iPhone XS and XS Max Battery Life Actually Destroys the iPhone X

These phones are marathon runners.

Place the iPhone XS, XS Max, and last year’s X side-by-side and it could be difficult to tell them apart. To really appreciate the distinction, you’d have to look under the hood.

But at first pass, what was under the hood seemed to leave a lot to be desired. One test by the tech site Tom’s Guide even suggested that XS had poorer battery life than its predecessor, the iPhone X.

Fortunately for XS’s customers, a second particularly rigorous assessment has exonerated the early adopters. The 82 year old non-profit Consumer Reports has now released the results of their own battery testing and the results couldn’t be clearer: The XS clocked in at 24.5 hours and the XS Max lasted 26, the longest battery life of any iPhone by a long shot.

The iPhone X was tested to perform up to 19.5 hours by the magazine. That gives the XS five more hours and the XS Max 6.5 more hours than last year’s flagship. These are considerably bigger improvements than what Apple is advertising. The Cupertino-based company claims the XS lasts up to 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X and that the XS Max lasts an hour and a half longer.

iPhone XS and XS Max battery life compared.
iPhone XS and XS Max battery life compared.

Consumer Reports simulated a users’ average day by cranking the display of both phones up to maximum brightness and using a “robotic finger” to tap through the phone until it died.

iPhone Battery Life: How Do Their Batteries Stack Up?

The XS shipped with a 2,658 mAh battery, that’s marginally smaller than the iPhone X’s 2,716 mAh capacity. The XS’s performance then is probably thanks to Apple’s new A12 bionic chip. Its 7-nanometer design was touted to deliver more computing power at reduced battery demand compared to the iPhone X’s A11 processor.

The XS Max, on the other hand, comes packing a gargantuan 3,174 mAh battery, the biggest found in any iPhone. This record-breaking cell partnered with the A12 chip could very well be what allowed this year’s luxury Apple handset to stay on for 26 hours.

iPhone Battery Life: Charging Speeds

However, Consumer Reports did point out one major flaw in both Apple devices. While the the charges last longer they’re also significantly slower than other phones on the market. The XS took three hours and 15 minutes to charge while the XS Max took three and a half to go from zero to maximum charge. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes a breezy hour and 45 minutes. But that’s because Apple doesn’t bundle a fast charger with its phones.

iphone xs max opened
The insides of an iPhone XS Max.

The Note 9 comes with a USB-C “adaptable fast charger” that can output 15-watts while all iPhones come with a 5W Lightning charger. The publication tested charging times with what came inside each box and did not use the 12W power adapter that can be purchased separately.

So the XS and XS Max will last you a while, enough to be able to watch Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring before they’re done charging back up. That’s pretty impressive, even better than the specs that Apple originally announced to try and get you hyped.