Consumer Reports has published its 2017 iPhone comparison and in it the publication has somehow rated the iPhone X below the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but there’s certainly no need to trade down if you’re an iPhone X owner. While there’s nothing wrong with either iPhone 8 model, CR points to differences in battery life and durability testing for its ranking that may not apply to real world usage.
The ranking cites durability through its drop test as a small part of the recommendation decision:
We tumbled three samples of the iPhone X. The first was fine after 50 drops, but the glass on the back was significantly cracked after 100. The other two phones ended up with malfunctioning displays after 50 drops. Though the front glass didn’t crack, several bright green bars stretched across the screens from top to bottom.
iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X are each glass front and back phones of varying sizes, however, so recommending one over another for this reason isn’t likely to have a real world impact, and I would guess that most people use cases anyway.
More practical is CR‘s battery test which uses the same testing method to determine how long each iPhone model lasts on a single charge:
To find out exactly how long a phone’s battery can go, Consumer Reports uses a robotic finger programmed to put the phone through a range of tasks designed to simulate a consumer’s average day.
The robot browses the internet, takes pictures, uses GPS navigation, and, of course, makes phone calls. We run all smartphone battery tests with the display set to 100 percent brightness. If you use any phone’s auto, or adaptive, brightness, the battery should last longer.
This testing method may not match what Apple rates each iPhone, but it’s a fair comparison of battery life differences with each iPhone as long as the testing method is the same.
The results? 19.5 hours for iPhone X, 19 hours for iPhone 8 and SE, and 21 hours for iPhone 8 Plus. Given those results, I’d still recommend the iPhone X over the larger bodied 8 Plus as 90 minutes of battery life may not be worth always using a bigger phone.
CR has a habit of undervaluing photography differences that customers typically appreciate, and its Apple hardware reviews don’t always align with the general consensus.
iPhone 8 is best if you want flagship performance without a premium price or having to learn new interactions and iPhone 8 Plus is best if you want the absolute widest display, but durability and battery life probably shouldn’t be reasons to not choose iPhone X.