iPhone XS Max Signal Strength Compared to OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10

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The Samsung Galaxy S10 and the new OnePlus 7 Pro are both flagship smartphones that are designed to compete with the iPhone XS Max, and to see how their LTE chips compare, PCMag teamed up with Cellular Insights to test the signal strength of the new devices.

Apple's iPhone XS Max is equipped with an XMM7560 modem chip from Intel, while the Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 Pro are using Qualcomm's X24 modem, which theoretically offers better performance.

iPhone XS Max in blue, OnePlus 7 Pro in orange, Samsung Galaxy S10 in gray, and LG V40 in yellow​

The Intel XMM7560 modem in the iPhone XS Max supports supports 5-carrier aggregation but offers 1Gb/s maximum theoretical data transfer speeds, while the Qualcomm X24 in the Galaxy S10 has max theoretical speeds of 2Gb/s (it uses 7-carrier aggregation) and the OnePlus 7 Pro has max theoretical speeds of 1.2Gb/s (lower because it uses 5-carrier aggregation like the iPhone).

In testing on LTE band 4 with good signal, there wasn't a lot of difference in performance between the iPhone XS Max, the newer smartphones from Samsung and OnePlus, and the LG V40, which PCMag added in because it was 2018's best performing phone in terms of cellular speed.

All of the smartphones performed similarly, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 did see some of the slowest speeds, and at peak signal, the iPhone XS came in behind the OnePlus 7 Pro and the LG V40.

In a test with poorer LTE signal, the iPhone XS Max saw the slowest speeds and was outperformed by all of the Qualcomm chips. The iPhone XS Max was quite a bit slower than the Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 Pro specifically.


Starting in 2020, Apple is no longer going to use Intel chips and is instead going to transition to Qualcomm's 5G chips. Intel has decided that it's exiting the 5G smartphone modem chip business leaving Apple no choice but to rely on Qualcomm technology and perhaps some chips from Samsung.

Apple and Qualcomm recently settled a vicious legal battle which had seen Apple refusing to use Qualcomm chips. Because of the dispute, Apple used Intel chips in the 2018 iPhones, and is expected to continue to use Intel chips for the 2019 iPhones.

Though the legal battle is over, Apple isn't likely to have time to swap over to Qualcomm modem chips for the 2019 iPhones, and Intel has confirmed that it's going to continue to supply 4G chips to meet its current obligations.

Article Link: iPhone XS Max Signal Strength Compared to OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10
 
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macduke

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The Intel XMM7560 modem in the iPhone XS Max supports supports 5-carrier aggregation but offers 1Gb/s maximum theoretical data transfer speeds, while the Qualcomm X24 in the Galaxy S10 has max theoretical speeds of 2Gb/s (it uses 7-carrier aggregation) and the OnePlus 7 Pro has max theoretical speeds of 1.2Gb/s (lower because it uses 5-carrier aggregation like the iPhone).
I don't even know why they bother mentioning max theoretical speeds. Like yeah, if nobody else is connected to the tower, and you're standing 10ft away from the tower, and the weather is perfect and the sun is down and general network congestion on the ISP and backbones are low, and if you're not holding it but have it mounted from a specific point using a tripod that has non-metal contact points then maybe. Meanwhile in the real world, you've hit the jackpot if you get close to 100Mbps on any given speed test, and typically can expect 30-60Mbps.
 

dmx

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There are definitely locations where I had service (usually 1 bar, but usable) with my QCOM X that I have 0 service with my Intel XS max. It’s a major disappointment.
 
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GrumpyMom

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That's not so bad, so wondering why it feels so bad in real-world, iPhone Max reception is really bad in low signal area
My Max was really bad, too. My Xr is pretty good. I do live in a low signal area. My S10+ and Pixel 3XL do perform better and hold onto signal better on our winding country roads. But the difference is bearable enough that I often leave the house with only my Xr.

The Xr and XS Max are both running Intel Modems, but their modems are different and the antennas are different. It’s definitely been a better experience on my XR despite it being the supposedly lesser modem.
 
