The iPhone XS and XS Max from Apple take on the best flagship Android smartphone around: the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. So, how do the latest iPhones from Apple compare to the best Galaxy handset from Samsung yet? Let’s find out in our comparison.
What’s the difference between iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9?
Unlike the Galaxy S9 and S9+ which brought about modest improvements, Apple has made some huge internal upgrades with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. So despite the phones looking similar to the iPhone X from last year, they are significantly faster and pack a number of new technology. Let’s then see how they compare to the best Android smartphones around.
- iPhone XS – 5.8-inch True Tone OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi), 3D Touch, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 3D Touch
- Galaxy S9 – 5.8-inch curved OLED, 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi), HDR10, Dolby Vision
- iPhone XS Max – 6.5-inch True Tone OLED, 2688 x 1242 pixels (458 ppi), 3D Touch, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 3D Touch
- Galaxy S9 Plus – 6.2-inch curved OLED, 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi), HDR10, Dolby Vision
If there’s one area where all the smartphones involved excel, it is in the display department. They all come with cutting-edge OLED panels that are among the best in the market. Irrespective of which device you select, you simply cannot go wrong with their displays.
- iPhone XS – 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm and 177g, IP68 certified
- Galaxy S9 – 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm and 163g, IP68 certified
- iPhone XS Max – 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm and 208g, IP68 certified
- Galaxy S9 Plus –158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm and 289g, IP68 certified
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are thicker and taller than the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. However, the use of a curved OLED display ensures that both handsets are not as wide. While all four phones feature a glass front and back, the iPhone Xs series makes use of a stainless steel chassis that is more premium to touch and feel compared to the aluminum chassis of the Galaxy S9 series. All four phones are also IP68 water-resistant, though the iPhone Xs IP certification is slightly better.
- iPhone XS – A12 Bionic, 7nm chip, 6-core CPU which is 15 percent faster, 50 percent faster 4-core GPU, 8-core Neural engine
- Galaxy S9 – Octa-core Exynos 9810/Snapdragon 845 chip running at 2.7/2.8GHz, 2nd gen 10nm chip,
The Galaxy S9 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810 chipset which are the absolute fastest chips you can find in the Android ecosystem. However, none of them hold a candle against Apple’s A12 Bionic which is an absolute monster in terms of performance. The A12 Bionic chip inside the iPhone Xs and Xs Max is the at the absolute bleeding edge of the technology with its 8-core Neural engine, 7nm fabrication process, and 6-core CPU. In this department, the Galaxy S9 is simply nowhere close to what Apple offers with the iPhone Xs. It is the powerful chipset that allows Apple to offer many intuitive new features on the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max.
- iPhone XS and XS Max – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture, new sensor with 1.4um pixel pitch, OIS for both sensors, Smart HDR, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control
- Galaxy S9 – Single 12MP camera with variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um pitch pixel, OIS, Auto HDR, Super Speed Dual Pixel, Live Focus with adjustable bokeh effect
- Galaxy S9 Plus – Dual 12MP camera with variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um pitch pixel, dual OIS, Auto HDR, Super Speed Dual Pixel, Live Focus with adjustable bokeh effect
On paper, the core camera specs of all the handsets are largely the same. The Galaxy S9’s primary shooter does have an advantage since it features variable aperture, with a wide f/1.5 aperture that helps it immensely in low-light. However, Apple is known to extract better performance from its camera sensors thanks to its powerful ISP and algorithms. The iPhone XS features Smart HDR which should allow it to capture more details and offer better dynamic range. Both phones offer depth control for portrait mode, though the iPhone Xs series offers more features. The iPhone Xs series is also a better video shooter than the Galaxy Note 9 with stereo sound recording support.
- iPhone XS and XS Max – 7MP TrueDepth Camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Smart HDR
- Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus – 8MP, f1/7, Autofocus, Screen Flash, Portrait mode
The Galaxy S9 series has a higher resolution selfie camera with autofocus and a wider f/1.7 aperture. However, Samsung ends up destroying the selfies by applying gracious amounts of smoothening and sharpening. The iPhone Xs, in comparison, captures more natural looking selfies.
- iPhone XS and XS Max – 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus – 64GB, 128GB, microSD card slot
While all the phones come with the same 64GB base storage, Apple offers the iPhone Xs series with up to 512GB storage. Samsung offers the Galaxy S9 with up to 256GB built-in storage in certain markets, though the handset comes with a microSD card slot which means users can expand storage on the device for cheap anytime they want.
The iPhone XS, XS Max, and Galaxy S9 come with 4GB RAM, while the Galaxy S9+ comes with 6GB RAM.
- iPhone XS and XS Max – Dual SIM/eSIM, Gigabit LTE, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode, Lightning
- Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus – Dual SIM, 1.2Gbps LTE, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C, Dual Audio
This is a key area where the Galaxy S9 reigns supreme over the iPhone Xs series. The Galaxy S9 not only comes with two traditional SIM card slots, it also supports faster 1.2Gbps LTE download speeds. The iPhone Xs offers Gigabit LTE support at best. Oh, and the Galaxy S9 series continues to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- iPhone Xs and Xs Max – Face ID
- Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus – Iris scanner, Fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
Unlike the iPhone Xs series which only comes with one form of biometric authentication, the Galaxy S9 comes with three different types of authentication including a fingerprint scanner.
Battery Life and Charging
- iPhone XS – Lasts up to 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X
- iPhone XS Max – 90 minutes better than iPhone X, 7.5W wireless charging, 18W wired charging
- Galaxy S9 – 3,000mAh battery, 10W Fast wireless charging, 15W wired charging
- Galaxy S9 Plus – 3,500mAh battery, 10W Fast wireless charging, 15W wired charging
This is an area where the iPhones completely destroy the Galaxies. The combination of a 7nm chip and tight software and hardware integration means the iPhone Xs and Xs Max will offer significantly better battery life than the Galaxy S9 series. One area where the Samsung devices do win is with charging. Despite coming with a slower wired charging (15W), Samsung actually bundles a 15W adapter with the S9. Apple, on the other hand, continues to bundle a measly 5W charger with the iPhone Xs despite it supporting 18W fast charging.
This means that the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will charge significantly faster than iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max when all devices are charged using their bundled charger.
- iPhone Xs – Starts from $999
- iPhone Xs Max – Starts from $1,099
- Galaxy S9 – Starts from $699
- Galaxy Note 9 – Starts from $799
The Galaxy S9 series is nearly six months old now which means one can easily get it for a far lower price than their official retail price. Apple, however, is not known to offer any kind of discounts for its devices even a few months after their release. And with a starting price of $999, the iPhone Xs series are expensive smartphones irrespective of whichever way you look at it.
The Galaxy S9 series and iPhone Xs series obviously differ from each other in terms of their software experience. If you don’t like Android, the Galaxy S9 series is not going to change that. The same stands true for the iPhone Xs series as well if you are not fond of iOS.
What do you think about the Galaxy S9 and iPhone Xs? Between the two, which one would you prefer? Drop a comment and let us know!