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Last week, I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S9+ after using it for more than two weeks as my daily driver. Right after we published that video, I took my SIM card out of the S9+ and put it into my iPhone X to kind of refresh my memory on the feel of this device and see just how well it compares to Samsung’s newest flagship.
So, as if the title wasn’t a big enough indicator, we’re going to be comparing the iPhone X up against the Samsung Galaxy S9+.
I have used both devices with and without a case. My favorite is this Pitaka MagSafe Case for the iPhone X. It’s extremely tough, super thin, and allows for wireless charging. It even has magnets that can easily be attached to a car dock. Both of these devices feature metal frames and glass fronts and backs that will scratch easily. They both feel great in the hands. They’re nice and premium. But you’re probably going to want to protect your investment and throw in a case on the phone you decide to get.
The Galaxy S9+ does have a microSD card slot for expandable storage. It has an iris scanner, fingerprint scanner, headphone jack, and USB-C port; which the iPhone X does not have. The iPhone X does have Face ID, which is a state-of-the-art system for mobile phones that uses a bunch of different sensors to scan your face and unlock your phone instead of using a fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S9+ has an iris scanner and Face Unlock but it’s not quite as reliable or secure as the iPhone’s offering. In my opinion though, it’s hard to go wrong with the good, old-fashioned fingerprint scanner. It’s in a better place than last year’s Galaxy S8 on the S9 and it’s almost guaranteed to work every time you put your finger on it whereas Face ID sometimes doesn’t work and it requires you to punch in your passcode.
The iPhone X features a 5.8-inch 2436x1125 OLED display while the S9+ features a 6.2-inch 2960x1440 resolution Super AMOLED display. The bezels are extremely thin on both devices. The Galaxy S9+’s display is bigger and taller so it’s better for consuming media but also harder to use with one hand. It does get considerably brighter than the iPhone X’s display so viewing content outside is superior. With that said, I think the true edge-to-edge display of the iPhone X is especially beautiful to look at and the size is definitely more manageable for one handed use.
The notch and lack of any software or physical navigation buttons does make things a little bit interesting in the software department. First of all, content has to be split up and cut off so you can’t see as many notifications because of this notch up top here. You also can’t see your battery percentage without opening up control center. The notch can do some weird things with apps as content has to be shifted down to make room for the notch. But I would say, developers have done a great job adapting to this hardware over the past few months. When the iPhone X first launched, I was not pleased in this regard but it’s a lot better now.
You do navigate the phone via a series of swipes, which is not the case on the Galaxy S9+. Once you get used to it, you’ll find that it works well enough to not question it over standard buttons that eat up more screen real estate. On the flip side, the Galaxy S9+ runs Android and it features on-screen navigation buttons though you can hide them if you want. Android gives you that flexibility to basically do whatever you want with this phone. There’s nothing wrong with on-screen navigation buttons as they work just fine. Samsung has even thrown in a pressure-sensitive home button so you can hard press on the location where the software button is at to go back to your home screens anywhere you are at. Generally speaking, Android is going to offer much more customization than iOS. It also natively supports more Google services than iOS, which natively supports more Apple services than Android. If you grew up with an iPhone or Mac and are more integrated into their ecosystem, then you’ll have more of an incentive to pick up an iPhone X. As someone who uses most Google everything, it’s more challenging for me to use an iPhone as my daily driver. I can make it work but it’s not quite as enjoyable.
The S9+ is equipped with the newest Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor with 6GB of RAM while the iPhone X is equipped with an A11 Bionic hexa-core chip with 3GB of RAM. The specifications certainly seem more impressive on the S9+ but the iPhone X actually out benchmarks the S9 and because it’s a closed system, it tends to run more smoothly overall than the S9. However, I do want to say that both devices are incredibly quick and fluid and you should not pick a device based strictly on the performance or speed because, once again, both are extremely capable and should be able to handle anything you throw at them.
Both devices feature 12-megapixel camera sensors though the S9+ features a sensor with an f/1.5 aperture that is one of the widest around and can take in significantly more light than the iPhone X’s sensor. What that means is that it excels in low light photography. Night photos or indoor photos with poor lighting conditions, you’re going to want the Galaxy S9+’s camera. The Galaxy device tends to capture cooler photos that are slightly overexposed while the iPhone X tends to capture warmer, more underexposed images.
Both have their pros and cons, of course. If I were to pick one though to be in my pocket at all times, I lean towards the Galaxy S9+ but I wouldn’t be upset if I had either one in my pocket because both are very capable. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s going to come down to subject matter and composition. Those are what really make for great photos, especially nowadays where most mid- and high-tier devices have the hardware necessary to capture crispy photos.
The Galaxy S9+ features a 3500mAh battery while the iPhone X features a 2716mAh battery. Pound for pound, the iPhone X offers superior battery life but the S9+’s battery is larger and offers more stamina overall. It also has a fast-charging cable and wall wart included with the purchase of the device. In order to get fast-charging with the iPhone X, you have to buy a separate cable and adapter. That’s pretty lame.
With that said, Samsung added dual stereo speakers to their Galaxy lineup with the S9 and I commend them for doing so. They are set up in the same configuration as the iPhone X, where there’s a bottom-facing speaker and the top call speaker doubles as a loudspeaker. The iPhone X seems like it’s a bit louder and punchy than the S9+’s speakers but both sound very similar.
So really what separates these two devices isn’t that the Galaxy S9 has an expandable storage slot or that the iPhone X has some cool facial recognition technology. It’s the software: iOS or Android. If you’re invested in Apple or Google already, it makes more sense to go with the phone that runs the software made by the company you’re already using on another device. Do I value the extra hardware features of the Galaxy S9? Sure, but I value the freedom and customizability of Android most.
Just to give you a couple of examples, I can set it up so that the Google Assistant will immediately start listening for a command as soon as I say “Okay, Google”. On the iPhone X, I have to open up the Google Assistant app separately because I can’t override Siri with a different voice assistant. I can also do some more minor things like set it up so that my battery percentage is also showing every time my phone is powered on. I can also add a widget on my home screen for a specific function in an app. This is why I prefer the Android option over the iOS option. In this case, the Galaxy S9+ over the iPhone X. You may not feel that way and I completely understand. Whatever it is that you are feeling, feel free to share it with me in a comment below.