WTF? Consumer Reports ranks iPhone 8 higher than iPhone X

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iPhone X
iPhone X could be better, according to some.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X is considered the best smartphone Apple has ever made by almost everyone who’s ever used one. But according to Consumer Reports’ smartphone ratings, it’s not as good as the more affordable iPhone 8 — or the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Apple went all out to make iPhone X the best it could be. It boasts a stunning Super Retina HD display, a blazing-fast A11 Bionic processor, awesome new cameras, and advanced facial recognition. It also looks downright terrific.

After years of boring iPhone upgrades, iPhone X is exactly what we needed. But it can’t please everyone.

iPhone X has its flaws

Consumer Reports has been putting iPhone X through its paces, and while it has plenty of praise for the device, it can’t ignore its flaws. Thanks to poor durability and “short” battery life, iPhone X is outranked by its siblings and rivals from Samsung.

Unsurprisingly, the iPhone X’s glass panels shattered during drop tests and after being thrown around in a tumbling machine. It took more than one attempt to get them to break, however.

In fact, one of three units that were tested was absolutely fine after 50 drops from 2.5 feet. The other two remained intact, but did end up with malfunctioning displays that showed “several bright green bars stretched across the screens from top to bottom.”

It’s not clear exactly how many drops caused this. Consumer Reports only checks up on its phone after 50 drops, and then again after 100. That means iPhone X might have survived ten, 20, or even 30 drops before any issues appeared.

We expect glass smartphones to break if they’re not properly cared for, but it doesn’t sound like iPhone X is super-fragile. One unit endured four drops onto a concrete surface from a height of five feet and survived just fine.

Battery life could be better

Another complain from Consumer Reports is that iPhone X battery life could be better. The publication used a robotic finger that’s programmed to put the phone through a range of tasks that simulate a user’s average day.

The robot browses the internet, takes pictures, uses GPS navigation, and makes calls. Display brightness is set to 100 percent at all times. iPhone X lasted 19.5 hours during this test, which is slightly better than iPhone 8’s 19 hours.

However, it could not keep up with the 21 hours logged by iPhone 8 Plus — or the 26 hours achieved by the Galaxy S8 series.

“While for many people 19.5 hours is enough to get them through the day, it’s still shorter than the majority of the 38 smartphones we recommend,” adds the report.

iPhone X is an ‘innovative device’

Consumer Reports still labels iPhone X an “innovative device with a fantastic camera and beautiful display.” It boasts the best overall camera results in CR’s testing. But as a result of its shortcomings, it ranks the device lower than the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone X did make it into the top ten, but it was also outranked by the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8. CR recommends trying out an iPhone X before laying down $1,000 to obtain your own.

“Play with all of these phones in the store, paying attention to how much the gorgeous iPhone X display means to you and how you feel about learning new gestures—and then considering how often you’ve dropped previous gadgets on the sidewalk.”

If you’ve already read my iPhone X review, you’ll know I think it’s well worth the money. Sure, I haven’t carried out destructive drop tests. But I have been just as impressed with battery life as I am with the Super Retina HD display, Face ID, and its gorgeous design.

The only way I would consider anything else is if I simply couldn’t afford one.

  • Frank Malloy

    You act like this is a big surprise. Do you know how Consumer Reports works? They don’t care about prettiness, they don’t care about geek wow factor or bezels or AMOLED or fanboyism. They care about operability, reliability, breakability, battery life, MTBF, repair costs, operation costs, and all that. Practical things. They’re not swayed by “courage” or marketing hype or cliques.

    And I’m glad they’re not.

  • Mariconesdelawookieysuputo

    Butthurt fanboys. I still have a 6s plus, I won’t be getting the x. I can see how you kiddies get butthurt over the x though after shelling out so much. It’s actually nice to see reviews from someone other than groupies.