- For the first time in recent years, Apple beat out Samsung and Google in Consumer Reports' latest smartphone ratings, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max coming in first place.
- The new generation of iPhones were granted an edge by their improved battery life and more sophisticated cameras.
- The iPhone 11 Pro Max is also the most durable iPhone yet, surviving a 100-drop stress test.
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The new iPhone 11 Pro Max is the top-rated smartphone on the market, as ranked by Consumer Reports' latest ratings, followed by the iPhone 11 Pro — the highest placement Apple has won in recent years.
Samsung phones have consistently beaten iPhones in the Consumer Reports ratings in the past few years, but the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max gained an edge this year thanks to their beefed-up battery lives.
Apple's latest generation of smartphones were also more competitive in the ratings thanks to their improved cameras, physical durability, and faster processors.
iPhones now lead the pack in battery life
Under the duress of Consumer Reports' testing, the iPhone 11 Pro Max lasted 40.5 hours on a single charge, while the iPhone 11 Pro lasted 34 hours. Those are both huge leaps from the battery lives of the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS, which were 29.5 hours and 27.5 hours, respectively.
To gauge a realistic estimate of a phone's battery life, the tests used a robotic finger that used the phones periodically throughout the day in a way meant to resemble the average phone user.
Apple has made the improved battery life of its newest iPhones a huge selling point, touting next-generation battery hardware and more efficient processors that use less energy.
Triple lenses make iPhone cameras competitive with Galaxy and Pixel
Apple has caught some flack for the quirky appearance of three separate lenses on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, but the new and improved cameras put the smartphones on similar footing with Samsung's and Google's offerings.
The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max both feature an ultra-wide lens, which most of Samsung's recent phones also boast, and their new Night Mode is similar to a feature already available on Google's Pixel phones.
The most durable iPhones yet
Testers found that the body and screens of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are more durable than any past iPhone model, thanks to stronger glass screens and more robust water resistance.
To test their durability, Consumer Reports submerges each smartphone underwater, and places each phone in a tumbler that drops the phones from approximately 2.5 feet 100 times. While all the new iPhones passed the water resistance test, only the iPhone 11 Pro Max survived the drop test — the iPhone 11 Pro screen broke after 50 drops.