The iPhone XS and Max do fine on the battery life test, but fall short of one Apple claim

The iPhone XS and Max do fine on the battery life test, but fall short of one Apple claim
The new iPhone XS Max carries a two-cell L-shaped battery with the largest ever capacity on an iPhone - 3,179 mAh - but don't get too excited. Judging from our benchmark test results, and Apple's official stats, the company's battery life champ is shaping up to be the iPhone XR due to its lower display resolution.

A couple of teardowns later, we now know the exact 2658 mAh capacity of the battery pack in the iPhone XS, too, and it is slightly smaller than the 2716 mAh pack in the iPhone X. Moreover, the iPhone XS is housing a unique single-cell L-shaped battery. 

The L-shaped one in the iPhone X is actually two individual cells with a separator between, but this thing is bent out of shape around a corner, and packed neatly together. It's still a tad smaller than the unit in the X, though, and we'll see how this corner-ed design performs in the long run.

Apple's official iPhone XS Max vs XS vs X battery life stats

Apple's official iPhone XS Max vs XS vs X battery life stats


As you can see in Apple's official stats above, the iPhone XS Max should score better battery endurance than the XS, which in its turn should score about the same as the iPhone X before it. We found these claims to largely hold true - the iPhone XS Max managed to keep the lights on for 9 hours and 34 minutes in our grueling test that mimics pretty well what you would get as screen-on time in real life, and is even a bit optimistic under heavy usage scenarios. The iPhone XS scored about an hour less - 8 hours and 37 minutes, almost as long as the iPhone X lasted, so we'll call it even.


Where Apple's claims fell apart, however, is comparing the official battery life stats of its new handsets against its reigning marathon runner the iPhone 8 Plus. That one is still sitting at the top of our iPhone endurance chart with 10 hours and 35 minutes, or, the exact opposite of the XS Max advantage that Apple lists against it. 

Granted, our script simulates mixed usage on 200 nits of screen brightness, rather than simply measure video playback or browsing separately as Apple does, but we were still a bit miffed to find this result. 

As far as the other Android flagships, they aren't far behind despite their higher display resolutions, as they also have larger battery packs on average. When that's not the case, though, our own power efficiency comparison found out that the higher a phone display's resolution, the shorter the battery life if we average out their capacities.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone XS 8h 37 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone XS Max 9h 34 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone X 8h 41 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 10h 35 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone 7 7h 46 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S9 7h 23 min (Good)
LG G7 ThinQ 6h 32 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 8h 56 min (Excellent)
OnePlus 6 8h 10 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Apple iPhone XS 185
Apple iPhone XS Max 209
Apple iPhone X 189
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 178
Apple iPhone 7 141
Samsung Galaxy S9 107
LG G7 ThinQ 107
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 109
OnePlus 6 80

The XS has a unique single-cell L-shaped battery

The XS has a unique single-cell L-shaped battery

So far so good, the iPhone XS and XS Max aren't Apple's battery life champs, but they perform in line with the expected. The real sad story, however, is their charging time. 

We tested them with the stock Apple brick that comes in the box, and found out that you will need the whopping three hours and a half to top the "largest ever battery in an iPhone." The XS is also no joy in that respect, with a bit over three hours. 

This is borderline criminal compared to most Androids whose fast chargers come in the box and don't require you shell out $68 extra for the privilege. Oh, well, next year is not an "S" upgrade, so something has to be left for the 2019 boxes, too. 

Long story short, if you want the best battery life on an iPhone, you'd have to wait for the XR. It has better endurance stats than the XS Max with its bigger pack, and the XR's "low-res" 828p display is the reason for what will likely turn out to be the best ever battery life on an iPhone, according to Apple's own specs sheet.

Related phones

iPhone XS Max
  • Display 6.5" 1242 x 2688 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB
  • Battery 3179 mAh
iPhone XS
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB
  • Battery 2659 mAh

FEATURED VIDEO

40 Comments

2. RevolutionA

Posts: 389; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Those are simply Mind-blowing results. No Android phone completes to Apple's level, even in battery department.

3. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 996; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Come on now, we're talking PA's tests. have you checked other sites?

12. adecvat

Posts: 598; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

In most YouTube reviews XS get a much better result than PA.

