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We put the last 4 iPhones through a battery beatdown

How does the battery in the iPhone X compare to that of its predecessors? Is it better? Worse? The same? Is investing in a new phone really worth it if you’re only considering battery life? Well, we ran a quick test to find out.

Apple’s website claims the battery in the iPhone X can last up to two hours longer than that in the iPhone 7. And although the iPhone 7 wasn’t actually one of the phones we tested, that kind of power could theoretically allow for up to 12 hours of continuous internet use or 60 hours of wireless audio playback. But did it stack up?

Taking into consideration equal usage, we made sure all four of the phones we were testing — i.e., the iPhone X, 8 Plus, 7 Plus, and 6S Plus — were connected to the same Wi-Fi network and had their screens set to 50-percent brightness. We also ensured each was utilizing the same account, so they would receive notifications at the same time. Once set up, we streamed a 10-hour Nyan cat video and waited to see which order the phones died in.

Battery Test Results

  • 1st: iPhone X
  • 2nd: iPhone 6S Plus
  • 3rd: iPhone 8 Plus
  • 4th: iPhone 7 Plus
Battery life didn’t vary substantially across devices — there was only a two-hour difference between the first and last place phones. The phone that came out on top, however, was the iPhone X, which stayed alive for 9 and a half hours. The 6S Plus (surprisingly) came in second place with 8 hours and 47 minutes, the 8 Plus in third with 7 hours and 46 minutes, and the 7 Plus with 7 hours and 22 minutes.

It’s hard to make any definitive assumptions based on these results, though. While the 6S Plus coming in second was definitely unusual considering it is the oldest phone in our lineup, this entire experiment calls into question which activities and hardware actually drain a battery the quickest.

The iPhone 7 Plus touts a 2,9000mAh battery — the largest battery ever placed in an iPhone — yet it showcased the worst battery life of any device in our lineup. This also brings up questions regarding screen size, since the X was the smallest phone of the lot.

how to take a screenshot on an iPhone X
Digital Trends

In another smartphone test, we pitted all the major flagship phones against one another in a battery test, and the iPhone X came in last place. The iPhone X may not be able to compete with other leading phones on the market, sure, but it still got first place in our experiment. Why is this? We’re not entirely sure.

Frequent use of the facial unlocking feature on the iPhone X might drain its battery faster, but we didn’t use it in our last experiment, and there are tons of other factors that might affect a smartphone’s battery life.

At the end of the day, however, if battery life is your priority, you’re better off reevaluating your battery usage than buying a newer model.

David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr.com, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him over at Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.

Brie Barbee
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brie is a writer from Portland, Oregon. She received a bachelor's degree from Portland State University in 2016, where she…
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