Smartphones are more affordable than ever. You can find a model for $ 100 (or even less) that will allow you to stay online, go to all your favorite social networks, watch videos and other media content, and often take good photos. However, today we will not be talking about them.
Such inexpensive devices are optimal for people with a limited budget or as, say, the first smartphone for a child. The flagships are really attractive: they combine large high-resolution screens, advanced cameras that shoot at the level of SLR cameras, powerful processors, with – where can we go without it – a thoughtful and eye-catching design.
This year, the prices of top-end smartphones have surpassed the $ 1,000 mark, but at the same time, these devices offer really the latest technology. It makes sense that giving that kind of money for a smartphone will give you a unique user experience. However, what exactly can the current flagships offer? Today we decided to compare two premium devices: Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
2017 was a watershed year in the history of smartphone development. They have changed significantly – in part due to the spread of bezel-less design. As a result, almost all major smartphone manufacturers supported the trend and released at least one device with minimal frames around the display. Note that at the beginning of the year it was not so popular: the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 presented at that time have the usual rather wide frames. However, by the second half of the year, the situation had changed significantly. This can be seen in the example of iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8.
Of these two models, the Note 8 is definitely the larger smartphone: it is larger in size, screen diagonal, weight and thickness. And, in general, if it were not for the concept of frameless design, it would be more appropriate to compare iPhone X with the Galaxy S8 – they are more similar in size.
Coming back to size, it's hard to ignore the Note 8's size. While the width of the display on both models encourages one-handed use, the Note 8's taller screen makes it difficult. In practice, this means that reaching the notification or the quick settings panel will not always be easy – which can be critical for some users – especially girls with small hands.
There is a dual camera on the back of both devices. iPhone X has modules arranged vertically with a flash in the center, while Note 8 has horizontal. At the same time, in the Korean model, the camera is centered, while the iPhone, according to tradition, is in the upper left corner. When comparing both devices, you will notice that iPhone X has a much more camera protruding from the rear panel than the Note 8.
Connectors and buttons
At the bottom of both devices are speakers and a charging port (Lightning and USB Type-C), and in the case of the Note 8, they also add a 3.5 jack headphone jack, which has not been found in iPhones since the seventh generation. Also in Samsung there was a place for a slot with a stylus S Pen. On the right side of both smartphones there are power buttons, and on the left side there are volume rockers. Also on the left side iPhone X is a mute lever, while the Note 8 has a Bixby assistant button.
Let's not forget to mention that both models are missing – yes, we are talking about the physical button “Home”. At the same time, the Galaxy had to transfer the fingerprint scanner to the rear panel (far from the most convenient location, given the proximity to the camera and the stretch of fingers necessary to reach the scanner). In iPhone X, there was no need to move the Touch ID scanner: it was replaced by the unique Face ID technology – but more on that later.
While the displays of both smartphones appear to be similar in terms of specs, in reality the difference is huge. From similar points, it can be noted that they are conventionally frameless and have a similar aspect ratio (18.5: 9 for Galaxy and 19.5: 9 for iPhone). In addition, in both cases, panels of the type OLED with rounded edges are used.
As for the title of the best frameless, this is a moot point. On the one hand, the Galaxy Note 8 has no bezels on the right and left sides, while iPhone they are clearly visible. However, the iPhone is clearly in the lead when it comes to bezels above and below the display. This was achieved due to the notch in the upper part, which has become the hallmark of the smartphone. It houses the front camera, speaker and Face ID sensors.
That said, Apple gets a couple of points for smartphone aesthetics: this notch not only minimizes the bezels, but also makes them almost the same on all sides, giving the impression that the display really occupies the entire front panel.
Both displays have a high level of color rendering, but Samsung wins here with full control over the color balance. On the other hand, the True Tone technology used in the iPhone automatically adjusts the color gamut to the lighting for the maximum user experience. Due to automation, this method is easier, but at the same time it means that even if you want to manually configure it, nothing will work.
As for the brightness, iPhone X definitely wins here.The minimum brightness of both displays is 2 nits, while the maximum brightness is 640 and 518 nits for iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8, respectively .
