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Apple iPhone XS Max vs 11 Pro Max: Which Apple Will You Pick?

author Luis Silva (March 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

The iPhone 11 Pro Max isn't that affordable, but it also is the better device of the two considering their specs.

You'll get better performance (+29%) and better battery life.

Are there other things worth mentioning?

The iPhone 11 Pro Max also gives you better peak brightness.

But how much more will I have to pay for the iPhone 11 Pro Max?

If you're not considering going for a carrier subscription, you're going to shell out an extra amount of about $250.

Is it still worth buying the iPhone XS Max in 2021?

The iPhone XS Max is still a great phone, even in 2021, even more so if you can find it with a great deal. However, you should also consider other phones like the iPhone 12 because it has better performance, better cameras, more security updates, and faster charging.

Is it worth buying the iPhone 11 Pro Max in 2021?

The iPhone 11 Pro Max continues to be a rock-solid smartphone because of its good performance, good cameras, and good battery life. It holds up pretty well in 2021, but you'd be better off with the iPhone 12 Pro Max as a daily driver because it has better performance, more storage, more security updates, a better optical zoom, and more RAM.

Read on and find out more about them, how they compare to similarly priced rivals, and you'll know what the industry thinks about their specs.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Apple iPhone XS Max, Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

In September of 2019, Apple started selling its iPhone 11 Pro Max, while Apple's iPhone XS Max hit the stores one year sooner.

With this article, you'll be able to compare every feature of the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Then, you can decide what model better suits your needs. Let's start.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Release Date 2018, September 2019, September 1y.
OS Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.
Security Updates 6 years 6 years 0y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

About performance: Geekbench 5 scores the iPhone 11 Pro Max 29% ahead of its sibling in the multi-core ranking. The differences are slight but still noteworthy between these two chipsets.

We can label the iPhone 11 Pro Max as high-end.

Performance*
vs.
Features iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
SoC Apple A12 Apple A13
Graphics Apple GPU Apple GPU
Geekbench 5 Score 2655
3435
780
OS iOS 12 iOS 13
Tek-Score
6.4
7.7
1.3

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Apple iPhone XS Max front transparent png Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max front transparent png

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the title-holder here, but this is pretty much a tie.

Usually, devices in this price range max at 743 nits, but the iPhone XS Max can only go 213 nits below that.

If a device can't go over 500 nits, it will disappoint you when in direct sunlight or displaying HDR content. Relating to HDR:

About the iPhone XS Max, 89% of its rivals can play HDR content. Plus, all have an AMOLED screen, and 93% have an Always-On display.

Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, all of its rivals can play HDR content and have an AMOLED screen, 85% offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate, and 90% have an Always-On display.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Size 6.5
6.5
0.0
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1242x2688
1242x2688
0
Refresh Rate 60hz 60hz 0
Dots per Inch 455.55
455.55
0.00
Always-On-Display No No
Notch Wedge Wedge
Peak Brightness 530 nits
811 nits
281
HDR HDR10 HDR10
Sub Tek-Score
2.7
3.2
0.5
Protection Corning toughened glass Corning toughened glass
Tek-Score
5.8
5.9
0.2

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Apple iPhone XS Max back transparent png Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max back transparent png

By DXOMARK's standards, the iPhone XS Max is also roughly 40% above other smartphones for the same budget. But it isn't the one I'm recommending.

About the iPhone XS Max: DXOMARK tested this camera and gave it a score of 118. Then, if you consider its telephoto lens, you'll end up with a score of 126**. If you click here, you can check what they think of it.

To put things in perspective: all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more and have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and 93% feature Optical Image Stabilization. Although only 15% of them feature a macro lens.

About the iPhone 11 Pro Max: The guys over at the DXOMARK labs scored this camera with 132 points. And by adding the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, we'll get to the final score of 143 points. You can click here to check it out.

Finally, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization, and 90% feature a telephoto lens. Moreover, none of them feature a macro lens.

If you prefer, we can grade the iPhone 11 Pro Max as a high-end.

Additionally, the iPhone 11 Pro Max telephoto lens is 54mm lower than the average on similarly priced devices.

**Consider this as an estimative, at least for phones with no zoom and up to 35 to 40MP. They moved to a new camera test protocol, and there aren't enough reviewed phones to extrapolate a backward-compatible score.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.8
1.8
0.0
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 4 4 0
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 2160 0
Score 126
143
17

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max vs.
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 2.4
2.0
-0.4
Lens 52mm (2x zoom)
52mm (2x zoom)
0
Lens Type Telephoto lens Telephoto lens
Megapixels - 12
Aperture - 2.4
Lens - 13mm
Lens Type - Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 8 11 3
Selfie Camera iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max vs.
Megapixels 7
12
5
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 32mm 23mm -9
iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max vs.
Tek-Score
7.4
8.4
1.0

Who has the best frame?

They're not that far apart, so just pick one.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is 18 g. (0.71 oz) heavier than the other, weighing about 208 g. (7.34 oz). But because screen size also matters, I've created an adapted score for a "weight to display size" ratio. The iPhone XS Max got 3.2, and that's another way of saying it's kind of weighty for its screen size. In the meantime, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has 1.7, which indicates it's oddly heavy.

