iPhone XS Proves Faster Than iPhone X but Slower than Galaxy Note 9 in LTE Speed Test

The Intel XMM 7560 LTE modem in the iPhone XS and XS Max beats the Intel/Qualcomm modems in the iPhone X, but it isn't quite as fast as the X20 modem used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, according to data sourced from Cellular Insights and Ookla and shared by PCMag.

Cellular Insights compared Apple's iPhone XS Max with the iPhone X equipped with an earlier Intel modem, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and the Google Pixel 2 using the 20MHz channel of Band 4, used by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and several major Canadian carriers. Download speeds were tested at full strength and at a lower signal to determine overall comparative performance.

lteperformancestrongsignal
According to the data, in situations where there is strong signal, the 4x4 MIMO antennas in the iPhone XS and XS Max offer double the speeds compared to the iPhone X, and also help improve speeds in weak signal conditions. Compared to the Note 9 and the Pixel 2, the iPhone XS Max is a bit slower, but the difference is slimmer as signal gets weaker.

At signal levels below -120dBm (around zero and one bar of reception), the iPhone XS Max becomes more competitive with the Android phones using the Qualcomm X20 modem, but at the lowest signal, the Qualcomm X20 modem outperforms the Intel modem in the new iPhones.

lteperformanceweaksignal
Real world testing pulled from Ookla speed test results also suggest the iPhone XS is a good deal faster than the iPhone X. On average, the iPhone XS offers 6.6Mb/s faster download speeds on all U.S. carriers, and even better performance on Canadian carriers with a 20.2Mb/s speed boost.

ooklaiphonexandxscomparison
AT&T is the carrier in the United States that appears to be seeing the biggest speed boost, while the difference is smaller on Verizon and Sprint. AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone X models used Intel modems and Verizon and Sprint used Qualcomm modems, which could account for the difference.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 with Qualcomm X20 modem outperformed the iPhone XS in both the United States and Canada, with the Galaxy Note 9 offering mean download speeds of 43.2Mb/s and the iPhone XS offering mean download speeds of 38.9Mb/s. Data for Ookla's speed comparison was collected during the week of September 24.

ookladownloadspeedallcarriers
Despite the favorable results on these performance tests, many new iPhone XS and XS Max users have complained of LTE connectivity issues on the new devices. PCMag speculates that this is due to problems with the first versions of the iPhone XS firmware, which could be causing trouble with signal reception.

During testing, PCMag was unable to find "any issues in the hardware" that would explain negative experiences, suggesting problems people are experiencing can perhaps be fixed through a future software update.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

Top Rated Comments

yes3sir Avatar
28 months ago
The difference is too minimal to be reflected in real world use but still the Note won fair and square.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
28 months ago
Looks like the iPhones and Note both performed well. The real world difference would likely be negligible in terms of speed.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
28 months ago
Difference so minimal you won't notice it at all in the real world. In fact, it's so small that you're likely to have enough impact in the real world that it could easily be the other way around with a Note 9 outside of a strict test environment.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Cappy Avatar
28 months ago

I've been saying my S9+ is faster than anyone of my families X. Doesn't matter using LTE or just moving among screens and apps.

You are conflating one type of speed for another. LTE is the only thing your S9 does faster than an XS/max. Or are you comparing a new Samsung against a year-old Apple?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
28 months ago
The sooner Apple can issue a iOS update to correct the signal problems many are having, the faster this forum can get back to complaining about other things.

As far as my usage goes, the iPhone XS Max is a winner.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
billybobthornton Avatar
28 months ago

"I knew I forgot something about this new iPhone"
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Although we're still a few days away from the official launch of Black Friday, we've known for a few weeks that many retailers would be kicking off discounts ahead of November 27. Because of this trend, today we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the 10.2-inch iPad and 2020 iPad Pro. More sales are likely to appear as the week progresses, and when they do we'll update ...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...