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Baymowe335

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People can latch on to theoretical top speed, but it doesn’t matter in most situations.

Just like current 4K TVs, you’re almost never getting top quality signal...you’re likely watching 1080i signal on you’re 4K TV and likely getting a subpar congested signal on your “faster” modem.
 

arthurgd3

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People can latch on to theoretical top speed, but it doesn’t matter in most situations.

Just like current 4K TVs, you’re almost never getting top quality signal...you’re likely watching 1080i signal on you’re 4K TV and likely getting a subpar congested signal on your “faster” modem.
Just like with previous 720p TV's and the introduction of FHD (1080p) TV's, most cable and satellite feeds were still in 720p if you were lucky and if you really wanted to experience true 1080p on your mint new TV, you had to buy a Blu-ray movie to do so and even some of those weren't much of a benchmark for FHD resolution. Now same goes for 4K TV's, getting a UHD Blu-ray is still the best way to experience the max capability of a 4K TV.
 

mofoliar

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I would agree,my P3a and OP 6t gave me better reception than my current XR,only use it cause of the dual sim function.Lets hope OP 7 Pro will come out too all carriers like i have been reading...
 

Böhme417

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I don't even know why they bother mentioning max theoretical speeds. Like yeah, if nobody else is connected to the tower, and you're standing 10ft away from the tower, and the weather is perfect and the sun is down and general network congestion on the ISP and backbones are low, and if you're not holding it but have it mounted from a specific point using a tripod that has non-metal contact points then maybe. Meanwhile in the real world, you've hit the jackpot if you get close to 100Mbps on any given speed test, and typically can expect 30-60Mbps.
I don't know if it is increased network congestion or worse reception, but I used to frequently see speeds on Verizon over 100 Mbps. Now, the norm is around 60.
 

I7guy

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I don't even know why they bother mentioning max theoretical speeds. Like yeah, if nobody else is connected to the tower, and you're standing 10ft away from the tower, and the weather is perfect and the sun is down and general network congestion on the ISP and backbones are low, and if you're not holding it but have it mounted from a specific point using a tripod that has non-metal contact points then maybe. Meanwhile in the real world, you've hit the jackpot if you get close to 100Mbps on any given speed test, and typically can expect 30-60Mbps.
 

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These charts and phone comparisons are useless. The signal and speed fluctuates regardless of where you are. The carriers need to add more cell towers to increase the coverage and improve the service. You can have the best modem in the phone but what good is it if the carriers can’t put out?
 
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ilikewhey

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its so much worse in reality, i remember my intel modem iphone got jack signal in the school's basement where prior i was able to at least receive text at the very least.
 

Cosmosent

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RE: "In a test with poorer LTE signal, the iPhone XS Max saw the slowest speeds and was outperformed by all of the Qualcomm chips. The iPhone XS Max was quite a bit slower than the Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 Pro specifically."

That's the known main issue.

In areas where the SNR is low, Qualcomm chips have a history of performing MUCH better !
 

ksec

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In reality, it’s actually worse. This is by far the worst iPhone I’ve ever owned (Max). I was going to upgrade early, but I guess I’ll wait until 2020.
My friend living next door got a new iPhone XS Max with a new Carrier, She immediately complained that the carrier has worst signals then her previous one. I told her to try that new carrier SIM card on her old iPhone 7 with Qualcomm Modem, and it was at least a noticeable difference. I didn't told her about the Modem Story, I just said XS Max's signal is not well tuned yet and may be fixed in iOS 13 , ( I know it won't, but I hope she felt better that way. It is a new low with Apple that we had to lie. )
 

mofoliar

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My friend living next door got a new iPhone XS Max with a new Carrier, She immediately complained that the carrier has worst signals then her previous one. I told her to try that new carrier SIM card on her old iPhone 7 with Qualcomm Modem, and it was at least a noticeable difference. I didn't told her about the Modem Story, I just said XS Max's signal is not well tuned yet and may be fixed in iOS 13 , ( I know it won't, but I hope she felt better that way. It is a new low with Apple that we had to lie. )
Apple and Intel was the Worst thing!