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Apple is officially wading into 'phablet' territory with the iPhone XS Max — here it is compared to an iPad Mini (AAPL)

Dave Smith
iPhone XS and XS Max

Getty


  • Apple unveiled three new iPhones this month, including its largest iPhone yet, the iPhone XS Max.
  • With its 6.5-inch OLED display, the iPhone XS Max is officially wading into "phablet" territory.
  • It's only slightly smaller than the 7.9-inch display featured in the iPad Mini.

Back in 2012, the largest iPhone you could get — the iPhone 5 — had a screen that measured just four inches diagonally.

Then, in 2014, Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which had bigger screens that measured 4.7 and 5.5 inches, respectively.

Last year, Apple went a step further by building a 5.8-inch OLED display for its tenth-anniversary iPhone, called the iPhone X.

And now, in September 2018, Apple has unveiled its largest iPhone yet: The iPhone XS Max, which has a screen measuring a whopping 6.5 inches.

Just how big is that?

Apple’s older iPhone “Plus” models actually had the same dimensions as the iPhone XS Max, but the display is significantly larger on the new phone since it stretches to the edges of the enclosure. For comparison, the display on the iPad Mini, Apple's smallest tablet, is just 7.9 inches — only about 1.4 inches bigger than the iPhone XS Max screen. As a whole, the iPad Mini is still larger and heavier than the iPhone XS Max, as it has a different form factor, aspect ratio, and extra room around the display for the camera and home button, but it's interesting to see how close the two display sizes are.

Here are the full body dimensions of the two devices, to give you an idea of the similarities:

iPhone XS Max6.20 x 3.05 x 0.30 inches, 208 grams

iPad Mini (4th generation)8.0 x 5.31 x 0.24 inches, 299 grams

Notably, though, the iPhone XS Max display is significantly better and sharper than the iPad Mini's LCD screen, as it has more pixels, a greater pixel density, more colors, and deeper contrast thanks to its OLED screen.

The first iPhone XS reviews came out this week, and plenty of critics love the big new OLED screen on the iPhone XS Max, but some, like The Verge's Nilay Patel, find the new 6.5-inch display a little too unwieldy:

“At the same time, the XS Max’s size gets away from it. The large bezels on the older Plus phones mean the top of the display is actually lower on the phone, making it easier to reach. To pull down notifications or Control Center on the XS Max, you have to reach the very top of the device. I have big hands, and I basically can’t do it without tipping the phone over in my hand; I ended up having to use two hands most of the time. You can use Apple’s reachability feature to pull down the UI and then swipe, but that’s two swipes for one thing, and it just makes me a little sad.”

Given how large the new iPhone XS Max is, we recommend visiting an Apple Store and holding the phone in person before placing an order. (If you already own an iPhone, we also recommend updating to iOS 12 before deciding whether or not to upgrade to a new iPhone, given the performance boosts afforded by that software update.)

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