The iPhone XS Max was launched back in September. And the easy bet is that Apple will launch newer, improved iPhones later this year. But for now, while other companies launch their own 2019 flagships, the iPhone XS is the handset to compare against.
PCMag put together a nice signal strength test today, following the launch of the OnePlus 7 Pro. Speed is the main takeaway from OnePlus’s new smartphone, and that goes to network connectivity as well. The OnePlus 7 Pro has a Qualcomm X24 modem inside the hood, offering up to 1.2Gb/s max theoretical speed courtesy of 5-carrier aggregation. The Samsung Galaxy S10 offers the same chip inside (but supports faster 2Gb/s max theoretical speeds by way of 7-carrier aggregation).
Meanwhile, the iPhone XS Max supports 5-carrier aggregation and a max theoretical speed of 1Gb/s with the Intel XMM7560 modem.
So, now that we have that laid out, we can look at the comparisons put together by the publication. With good signal quality, the test shows that between the handsets there isn’t a clear front-runner. Meaning, each of the smartphones (which also includes the LG V40) perform about the same.
“With a good signal, you can see the phones duking it out, with the LG V40 coming in the lead. The Samsung Galaxy S10, interestingly, has noticeably poorer speeds with a decent to middling signal—worse than the OnePlus 7 Pro, which has the same X24 modem, but also behind last year’s V40.”
Things get a bit shaky for the iPhone XS Max when the test moves to poor signal. This is where the iPhone XS Max saw the slowest speeds. It was handily outperformed by the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Galaxy S10.
“With a poor signal, which is really where you need help, the OnePlus 7 Pro pulls ahead. You don’t see the LG V40 line on this chart because it’s mostly twinned with the OnePlus 7. You can also see how the iPhone XS Max is noticeably slower than the other phones when things get bad.”
Signal strength has been a point of contention for Apple for many years, and it probably will remain that way into the new iPhones in 2019. Apple is expected to stick with Intel for LTE modems this year. However, looking beyond that, Apple and Qualcomm will team up and future 5G iPhones will boast Qualcomm chips under the hood.