Samsung vs. Apple: Galaxy Note 10+ vs iPhone XS Max

Galaxy Note 10+ vs iPhone XS Max

Every fall, we can expect a few things: leaves changing colors, cooler temperatures, and Samsung and Apple releasing new phones that fanboys and fangirls will argue about until the following year. This year, Samsung is mixing it up, releasing two phones in the Galaxy Note series. Let's see how the larger phones compare.

Samsung released both the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ in 2019. Besides the distinct differences in size, there are some changes. Unlike the Galaxy S10 variants, these aren't a carbon copy of each other with only differences in screen size. Instead, the Galaxy Note 10+ is more like a pro version. Here, you will find the best Samsung has to offer. And at least based on specs, it is a compelling offering.

We know a lot of you are deciding which phone to get. Do I stay with the brand I know or make the jump to the other mobile operating system? Each phone has some advantages over the other. After some analysis (including some hands-on), here is our recommendation.

Comparison Chart

Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

This one is a blowout, so it's really simple: If you want the better phone, get the Galaxy Note 10+. There's really no comparing the two, at least on paper. However, if you're hell-bent on getting an Apple device, we'd recommend waiting a couple of months for the successor to the iPhone XS Max, which should be more competitive.

Having said all of that, let's take a look at what each of the best big phones from Apple and Samsung brings to the table.

Why You Should Go with the Galaxy Note 10+

The Galaxy Note 10+ is a better phone for media consumption. For one, it doesn't have a notch. Instead, it uses Samsung's Infinity-O display, which makes a punch-hole sized cut in the display for the front-facing camera. It has a larger screen at 6.8 inches and a higher resolution at 3040 x 1440. Even with its large screen, it still manages to have a higher pixel density at 498 ppi.

A weakness in the past for Samsung has been fast charging. Where other Android phones pushed the boundaries of their chargers by adding more power, Samsung has been pretty conservative (probably to avoid a Galaxy Note 7 fiasco). Well, Samsung finally got the message. The Galaxy Note 10+ supports fast-charging up to 45 W, a power not only much faster than iPhone XS Max, but one of the fastest on the market. You do need to spend $60 to use this charger as it is not included in the box. However, it does contain 25 W fast charger, which is 10 W faster than the iPhone XS Max is capable of using any charger.

Image by MKBHD/YouTube

Wireless charging also got a boost. Last year, the Galaxy Note 9 was already able to use higher power Qi chargers up to 15 W. This year, Samsung further increased the gap by bumping power to 20 W. For context, that's faster than Apple's fastest wired charger.

If you love to take photos (or videos), the Galaxy Note 10+ has plenty of options. The phone's rear cameras include a wide-angle, telephoto lens (up to 2x optical zoom), an ultrawide lens, and a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor. Only the ToF isn't available to shoot directly from, although the sensor does activate for portrait shots to decipher the depth of an object accurately. You can shoot video from each lens (except for the ToF sensor), with support for slow-motion video up to 960 fps at 720p.

Image by MKBHD/YouTube

Why You Should Go with the iPhone XS Max

The main advantage of the iPhone XS Max is the Apple A12 Bionic SoC. This is the best CPU performance you can get on a smartphone. While its GPU performance does lag a bit behind the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ included in the Galaxy Note 10+, its optimization for the operating system more than make up for it.

For biometrics, Face ID is technically more accurate than a fingerprint scanner, even the in-display scanner included in the Galaxy Note 10. Using it is a breeze and helps spare your cold hands when trying to unlock your phone outside. These sensors also help with the front-facing camera, which leverages the data to improving tracking, depth mapping, and AR performance.

Image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

Finally, there's the price. The MSRP is the same as the Note 10+, but you can find new in-box iPhone XS Max deals for as much as $100 less. While this isn't much, it does make a difference when financing, as it can be the difference between a monthly rate that's within your budget and one that's just above it. It also lets you use the extra $100 for accessories like a case or a USB-PD charger and Lightning to USB-C cable since the fast charging power brick isn't included by default.

Image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks and MKBHD/YouTube

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