Interface and functionality
When comparing iOS and Android – a smartphone, it is difficult not to fall into eternal thoughts “which OS is better”. Instead of discussing the pros and cons of operating systems, let's turn to the distinctive features of the devices themselves.
For the Note 8, this is primarily the proprietary S Pen stylus. Its capabilities have increased significantly compared to Note 7. In particular, it became possible to draw quick notes directly on the turned off display. It also features the S Pen-compatible Bixby voice assistant. In addition, there is even a dedicated button to activate the assistant. While Bixby has some cool features, many users complain that they often accidentally press this button.
As for iPhone X, its uniqueness lies in the fact that it can be operated without any buttons, stylus or other input devices at all. It takes time to get used to it. If swiping from top to bottom to unlock can still be called intuitive, then swiping to the middle of the screen for multitasking will be a more difficult task. Surely in the early days this movement will not work the first time, but over time you can get a handle.
It is also worth paying attention to biometric scanners. For Apple, this is the previously mentioned Face ID, which uses a special TrueDepth camera with an infrared sensor (like in the Xbox Kinect) to recognize the user's face. In Galaxy, you can see several sensors at once. First of all, this is the usual fingerprint scanner, which is located on the back panel next to the camera. There is also an iris scanner – also quite an interesting technology, but less accurate and safe compared to development Apple.
Users note that in most cases, Face ID works correctly and quickly. A slight inconvenience is, perhaps, the need to swipe across the screen after the scanner is triggered to go to the desktop. At first it seems like an unnecessary procedure, but it is quite possible to get used to it. Samsung's system allows you to go to work immediately after a user has been identified. However, the scan itself takes a lot longer than Face ID and is easier to trick. Also, Galaxy cannot recognize people with glasses. Therefore, it is much faster and more convenient to use the fingerprint scanner. However, it is not easy to reach it due to its location.
Processor and memory
It makes sense that these flagship smartphones are equipped with top-end processors. Like most Android flagships of 2017, the Galaxy Note 8 received an 8-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (there is also a modification with the SamsungExynos chipset, but this article deals specifically with the modification with Snapdragon ). iPhone X has the latest processor from Apple called A11 Bionic. It is also used in the eighth generation iPhone.
Subjectively speaking, both chipsets are amazingly powerful for mobile devices and are ready to withstand almost any load – at least in everyday use. However, with the solid amount of data available (from benchmark results to manual battery life comparisons), it becomes clear that the advantage is on the side iPhone. In almost every existing test, the Note 8 shows more modest results.
The Galaxy Note 8 wins when it comes to RAM (6GB versus 3GB for iPhone X). However, the platforms that these devices run on have too many differences for dry numbers to reflect the real capabilities of these smartphones. One has only to take into account that, as in the case of processors, the amount of RAM is more than enough for both devices.
As for flash memory, the minimum volume in both cases is 64 GB – which is quite expected for flagships. And while iPhone X is only available in two variations (64GB and 256GB), the Note 8 offers more choices (there is an intermediate 128GB option) and, in addition, supports micro SD cards, which makes it the winner for this parameter.
The Galaxy Note 8 was the first smartphone to feature Samsung's dual camera setup. For Apple this is not the first generation of such modules, but the hardware has been improved compared to iPhone 7 Plus. The systems have a lot in common: the modules in both cases are 12-megapixel (one telephoto and one wide-angle) and are equipped with an optical image stabilization system. The aperture is also practically the same. However, similar characteristics do not mean that these models are photographed in the same way.
The front cameras have more differences. The Note 8 has an 8-megapixel autofocus module, while the iPhone X has a 7-megapixel TrueDepth, which uses a 3D face scanner while shooting.
While the fact that the companies refer to the cameras in a smartphone as wide-angle or telephoto doesn't mean they are the same, the viewing angles of the main cameras iPhone of the X and Galaxy Note 8 are quite similar, which makes comparison much easier.
In Auto mode, the Note 8 shots have slightly less contrast than iPhone X. As a result, the Note 8's colors come out more natural, while on iPhone X they are brighter and the edges objects stand out more. In general, it is difficult to say which one is better – it is more a matter of the preferences of the person who photographs.