You can drop the iPhone XS Max into the water, up to 1 to 3 meters deep, much like the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Remember that it shouldn't be for over half an hour, and it's in standby mode only. So don't take photos underwater.

Looks*
vs.
Body iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Size 157 x 77 x 7 mm
(5.54 x 2.72 x 0.25 in)
158 x 77 x 8 mm
(5.57 x 2.72 x 0.28 in)
12705
Weight 208 g. (7.34 oz)
226 g. (7.97 oz)
18
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Space Gray, Gold, and Silver Space Gray, Gold, Silver, and Midnight Green
Screen To Body Ratio 85.85%
85.31%
-0.54
Disp.Size To Weight Score 3.2 1.7 -1.5
Looks 8.9/10
9.6/10
0.7
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Face ID
Tek-Score
6.7
6.4
-0.3

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

At 3174 mAh, the iPhone XS Max is the owner of the smallest battery, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max features 3969 mAh. And according to GSMArena's tests, the latter is the one that stands out.

Battery life on the iPhone XS Max isn't anything to write home about. Apple should've put a bigger battery and/or energy-efficient hardware on it. That's the conclusion that we take from its "battery to phone size" rate of 2.1.

Battery*
vs.
Features iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Capacity (mAh) 3174 3969 795
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 78% left
83% left
5
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 60% left
69% left
9
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 64% left
73% left
9
Bat. To Phone Size Score 2.1 3.6 1.5
Sub Tek-Score
6.7
7.5
0.8
Fast Charging 15w
18w
3
Wireless Charging 5w
5w
0
Tek-Score
6.0
6.5
0.6

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

It's a tie.

Apple put 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage on the iPhone XS Max. I should also mention that most rivals have more storage and more RAM. They're around 8GB of RAM and 135Gb of storage.

In its turn, the iPhone 11 Pro Max also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of integrated storage. Again, you can get more RAM and more storage from most of its opponents. They'd give you around 166Gb of storage and 9Gb of RAM.

Storage shouldn't be an issue on any of these phones. However, if you can't get enough of the record button, you'll find out that 64 GB won't be enough for you.

Storage*
vs.
Features iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
RAM (GB) 4GB
4GB
0
Internal (GB) 64GB
64GB
0
Micro SD No No
Tek-Score
2.8
2.8
0.0

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

They also don't stand out on any of these features.

They both run on LTE networks. If you really want to give 5G a try, you should look at the iPhone 12 Pro Max instead.

Connectivity
vs.
Features iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Network LTE LTE
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
3.6
3.6
0.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are the best deals on some major online stores:

Apple iPhone XS Max

Reference: $650

Apple iPhone XS Max

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Reference: $900

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max VS
Amazon 1.33 ! 0.56 ! -
eBay 0.83 0.61 -0.22
Best Buy - - -
Walmart - ! - ! -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Are you curious to know what their global score is? Just so you have an idea, take a look at where its adversaries average. It's 7.0 for the iPhone XS Max and 7.4 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Verdict: What Makes the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Stand Out?

Whether you're considering an upgrade or a more cost-effective smartphone, these two are indeed outstanding devices. The iPhone 11 Pro Max clearly beats the iPhone XS Max on performance. That doesn't mean the later is lazy doing its things. That would be truly unfair to state because if it were an Android phone, it would be on the top 10 list of the fastest phones available, without a doubt.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max camera is also something to write home about. But again, the iPhone XS Max has one of the best cameras around.

They both have stellar battery life, but the iPhone 11 Pro Max clearly wins this battle.

So, where does that leave the iPhone XS Max? That's up to you to conclude. Price-wise, you can get 2 of them for the cost of the other. Can I be more clear?

Just a side-note here: they got a big red flag on their weight: 226 g. (7.34 oz) is too heavy to overlook.

Pros iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Cameras Cameras
#4 Fast Charging Battery Life
#5 Wireless Charging Fast Charging
#6 Glass Protection Wireless Charging
#7 Glass Protection
Cons iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
#1 Always-On-Display Always-On-Display
#2 MicroSD Slot MicroSD Slot
#3 Weight Weight
#4 3.5mm Jack 3.5mm Jack
#5 Price Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score iPhone XS Max iPhone 11 Pro Max
Gaming Score
5.6
6.2
0.6
Tek-Score
5.62
6.12
0.50
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

For suggestions and bug reports, click here. Your help is appreciated. Thank you.

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About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Apple iPhone XS Max Related Comparisons


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Apple iPhone XS Max 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 SD
    $535
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20+ SD
    $535
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OnePlusrival8T
    $549
  • XiaomirivalMi 10
    $529
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
  • OnePlusrival9
    $551
  • OpporivalFind X3 Lite
    $554

 Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro
    $969
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
    $1049
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
    $999
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
    $899
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.
    $899
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
    $1065
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
    $950
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Ultra
    $899
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Ultra
    $1079
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
    $969
  • VivorivalX60 Pro
    $900
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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