Best phone in the US for 2018: the top 15 smartphones we've tested

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3. iPhone XS Max

Want the best, big iPhone? This is it

Release date: September 2018 | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1242 x 2688 | CPU: A12 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: 3,174mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Fantastic camera
Incredibly fast
Incredibly expensive
Big size isn't for everyone

The iPhone XS Max is Apple's new big iPhone with an expansive 6.5-inch display that can't be missed if you're looking for the best phone running iOS 12. It's fast, has a brilliant all-screen display, and gives you great photos out of its noticeably upgraded 12MP dual-lens rear camera.

Screen: The 6.5-inch OLED screen is the reason to choose the iPhone XS Max over its smaller 5.8-inch iPhone XS counterpart. The phone is still about the size of an iPhone Plus, but thanks to the all-screen display (minus the notch cut out at the top), you get a lot more real-estate. It looks more color-rich vs the old iPhone LCD displays, too.

Battery life: You'll get the best battery life out of the iPhone XS Max simply because it has room for a bigger battery. The 3,174mAh capacity is by no means the biggest (Samsung's Note 9 is 4,000mAh), but Apple's ownership of both software and hardware means it's smartly optimized. You'll get all-day battery life even with heavy use.

Camera: This is the best iPhone camera ever made, even if the 12MP dual-lens rear camera number hasn't changed in several years. It's all about the software inside and how the A12 chipset interprets scenes with Smart HDR. It's up there with the Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, even if Apple's photos tend to be less vivid in our tests and more true-to-life.

Mini verdict: This is the iPhone for anyone who wants what's new and doesn't care what it costs. The iPhone XS Max is expensive, but it's the best upgrade if you're into big screens and Apple's ecosystem, like the App Store and iMessages.  The iPhone XS is a good choice if you have smaller hands, and the iPhone XR may be better if you have a smaller wallet.

Read more: iPhone XS Max review