The iPhone X display is the same size as the 5.8-inch screen on the S9 (minus the notch). The S9 Plus, on the other hand, has a larger 6.2-inch screen.
All three devices use OLED displays, but the S9 has a slightly higher resolution and pixel density (2,960 x 1,440 pixels/529ppi and 570ppi) than the iPhone’s Super HD Retina Display (2,436X1,12,200 pixels/458 ppi).
However, the iPhone X has TrueTone technology that adjusts the color temperature of the screen relative to the type of ambient light, so that colors look accurate no matter what the lighting condition.
Edge: Samsung for size and resolution
The iPhone X has stereo speakers located at the bottom of the phone and on the earpiece. The S9 and S9+ are the first Galaxy phones to also have stereo speakers.
Likewise, the S9s are tuned by AKG and have a Dolby Atmos codec which translates into richer, louder sound than its predecessors. The S9 also lets you adjust the audio profile from the settings.
Neither device has an in-glass fingerprint sensor, but the S9 kept the fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone like its predecessor for mobile payments and unlocking your phone.
This time, however, it’s in a better position: below the camera. To unlock the iPhone X or to verify a payment, you’ll have to use the FaceID feature or a pass code. The iPhone 8 Plus has the TouchID fingerprint sensor on the front, but that’s at the expense of thick top and bottom bezels.
Both smartphones have facial-recognition features, but the technology they use are different.
The iPhone X has a depth-sensing camera on the phone’s front, which maps your face in 3D with infrared dots. Apple says FaceID authentication is more secure than its TouchID authentication.
Galaxy S9s use Intelligent Scan, which combines an iris scanner and facial recognition that uses the non-depth sensing front camera. Unfortunately, this feature “favors ease of unlocking over security.” It uses the iris scanner as a backup when lighting conditions don’t allow a full face scan.
The S9 has a single main shooter, while the S9+ has a dual-lens setup. The S9+ lets you control the intensity of the blur while you’re taking the shot or after, much like the Note 8.
The iPhone X, on the other hand, has Portrait Lighting that lets you play with different lighting options for portraits during or after you take the shot.
What’s unique about the S9 is that the main lens has a variable aperture which changes from f1.5 and f2.4. This can improve low-light shots significantly. Point-and-shoot cameras have had this feature for a while, but it’s new for a phone.
Best of all, you can choose the aperture manually from the camera’s Pro Mode.
The S9 also has a super-slow-motion feature that lets you record videos up to 960 fps in HD. However, the camera only captures 6 seconds of super slow-mo and it automatically decides what part should be at this speed. It also has a 240fps option at 1080P that you set manually.
The iPhone X, meanwhile, has a fixed aperture of ƒ/1.8 and a max slo-mo rate of 240 fps in Full HD.
Here are the facts concerning the front cameras:
- The S9 has an 8MP front camera with an ƒ/1.7 aperture.
- The iPhone X has a 7MP depth-sensing camera with an ƒ/2.2 aperture.
- Both use software to achieve A blurred background option for selfies and augmented reality capabilities.
- The blur on the S9’s Selfie Focus mode is more aggressive, often blurring out too much of the subject
- The iPhone X’s blur is more forgiving.
The S9 has three tiers of onboard storage options depending on the market (64GB, 120GB and 256GB) with up to 400GB of expandable storage. The iPhone X only offers a 64GB and 256GB option with no SD card slot.
The S9s are powered by either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 or Samsung’s Exynos 9810 (depending on your region). The iPhone, meanwhile, has Apple’s A11 Bionic chip on the iPhone X.
Tests of the Qualcomm 845 yielded strong results versus other Android phones when benchmarking “white box” phones. However, it’s unclear if the Galaxy S9’s Snapdragons will be optimized at the same speeds.
Similar tests by Anandtech on the Exynos chip were decidedly less encouraging, but the site noted that it was unclear if its test device was representative of the final shipping product.
Interestingly, Android Authority said Apple’s chips are faster than Qualcomm’s.
Both have wireless charging and fast charging, but the S9 has a larger battery than the iPhone. However, the size of the battery doesn’t determine the usage time.
Based on our experience (in a single full charge), the S9 phones last about 10 to 20 minutes longer than the iPhone X. The difference, however, isn’t much – especially if you consider the iPhone X has a smaller battery.
Based on the total victories in each category, we think Samsung’s Galaxy S9s are better overall. That said, most of these individual advantages aren’t particularly significant. There certainly are instances when the iPhone X lost by a hair.
But again, there will be important factors that should keep you on either side of the fence. Particularly whether you’re an existing user of each ecosystem. But if you’re deciding from scratch, our money is on Samsung, for now.