main questions that most people ask. I think everyone has their own needs and priorities. Yes, €1,000 is a lot of money for a phone, but so is €1,000 for that watch or handbag. Apple is becoming a brand of status and luxury. There’s a reason why Apple stores are always in the most expensive shopping districts in big cities. Beside big names like Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Prada.

Spending €1,000 on a smartphone is up to the individual needs of a person. For example, I wanted to have something that I know will last me years and so are you if you’re coming from an older device like an iPhone 6 or 7 like I was. If you’re someone who wants the best of something you know you’ll use all the time. You’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and Looking for the best experience of iOS the best product from Apple at the moment, and you have the money to get it right now then yes. It is worth the investment.

If you’re an iPhone X owner however, then it’s not, unless you really want that bigger screen. All in all, I believe the iPhone XS Max is the best iPhone Apple has made by far. The price point may put a lot of people off, but when you have the device in your hands or try it out in an Apple Store, you can’t tell me that it didn’t get your attention in some way.
If you’re coming from an older iPhone generation and you have the money, I would highly recommend the iPhone XS Max; you will not regret it.

Victor Ajayi

Self-taught Artist & photographer who happens to travel a lot.

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