The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are eye-wateringly expensive, and that’s before you account for the hidden costs. But just when it looked like we had a great reason to upgrade, new tests reveal it really is Apple’s iPhone XR (details) where the smart money should go…
Giving upgraders a nasty surprise is famously rigorous review site Tom’s Guide, which has published results of its iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max battery testing. And they confirm my worst fears.
What Tom’s Guide discovered is both new iPhones have shorter battery life than last year’s iPhone X:
iPhone XS Max – 10 hours 38 minutes
iPhone XS – 9 hours 48 minutes
iPhone X – 10 hours 49 minutes
Moreover, neither phone comes close to the iPhone 8 Plus which lasted 11 hours 16 minutes.
The tests are somewhat embarrassing for Apple given the company claims on its website that the iPhone XS “Lasts up to 30 minutes longer than iPhone X” and the iPhone XS Max “Lasts up to 1.5 hours longer than iPhone X”. On the basis of the Tom’s Guide tests, this simply isn’t true.
Furthermore, Tom’s Guide battery tests are a gold standard. They not only measure screen brightness so all phones are set at exactly 150 nits, they run all tests using a T-Mobile 4G LTE CellSpot booster to ensure full and uniform signal. In the site’s own words: “this is as close to ideal conditions as we can get while keeping everything repeatable.”
What will also give potential iPhone upgraders pause for thought is how poorly the new models compared to rival Android phones.
The flagships from Google, Samsung, OnePlus and Huawei all comfortably outlasted the new iPhones with the latter’s P20 Pro lasting close to 4 hours longer than the iPhone XS Max. No wonder Huawei trolled fans queuing outside Apple stores on iPhone XS launch day by giving out portable battery chargers.
Apple, quite literally, cut corners with the iPhone XS battery which results in a smaller capacity than the iPhone X, while the iPhone XS Max has a battery capacity 20% smaller than the P20 Pro and Galaxy Note 9.
So while Apple likes to boast iOS is more efficient than Android, the reality is whatever differences exist is more than compensated for by the larger batteries Android phone makers fit.
And here’s the kicker: if you’re committed to iPhones, Apple admits the iPhone XR’s battery life beats the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max hands-down. In fact, Apple prefers to compare the iPhone XR with the iPhone 8 Plus on its website rather than the iPhone X
The iPhone XR also comes in more interesting colours, retains the best features of the XS models and you can get one with 256GB of storage for $100 less than a 64GB iPhone XS. As I was saying, this is where the smart money goes…
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