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Thursday, September 13, 2018
Apple iPhone Xs Max Versus Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Apple on Wednesday introduced its largest-ever smartphone Wednesday, the iPhone Xs Max. With a 6.5-inch screen and prices starting at $1,099, it is competing with the 6.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Compared side-by-side, the two devices obvliously have many similarities but some notable differences are under the hood.

In terms of weight, Samsung's Note 9 is the lighter of the two phones, weighing 201 grams compared to Apple's 208 grams. But the iPhone is about 13 percent thinner, since it lacks a stylus -- the Galaxy Note 9 has room to store the S Pen i its chassis. Speaking of the S Pen, it is actually an importand feature for the Note 9, allowing for handwriting, annotation, and precise navigation around the Note's interface. Apple is only offering such a pen with some iPads.

In addition, the Note 9 does not have any "notch" - the small cut-out that typically huses the front-facing camera and other sensors. Met in many Android devices, it also part of the iPhone Xs Max's design. Such a notch was also featured in the iPhone X.

In terms of displays, each device uses a variation of the same screen technology OLED -- OLED for the iPhone Xs Max and AMOLED for the Note 9. Apple claims the displays offer a 60% improvement in dynamic range compared to the iPhone X. XS Max's display is the largest to appear in an iPhone to date with 3.3 million pixels at 458 ppi (2688x1242). Samsung's 6.4-inch AMOLED has a resolution of 2960x1440, 516ppi.

Apple and Samsung's models both include two camera lenses to the rear one wide-angle, one telephoto - which capture pictures at a resolution of 12 megapixels. The setup lets users take sharp pictures from greater distances, or create the bokeh effect - a blurred background effect. In terms of software, everyone claims that their software and image processing technologies will produce better results. Apple has put some effort into improving the bokeh effect in Portrait Mode and now allows for post-capture adjustment of depth-of-field for stills in the native camera app. A new Smart HDR mode is also available in the new Apple device. When a moving subject is detected, the camera will buffer four frames pre-capture for a "zero shutter lag" effect. An image signal processor works with the device's CPU to analyze scenes and do a better job of isolating Portrait Mode subjects. Apple says the camera captures secondary interframes at different exposures to capture highlight and shadow detail, analyzes the information and merges it into one image.

Biometric security has risen to become a major selling point for smartphones. Samsung has continued to use fingerprint sensors along with options such as iris scanning and facial recognition to secure its devices. But Apple has gone all-in on its Face ID advanced facial-based authentication, and disposed of its Touch ID system and associated hardware button. The iPhone system presents a single solution to biometric security, and the technology has proven itself to be effective and accurate. Apple says the iPhone Xs Max will recognize faces faster that its previous products.

The Note 9 is capabkle of becoming a "PC," although it runs Android. Using a cable, the device can be connected to a monitor and run desktop applications as would be expected on a laptop.

But both Apple and Samsung's flagships contain cutting-edge silicon, with impressive specifications. Apple is using the newly-designed A12 chip, while Samsung uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. A comparison between the two chips is hard, at least for now, but the vast majority of users will not notice significant differences in speed and computing power.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 starts at $1,000, while Apple's iPhone Xs Max will cost $1,099. And of course, higher memory storage capacity options will push these prices even higher. Outside the U.S., the prices are further increased.

In the UK, the iPhone XS Max costs 1,099, 1,249 or 1,449. The numbers are the same as the dollar prices in the U.S., but since the British pound is worth quite a bit more than the dollar, the difference is significant.

For example, the fully tricked out iPhone XS Max costs $1,890 - a staggering $441 difference.

Interestingly, in Singapore, the price for the 512GB iPhone XS Max is 2,349 Singapore dollars or $1711, making the difference only $262. In Australia, the 512GB iPhone XS Max costs 2,369 AUD or $1,703, a $254 difference.

  Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Apple iPhone XS Max


  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, 2.7GHz, 1.7GHz, Octa-Core, 10 nm LPP (in the U.S., Canada, China, Japan and Latin America)
  • Samsung Exynos 9810 SoC, Octa-Core, 2.9GHz Exynos M3 + 1.9GHz, Cortex-A55, 10 nm LPP (rest of the world)
  • 7nm A12 Bionic chip
    Next-generation Neural Engine
  • 6.4-inch dual edge Super AMOLED
  • 2960 x 1440 (Quad HD+)
  • 16M color depth
  • Super Retina HD display
  • 6.5-inch all-screen OLED
  • Multi-Touch display
  • HDR display
  • 2688x1242 pixel resolution at 458 ppi
    1,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • 625 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
Splash and water resistance IP68 Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 2 meters up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
Pen support Yes (Remote Control) No

