iPhone XS Max quick review – Android Pixel XL user’s perspective

by admin

I recently made the decision to swap back over to Apple and buy the iPhone XS Max and the Apple Watch 4. I’m coming directly from the Pixel XL, and I’m pretty familiar with Apple products since I own a lot of Apple products such as the macbook pro 15″, iPad Air 2, Apple TV, and more. In short, I needed a fitness watch, and instead of the Garmin Fenix 5S for my triathlon training, I wanted to get the Apple Watch 4, which meant I needed to hop over and also upgrade my phone. Let’s go ahead and dive right into the review. This isn’t necessarily a Pixel vs iPhone XS Max shootout, but more of a perspective on how this change feels to me.


The iPhone XS Max is a high performing phone capable of making even an avid Android user happy. If you’re the type to get Android phones with the purpose of heavily tinkering with your phone, this isn’t for you; however, if you were relatively happy with basic Android functionality and want to switch to an iPhone, I think you’ll really appreciate how far iOS has come. I’m not one for lengthy reviews, so I’ll try to put everything in concise bullets on the biggest differences.


  • Camera – The camera quality is arguably better than the Pixel XL. You’ll find many examples of the camera quality online, so I won’t talk much about it. Here’s an unedited example shot I took. Needless to say, I’m happy with the camera quality coming from the Pixel, and I actually don’t even pull out my DSLR as much.
  • I love the edge to edge OLED screen. It’s bright, vibrant, and text looks crisps just like the Pixel XL. In addition, the screen real estate is amazing. I can see a lot more reading news as well as well as more cards on reddit.
  • They added widgets! It’s not as comprehensive as Android widgets, but it’s enough that you shouldn’t complain too much about it.
  • There is a lot more customization than when I was using my iPhone 6S. They added folders, multi-select when moving apps, customizing control panels, their equivalent of flux without jailbreaking, screen time app, etc.
  • I actually really like 3D touch, even after a week of using it. It allows you to be more efficient and reduce the amount of clicks to achieve a task.
  • I LOVE faceID. I was skeptical at first, but it’s life-changing. When I’m working out and sweating, I never have issues with face ID whereas I struggled with fingerprint readers. This also applies to baking when my hands are dirty.
  • Being able to wirelessly charge my phone is a huge convenience. I hate wires.
  • It’s fast.
  • Things just work easily without too much fiddling. I did miss this about iOS. Notifications on Android would sometimes drive me crazy, but it’s much easier to control on iOS.
  • Apple News App is surprisingly good and customizable enough.
  • Hardware also just works – On the Pixel, the GPS was terrible, Bluetooth cut out at HD connections, so it’s nice to have a phone that just works. I’m sure it’s better on Pixel 2 and will be better on 3, but this is a perspective coming from Pixel XL. For example, my Jaybird X3s don’t cut out at all on iPhone vs Pixel, which is probably due to Bluetooth 5.0, but still something noticeable.
  • Safari also came a long way from previous versions with a lot of neat features.
  • Measure app is handy
  • Apple pay is pretty convenient at times
  • Again, face ID is amazing for logins and purchases. Also, on 2FA authentication with text messages, it’s really easy to copy over the code instead of having to memorize and type. Not a big pain point, but a nice added convenience.


  • It’s definitely heavier. The 30 gram difference is definitely noticeable when holding it, and every time I hold the pixel, it feels significantly lighter even though it’s 30 grams; however, you get used to it relatively quickly. I will say that it gets tiring to hold one handed using the pop socket whereas this wasn’t an issue before
  • OLED screen means slight ghosting, but it’s an issue with all OLED screen. As long as you don’t do a ton of reading while scrolling, most people shouldn’t have an issue with it.
  • I miss the notification LED light, but they do have double tap to check notification.
  • I do miss the headphone jack
  • I wish they had a “close all application” button – I know it’s not efficient to close apps, but I have OCD and have to.
  • Can’t use one handed like my Pixel due to weight and huge screen real estate, but I think the trade off is worth it.
  • Apple health is kind of a pain to sync everything with (Garmin, Strava, Trainingpeaks, etc), so I just gave up.
  • Siri shortcut still kinda sucks and is limited in customization unlike things like Tasker on Android.

Other notes

  • I’m heavily integrated with Google, and everything works well. Gmail, Gcal, Drive, Gphoto, Gcontacts, Gmaps, Gkeyboard all migrated overly perfectly!
  • No issues with battery life at all. Even with moderate-heavy use (4 hours of screen time), I end up with 50% at the end of the day.
  • To get vibrate only mode, you have to put the phone on silent permanently and enable vibrate on notifications.
  • Swapping messages, contacts, and call history only took 30 minutes using a free software. The stock one they recommend didn’t work and was frustrating.


Again, this wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive phone review, but rather a quick perspective as an Android user switching over to iOS and buying the iPhone XS Max. I personally think iOS has come a long way since I last used an iPhone, integrating a lot of necessary features that people have been asking for, to a point where I’m pretty happy with most of the features added on the iPhone XS max. I’m just glad that both Android and iOS are at a point where I don’t feel like I need to look up jailbreaking or rooting the phone to get functionality that consumers need. Overall, I am very happy with the new phone. Maybe my next phone will be an Android, but we’ll see in 2 years what the competition looks like.


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