iPhone 11 vs iPhone XS: What’s the difference? Your buyer’s guide

The iPhone 11 is newer... but is it worth the upgrade?

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Times change… and so must the latest iPhone. Both the iPhone XS and iPhone 11 were among the most sought-after phones around – now with the announcement of the iPhone 12 they have been eclipsed and fallen in popularity… and price.

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However, both are still excellent phones, and are now cheaper than ever for those put off by iPhone’s high launch prices. The question is – which one to pick?

We’ll highlight the key differences below, along with advice based on budget, features, and day-to-day use so you can make an informed decision in the upcoming Black Friday sales.

Key Differences

  • Size: The XS models are slimmer and lighter.
  • Cameras: The iPhone 11 has better cameras, with an extra telephoto lens on the Pro models.
  • Processor: The iPhone 11’s A13 chip offers a 20% improvement in performance.

iPhone XS vs iPhone 11

Design

iPhone 11 front and back
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The iPhone 11 is somewhat larger and heavier than the XS, which may be a bugbear for many. The bezels around the 11 are also slightly thicker – not a huge issue, but perhaps jarring for those used to a bezel-less screen.

Stronger stainless steel is used on the XS compared to the aluminium of the 11, though the 11 does have a tougher glass screen.

Price

The iPhone XS starts at around £430, with the XS Max selling for around £520.

The iPhone 11 starts at £599, going up to an eye-watering £1,044 for the Pro Max model.

Storage

The iPhone XS and XS Max offer storage choices of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The iPhone 11 offers these too, as well as a 128GB option.

Camera

The iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone 12 all have dual 12MP ultra-wide and wide cameras, though the iPhone 12 has a few extra features such as a Night Mode and Deep Fusion technology.

The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have a third telephoto lens however, for greater focus on distant objects.

Processor

Apple brings out a new processor for each iPhone release – as such the XS and XS Max sport the A12 Bionic Chip, while the iPhone 11 gets the A13 chipset. It’s no surprise that the A13 is the superior of the two, with 20 per cent improvement in performance as well as better battery efficiency so each charge lasts longer.

However, the A12 found in the XS models is far from slow!

Screen Size

The iPhone XS sports a 5.5inch display, whereas the XS Max rocks a larger 6.5-inch screen.

The iPhone 11 comes in three screen sizes – the standard 11 is 6.1 inches, the Pro is 5.8 inches, and the Pro Max is a sizeable 6.7 inches.

Battery

Apple is notoriously secretive about the exact battery specs but have confirmed that the XS can last 14 hours of video playback and the XS Max 15 hours.

The iPhone 11, however, gets a bit of an upgrade with the ability to last 17 hours of video playback – the iPhone 11 Pro can last a bit longer at 18 hours, and the Pro Max version can even provide 20 hours.

5G support

Neither the XS nor 11 models support 5G – you’ll have to grab an iPhone 12 for an Apple device that supports the new data network.

Connectivity

As with all modern smartphones, the XS and 11 range all support Apple’s lightning charger as well as Qi wireless charging.

Colours

iPhone XS

The iPhone XS and XS Max only come in black, white, and gold. The iPhone 11, however, is available in six much brighter colours – black, green, yellow, purple, white, (product) red.

iPhone 11 deals
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Should you buy the iPhone XS or iPhone 11?

The iPhone 11 is clearly the better phone, with a faster processor, improved camera setup and greater choice of colours. It is a fair bit more expensive, however, so you will have to decide if this is worth the money. However, as the XS is no longer available from the Apple Store, it may be a sign that the iPhone 11 will have a longer shelf life.

You can buy the iPhone XS now, or see our guide to the best iPhone to buy in 2020:

iPhone XS 64GB, £427.85 upfront (renewed)

Most iPhone XS models are sold renewed nowadays, but there’s no need to worry – each model is inspected by Amazon before sale. This gold edition is going for the low upfront price of £427.85.

Get the deal

iPhone XS Max 512GB, £999 upfront

Brand new this time, this XS Max comes in silver and boasts a huge 6.5inch screen.

Get the deal

You can buy the iPhone 11 now, or look at our best iPhone 11 deals:

iPhone 11 64GB, £38 per month (£0 upfront)

The 64GB device at no upfront cost and a charge of £38 per month, with which you get 100GB data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts on Three. A one-year Apple TV+ subscription is also included.

Get the deal

iPhone 11 Pro 64GB, £49.99 per month (£99 upfront)

This is a fair monthly price on the standard memory device with a 24-month contract. There’s a £99 upfront price but you’ll get 50GB of data, unlimited texts and minutes included.

Get the deal

iPhone 11 Pro Max 64GB, £56.50 per month (£0 upfront)

For the larger screen version of the Pro Max, you’ll be looking at a higher monthly cost (24 month contract) but you can still get hold of a device without any upfront payment and you’ll get unlimited texts and minutes, 48GB of data, plus Apple TV.

Get the deal

Love an Apple product? Keep an eye on our AirPods 2 and AirTags release date pages for all the latest news, specs and prices.

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The Black Friday sale is already on too check out our guide to the best Apple Black Friday deals.