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Consumer Reports says iPhone XS and XS Max deliver ‘big battery life improvements’

Published Oct 3rd, 2018 3:30PM EDT
iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Apple said during the battery life segment of its iPhone XS presentation a few weeks ago that the new 5.8-inch iPhone lasts 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X. The bigger iPhone XS Max is supposed to last 90 minutes longer than the iPhone X. Two independent battery life tests that followed offered mixed results, but we now have a third battery life assessment from Consumer Reports, which says the iPhone XS phones deliver “big battery life improvements” over the iPhone X.

Consumer Reports used a robotic finger programmed to simulate real-life use, with the screen brightness set to 100%. “The robot browses the internet, takes pictures, uses GPS navigation, and, of course, makes phone calls,” the review explained.

The iPhone XS lasted 24.5 hours, while the XS Max got to 26 hours. Both devices outperformed the iPhone X’s 19.5-hour performance, putting “the new iPhones up there with this year’s marathon-running Samsung phones” in Consumer Reports’ ratings.

The most noticeable improvement is in battery life. Previous iPhones have typically lagged the competition in this area, but the new models have a lot more staying power, now rating among the industry’s leaders.

However, Consumer Reports noted that the new iPhones charge a lot slower than the competition. It takes the iPhone XS 195 minutes to go from 0% to 100%, and the iPhone XS needs 15 minutes extra. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 9 recharges completely in 105 minutes. In addition to battery life, Consumer Reports also praised the camera and processor:

For all of those reasons [battery, camera, and processor], the iPhone XS and XS Max (which start at $1,000 and $1,100, respectively, for 64GB models) were able to grab lofty spots in our ratings amid a very crowded field of high-performing phones. They didn’t outscore the No. 1-rated Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but they managed to come close.

Battery tests from Phone Arena a few days ago showed similar charging times estimates. When it comes to battery life, those tests showed similar battery life for the iPhone X and iPhone XS, with the XS Max lasting for almost an hour longer than the 5.8-inch models. In a different test before that, Tom’s Guide’s tests showed that neither the iPhone XS nor the XS Max was able to outlast the iPhone X.

Of course, not all battery life tests are equal, and they don’t replicate Apple’s findings. Apple says on its website that battery claims “are dependent on network configuration and many other factors,” and actual results will vary. But all three tests do show that both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max should get you through the day, with plenty of time to spare.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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