Last year's iPhone X beats iPhone XS, XS Max in battery life test

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in iPhone
Though Apple claims its latest iPhone XS and XS Max tout modest improvements in operational battery life compared to last year's iPhone X, a test performed on production hardware suggests the new devices are not quite their predecessor's equal.

iPhone XS Battery
Source: iFixit


As part of its running tally of smartphone performance metrics, Tom's Guide put iPhone XS and XS Max to the test this week, to somewhat surprising results.

According to the publication, Apple's just-released iPhones fared worse than iPhone X in a battery endurance test. In the evaluation, both phones continuously surfed the web over 4G LTE until their batteries ran dry. Displays were set to 150 nits of brightness with both auto-brightness and TrueTone disabled.

The iPhone XS Max turned in a time of 10 hours and 38 minutes, above an industry average of 9 hours and 48 minutes, while the iPhone XS lasted 9 hours and 41 minutes before shutting down. By comparison, the iPhone X lasted 10 hours and 49 minutes in an identical test.

Further, a number of flagship Android handsets sit well above this year's iPhones on the publication's battery stress test totem pole. Samsung's Galaxy Note 9, for example, browsed for 11 hours and 26 minutes before giving out, while the Google Pixel 2 XL lasted 12 hours and 9 minutes. The reigning champion is Huawei's P20 Pro, which remained operational for 14 hours and 13 minutes.

A teardown this week found iPhone XS sports an L-shaped 2,659mAh battery, down from 2,716mAh in last year's iPhone X. The iPhone XS Max, on the other hand, boasts a relatively capacious 3,179mAh in a dual-cell arrangement.

When Apple debuted the new smartphones this month, the company said iPhone XS customers can expect a 30-minute increase in operating time over iPhone X, while XS Max users will see improvements of an hour and a half. Today's test seemingly debunks those claims, with neither iPhone XS model reaching the battery potential of its forebear.

AppleInsider reached similar results in our analysis of iPhone XS Max, finding the internal battery did not live up to Apple's claims. A number of variables are at play, from operating system and app concerns to hardware optimization, though it appears Apple's estimates are a slightly exaggerated.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Do you think they could fix it in a software update if enough people complain?
    caladanianrezwits
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Do you think they could fix it in a software update if enough people complain?
    I hope they can, if it comes to that. After all, they did advertise the better battery life. I wonder if it has anything to do with the current cellular and wi-fi issues some users are experiencing? I know I had issues earlier in the day when setting up my XS Max. It took three tries before finally connecting to my cellular network.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,702member
    I'd say times will improve. Both the Mate 10 and the P20 Pro had similar issues on release.

    They were corrected in firmware updates a couple of weeks after release.

    My guess is that when the tests are re-run after a few updates, the numbers will improve and fall more into line with what Apple is claiming.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    1) I'm most curious about how the battery is made for the 5.8" iPhone. Is that single battery or is still two separate batteries like in the 6.5" model?

    2) If not for the archaic physical SIM I think they could move the logic board to the top so that the batteries in both models could a single rectangular design that I believe would be less expensive to build and hold more energy.


    Do you think they could fix it in a software update if enough people complain?
    I think they'll likely resolve it in a SW update even if no one complains. This isn't uncommon for brand new HW on a brand new OS with new firmware.
    gilly017
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Most of the time if test results are this “SURPRISING” there is something wrong with the test setup. Maybe the Xs’s were Neural Engine categorizing a photo library in the background or something. 

    My Xs Max lasts me longer than any phone ever before. And several YouTube testers that actually know and show what they are doing confirm this. 
    sweetheart777acejax805gilly017
  • Reply 6 of 23
    Take these with a grain of salt. There are a lot of YouTube videos showing the XS Max beating out the P20, Note 9, Pixel 2 XL, et al in battery drain tests. A lot of people are confirming that the XS Max SOT (screen on time) is the best in 2018.

    Also, Androids new darling the Pocophone F1 was beaten by the XS Max even tho it has a 4000 mAh battery coupled with a 1080p screen. Android still doesn't understand the concept of optimization and honestly, I doubt they ever will. 
    edited September 25 racerhomie3mikeybabesredgeminipa
  • Reply 7 of 23
    Something weird is going on with battery life in iOS 12. It got terrible about 3-4 weeks ago.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    This is definitely not what I'm experiencing. The battery in my iPhone Xs Max is lasting longer than any other iPhone I've had before. I've been using my phone a lot as well since release. I was testing the camera out all weekend. 
  • Reply 9 of 23
    TomasVTomasV Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    which browser was used? anything other then "safari"? i guess so... but then: isnt the strongest point of apple stuff the hardware plus software in one house argument? ignoring that and then showing bad results... guess you can... guess i dont care then.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    More battery life tests with a different result





    acejax805georgie01gilly017
  • Reply 11 of 23
    taruga said:
    More battery life tests with a different result





