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Google's Pixel 3 XL is no match for Apple's iPhone XS Max at Fortnite

Continuing the comparisons between the iPhone XS Max and the Google Pixel 3 XL, this time AppleInsider looks at the gaming credentials of each device, by putting both of the premium smartphones through a few rounds of Fortnite.




We recently got the Pixel 3 XL in our hands and we've been comparing everything we can from processing performance, the audio quality of the speakers, to the images produced by the cameras, to the iPhone XS Max.

This time, the devices are being put through their paces in Fortnite, the popular first-person shooter, which tests their graphical and processing capabilities. It also allows us to measure how much battery life is being used by each smartphone while playing at maximum brightness, to determine which will provide the longest gaming sessions.



The XS Max easily outperformed the Pixel 3 XL in earlier benchmarks, especially in Geekbench 4's graphics test, which is what matters the most for graphics-intensive tasks like playing Fortnite. This should give Apple's handset a distinct advantage.

The Pixel 3 XL lags behind the iPhone XL Max in benchmarks

The Pixel 3 XL lags behind the iPhone XL Max in benchmarks


The Pixel 3 XL also has the largest notch we've ever seen in any phone, so it'll be interesting to see how it impacts gameplay.

Two Hours Later



After playing an hour of Fortnite on each phone, here's what was observed.

The iPhone XS Max has the bigger screen, and a less obtrusive notch than the Pixel 3 XL

The iPhone XS Max has the bigger screen, and a less obtrusive notch than the Pixel 3 XL


First of all, the Pixel 3 XL's display is already smaller than the XS Max's screen. Add in that the areas next to the notch are completely unusable, this practically , and the area next to the notch was completely unusable, adding some pretty thick bezels on the top and bottom of the phone.

This made the gameplay controls more cramped on screen compared to the XS Max, which just felt so immersive thanks to the larger screen area and a brighter screen.

The iPhone XS Max dropped 23 percent of its battery after one hour of gameplay

The iPhone XS Max dropped 23 percent of its battery after one hour of gameplay


Even with a brighter display, the XS Max was able to demonstrate better battery life, draining just 23 percent of the battery compared to 29 percent on the Pixel 3 XL after an hour of gameplay.

Fortnite in all its high-performance glory on the iPhone XS Max

Fortnite in all its high-performance glory on the iPhone XS Max


Performance-wise, the Pixel 3 XL experienced a few dropped frames on a consistent basis, and once the Pixel's battery reached below 20 percent, I started to notice that the graphics quality dropped significantly. Some scenes looked absolutely terrible, almost as if the game automatically reduced the visual quality to the minimum to try to conserve battery life.

When the Pixel 3 XL is low on battery, Fortnite lowers its graphical settings


When the Pixel 3 XL is low on battery, Fortnite lowers its graphical settings


The XS Max's graphics stayed exactly the same for the full hour of gameplay, with smooth performance and no noticeable dropped frames throughout the session.

The Pixel 3 XL's battery sunk by 29 percent after 60 minutes

The Pixel 3 XL's battery sunk by 29 percent after 60 minutes


With all of that said, we can easily say that Apple's iPhone XS Max is superior to Google's Pixel 3 XL in terms of Fortnite gaming performance, and those results should translate to other mobile games as well.

Deals on the iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL



If you haven't already ordered Apple's iPhone XS Max, wireless carriers are incentivizing the purchase. Want to get your hands on a new device asap? eBay sellers are also shipping units now.

Carrier deals:

  • AT&T Wireless: Buy one iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, get a second $700 off when you add a line.
  • Verizon Wireless: Buy an iPhone XS and save up to $300 with a qualifying trade.
  • Sprint: Get the 64GB iPhone XS for half off with eligible trade-in and Sprint Flex lease.
  • T-Mobile: Save up to $390 on the iPhone XS with an eligible iPhone trade.


Those interested in purchasing the Google Pixel 3 XL can save up to $300 with an eligible trade at Verizon Wireless.