Reviewing the iPhone Xs in 2023

Yes, the iPhone Xs came out in 2018. I thought it would be interesting to review it in 2023. Plus, I only just bought one!

I hung on to the old home-button form factor for as long as I could, using a 6s for the longest time, but two things made me move to an edge-to-edge phone:

  1. I was on an SE2020 which doesn’t have enough RAM to run modern iOS well. The newer SE2022 has more RAM, but still suffers from…
  2. the encroachment of user interface meant for edge-to-edge phones that do not work well on home-button devices: gestures, buttons, and weird spacings and misalignments: death by a thousand cuts.

So, why an Xs over a newer iPhone? Many reasons.

Good

  • Extra RAM is the biggest benefit, especially when it comes to multi-tasking
  • Home bar interactions are great, they make sense for this device
  • Safari address bar at the bottom also makes sense!
  • One of my favourite gestures is swiping up on the editable Safari address bar to get to tab view
  • Being able to see large cards for every tab now makes sense
  • 3D Touch is so much more immediate than a long press
  • Camera features less computational adjustments
  • OLED blacks are really black
  • 256GB capacity means less hassle

Bad

  • Top corners accessibility is a pain, though reachability helps
  • Entering passwords is slower due to Face ID being slower than fingerprint
  • Having to enter my passcode more frequently due to Face ID fails
  • OLED ghosting at low brightness
  • 3D Touch interactions other than long press have been removed
  • Speakers are nowhere near as good as on the SE2020
       This issue was fixed for free at the same time as an official battery replacement

Indifferent

  • Speed is slightly slower than SE2020, but the increased RAM and user interface fit are a net gain
  • Very slippery, but I use a case that provides additional grip and protection as I am clumsy

So, there we have it! I bought an old iPhone rather than a new one and I’m enjoying it.

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Originally published: 2023-03-20
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Comments: @gingerbeardman