iPhone XS and XS Max battery life lower than leading Android phones

More battery life results are in for the Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and they too found that neither keep up with some leading Android phones.

Tom’s Guide put nine smartphones through the same test, which has the phones constantly roaming the internet on 4G at 150 nits of screen brightness. The iPhone XS lasted 9 hours 41 minutes, while the iPhone XS Max stayed alive a little longer at 10h 38m. 

The Android-powered phones that exceeded Apple smartphones included the OnePlus 6 (11:22), the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (11:26), the Google Pixel 2 XL (12:09) and the the Huawei P20 Pro at an impressive 14h 13m.

More evidence to back up TechRadar's findings

That's along the lines of what TechRadar found in its iPhone XS and XS Max reviews. The battery life doesn't push the envelope, but it's solid enough for most people.

"The iPhone XS Max can last a day on a single charge with moderate to high usage," said Gareth Beavis. "This isn't a phone that will last you a day and a half to two days with moderate usage, but if you're less intensive then this is possible as on the lighter days we managed to head to bed with at least 30% of power remaining."

As for the iPhone XS, he noted, "We’re confident that the iPhone XS is one of Apple’s better performers on battery life, but it’s not going to trouble the top performers on the market."

Not underperforming, just below average

The iPhone XS didn't outrageously underperform in the Tom's Guide test, coming in seven minutes short of the category average score of 9h 48m. Likewise, the iPhone XS lasted 50 minutes longer the average.

And it’s interesting to compare to last year’s iPhone X, which lasted 10h 49m on the same test. The iPhone 8 Plus kept web surfing even longer at 11h 16m.

A recent teardown of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max revealed a new singular, L-shaped 2,659-mAh battery in the smaller phone, and a dual-battery setup with a combined 3,179-mAh. Those aren’t as big as the Galaxy Note 9, for example, which has a 4,000-mAh battery (and reached 11:26 in this test).

Granted, this is a single, particular test, so different phones may have longer or shorter battery life doing different tasks. But it is a uniform benchmark to compare phones, especially between iOS and Android devices, and get a crude view of how long they’d last doing what we all spend a lot of time doing on our phones: cruising around the internet.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.