Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X - which is better?

Apple vs Samsung

In the market for a new phone, but don’t want to pay over the odds for the latest handset? 2018’s Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X are well worth a look. We put the two phones through their paces to find out which one is worth your money.

Each year, flagship smartphones get more and more expensive.

This, coupled with the fact that manufactures are using elaborate tech to justify their handsets' hefty price tags, means consumers are being asked to pay in excess of a thousand pounds for the latest flagship phone.

Fortunately, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the iPhone X can still be called cutting-edge smartphones, and you can pick them up for less than the newest flagship handset.

Question is: how do the two stack up against each other?

Let’s take a look…

What’s the difference?

iPhone X and Galaxy S9 side by side

The most notable difference is price.

Right now, you can get the iPhone X online for around £700, and the Samsung Galaxy S9 for about £500.

Impressively, both phones are virtually bezel-less, with the iPhone X sporting a cut-out area at the top of its screen, and the S9 retaining the same sophisticated design as its predecessor.

iPhone X side view

They both have sleek glass backs too, as well as improved cameras, fast-charging capabilities, and enhanced battery life.

Partly due to design, and partly down to security, Apple and Samsung have omitted the home buttons on the X and the S9 - freeing up space to equip them with large screens, without supersizing the dimensions of the phones themselves.

This will be a downer for some. But for us, the more screen real estate the better.

Design

To be honest, we love the look of both these phones.

Indeed, the first of Apple’s iPhone range to feature an all-glass back, the X - or ten - looks every bit the high-end smartphone.

And like its predecessor, the Galaxy S9 also touts a smooth glass back, giving it the kind of elegant finish we’ve come to expect from Samsung phones over the years.

That said, although a glass back does give the devices their X-factor, the one downside is that out of the box they become magnets for fingerprints. We don’t recommend you take either phone to the chip shop with you.

You get four color options with the S9 (Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple and Titanium Gray) and two with the iPhone X (Space Grey and Silver).

Samsung Galaxy S9 lineup

Winner: We can’t call this one – both phones look stunning. It’s a tie.

Camera

As you’d expect, both cameras have a lot to offer.

First off, let’s look at the Galaxy S9:

It’s got a 12-megapixel front-facing snapper that captures twelve different photos simultaneously, then combines them into a single shot.

Similarly, the iPhone X touts a dual 12-megapixel wide angle and 12-megapixel telephoto camera at the back, while a 7-megapixel lens sits at the front.

iPhone X roof garden shot

A snap from the roof garden with the iPhone X

In terms of features, we’re big fans of the iPhone X ‘s Portrait Lighting, which lets you manipulate lighting effects once you’ve taken a photo. This gives each shot an added look of a professionalism.

By contrast, the S9’s variable aperture lens can switch between f1.5 and f2.4, allowing for much sharper pictures in low light.

In addition, the camera on the S9 also boasts Super Slow-Mo video, which lets you record clips at up to 960 frames per second. The same feature on the iPhone X can do only 240fps.

Samsung S9 sweet jars

Colours pop on the Galaxy S9's 12-megapixel camera

Winner: The Samsung Galaxy S9 wins this one.

Screen

Both OLED screens clock in at 5.8 inches.

Difference is the S9’s super AMOLED is 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution, compared to the iPhones 2436 x 1125 display. And when watching a show on Netflix, you really see the benefit of those extra pixels.

Yes, both displays are clear and striking, but images on the S9 pop a little more than they do on the X.

Moreover, the iPhone X’s slightly intrusive notch makes watching Netflix or Amazon Prime a bit frustrating - or at least not as smooth a viewing experience as you’ll get with the S9.

iPhone X screen promotional shot

Winner: It was a close one, but the S9 just pips it here.

Battery life and performance

Under the X’s sleek exterior sits Apple’s beefy, A11 bionic chipset.
Meanwhile, the S9 has opted for Samsung’s impressive 10nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor – also known as the Snapdragon 835 – to power the phones impressive specs and features.

To be honest, both chipsets are excellent. And we can’t find much to set the two apart.

In terms of battery life, though, we do have a clear winner.

The Galaxy S9’s hefty 3000mAh battery easily provides enough juice to last the whole day. But with its 2,716 battery, the iPhone falls a little behind.

We were also genuinely impressed with the S9’s brilliant fast-charging capabilities, which recovers almost 40% battery in just thirty minutes.

Winner: S9 takes this one – the fast charging is excellent, and we always appreciate a bigger battery.

Software

The iPhone X contains iOS V11, and the Samsung Galaxy S9 with Android v8.0 (Oreo).

Which one you choose is down to personal taste.

To be honest, having owned both Android and iPhone over the years, I found the iPhone’s interface just that little bit easier to navigate. Though both are pretty seamless, really.

Winner: iPhone X – it’s a little smoother to use.

Overall winner

It was close, but we're giving the win to the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Yes, the iPhone is a brilliant smartphone and, to be honest, there’s not a whole lot between the two. But for us, the S9 snatches the win because of some subtle, but important, differences.

It’s got a better camera, superb fast charging capabilities and an elegant design.

In short, it does everything you’d expect from a good smartphone, but costs less than newer models.

What more could you ask for?