iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: What’s the Difference?

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 13 Sep 2018

iPhone XS Max vs iPhone 8 Plus: What's the Difference?

With the iPhone XS Max, Apple has effectively killed its Plus-sized iPhones. Now, if you want the best and biggest iPhone, you need to buy the iPhone XS Max which comes with a massive 6.5-inch display. The iPhone XS Max is the successor to the iPhone 8 Plus from last year and its aimed at people who want the best iPhone possible.

What’s the difference between iPhone XS Max and iPhone 8 Plus?

So, what makes the iPhone XS Max different from the iPhone 8 Plus? How is it better? Read our comparison below to find out.


  • iPhone XS Max – 6.5-inch True Tone OLED, 2688 x 1242 pixels (458 ppi), 3D Touch, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 3D Touch
  • iPhone 8 Plus – 5.5-inch widescreen IPS LCD, True Tone Display, 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), 3D Touch, Wide color display

The iPhone XS Max really excels over the iPhone 8 Plus in the display department. While the LCD display on the iPhone 8 Plus is among the best LCD panels out there, the OLED panel of the iPhone XS Max is at a different level altogether. Apart from an infinite contrast ratio, it also supports HDR with Dolby Vision and HDR10 for even better color reproduction. The iPhone 8 Plus supports playback of HDR10 and Dolby Vision content but lacks HDR.


  • iPhone XS Max – 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm and 208g, IP68 certified
  • iPhone 8 Plus – 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm and 202g, IP67 certified

The iPhone XS Max is also a radical step up from the iPhone 8 Plus in terms of design. The switch to a bezel-less display at the front along with stainless steel chassis gives the iPhone Xs Max a far premium look and feel than the Plus-sized iPhone. Even better, despite coming with a display that is an inch bigger, the iPhone Xs Max is actually shorter and narrower than the iPhone 8 Plus. It also features IP68 certification which makes it water-resistant — beer and tea as well — in 2m depth for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone 8 Plus features an IP67 certification which makes it water-resistant in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes

The iPhone 8 Plus is available in three different colors: Space Gray, Silver, and Product(Red). Apple will be launching the iPhone Xs Max in Silver, Space Gray, and a new Gold color.


  • iPhone XS Max – A12 Bionic, 7nm chip, 6-core CPU which is 15 percent faster, 50 percent faster 4-core GPU, 8-core Neural engine
  • iPhone 8 Plus – A11 Bionic, 10nm chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, Neural engine

Apple’s A11 Bionic chip from last year is still a powerhouse when it comes to performance. With the iPhone Xs though, Apple is taking things to a different level altogether. The two performance cores in A12 bionic are up to 15 percent faster, while the 4 efficiency cores consume 50 percent less power when compared to the A11 Bionic. The 4-core GPU also offers 50 percent faster performance when compared to the A11 Bionic and it has been optimized specifically for Metal 2.

The 8-core Neural engine is getting a massive performance boost as well. It is now capable of processing 5 trillion operations per second, while the A11 Bionic’s Neural engine tops out at 600 million operations/sec. This allows the A12 Bionic to complete certain system tasks faster and also greatly helps in quickly completing complex calculations for Memoji and Animoji.


  • iPhone XS Max – 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • iPhone 8 Plus – 64GB, 256GB

Apple has introduced a third new storage tier with the iPhone Xs Max — 512GB. While expensive, this option is primarily targetted at the ultimate power users. The base storage on the iPhone Xs Max and iPhone 8 Plus remains the same at 64GB.


  • iPhone XS Max – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture, new sensor with larger 1.4um pixels, OIS for both sensors, Smart HDR, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control
  • iPhone 8 Plus – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 and f/2.8 aperture, 1.22um pixels for the primary sensor, OIS for the primary sensor, Auto HDR, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode

The primary camera sensor on the iPhone Xs Max is a huge step up from the iPhone 8 Plus despite having the same number of pixels. It now offers better dynamic range and features larger pixels for improved low-light sensitivity. Then there’s also Smart HDR which has a 4-frame buffer and merges multiple photos into once for improved details, clarity, and dynamic range. This is made possible by the use of a faster sensor and ISP of the A12 Bionic chip. The powerful ISP also allows the iPhone Xs Max to offer advanced bokeh and Depth control for Portrait photos. This means that one can control the depth effect in photos after capturing the photos on the iPhone Xs Max.

The secondary 12MP telephoto camera on the iPhone Xs Max is also a massive upgrade as it not only features a wider f/2.4 aperture (vs f/2.8) but also comes with OIS.

Apple also highlights extended dynamic range on iPhone Xs Max while recording videos at up to 30fps. Thanks to 4 microphones, the handset is also capable of recording stereo sound while video recording, unlike the iPhone X.

Front Camera

Front Camera

  • iPhone XS Max – 7MP TrueDepth Camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Smart HDR
  • iPhone 8 Plus – 7MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Auto HDR

The iPhone Xs Max 7MP camera is a huge upgrade over the iPhone 8 Plus. It is a TrueDepth camera system which means it is capable of 3D depth sensing which is used to offer features like Memoji and Animoji. The TrueDepth camera system also paves the way for Face ID. It is also capable of capturing Portrait photos with fake bokeh effect, something which one cannot do on the iPhone 8 Plus.

If you love taking selfies or use the front camera heavily, the iPhone Xs Max offers some major improvements in this area which make it a worthy upgrade.

Biometric Authentication

  • iPhone XS Max – The handset solely relies on Face ID for biometric authentication
  • iPhone 8 Plus – It features Touch ID sensor integrated into the home button at the front

The lack of Touch ID on the iPhone Xs Max will definitely bug a lot of people. However, the iPhone Xs Max comes with second-generation Face ID which is faster and more accurate than ever before.


  • iPhone XS Max – Lasts up to 90 minutes longer than the iPhone X, 25 hours talk time, 13 hours internet use, 15 hours video playback
  • iPhone 8 Plus – Same battery life as iPhone 7 Plus, 21 hours talk time, 13 hours internet use, and 14 hours video playback

Despite coming with a display that’s an inch bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone Xs Max offers slightly better battery life than it.

  • iPhone XS Max – Fast charging, Qi wireless charging
  • iPhone 8 Plus – Fast charging, Qi wireless charging

Both iPhones offer fast wired charging and 7.5W wireless charging. However, Apple bundles a 5W charger with both phones which means one will have to invest in a third-party fast charger themselves to enjoy the faster charging experience.


  • iPhone XS Max – Starts from $1,099
  • iPhone 8 Plus – Discounted to $699

There’s a difference of $400 between the price of the iPhone Xs Max and iPhone 8 Plus. The former is definitely a better phone but at $699, the iPhone 8 Plus is already very expensive to begin with especially when compared to other flagship Android devices.

What do you think about the iPhone 8 Plus when compared to the iPhone XS Max? Do you plan on buying the latter? Or do you intend to pass it due to its steep price.