News: iPhone XS Max vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: The Best of the Best

iPhone XS Max vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: The Best of the Best

The ongoing war between Apple and Samsung fans will rage on once again. With the release of the iPhone XS Max, Apple has presented a stronger adversary for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, released earlier. Both stack up well against each other, providing two of the best experiences on their respective operating systems.

Now that Apple has joined Android in the 6-inch screen size space, there are no longer any glaring differences. Samsung is no longer better at consuming video by default because of its larger screen. Instead, they trade blows; each has some advantages over the other. The result is the two best phones on the market now and the best we've seen in years.


Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks


Samsung was aware of all the praise the iPhone X's display received, despite it being developed by Samsung. With the Galaxy Note 9, they went for near perfection, creating a screen that is not only 27% brighter than its predecessor, but 32% higher contrast as well, according to DisplayMate. Almost every aspect of the screen has improved, including color accuracy and the color shifts at steep viewing angles. The result is DisplayMate's highest grade of A+ and the award for the most accurate display ever tested.

Image by Apple/YouTube

The Galaxy Note 9 is equipped with a 6.4" Super AMOLED display. It doesn't have a display notch, but curves the screen on the left and right side. It has a 2960 x 1440p resolution, which allows it to manage a pixel density of 516 PPI.

Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

While we don't know how yet how the iPhone XS Max will fare in DisplayMate testing, we expect it to once again match the Galaxy Note 9 or best it. For one of the first times in the ongoing battle, Apple actually managed to beat Samsung in the display size, releasing the biggest screen on any iPhone at 6.5 inches. Like its competition, this is an OLED display that supports HDR. It is a Super Retina HD display (the same as the iPhone XS) and supports 3D Touch and True Tone.

Battery & Storage

Now that Samsung has put additional safety measures in place, they were finally able to increase the battery capacity of the Galaxy Note series. The result is the biggest battery on a Galaxy Note phone at 4,000 mAh. Even with its massive 6.4" display and 1440p resolution, this results in all-day battery and much more.

But as always, Apple has the advantage of controlling all aspects of their phone. With Apple creating the SoC and the OS, both parts are made in tandem. As a result, the power efficiency is maximized, resulting in longer battery life with a smaller battery capacity. While the exact battery capacity is unknown at this time, we can safely assume Apple once again managed to get more battery life on a less capacity.

As for storage, Samsung made a huge splash during their conference when they introduced a 512 GB variant. Coupled with a 512 GB microSD, the Galaxy Note 9 can hold up to 1 TB of storage. With such a large capacity, the Galaxy Note 9 could double as an external hard drive to back up your files.

Not to be outdone, Apple has also introduced a 512 GB internal storage variant as well, for a whopping $1,449. However, the iPhone XS Max doesn't support microSD, so there's no way to expand this storage. But for those who don't need that much storage, there are 64 GB and 256 GB options, while the Galaxy Note 9 only has one smaller storage tier at 128 GB.

Rear Cameras

First introduced in the Galaxy S9+, Samsung brought its dual rear camera array with variable aperture to the Galaxy Note 9. The primary lens has the ability to automatically (and manually) adjust its aperture to let more or less light in for the picture. The second lens is a telephoto lens, providing up to 2x optical zoom for distant shots. Both camera sensors are 12 MP.

Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

The iPhone XS Max has a similar dual camera setup, with two 12 MP lenses as well. The layout is similar with an ƒ/1.8 wide-angle lens and an ƒ/2.4 telephoto lens that provides 2x optical zoom. However, new with the iPhone XS Max (and iPhone XS and XR) comes Depth Control. After taking the photo, you can adjust the depth of field on your phone, modifying the image. The result can be a more detail or blurred background when taking portrait mode photos.

Image by Apple/YouTube


Unlike some the other models in either lineup, the pricing between the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9 is close. The iPhone XS Max is $100 more expensive at $1099.99 compared to the Note 9's $999.99 price tag. However, with most people probably financing these devices, the $100 is negligible, effectively making this a tie.

Image via Apple


These are the best two phones you can get right now on either side of the pond. Neither phone has much that the other doesn't, trading blows in most categories. Honestly, compared to some prior years, it's a toss-up. Whichever operating system you prefer will probably be what ultimately leads to your decision.

iPhone XS and XS Max. Image by Engadget/YouTube

What do you think about iPhone XS Max? Are you Team Galaxy or Team iPhone? Is there any feature from one that you wish was on the other? Let us know in the comments below.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new emoji, enhanced security, podcast transcripts, Apple Cash virtual numbers, and other useful features. There are even new additions hidden within Safari. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.4 update.

Cover image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks and Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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