Two of Apple’s latest smartphones, the iPhone XS and XS Max, have already earned rave reviews. Their spec upgrades, including the larger display on the Max and powerful A12 Bionic processor, have led some reviewers to conclude that they are the best that Apple has ever made, the fastest phones currently available, and “future-proof” purchases.
However, eye-watering prices notwithstanding, users have pointed out a fairly serious flaw that have marred the experience provided by the devices. Not only do they have somewhat disappointing battery life, PhoneArena describes the wired charging times as “borderline criminal”.
Tom’s Guide, which has earned a reputation for rigorous and reliable device testing, has found that both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max underperform compared to last year’s iPhone X in terms of battery life.
Whereas the iPhone X had an average run-time of 10 hours and 49 minutes, the iPhone XS Max clocked in at 10 hours and 38 minutes.
The iPhone XS lasted for just 9 hours and 48 minutes. To ensure uniform and reliable test results, Tom’s Guide set screen brightness on the phones to 150 nits and used a signal booster called T-Mobile 4G LTE CellSpot to ensure that they had full signal strength.
The test results contradict Apple’s claims that the iPhone XS lasts “up to 30 minutes longer than iPhone X” and that iPhone XS Max lasts “up to 1.5 hours longer”. All three devices were beaten handily by the iPhone 8 Plus, which lasted for a full 11 hours and 16 minutes.
But the more serious issue seems to be the sluggish charging speeds. PhoneArena found that, using the stock Apple chargers that come in the box, the iPhone XS Max takes a full 3 hours and 30 minutes to charge fully. The iPhone XS charges only slightly faster, clocking in at a little over 3 hours.
To get a fast-charging experience comparable to Android phones, you would need to shell out $68 extra for a more powerful charger like the one that comes with the iPad. Apple charges $49 for its USB-C fast charger and an additional $19 for the USB-C cable. Android’s fast chargers not only ship in the box with devices, they also outpace Apple’s fast chargers.
“With most Android phones, I can plug in my phone, take a shower and know that I have enough battery to get me several more hours of battery life”, according to CNBC reviewer Todd Haselton.
“With the iPhone XS and iPhone XS, unless I use a bigger charger like the one included with the iPad, I don’t get that same experience.”
In response, Apple told Haselton that many of its customers “actually prefer the tiny charger to larger ones, since it’s so compact and can be carried anywhere.”
If better battery life and a cheaper price point are what you are after, you might be better off opting for the iPhone XR. But there are still many reasons to love the iPhone XS Max, in particular.