    And many more where that came from. Perhaps Toms Guide needs to check their tests again and see if something is off. Many, many battery drain tests (including the ones posted here) show the Xs Max literally humiliating all other phones, even those with 30% more battery capacity. So, largest screen, comparable resolution to the best Android has to offer, and it still dominates battery life. Impressive to say the least. 
    edited September 25 gilly017
  • Reply 12 of 23
    I thought my new iPhone XS Max battery wasn’t doing good the first day, but it made it. However since then, I think the battery has been improving. Keep in mind that the phone is doing a lot of downloading and processing after it gets set up which means the first day or two I wouldn’t use as a basis for battery life.
    gilly017
  • Reply 13 of 23
    Was the X running iOS 11 or 12? Review doesn’t say. 12 is definitely a battery hog. 
  • Reply 14 of 23
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,732member
    hentaiboy said:
    Was the X running iOS 11 or 12? Review doesn’t say. 12 is definitely a battery hog. 
    Haven't noticed any battery performance changes on my X after installing 12 last week.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,687member
    If all I did with my iPhone was surf the web on 4G LTE I guess this particular test would matter. But that's not what I do with my iPhone or any iDevice for that matter. All battery duration estimates are - estimates. Your mileage will vary because of dozens of different factors, some internal to the phone, some user driven, and some a factor of external variables like signal strength on wireless communication links. I once did some work in a lab that tested high current motors and there was something about the shielding around the facility that caused my phone to drain its battery in about 30 minutes as it struggled to find a signal. Not an iPhone, but an example an external condition that affected my phone. If I spent all of my days in that facility I would turn my cellular service off. The ONLY thing that matters here is how YOUR phone performs in YOUR life and environment that YOU live in and how you use YOUR phone on a day to day basis. I don't live in a benchmarking lab.


  • Reply 16 of 23
    Wonder if Apple compared X on iOS 11 to XS on iOS 12, and now X on iOS 12 wins... 
  • Reply 17 of 23
    dewme said:
    If all I did with my iPhone was surf the web on 4G LTE I guess this particular test would matter. But that's not what I do with my iPhone or any iDevice for that matter. All battery duration estimates are - estimates. Your mileage will vary because of dozens of different factors, some internal to the phone, some user driven, and some a factor of external variables like signal strength on wireless communication links. I once did some work in a lab that tested high current motors and there was something about the shielding around the facility that caused my phone to drain its battery in about 30 minutes as it struggled to find a signal. Not an iPhone, but an example an external condition that affected my phone. If I spent all of my days in that facility I would turn my cellular service off. The ONLY thing that matters here is how YOUR phone performs in YOUR life and environment that YOU live in and how you use YOUR phone on a day to day basis. I don't live in a benchmarking lab.


    Sounds like the building cut out the signal, so the phone burned battery trying to re-establish connection. 

    Benchmarks are the best method we have to test things on a level basis, they have a purpose. Plus their results are usually a good reflection of reality. 

    I know the number one task of a smartphone is surfing. The data consumed by the average iPhone user will reflect that. I’d suspect watching videos/movies is number 2, and number 3 is probably phone calls. Thus, a test like this is applicable to real usage. 

    I agree with your points on other factors influencing the results. Question is what and why.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    I’ve noticed that my iPhone XS battery does not last as long as my former X which is kind of disappointing , so I am definitely hoping Apple improve this with a software update!
  • Reply 19 of 23
    I put a lot of stock in Tom's, but thanks to Taruga's post there is obviously plenty of evidence that your mileage may vary (and really, this should have been noted in the article). As with most buyers, I'm not sure the results here (even if you take them at face value) matter that much in the real world; if you are using your iPhone more than 9.5 hours a day without any opportunity to quickly recharge a bit, you have much bigger problems than your device's battery (and I say this as someone who averages five hours a day with it, according to Screentime).
  • Reply 20 of 23
    Soli said:
    1) I'm most curious about how the battery is made for the 5.8" iPhone. Is that single battery or is still two separate batteries like in the 6.5" model?

    2) If not for the archaic physical SIM I think they could move the logic board to the top so that the batteries in both models could a single rectangular design that I believe would be less expensive to build and hold more energy.


    Do you think they could fix it in a software update if enough people complain?
    I think they'll likely resolve it in a SW update even if no one complains. This isn't uncommon for brand new HW on a brand new OS with new firmware.


    Was it you who said that there is a probability that some initial neural processing could account for the lower battery times? I think that makes sense. The battery life would probably normalise after the initial tasks are done.

    It's just like how the first TimeMachine backup is the longest.

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