The newly announced, mid-range iPhone XR lineup may just have the best-estimated battery life of any Apple handset ever.
Apple didn’t make a big deal out of it, either. During the Gather Round keynote, Apple SVP Phill Schiller only said that the iPhone XR would get 1.5 more hours of battery life than the iPhone 8 Plus.
Compare that to the battery in the iPhone XS Max, which the company made a point of calling the biggest battery ever put into an iPhone. (Though Apple compared its battery life to the iPhone X, whose battery life falls slightly short of the iPhone 8 Plus.)
Of course, a bigger battery doesn’t always translate to longer battery life — the stated battery lives of the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR prove that point.
According to Apple, the iPhone XS Max’s battery will last through up to 13 hours of internet use, 25 hours of talk time, 15 hours of video playback, or 65 hours of audio playback.
But the iPhone XR’s battery life specifications list up to 25 hours of talk time, 15 hours of internet use, 16 hours of video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback.
While those battery specs are roughly the same, the iPhone XR manages to edge out its larger stablemate by an hour or so in internet usage and video playback — despite, presumably, having a smaller battery.
In other words, this means the iPhone XR has the longest-lasting battery life of any iPhone Apple has produced.
Why Does the iPhone XR Last Longer?
It’s hard to pin down exactly why the iPhone XR has the best battery life among Apple’s lineup, but there’s likely one reason that’s a big contributor: the display.
Generally, OLED displays are thought to be more efficient than LCD displays. Which is curious because the iPhone XS Max has an OLED, while the iPhone XR has a so-called “Liquid Retina” LCD-based display.
But, as PhoneArena points out, the difference likely comes down to pixel density.
The iPhone XR has a relatively low screen resolution for a modern flagship, especially when compared to the iPhone XS Max. (For reference, the XR has 828×1792 pixels versus the XS Max’s 2,688×1,241 pixels.)
What that amounts to an objectively lower-resolution display, it likely plays a big role in the iPhone XR’s pixel density.
In PhoneArena’s testing, higher pixel density typically means lower battery life when capacities are averaged. Thus, the iPhone XR’s lower-resolution display means the device has an advantage when it comes to battery life.
Apple’s Battery Improvements
Apple, of course, seems to be continually improving the battery technology embedded in its devices. That may be especially true post-Batterygate.
Batteries degrade and worsen over time. But as battery tech improves over the years, the effects of that may lessen.
And while the future of smartphones that last weeks on a charge may be quite a ways off, any battery life gains should be seen as a win for consumers.