Should You Upgrade from iPhone X to iPhone XS? A Decision Calculator

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 14 Sep 2018

iPhone X vs iPhone XS

Apple has finally unveiled its 2018 iPhone XS lineup which comprises of the 5.8-inch iPhone XS and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max. The former is a modest upgrade over the iPhone X from last year primarily focusing on performance and camera improvements. As an iPhone X owner are you confused as to whether you should upgrade to the iPhone XS or not? Let us help you out then.

When you look at both phones side-by-side, you will realize just how similar they look. This is because the iPhone XS has the same design language as the iPhone X, with barely any difference. This makes the decision of deciding whether one should upgrade to the iPhone XS that much more difficult.

Before you decide on whether you should upgrade to the iPhone XS or not, you first need to ask yourself the question: why should you upgrade? What are the reasons due to which you are looking for an upgrade? The moment you have the answers to these questions, the decision on whether you should upgrade to the iPhone XS or not will become clear.

Read: iPhone Xs vs iPhone X: What’s the Difference

iPhone XS vs iPhone X: Should You Upgrade?

The iPhone XS is all about modest upgrades. It comes with improved water resistance capabilities, faster internals with more RAM, wee bit better battery life, and an improved dual-camera setup at the rear.

Water Resistance

The improved water-resistance capability is not something that is going to be immediately useful or notice to almost all users. Yes, the IP68 certification is useful but that simply is not going to play a key factor in anyone looking to upgrade to the iPhone XS from the iPhone X.

Read: iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max IP68 Water-Resistant Rating Explained: What It Really Means


The same stands true for the improved performance and battery life. iPhone XS is definitely going to be faster than the iPhone X especially in tasks that rely heavily on the Neural engine. This includes Face ID as well which should be faster and more accurate on the iPhone XS. Yet, with iOS 12 bringing its own set of performance improvements, the iPhone X is going to feel even faster than it did while running iOS 11. It is also getting all the new iOS 12 features like Memoji and Siri Shortcuts app which means users are not going to miss out on any new feature.

The A11 Bionic chip inside the iPhone X is no slouch and it still packs plenty of punch under the hood. iPhone X owners have little reason to complain about its performance which means that’s one reason less for them to consider upgrading to the iPhone XS.

iPhone X Lock screen No Notifications Locked

Battery Life

Apple claims the iPhone XS offers 30 minutes more battery life than the iPhone X. That’s definitely not a lot and if you are not happy with your iPhone X’s battery life, the iPhone XS is not going to change that. If you want better battery life, you should consider upgrading to the iPhone XS Max instead which has a bigger battery.

Instead of upgrading to the iPhone XS for a meager improvement in battery life, you should consider investing in a USB-C charger and USB-C to Lightning cable. This is because the iPhone X comes with fast wired charging which means it can charge from 0-50 percent in just 30 minutes. Once you start fast charging your iPhone X, there’s no going back to that 5W charger which Apple shamelessly continues to bundle with a $999 smartphone in 2018.


iPhone Xs iPhone Xs Max Best Features 9

Now, this can be the only compelling reason for anyone to upgrade to the iPhone XS from the iPhone X. While the XS rear camera setup might look very similar to the iPhone X, the former comes with a bigger sensor and larger individual pixels. This should greatly help the phone’s low-light imaging capabilities. Apple even touts improved details, lower noise, and enhanced colors while recording videos on the iPhone XS.

There’s also Smart HDR on the iPhone XS which combines multiple frames of the same scene into one for improved details and contrast. One can also adjust the bokeh effect in Portrait photos after taking a shot on the iPhone XS. This is not possible out of the box on the iPhone X but this functionality can be replicated using a third-party app.

Overall, the camera is one area where the iPhone XS offers a major upgrade over the iPhone X. However, while compelling, I don’t think it is going to be big enough for anyone to consider making the jump. If only Apple’s Smart HDR processing is good enough to ensure the iPhone XS offers an imaging performance that’s even better than Google’s Pixel 2 and upcoming Pixel 3 that anyone with a serious love for photography and owning an iPhone X should consider upgrading to it.


If you are someone who is always on the move or carries multiple handsets around, it makes sense to upgrade to the iPhone XS for its dual-SIM capabilities alone. However, before abandoning your iPhone X, make sure to check that your carrier has support for eSIM. Unlike other dual-SIM phones, the iPhone XS features an eSIM slot. This means you will have to register on the second network from within the device. This feature is carrier dependent and right now, it has only been rolled out in nine countries.

For China, Apple has a separate dual-SIM variant of the iPhone XS with two SIM slots.

Gold Color

This is definitely not a compelling reason to upgrade to the iPhone XS. But yes, there’s no denying the fact that the gold iPhone XS has a very premium look which other two iPhone variants lack. However considering that most iPhone X owners end up slapping a case on their handset, it makes little sense for them to upgrade to the iPhone XS just for its gold color. Unless of course, you want to flaunt it to the world.

iPhone Xs iPhone Xs Max Best Features 7

More Storage

If you own the 256GB iPhone X variant but are still running out of space on the handset, the iPhone XS might be a worthy upgrade for you. This is because Apple is offering the handset with 512GB storage now, though it does come at a price. But then, if you are someone who is running out of space on a 256GB smartphone, your work can probably let you afford splurging on a 512GB iPhone XS.

As you can see, apart from the improved camera and dual-SIM capabilities, there’s little reason for an iPhone X owner to upgrade to the iPhone XS. And if you are not someone who uses the iPhone X’s camera as if their life depended on it, even that can be given a pass. Ultimately, for an iPhone X owner, there’s hardly any reason to upgrade to the iPhone XS. Unless of course, you want to get your hands on it just because its the latest iPhone from Apple.

If you do end up upgrading to the iPhone XS from your iPhone X, let us know in the comments section below as to what made you upgrade.