Apple iPhone X:
Samsung Galaxy Note 8:
HDR works well in both cases, but iPhone X handles overexposed areas (like bright skies) better, while the Note 8 does better with shadows. Both devices use a second module to blur the background with bokeh effect, but there are also unique features. In particular, iPhone X offers a special portrait mode with the ability to get rid of the background, and the Note 8 camera allows you to change the subject of focus after the photo has been taken.
It's worth noting that iPhone X offers portrait mode not only for the main camera, but also for the front camera, which is a rarity in itself. It's worth noting that the front-facing camera does an amazingly good job at this. In general, Samsung's efforts are noticeable, but Portrait Lighting is easier and more convenient to use for any user without much knowledge of photography.
Samsung offers a variety of video modes on the Note 8, including both regular clips and those optimized for the super-wide screen of your smartphone. While iPhone X has a more modest choice of mode, it beats the competitor in technical parameters thanks to the ability to shoot in 4K at 60 fps.
Apple iPhone X:
Samsung Galaxy Note 8:
The Note 8 features faster manual focusing on close subjects, while the iPhone X focuses faster on farther subjects. The sound is clear enough in both cases, but on the Note 8 it comes out slightly louder.
The screens of both smartphones look great, there are no problems when watching videos in high definition. But the sound quality is radically different.
The Note 8's built-in speakers sound good – but not until you start comparing them to iPhone X. In addition to the iPhone's stereo speakers delivering significantly richer and more immersive sound, timbre also plays an important role.
However, the Note 8 has the big advantage of a headphone port. Although users iPhone often listen to music through the headphones that come with the kit, being able to choose and not doom yourself to constantly wearing an adapter from 3.5 jack to Lightning is expensive. True, this is only relevant if you continue to use wired headphones.
Neither iPhone X nor the Note 8 have any pronounced defects when it comes to audio or video quality. In general, this is less than what you would expect from a $ 1,000 smartphone, but this point still deserves a mention when it comes to a phone.
Optimizing battery consumption has always been a challenge for manufacturers. This is not surprising, given that top-end hardware is usually also the most energy-intensive. A special “item of expenditure” in this case is OLED – displays that both models are equipped with.
Smartphones from Apple have never had a large battery capacity, so the 2,700 mAh in iPhone X is more than worthy within the range. The Note 8 has a bigger battery – at 3,300 mAh. It would seem that the Note 8 wins in the battery comparison, but do not forget that these flagships differ in screen size, processor and operating system.
In a custom battery test iPhone, the X lasted more than 8 and a half hours, while the Galaxy Note 8 did not last even eight. While both new products support wireless charging technology, it's more interesting to see how long it takes to charge them from 0 to 100% the good old wired method. The adapters included in the kit were used for the test.
The Note 8 charges almost twice as fast: 102 minutes versus 189 minutes for iPhone X. Given the Note 7's battery fiasco, it's nice to see how much bug-fixing has been done in this generation.
Both models justify their cost and, although they have a number of characteristic features, are an excellent solution both in terms of performance and camera quality, usability and adapted software.
It's hard to talk about any of these devices as a bargain. You buy a premium device anyway at the appropriate price. At the same time, a large part of the cost goes to an attractive design and a couple of unique features like TrueDepth in iPhone or S Pen in Galaxy. If you just like smartphones Apple or Samsung, it makes sense to pay attention to the Galaxy S8 or iPhone 8. So you will not only get an excellent smartphone with the latest hardware and the coveted logo, but also save tens of thousands of rubles.
The Note 8 and iPhone X, in turn, are aimed at super-fans who need to have a smartphone with features that are not available in other price categories. And there is nothing wrong with that – after all, each of us has different requirements for a smartphone.
In most cases, the choice ultimately comes down to the operating system: do you like iOS or Android better? If we sum up the comparison points described above, it turns out that the advantages of the Note 8 include the S Pen stylus, slightly more realistic color reproduction when taking photos with the main camera and much faster charging when using the included adapter. iPhone X features superior performance, more attractive and ergonomic design, good battery life, quality built-in speakers and comfortable one-handed use.
By the way, we have already compared the anniversary iPhone with the Google Pixel 2 XL. If you are interested in such comparison articles, be sure to write about it in the comments. Interested in the pros and cons of specific devices? This can also be indicated – we will definitely listen to all wishes.