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Samsung Galaxy Note9 vs iPhone XS Max: the heavyweight title

The iPhone new generation is already making a lot of headlines. While waiting for our test copy, we can already see how the battle for the heavyweight title is shaping up: the Note 9 squares off against the iPhone XS Max to win the hearts and wallets of fans of the plus-sized phones. This is our opinion on the phablet rivals so far.

Every year, many users judge the good of the bad by switching from one system to another, from one brand to another. The Galaxy Note 9 is certainly the most popular phablet of the moment. The newly announced iPhone XS Max is certainly the biggest rival of the South Korean smartphone.

Notch or not?

As much as there were a lot of rumors about the names of the new iPhones, there was no doubt about the design of the devices. Anyway, this large format version of the iPhone retains the same design as the iPhone X launched last year. The only difference is its new larger format that allows you to offer a 6.5-inch screen (compared to 5.8 for the regular iPhone XS). 

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Large display with an integrated notch for iPhone XS Max! / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

The design of the Galaxy Note 9 is not synonymous with big changes either compared to last year. The elegant lines and curves of the previous generation have been adopted. Samsung has simply further refined the edges of the camera to offer a screen larger than last year (6.4 inches), all for the same format. At the display level, AMOLED technology is available on both terminals. The definition, such as color calibration, is different. 

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AMOLED technology and no notches. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

In both cases, the devices combine metal and glass for a successful design. Smartphones are elegant and the only real aesthetic difference is in the display. The iPhone has a notch, the Note goes un-notched. For the rest, each brand shows its own style.

Apple claims that the notch on the iPhone XS Max is indispensable for housing the cameras and various sensors that make FaceID work so well. But you don't necessarily need a notch for facial recognition, so we'll have to wait for our test device to see how well this really works.

Personally, I like the design of the South Korean manufacturer more. Samsung's model also has the advantage of offering a fingerprint reader and a mini-jack, with Apple overlooking both features. Finally, the Note has a stylus, the S-Pen, that can be stored and loaded directly into the device and offers some handy features.

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Only the Note 9 has the S-Pen advantage! / © AndroidPIT

Android vs iOS

Far be it from me to enter into a sterile debate between the two systems to determine which one offers the best features or which one has the best interface. iOS and Android each have their own advantages and disadvantages, you just have to focus on the one that best suits its uses. I wouldn't say iOS is easier, but it offers an interesting approach for neophytes, even if Android has become much simpler in recent versions, and Samsung's interface is easy to understand.

As far as updates are concerned, Apple has full control over the update support for its iPhone. This varies from 24 to 48 months or more. Based on an operating system with an open Linux kernel, the Android operating system is highly customizable and more flexible on its policy. However, it is precisely its opening that can cause delays in updates. Fortunately, Google is trying to fix the problem. The Galaxy Note 9 is guaranteed to receive Android 9 Pie, and the next generation of the OS. For the others, it is unlikely. Rest assured, however, that Samsung will provide security updates for two years.

Two powerful smartphones

In both cases, you really don't have to worry about performance. Whether it's for the Galaxy Note 9 or the iPhone XS Max, both products are supposed to be high-end and optimized at all times. In short, the iPhone XS Max brings a new processor with it... touting the assistance of neural networks in its 7nm A12 bionic chip. It will be intriguing just how much this affects performance, rather than just being a buzzword.

On the other side of the line, the Galaxy Note 9 houses Qualcomm's current finest, the Snapdragon 845 (except for European models which use the Exynos 9810. Both are among the best SoCs on the high-end market segment.

Top class photography

Samsung and Apple have often been in a tight competition for the top-scoring cameras, and naturally, the top class of each is no exception. Because we've had the Galaxy Note 9 for a little while, we can already show you a detailed analysis of its photographic capabilities.

As for the iPhone XS Max, we've still only got what Apple showcased on its keynote to go on, and that's impressive, but...you guessed it, we're withholding a verdict until we can test it under objective conditions.

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We're looking forward to test the iPhone XS Max' s photography. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

A Note 9 is more "affordable" than the iPhone XS Max

It's hard to imagine writing this, but the Galaxy Note 9 is more "affordable" than the iPhone XS Max. The Samsung smartphone is available at the official price of $1,000 in its 128GB version (and $1,250 in its 512GB version). The new iPhone XS Max will be launched on September 21. Prices start at $1,099 for the 64GB version, $1,249 for the 256GB version, and $1,449 for 512GB. A gap of around $200 between the two models of equivalent storage size will make the difference for many users.

Galaxy Note 9 offers more memory for less money. Moreover, it is already possible to find it for an even lower price, which accentuates its cheap side compared to Apple's phablet.

Note 9 vs iPhone XS Max: initial verdict

For the moment, and while waiting for our complete test of the iPhone XS Max, it is still difficult for us to separate these devices from each other and make a final verdict in this comparison. However, in light of the iPhone's new technical features, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has nothing to fear from the competition and is perfectly equipped to respond. What's more, it offers more memory for less money.

Which smartphone do you prefer? Tell us everything in the comments!

10 comments

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  • For myself the note9 is more of a complete package. The i-phones are very nice but not for me. When it comes to premium features the note is more well rounded. Display, camera & battery are my choice. I guess to each his own!


  • Sorin 2 months ago Link to comment

    A real race between the two phones for the 2nd place!
    Because the top position is occupied by someone, much better ...
    Competition is beneficial to ... buyers.


  • Android manufacturers are all way better than apple, apple is in 2015, nothing new


  • Benjoe 2 months ago Link to comment

    Apple Xs Max Battery life presentation was very short... i doubt it will last for more than 10hrs with that new chip and sensors... Please do battery life comparison once you get iphone xs max.


  • Note 9 is valuable iPhone xs max is over priced


  • S S 2 months ago Link to comment

    I am using the Note 9. It's an unbelievably incredible phone. It's super fast with an amazing front and back cameras. I was looking out for the tech specs of the apple launch today. From what I have seen so far I can summarize few BIG edges that Note 9 has over the top of the class Iphone XS Max:

    1- Note 9 has a Pen, that all apple devices lack. You can write on the screen, make offscreen notes, use it as a remote for camera, etc. You can completely customize the functionality.
    2- Micro SD card, You have the capability to add an extra space. Iphones always lack this feature. It's a huge factor, space does matter.
    3- Fingerprint scan is still available on Note 9. I would say it's not wise to just have a face recognition in a device which samsung also has along with Iris scanner.
    4- 3.5 mm Headphone jack! Peace of mind.
    5- Front facing camera of Note 9 is 8MP and that of iPhone I think I read was 7MP.
    6- Note 9 Has the ability to use both Samsung Pay & Google pay.
    7- Note 9 Has both google and bixby assistant.
    8- Curved edges in Note 9.
    9- I think the Note 9's 4000mAh battery is huge and it's amazing, It lasts me more than a day of heavy usage.


  • Both devices are powerful in their own right. No questioning that. The iPhone will come out ahead from a pure performance standpoint, but productivity is more subjective. I prefer iOS over Android, but others will be perfectly happy with Android. So the "best device" is a personal preference more than anything else.


  • Apples and Oranges. The Note is a business device. The iPhone is a toy.


    • It's 2018 and you're still spewing that nonsense? It really makes you look overly biased and weak in your argument. Give us something more substantial to chew on.


    • Actually it is quite the reverse. Especially in the music and photography/graphics area. Most artists prefer the iOS over everything else, including Android and Windows. With both Phones and Computers.

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