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Apple iPhone XS vs Samsung Galaxy S9+: who gives you X-tra?

Apple's new iPhones have arrived and are taking on the competition from Android. The toughest competitor for the iPhone XS is the Samsung Galaxy S9+, the flagship of the market leader. We compared the two smartphones.

The Apple iPhone XS will not reach customers for a few more days, but have been able to buy the Galaxy S9+ since April. We still have to wait before we can fully review of the iPhone XS, but can make some comparisons already. With their current processors, both smartphones have more than enough power on board, and performance will not be an issue for either device.

Elegance and size on both sides

We have already seen the design of the iPhone XS. It's a gentle further development of the iPhone X from last year - and has been copied more or less by numerous Android manufacturers. The iPhone XS looks a bit more modern and extravagant on the outside than the Galaxy S9+, which focuses more on simple elegance. We can see glass surfaces and metal frames on both smartphones, and the build quality is excellent on both. It's up to your own taste to decide which you prefer.

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The simple, elegant design of the new iPhone XS. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

Samsung takes the crown when it comes to the display

Both the Apple iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ have large displays on board. With the Samsung, it's 6.2 inches compared to 5.8 inches for Apple. OLED technology has prevailed for both manufacturers, and the difference in resolution is not noticeable in everyday use.

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The Samsung Galaxy S9+ has a beautiful display. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

If you want a display without obstruction you can hardly avoid Samsung, because almost all other manufacturers have adopted the notch. Together with the Super AMOLED panel from Samsung, which has been considered the best display you can buy for years, there are slight advantages for the Galaxy S9+ in this respect. Of course, the iPhone XS has anything but a bad display, but you have to be able to stomach the notch.

Good cameras on both smartphones

Dual cameras are now standard on the market, and both Apple and Samsung conform here. In our Smartphone World Cup, the iPhone X only just beat the Galaxy S9, and once again it should be a close duel. Both take 12 MP pictures, but have a different focus. The iPhone XS has a couple of cool software features though, including Smart HDR and a special bokeh effect upgrade which allows you to change the depth of field after you have taken a shot with a slider.

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The smart bokeh effect is the first of its kind and looks really cool. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

Apple relies on a camera that is as easy to use as possible combined with complex post-processing to get the most out of the data provided by the sensors. Samsung, on the other hand, has come up with a technical trick in the form of its variable aperture, which is particularly effective in low light conditions. The Galaxy S9+ also has the fastest camera of all current smartphones on board, so you won't miss a snapshot! Even though we still have to test the iPhone XS and its camera, if Apple stays true to its past, you won't be disappointed with either smartphone if you're looking for good photos.

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The S9+ has a dual camera. / © AndroidPIT

The OS is a question of taste

The operating system, on the other hand, is a different matter. Android or iOS? That decision does not really come down to a question of features, but rather a question of taste. Both systems have become more and more similar over the years, even if Apple's interface is in need of a little refreshment. The supply of apps is comparable on both platforms, but there are still advantages in some applications with iOS. Instagram has one or two more features on the iPhone, and an equivalent Android alternative to iMovie is still missing. Samsung's version of Android, meanwhile, has countless special features you won't find anywhere else, but also several duplicate apps due to the pre-installed Google applications.

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iOS 12 will be available on September 17. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

The battery is unlikely to tip the scales either way

The current Galaxy S models are good in terms of battery life, but not great. This also applies to the iPhones from last year. It will be exciting to see whether Apple has improved this year. Although the promises will no doubt claim longer battery life, the new devices still have to prove themselves in everyday life. One thing is clear: The iPhone XS won't be able to keep up with the Galaxy S9+ in terms of the number of mAh in the battery. But what matters is real performance, and for that, we’ll have to wait until we can review it.

Meanwhile, one of Apple's and its iPhone's paradise disciplines is accessories, especially from third parties. As an iPhone user, you always have the largest selection of cases, protective covers, foils, adapters and heaven knows what else. This won't change with the iPhone XS, either. Sure, not everyone needs tons of accessories, but the having the option is nice.

Price could be the deciding factor

The bottom line is that neither of the two smartphones is bad, as was clear even before the iPhone XS can be tested. There are many similarities between the top models from Apple and Samsung, but also differences. Samsung is ahead of the pack in terms of the display, Apple in terms of the software despite the question of taste. Both cameras are good, but they set the proverbial focus in different areas.

But one thing is certain: The Samsung Galaxy S9+, which has been on the market for much longer, is much cheaper, it only costs around half of the iPhone XS. And that should be an important consideration for many prospective customers.

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  • I'm not an Apple Fan .... but with the exception of the notch, wireless headphones, non microSD card slot .... the build of these new iPhones seems to take inspiration from Android (and that's a great thing because it's time for Apple to stop thinking "what would Steve Jobs do" and concentrate on "what is the competition offering that consumers like").

    Their Prices are ridiculous ( I can say the same thing for every Android phone costing over $500 out there when we have plenty of awesome smartphones with quality specs for $300 !) and it's a shame that Apple doesn't embrace the No Contract Market.

    Globally, Apple is losing out on the mid-tier that Android dominates (and is making $ off of). But I guess it doesn't matter when Apple Fans will pay over a month's mortgage for a device!


  • There are 3 things that tip the scale for me. No ridiculous notch, headphone jack & micro s/d support. Samsung gets my money!


  • That "S" from XS, comes from Samsung ?!

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