The new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max has emerged faster than the iPhone X in LTE speed tests conducted by Cellular Insights and Ookla. However, the latest crop of iPhone devices still falls short of its Android flagship counterparts such as the Galaxy Note 9 or the Pixel 2.
The speed difference can be attributed to the different modems used by the Apple and Android devices. While Apple has since been relying on Intel modems for the iPhone devices – the iPhone XS and XS Max comes equipped with the Intel XMM 7560 LTE modem – the Android flagships such as the Note 9 or Pixel 2 comes with Qualcomm LTE modems that has a history of being faster than its Intel counterparts.
Worth mentioning, Apple too has been using Qualcomm modems on its iPhone devices though the recent spat between the two companies have soured their relationships since long. This has forced Apple to look for alternate sources with Intel filling the void. Unfortunately, that comes at the cost of LTE performance with Qualcomm chips faring better than the Intel ones in comparative speed tests.
As for the tests itself, Cellular Insights revealed those have been done based on the 20MHz channel of Band 4. The reason is simple as the same channel is used by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile. The tests again were conducted in varying conditions such as in a diminishing signal strength as well as under strong signal conditions.
The test results again exhibit interesting results in that while the Note 9 and Pixel 2 have an outright edge over the iPhone duo, the difference in speeds seem to get narrower as signal strength tends to get weaker. In fact, at signal strengths less than 120dBm, the iPhone XS and XS Max might even prove to be faster than the Android handsets. But then again, the Qualcomm modems pulls ahead of the Intel chips at the lowest signal strengths.
Similar tests by Ookla have also revealed a similar result, with the latest iPhone duo outperforming its predecessor by almost a factor of two but still falling short of the likes of the Note 9 and Pixel 2.