15. OneLove123

Posts: 743; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

You cant be serious? You know dman well you cant get 9 hrs of screen time.

25. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1511; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

You must have commented without even looking at the chart. What a failed troll attempt.

27. OneLove123

Posts: 743; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

I have and I know that their test is not right.

36. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Actually, that is pretty much expected when 7nm process is being used. Still, according to tomsguide and gsmarena, it's not as good as apple claims.

4. baldilocks

Posts: 1427; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Always have to take PhoneArena's results with a huge block of salt. ;)

13. adecvat

Posts: 598; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Check out Mrwhosetheboss review on YouTube. XS scored better than androids.

17. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

He mostly proved that exynos note 9 will clearly be worse at battery life in gaming. For results closer to real life of a mature human, that doesn't lose one's time playing games all day long, take a look at gsmarena and tomsguide results.

21. kiko007

Posts: 7456; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

“Real life of a mature human”

23. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Usage*

32. wickedwilly

Posts: 522; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Did you see in those tests that the screen kept significantly dimming on all the iPhones rendering that test useless? He had to keep rebooting them to reset the brightness. This is yet further proof that while having a superfast processor, the other components are too weak to support it. Thus in real life under any kind of stress iPhones have to underperform to keep working.

33. kiko007

Posts: 7456; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I genuinely cannot tell if this sarcasm or just stupidity. Poe’s Law?

39. wickedwilly

Posts: 522; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Just facts, watch the video it is very clear.

5. Tipus

Posts: 782; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Apple allso fell short on it's "sapphire" glass claim . Nothing but a regular glass that easily scratches and breaks

6. thxultra

Posts: 427; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Love the haters... Apple batteries are too small yak yak yak, yet the Iphone XS Max bests the Note 9 while having a much smaller battery. Efficiency is just as important as battery size.

10. Tipus

Posts: 782; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Iphone x max doesn't best note 9 on battery life. Look at tomsguide review :))

18. thxultra

Posts: 427; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

19. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Only if all you do is watch instagram, play games and run antutu all day long.

20. kiko007

Posts: 7456; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Wtf else are you gonna do on a phone besides use applications? I swear to Christ some of you Android fans are delusional as to what normal people do on their phones.

24. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Do you misunderstand me on purpose? Or the only association with apps for you is games and antutu? People use their phones for calling, chatting, browsing, email, navigation, music, taking photos and video. Judging battery life purely by games, antutu and Instagram is complete nonsense to me.

28. kiko007

Posts: 7456; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

If you recognize that people use all that, you know that games and apps like instagram are very much apart of the rotation. Hell, those apps are battery killers on either platform. Do you somehow think Android doesn’t drain when doing any of the other stuff you’ve mentioned? Because my HTC 10 used to have meltdown level battery drain when recording anything in 4K.

35. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

So far other tests proved that note 9 and p20 pro last longer at calling, browsing and video playback. iPhones only last longer at games. Just look at gsmarena battery test results. I don't use my phone for gaming, so mrbosse's tests are irrelevant for me. If you think gaming workload is enough to cover all the other workloads, you are deeply mistaken.

29. thxultra

Posts: 427; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

As I said haters are gonna hate. They have to pick apps that both phones have and run them through a loop to be fair to both phones. They ran the same apps on both phones and the IPhone XS max battery lasted longer. Something to be said about Efficiency. That note 9 needs a 4kmah battery and still can't keep up with the XS max that has a 3174mah battery...

37. yalokiy

Posts: 875; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

So when test results, that don't match your expectations, are posted, you call people haters? Every test uses same apps for being relevant. If all the apps were games, does it mean the phone will last longer at browsing, calling and video playback?

30. cmdacos

Posts: 3805; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

We can paste links all day to fit our own narratives. https://youtu.be/R0ALIo5CY5o

7. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1200; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Yeah.. PA battery endurance testing script was finally revealed.. if( testing device == Apple ){ Final result = Actual result * 2; } jk... but close enough...

8. Pcworld1976

Posts: 117; Member since: Sep 18, 2018

phonearena is the only site where the results are contrary to all the websites

9. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

I really don’t care about these tests as long as my iphone Xs Max can lasts a day. Otherwise, get a life!

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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