iPhone XS LTE performance ‘crushes’ iPhone XR in cellular tests

Last month PCMag conducted a series of tests that showed how well the Intel-based iPhone XS performed compared to last year’s iPhone X along with several Qualcomm-modem-equipped competitors, and now the publication has published a new set of results demonstrating how the LTE performance of the iPhone XS significantly outpaces that of the iPhone XR. PCMag once again worked with Cellular Insights and Rohde & Schwarz to conduct the tests, which were done using LTE Band 4, which is the most common LTE frequency used in the U.S. In every test, the LTE performance on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max handily beat out the iPhone XR, regardless of signal strength or even network technology. In fact, the iPhone XR basically performed very similarly to last year’s iPhone X — not surprising when you consider that it’s still only a 2×2 MIMO phone, versus the 4×4 MIMO support on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Both the XS/Max and the XR use the same modem, the new Intel XMM7560. But the XR is missing two of the XS/Max’s antenna branches, making it a 2×2 MIMO phone versus the XS/Max’s 4×4 MIMO.

More surprisingly, however, PCMag’s tests showed that even on an older 2×2 MIMO network, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max still held the advantage over the lower-end iPhone XR and year-old iPhone X, making the iPhone XS series a much better choice overall for those who are concerned about maximum cellular performance. That said, as PCMag notes, lab-based tests won’t necessarily mach real-world conditions, since a lot of other factors will weigh in such as interference, cell saturation, and more. However, as the tests shows, users on a 4×4 MIMO capable network will most definitely benefit from the iPhone XS series, which perform significantly better when working with very weak signals. The full report with additional charts can be found on in the original PCMag article.