Main camera

  • Resolution: 12.0 MP + 12.0 MP
  • F Number: F1.5/F2.4 (Dual Aperture) , F2.4
  • Auto Focus: Yes
  • Flash: Yes
  • Video Recording Resolution: UHD 4K (3840 x 2160)@60fps
  • Slow Motion: 960fps @HD, 240fps @FHD

Rear Camera

  • OIS: Yes
  • Zoom: Optical Zoom at 2x , Digital
  • Zoom up to 10x

Front Camera

  • Resolution: 8.0 MP
  • F Number: F1.7
  • Auto Focus: Yes
  • Dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras
  • Wide-angle: f/1.8 aperture
  • Telephoto: f/2.4 aperture
  • 2x optical zoom; digital zoom up to 10x
  • Dual optical image stabilization
  • Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync

TrueDepth Camera

  • 7MP camera
  • f/2.2 aperture
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • Cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p)
  • Retina Flash
  • Auto image stabilization
  • RAM: 6/8 (GB)
  • ROM Size: 128/512 (GB)
  • External Memory: MicroSD (Up to 512GB)
ROM: 64/ 256/ 512 GB
  • Number of SIM: Dual-SIM
  • SIM size: Nano-SIM (4FF)
  • SIM Slot Type: SIM 1 + Hybrid (SIM or MicroSD)
  • 2G GSM: GSM850, GSM900, DCS1800, PCS1900
  • 3G UMTS: B1(2100), B2(1900), B4(AWS), B5(850), B8(900)
  • 3G TD-SCDMA: B34(2010), B39(1880)
  • 4G FDD LTE: B1(2100), B2(1900), B3(1800), B4(AWS), B5(850), B7(2600), B8(900), B12(700), B13(700), B17(700), B18(800), B19(800), B20(800), B25(1900), B26(850), B28(700), B32(1500), B66(AWS-3)
  • 4G TDD LTE: B38(2600), B39(1900), B40(2300), B41(2500)

Model A1920

FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 66, 71)
TD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46)
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

Model A1921

FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 66, 71)
TD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46)
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

All models

Gigabit-class LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA4

  • ANT+: Yes
  • USB Interface: USB Type-C
  • USB Version: USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Location Technology: GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo
  • Earjack: 3.5mm Stereo
  • MHL: No
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MU-MIMO,1024-QAM
  • Wi-Fi Direct: Yes
  • Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth v5.0 (LE up to 2 Mbps)
  • NFC: Yes
  • PC Sync.: Smart Switch (PC version)


  • Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
  • Digital compass
  • Wi-Fi
  • Cellular
  • iBeacon microlocation
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
  • NFC with reader mode


OS Android iOS12
Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor

Face ID
Three-axis gyro
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor


Dimensions 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm
Weight 201 g 208 g
  • 4000 mAh
  • Internet Usage Time(3G) (Hours): Up to 14
  • Internet Usage Time(LTE) (Hours): Up to 16
  • Internet Usage Time(Wi-Fi) (Hours): Up to 17
  • Video Playback Time (Hours): Up to 20
  • Standard Battery Capacity (mAh): 4000
  • Removable: No
  • Audio Playback Time (Hours): Up to 59
  • Audio Playback Time (Hours, Always On Display Off): Up to 95
  • Talk Time (3G WCDMA) (Hours): Up to 29
  • Talk time (wireless): Up to 25 hours
  • Internet use: Up to 13 hours
  • Video playback (wireless): Up to 15 hours
  • Audio playback (wireless): Up to 65 hours
  • Fast-charge capable: Up to 50% charge 30 minutes
  • Wireless charging (works with Qi chargers)
  • Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
Audio and video
  • Stereo Support: Yes
  • Video Playing Format: MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM
  • Video Playing Resolution: UHD 4K (3840 x 2160)@120fps
  • Audio Playing Format:


  • Audio formats supported: AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2, Protected AAC, MP3, Linear PCM, Apple Lossless, FLAC, Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), and Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+)
  • Wider stereo playback
  • User-configurable maximum volume limit
  • Video formats supported: HEVC, H.264, MPEG-4 Part 2, and Motion JPEG
  • High Dynamic Range with Dolby Vision and HDR10 content
  • AirPlay Mirroring, photos, and video out to Apple TV (2nd generation or later)
  • Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p through Lightning Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter

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