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Apple products review: bigger, faster and more expensive

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Lirona Joshi

Staff Writer

The three new models of the iPhone X — the XS, XS Max and XR — may look like their predecessors, but they have been upgraded with bigger screens, new software, modified cameras, louder speakers and much higher price tags.

The new products have the same glass-sandwich design as the X, but internal upgrades include a new 7-nanometer, 6-core A12 bionic chip and 4 GB of RAM. A new “Neural Engine” will enable the phone to become more intelligent with use.

Combined with the recently launched iOS 12, it’s set to increase performance throughout daily use. Face ID will be more responsive, while apps and the camera will open and start faster.

The new iOS update also features a “Screen Time” feature that measures the amount of time the user spends on their phone and details how much time is spent in each app.

All three new iPhones share the same 12-megapixel camera, which has been upgraded with larger sensors since the release of the X. The new iPhones all feature a quad LED flash and  an F 1.8 aperture primary camera that is optically stabilized.

“The biggest change would be the more aggressive and better HDR thanks to their smart HDR,” said Marques Brownlee, a YouTube tech reviewer. “So, the color science is really good — A+ colors, A+ dynamic range and with vastly improved lowlight camera.”

The XS and XS Max both feature dual cameras, similar to the system that was first unveiled on the iPhone 7 Plus. The dual cameras will now be able to create a depth map, bringing new life to the already much-loved portrait mode.

While editing photos, the user will be given a slider to adjust the intensity of the bokeh effect, or the amount of background blur in a photo. Keeping technicalities aside, the new iPhones promise to come even closer to DSLR-esque portraits, even in dim lighting.

To show off the pictures taken with the new cameras, Apple has also fitted new screens on all three devices. Each device has a unique screen, but all bring an improved viewing experience to the user. The XS features a 5.8 inch-OLED, the XR a 6.1-inch LED, and the XS Max a 6.5-inch OLED.

Paired with the new views, Apple has also added modifications to improve sound quality. The new stereo speaker effect promises to heighten the video viewing experience, especially in gaming in which the phone should be moving a step closer to providing console-level graphics.

At its Sept. 12 product unveiling, Apple also debuted the Apple Watch Series 4, which now features an electrocardiogram, a heart rhythm recorder that previously required a trip to a doctor’s office. The new watch can also use motion sensor technology to detect falls and will even alert emergency services if the wearer does not respond to prompts. These new safety features are expected to boost popularity of the Apple Watch among seniors. 

Just as in any other year, Apple has packed its newest devices with the latest technology but has also paired them with larger-than-ever price tags. 

According to the Apple website, the starting price for the XS is $999 and the XS Max starts at $1,099. The XR will be the least expensive in the X series; Apple is asking for $749. The Series 4 Apple Watch will cost $399 for the base model.

“Splurge on the iPhone X if you care about having a phone with the fanciest mobile camera in a compact body,” said Brian X. Chen while reviewing the new iPhone X for The New York Times. “Otherwise, there are plenty of cheaper smartphones with excellent features.”