iPhone XS vs iPhone 11: What are the differences?

The iPhone 11 was released in 2019 and from the start it was touted as the direct successor to the iPhone XR which was released a year earlier. Similarly, iPhone 11 Pro succeeded iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro Max succeeded iPhone XS Max. The iPhone 11 has been the most "affordable" phone in the 11 series (£729 at launch), while the XS was considered a more "premium" smartphone a year earlier (£999 at launch). However, despite the price difference, does the 2018 premium iPhone XS have superior functionality to the base model 2019 iPhone 11? Here is our comparison.

iPhone XS vs iPhone 11: Which model has the best performance?

Before going into detail, you should know that the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XS are both excellent smartphones and they are very similar at first glance. You have to dig a bit to understand their differences.

👉Reading tip: Deciding between an iPhone XR or XS instead?.

To put it simply and to the point, the advantage goes to the iPhone 11 with its A13 Bionic chip. The iPhone XS is equipped with an inferior A12 Bionic chip. This means that the iPhone 11 in theory has better processing power when it comes to iPhone games or demanding applications. However, on a day-to-day basis, both iPhones are fast and perfectly fluid, and it would be difficult to notice the difference between the two.

Screen: Clear advantage for the iPhone XS

The iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1792 x 828 px. This LCD screen is very well made, but the iPhone XS has a big advantage on this front. It is equipped with a 5.8-inch borderless OLED screen with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 px, and it offers an HDR display also.  

The advantage is clear for the iPhone XS. For more details on the iPhone XS screen, you can check out our iPhone XS review.

Camera: What are the advantages of the iPhone 11?

The camera is a more complicated point of comparison. Both models are very good, but are very much catered to different users. One element still tips the scales in favour of the iPhone 11 however: the night mode.

It all depends on whether you often zoom in on your photos, or whether you prefer to have an ultra-wide-angle lens which, on the contrary, allows you to take “zoomed-out” photos. The iPhone XS is equipped with a telephoto lens, which allows it to make x2 optical zooms of a quality far superior to digital zooms. The iPhone 11 uses an ultra wide-angle lens, which allows you to take photos from a greater distance. If you're ever too close to the scene you want to capture, then the iPhone 11 takes care of zooming out to take in more imagery on the screen.

The main advantage of the iPhone 11 is the night mode. It allows you to take sharper photos in low light, which is superior than the iPhone XS.

It’s worth noting that both cameras have optical stabilisation.

Design: Draw!

Both models have very good ergonomics, which allows easy handling and use on a daily basis. Both iPhones are also IP68 certified so they can be submerged for up to 30 minutes at 2 metres depth. Both smartphones have an elegant design, with slender lines.

The only differences are cosmetic, so it's up to you to figure out what you prefer. The iPhone 11 has an aluminium and glass shell, while the iPhone XS is made of stainless steel, with thinner bezels. The iPhone XS is also lighter. Perhaps an advantage of the iPhone 11 is the number of colours it offers, which is 6, in comparison to 3 for the iPhone XS.

On the other hand, the iPhone XS is smaller than the 11, so it is more suitable for small hands or smaller pockets, unlike the iPhone XS Max. Check out our review on the iPhone XS Max.