With the announced iPhone XS the new flagship of Apple is ready to be compared with a whole series of other smartphones. The most logical competitor is Apple's fiercest rival: Samsung. So let's see how the new iPhone XS stands up against the Samsung Galaxy S9.
One thing we have already noticed is how many ways the two devices are similar. They have a good overlap between their dimensions and some aspects of their design. Except this time, because Samsung took the lead for designs with inlaid edges, Apple will probably not appear in court because of the similarities.
Neither the Galaxy S9 nor the iPhone XS have the most original designs. Both are usually upgrades on the flagship models of last year with little change in the look. The Galaxy S9 has changed little visibly from the Galaxy S8, and the iPhone XS looks a lot like the iPhone X.
In size, the two phones are closely matched. The Galaxy S9 measures 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm next to the slightly shorter, shallower, but wider 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm of the iPhone XS. The iPhone XS is built with a glass front and back and a stainless steel frame, while the Galaxy S9 uses an aluminum frame, but is also made of glass.
The aluminum in the Galaxy S9 may have helped to trim a few grams. It weighs 163 g, only one hair less than the 177 g iPhone XS.
Both have a premium feel with that mix of metal and glass, and both have tried to ensure that their phones do not break too easily. You can find a dust and water resistance rating of IP68 on both, although Apple states that the iPhone XS was rated 30 minutes at a depth of 2 meters under water compared to the 1.5 meter depth of Samsung.
Samsung has used Gorilla Glass 5 to prevent the Galaxy S9 from changing into a crumbled mess after a shallow fall, although we still recommend a Galaxy S9 cover. Apple has an adapted design that says it is "the most sustainable glass ever in a smartphone", but we'll just have to wait and see how that translates to a flat drop on concrete.
The Galaxy S9 has a USB-C port, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot – three things the iPhone XS does not have. To get more storage space on the iPhone XS, you must first purchase it. Headphones can connect wirelessly to the iPhone XS or via the Lightning connector on the bottom of the phone. Both phones have stereo speakers, where Samsung notes that the speakers of the Galaxy S9 are tuned by AKG and support Dolby Atmos.
Apple & # 39; s iPhone XS has a notch at the top of the screen where the front camera and sensors for unlocking face IDs are housed. The Galaxy S9 has no notch, but it has an edge at the top and bottom of the screen, with the camera on the front and sensors for iris scanning and face recognition above the screen. Samsung also has a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, while Apple has dumped the scanner.
The screens of the Galaxy S9 and iPhone XS are not that different. Both are 5.8-inch OLED screens, although Samsung is Super AMOLED. The Galaxy S9 screen also has a sharp resolution of 2,960 x 1,440, making it an incredibly dense 570ppi. The Apple iPhone XS screen, on the other hand, is 2,436 x 1,125 for 458ppi.
While Samsung is ahead of the pixel division, Apple has a broader HDR support with an increase in dynamic range of 60%. The Galaxy S9 is certified for Mobile HDR Premium content, but does not support Dolby Vision. The iPhone XS supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10, the latter is an upgrade via the iPhone X supported by Dolby Vision.
On paper there are clear differences between the two screens. But in the real world you probably will not notice that much difference under the glass. Both look very handsome, with great contrast ratios. The most striking is Apple's screen and the elegantly curved display of Samsung along the sides.
3D Touch and a 120Hz touch-sensitive screen are distinctive features of the iPhone XS, but these are not important sales functions. The Galaxy S9 still feels sufficiently smooth swiping, and it is a 3D Touch-like operation, even if it does not use real pressure-sensitive technology.
OS and power
Here the iPhone XS and Galaxy S9 really let go. The iPhone XS runs iOS 12 on Apple's own A12 Bionic chipset, which introduces the Neural Engine for advanced photography, video and image processing. The Galaxy S9 runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, but should see an update to Android 9.0 Pie early next year (probably around the same time that the Samsung Galaxy S10 is launched).
The Galaxy S9 works on a Snapdragon 845 chipset, which is great, but Apple has demonstrated the superior power of its custom chipsets and we expect the A12 Bionic to throw just about all smartphone set contests in the battle with which the gebenchmarkt. The Neural Engine will probably also benefit from AR applications. That said, both phones will feel incredibly fast and the preference of the operating system will play a big role in determining which phone your money is worth more.
