iPhone XS, XS Max Are Better, But Note 9 Is The Best: Consumer Reports

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So far we have seen many test results for the new iPhones, the iPhone XS and XS Max. However, Consumer Reports‘ findings were still widely anticipated as many think their opinion matters the most. Although Consumer Reports was impressed with the iPhone XS, they still found it is not the best.

iPhone XS battery life is better than Apple’s claim

Consumer Reports released its full review and test results for the iPhone XS and XS Max on Tuesday. The site noted the iPhone XS battery life as the biggest improvement and describes the phone’s camera as a “bit better” than previous models. Despite such encouraging words, the iPhone XS failed to dethrone the Galaxy Note 9, which is Consumer Reports’ top-rated smartphone.

Interestingly, the magazine’s findings contradict the iPhone XS test results from Tom’s Guide, but they support Apple’s claims for the battery life of the new iPhones. According to Apple, the iPhone XS battery life should be half an hour longer than that of the iPhone X. The company claims the iPhone XS Max battery should last 90 minutes longer.

Though the earlier test results negated Apple’s battery performance claims, Consumer Reports found that both new iPhones “more than made good” on the company’s claims of improvement. For the tests, Consumer Reports used a robotic finger programmed “to simulate a consumer’s average day.” The robotic finger “browses the internet, takes pictures, uses GPS navigation, and, of course, makes phone calls.”

Consumer Reports found that the iPhone XS battery lasted 24.5 hours, while the Max’s battery died after 26 hours. In comparison, the iPhone X’s battery lasted 19.5 hours. Such a performance “put the new iPhones up there with this year’s marathon-running Samsung phones in our ratings,” Consumer Reports said.

It must be noted that the magazine set the phone’s display at 100% for the tests, so lowering the brightness could further increase the iPhone XS battery life.

Consumer Reports also found that the new iPhone charges slower than its rivals. The iPhone XS took 195 minutes to go from zero to full capacity, while the Max took 210 minutes. In comparison, the Note 9 took just 105 minutes. This shortcoming is because Apple ships the phone with a 5W USB-A adapter.

How the new iPhones performed in other tests

Consumer Reports was impressed with the clarity and resolution offered by the camera on the new iPhones compared to images produced by the Galaxy Note 9 and S9+. Although the camera improvements are hard to notice, Consumer Reports stated that the upgrade to the Portrait mode was “more evident” compared to the iPhone X.

“Our testers admired the clarity and resolution of the still photos, which give the iPhone cameras a slight edge over those of Apple’s chief rival, Samsung,” Consumer Reports said. The site noted that the camera ratings for the 10 smartphones differ only by “fractions of a point.”

In the durability test, Consumer Reports found that the new iPhones were not good enough, and thus, the magazine advises potential buyers to “consider investing in a sturdy protective case if you purchase an iPhone XS or XS Max.” To test its durability, the handset is repeatedly dropped from a height of about 2.5 feet.

Of the three iPhone XS models used by Consumer Reports, two were “noticeably damaged” after 50 drops. The bigger variant performed better with one of the three surviving 100 drops without breaking. The second one survived 50 drops, but the back glass broke after 100 drops. The third phone’s display was damaged after 50 drops.

On the other hand, samples of the Galaxy Note 9 survived 100 drops with “the glass intact and just a few minor dings.”

Apple’s iPhone XS performed better than its rivals in terms of speed, thanks to the custom-built A12 Bionic processor. However, Consumer Reports noted that other contenders were not much behind, adding that users probably won’t notice the “extra horsepower operating behind the scenes.”

Overall, the magazine was happy with the fact that the tweaks made by Apple are all in the “right places.” However, the title for the best smartphone still rests with the Note 9. In terms of score, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max got 82 points, which is slightly more than Samsung’s Galaxy S9. However, the Note 9 scored the most with 83 points.

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