In recent years I’ve become less inclined to upgrade my phone the minute my handset contract expires. Although technology with mobile phones has moved forward the incremental gains in features and performance have simply left me feeling like unless an upgrade is absolutely necessary i.e. I’ve smashed my phone to bits, I’ll just stick with what I have.

Now this isn’t because I’m out of touch with technology but more because the cost of the new devices in 2019 are often unfathomable and quite frankly I’d rather pay a lump sum off my mortgage.

Over the past 6 months however I reached an increasing point of frustration with my iPhone 6s. Although it had been my daily workhorse for several years the phone was growing slower by the day with the battery life only managing to stick it out for around 12 hours before hitting the 10% mark. We’ve all read the press about Apple slowing down older devices and aside from whether I agree with their reasons or not, the fact of the matter was that my 6s was no longer fit for purpose and I required an upgrade. Step up the iPhone XS, ordered from O2 on a 30 month contract.

iPhone XS

The iPhone XS is (at the time of writing this post) the flagship model from Apple and for that reason it doesn’t come cheap at c.£1200. With technology moving on year after year and as someone who only upgrades their phone every 3-4 years, for me it was only ever a consideration to buy the best technology on the market to maximise its ability to futureproof my life.

The price tag of the iPhone XS is of course not to be sniffed at especially when considering that its the same price as a MacBook which offers a far superior bundle of technology. However a phone in 2019 is an extra limb and considering the amount of active screen time, when breaking down the price vs hours used it is actually serious bargain.

iPhone XS unboxing

With the decision made to upgrade my phone I purchased the iPhone XS in silver with 256gb of storage and it arrived within 24 hours from O2.

iPhone XS Silver Boxed

As with all Apple products the packaging continues to be simple and sleek with all components tucked in with no wasted space. This is the same design that has been around for a decade and quite frankly why change perfection.

iPhone XS Silver Box Contents

Within the box you are immediately met by the black mirror screen that is the iPhone. This is sat on top of the plug, usb charger and earbuds.

iPhone XS Silver Unboxed
iPhone XS Silver Unoxed

Within the documentation wallet you’ll find a quick start guide, SIM key and 2 Apple stickers.

iPhone XS Silver Unboxing

iPhone XS Features

The iPhone XS combines the most powerful chip with the best Super Retina OLED display in any smartphone on the market today. Not only do you get lightning fast processing but you get the most accurate colour, HDR and blacks on a phone screen.

Super Retina display

The iPhone XS offers a 5.8″ OLED screen. This fills the surface of the phone with an edge to edge display with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 and 458 pixels per inch.

With a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio the blacks are incredibly deep. When coupled with the True Tone technology the 6 channel light sensor adjusts the screen to match the colour temperature of the scene leading to beautiful, vivid images.

iPhone XS camera

An innovative dual-camera system integrates the ISP, the Neural Engine and advanced algorithms to unlock new creative possibilities and help you capture incredible photos.

The iPhone XS boasts a new dual-camera system that offers full depth control via an aperture setting ranging from f1.4 to f16. This is an incredible range of depth which will leave the majority of people now leaving their DSLR camera at home to snap some quick shots straight from their phone. What’s more is that the photos allow for depth control editing post-shot straight from the photo editing screen.

Apple has integrated dual 12MP cameras into the rear of the XS leading to exceptional performance with a f/1.8 wide angle lens and a f/2.4 telephoto lens.

Stowe Gardens
Stowe Gardens taken on iPhone XS rear camera
iPhone XS rear camera f/1.4
iPhone XS rear camera in portrait mode with f/1.4 depth

Not only that but they have integrated a 7MP front facing camera with f/2.2 wide angle lens offering incredible selfie capabilities particularly when combined with portrait mode’s depth and lighting control.

iPhone XS portrait mode f/2.2 depth
iPhone XS front facing camera in portrait mode with f/1.2 depth

When in video mode the phone will shoot at 60fps and in full 4K with the rear facing camera and 60fps / 1080p HD video with the front facing camera.

A12 Bionic Chip

The A12 Bionic, with our next-generation Neural Engine, delivers incredible performance. It uses real-time machine learning to transform the way you experience photos, gaming, augmented reality and more.

The A12 Bionic Chip is the market leader in a smartphone allowing for exceptional performance.


The chip works with 2 performance cores which deals with heavy computational tasks. This is up to 2 times faster than the A11 Bionic chip. Additionally the CPU has 4 efficiency cores to deal with every day operations and tasks. This has up to 50% less power usage than the A11 chip demonstrating the huge technological leap made by Apple with the iPhone Xs.


The graphics processing within the XS are the best in any iPhone to date with a 4 core GPU offering 50% faster performance than the A11 Bionic chip.

Neural Engine

The neural engine is the machine learning technology in the iPhone XS with an 8 core architecture capable of processing an incredible 5 trillion operations per second. The core machine learning in the XS is an impressive 9 times faster than the previous A11 Bionic chip.

Latest iPhone XS prices from Amazon

iPhone XS review

The iPhone XS is a real advancement in technology for Apple who in recent years have started to lag behind competitors and lose market share. The phone packs in a lot of technology and offers industry leading performance across the display, A12 chip and cameras. The Huawei P30 is a direct competitor to the XS however that phone falls short when considering the overall package being offered by each of the brands.

As an Apple convert from Android 5 years ago I can’t see myself leaving the brand anytime soon. My upgrade from the iPhone 6s has been a huge jump and despite the £1000 price tag, after 1 week living with the XS I have no regrets. The battery life is the best I’ve experienced in years, the screen is vibrant and the front and rear facing cameras offer superb photography capabilities that are leaders in the market.

So what’s the verdict? Superb 9/10! Order your iPhone XS today, you won’t have any regrets.

By Nick

Nick is the founder of Life of Man with a passion for trying out the latest technology, eating out at the best local restaurants, trying the latest IPAs hitting the craft beer scene travelling the world. As a parent Nick loves to spend time with his family and write about days out as dad blogger.

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