iPhone XR showcases best battery life of all iPhones, our testing confirms
The new 6.1" iPhone XR has a ho-hum display resolution of 828 x 1792 pixels, returning 326 pixels per inch density, or just enough to be called "Liquid Retina." This is low for today's standards when even midrangers ship with 1080p Full HD screens. The flagship Huawei Mate 20, for instance, has a display with "average" FHD+ resolution which still sports much higher pixel density than the iPhone XR, on a larger screen. Apple to apples, if you will.
Given that the pixel density of a mobile display is perhaps the biggest single culprit behind battery life differences, all other things being equal, that comparatively low screen resolution of the XR works to one undeniable advantage - the phone's battery life. Our own power efficiency comparison found out that the higher a phone display's resolution, the shorter the battery life when we average out their capacities.
The XR tests with the best ever battery life on an iPhone in our benchmark
Apple is listing official battery life stats in the form of "up to" 15 hours of Internet browsing and 16 hours of video-binging, which are very respectable numbers for any handset, not just Apple phones. Not only that, but Apple is so proud of what it achieved with the iPhone XR's battery life, that it cites the "lasts up to 1.5 hours longer than iPhone 8 Plus" tidbit everywhere, as this was its previous marathon runner to aspire to.
The battery in the 6.5" iPhone XS Max is of larger capacity compared to the XR, and Apple said it is the biggest ever in an iPhone. Still, the iPhone XR has better endurance stats than the XS Max with its bigger pack, and the XR's "low-res" display is the reason for what turns out to be the best ever battery life on an iPhone, according to Apple's own specs sheets.
In our iPhone XR review we did put Apple's "best battery life" claims to the test and it indeed lasted the exceptional 11+ hours of screen-on time during our demanding benchmark grind. That's more than Apple's previous record-holder the 8 Plus indeed. The circuit-breakers from iFixit recently disassembled the iPhone XR and found that its battery is actually thicker and with a larger capacity than the one in the 8 Plus despite that it looks marginally smaller.
Since the phone's standby times are also pretty good, we found it able to endure up to two days with moderate usage which makes the iPhone XR the most impressive handset in terms of battery life Apple has ever made, and the much-maligned screen resolution is the likely culprit behind that record. Charging speeds are a whole different story, though, unless you get an extra fast charger.