Neither the phone shakes a large battery. The Galaxy S9 from Samsung has a fairly typical 3000-Ah battery. Apple does not mention the size of the battery in the iPhone XS, but we think it will be somewhere under the 3,000mAh mark. The iPhone X had about 2,700 mAh and Apple says the XS lasts 30 minutes longer than the X of last year. With large, clear screens, both phones should be in use for about a day, but for two days there is no question of serious users.
Both phones support wireless and fast charging, but the iPhone XS is not included with the charger needed for fast charging, while the Galaxy S9 does. And Samsung often offers bundles that can contain one of its wireless charging docks.
On the storage front both phones start with a basic storage of 64 GB. But the iPhone XS can go all the way up to (an absurd) built-in storage of 512 GB. That much storage costs you, but we will come back to that later. The Galaxy S9 can go up to 256 GB with built-in storage, but you can upgrade it even further than the iPhone XS via the aforementioned microSD slot. '
The iPhone XS offers Apple's virtual Siri assistant, while the Galaxy S9 comes with Samsung's Bixby and the Google Assistant option. This is another matter of preference, but while we find Apple's Siri falling behind Google and Alexa, Bixby is consistently the poorest performer in our tests.
One advantage that Samsung deserves in this category is the possibility to use the Galaxy S9 as a portable computer. By connecting it to a Dex Pad, you can connect to a keyboard, mouse and external monitor to make the Galaxy S9 work like an Android computer. So for an all-in-one solution, Samsung is doing well.
We will have to wait until we have more than done testing with the iPhone XS camera's to name this faceoff. But there is little doubt that you will see phenomenal photos from the cameras of your phone.
The new iPhone XS has a dual-sensor system at the back with a 12 MP, f / 1.8 wide-angle camera and a 12 MP, f / 2.4 telephoto camera. The latter gives the iPhone XS 2x optical zoom lens. There is optical image stabilization in both cameras & # 39; s and Apple has a Quad-LED True Tone flash attached to the sensors. On the video front they can record 4K video with up to 60 fps and 1080p slo-mo with up to 240 fps.
The Galaxy S9 has only one image sensor on the back, but it is 12MP with optical image stabilization. Samsung has also given it a nice trick, with the possibility to change the aperture between a fast f / 1.5 and f / 2.4. Because the Galaxy S9 camera has 1.4-micron pixels on the back and also the iPhone XS wide-angle camera does, the larger aperture of the Galaxy S9 should give him more performance in low light. But much of this comes down to software and your personal preference for how photos appear. When it comes to video, these phones offer the same 4K resolution for video recording. Neither has a clear advantage before we dive into camera tests.
The cameras on the front are slightly different. Samsung has an 8MP sensor on the front of the Galaxy S9 with a wide f / 1.7 aperture. It should perform better in low light than the 7MP, f / 2.2 camera on the front of the iPhone XS. Between Samsung & # 39; s AR Emoji and Apple's Animoji and Memoji their offerings are quite similar.
Samsung takes a dizzying head start in price competition. The Galaxy S9 starts at just $ 719 (£ 739 / AU $ 1,199) for the 64 GB model. And because it is not brand new, Samsung Galaxy S9 offers are not hard to find, especially if you like free bundles.
The iPhone XS begins with the headache-inducing $ 999 (£ 999 / AU $ 1,629), the same price as the iPhone X last year. And that is also for the 64 GB model. For the 512 GB iPhone XS from Apple, the price goes up to $ 1,349 (£ 1,349 / AU $ 2,199).
Because the Galaxy S9 costs about a quarter less than the iPhone XS, this part of the race quickly goes to Samsung.
With the Galaxy S9 and iPhone XS you have two incredibly powerful and dazzling phones. Because it is more internal upgrades than revision of the flagships of last year, you do not get the latest looks.
Both give you large, bright and colorful OLED screens that will also impress your eyes, even if the specs on paper are in favor of Samsung. In the same way, Apple seems to have the advantage in the camera factory, but only through proper testing will it show whether Apple's dual lens rear camera is better than Samsung's only lens. And, when it comes to how powerful they are, Apple will likely take advantage of benchmarks, even if typical users will experience a super-smooth, spicy performance from both.
For anyone who has not chosen a party in the battle between Android and iOS, there is one serious factor that will probably determine this confrontation, and the price. With both telephones offering so much and much of the same kind, the huge price difference that lands heavily in favor of Samsung makes the Galaxy S9 a better value than the iPhone XS.