Apple iPhone XS, XS Max: Being The World’s Fastest Smartphones Mean Anything To Anymore?

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has once again surprised many as iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have emerged as the world’s fastest smartphones.

For a long time, every new smartphone flagship would have been scrutinized primarily by the one all-important metric – the System on Chip (SoC) inside it, and how powerful it was. Although the industry focus has now somewhat shifted from raw specs to innovative new features such as infinity displays, AI and machine learning features, in glass fingerprint sensors etc., the specs still remain a vital factor in customer purchasing decisions, as well as the smartphone user experience.

As such, when Apple launched the new flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max recently, the discussion inevitable shifted towards its specs and performance. Well now, we have concrete numbers which prove one thing – the new iPhones are the world’s fastest smartphones to ever exist.


iPhone XS, XS Max: The World’s Fastest Smartphones

This time around, Apple focused more on efficiency rather than pure performance on their new A12 Bionic chip. The company claims up to 15% better performance on its two high-performance cores, despite using 40% less power. The 4 high-efficiency cores have not received any performance boost, but are 50% more power efficient compared to the iPhone X. The recently launched iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were stress tested on a variety of benchmarking suites, and the results are rather positive for Apple, at least for the most part.

The Geekbench 4 test suite put the Apple iPhone XS and XS Max firmly at the top, with 13% faster single-threaded CPU performance compared to the iPhone X. Multi-threaded performance got a nice 10% boost as well. Graphics (GPU) performance showed a very impressive 40% improvement, although still falling short of Apple’s own claims.

On the Android side of the spectrum, nothing comes close to matching the performance of the new iPhones. The two flagships SoCs used in the majority of high-performance Android devices currently are the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and the Samsung Exynos 9810 (found on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ and Galaxy Note 9), both of which score significantly lower than even the older Apple A11 chip found in the iPhone X. In fact, the Apple A11 chip scored nearly double the points compared to the Snapdragon 845 in the single-core test on Geekbench.

The popular graphics test suite 3DMark wasn’t so kind to Apple’s new offerings though. The benchmark results are almost identical to the older iPhone X, although it is quite possible that this test is bottlenecked by memory bandwidth and cache performance, and hence is not an accurate indicator of the iPhone XS/XS Max’s graphics performance.

Battery life on the new iPhones has also received an upgrade, with the iPhone XS having slightly better battery performance compared to the iPhone X despite sporting a smaller battery due to better efficiency. The bigger iPhone XS Max received a nice 22% boost in battery life compared to the iPhone X.


Of course, simply a mere speed boost no longer constitutes a satisfactory upgrade for smartphone users today. Smartphone hardware has advanced to a point where even lower-end smartphones provide fantastic performance, and consumer focus has shifted to other smartphones features like camera quality, user experience, battery life, etc.

According to a recent survey, 41% of US smartphone users desire a longer battery life as the most important feature in a new smartphone. Thus, the iPhone XS Max’s robust improvement to battery life could, therefore, be a bigger selling point than its faster performance.

Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that synthetic performance and battery benchmarks are not 100% representative of real performance and user experience. Performance can vary wildly based on operating system, thermal performance, app optimization, etc. Battery life can also vary heavily based on user habits, charging habits and even climate. However, as it stands, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are the fastest smartphones on the planet for the time being. The upcoming launch of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the next generation of Android flagships in early 2019 could potentially change that.



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