Preliminary tests have shown the Gigabit LTE modem inside the iPhone XS being faster than the iPhone X by a significant margin. However, when compared to Qualcomm’s X20 modem which is found inside the Galaxy Note 9 and other Android flagships, Apple’s latest iPhones still fall short.
Now, Cellular Insights and Ookla’s Speedtest have provided more data about the iPhone XS’s LTE performance after advanced testing and compared it to other Android flagships. Apple uses Intel’s latest XMM7560 modem inside its latest iPhones. Apart from supporting Gigabit LTE speeds, it is also the first modem from Intel to support all four major U.S. carriers and has simultaneous support for GSM and CDMA networks. This has allowed Apple to entirely drop Qualcomm for its modem requirements this year in the U.S.
As the results show, the new Intel modem allows the iPhone XS Max to go compete against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Google Pixel 2. The Note 9 comes with Qualcomm’s X20 1.2Gbs LTE modem, while the Pixel 2 uses Qualcomm’s X16 modem which supports Gigabit LTE speeds. When compared to the iPhone X, the addition of 4×4 MIMO support on the iPhone XS translates into LTE performance nearly doubling under ideal conditions.
In ideal network conditions, the iPhone XS Max is still a bit behind the Galaxy Note 9 and Pixel 2, though the difference is not as big as last year. Plus, as the network conditions weaken, Apple’s offering is able to reduce the gap even further. In comparison, the iPhone X from last year is simply not competitive enough.
As per Speedtest data for the week of September 24, the iPhone XS offered 6.6Mbps faster download speeds on average across all US carriers when compared to the iPhone X. AT&T subscribers, on average, saw an 8Mbps jump in LTE performance, with T-Mobile subscribers seeing a 6.6Mbps improvement. When compared to the iPhone 7, the difference is even bigger with a jump of 9.9Mbps in the United States and 31.6Mbps in Canada. The difference is even bigger in Canada at a staggering 20.2Mbps.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 with its X20 LTE modem still performed better though, with an average mean LTE download speed of 43.2Mbps vs 38.9Mbps for the iPhone XS for the September 24 week.
The PCMag article also addresses the poor LTE and Wi-Fi issues plaguing certain iPhone XS owners. They claim in their testing that the hardware itself is fine, with the issue likely being caused by a software bug. Apple is likely to resolve this bug sooner than later and roll out a fix for it as soon as possible.