Now that Apple has officially announced the iPhone X, it’s about time for consumers to know which is better between the all-new iOS 11-running handset and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagship phone. Both devices are rocking edge-to-edge OLED displays, and they also seem to be very similar in more ways than one. But can Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone hold a candle to the South Korean giant’s Android powerhouse? Let’s find out. 

Design

This year marked the transition of Samsung and Apple to embracing a new design approach for their flagship smartphones. By moving away from the traditional bezel-sandwiched displays, these two have come up with head-turning almost all-screen handsets. But aside from having the same screen sizes, the specifications of the displays on their two flagship handsets are almost very identical. The newly announced iPhone X is sporting a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED screen that has an 1125 x 2436 screen resolution with 458 ppi pixel density. On the other hand, the Galaxy S8 comes equipped with a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display that has a 1440 x 2960 screen resolution and 570 ppi pixel density. The similarities should not come as a surprise considering that Samsung Display is the supplier of the iPhone X’s OLED panels.

Design-wise, the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone X look nothing alike. The former has a unique curved form factor thanks to its Infinity Display, while the latter still did not stray too far from the traditional iPhone. Worth noting is the difference in the implementation of their front bezels. The S8 still clearly has bezels at the top and the bottom, giving it a very symmetrical look. Meanwhile, Apple decided to get ride of side and bottom bezels and leave a curious strip atop the iPhone X. This strip is, of course, very essential for it houses the front-facing camera and the speaker. 

At the back, both phone makers opted to come up with clean panels that are only adorned by cameras and their logos. The Galaxy S8 has a single-lens camera on its back that comes with an LED flash. Adjacent to the camera module is the fingerprint sensor, whose placement has actually disappointed a lot of fans. Then not too far from the camera module is the “Samsung” brand. As for Apple’s new handset, it comes with a vertically aligned dual-lens camera module that also houses the LED flash. Also present on its rear is the Apple logo and the “iPhone” mark at the bottom. 

Samsung and Apple challenged the traditional smartphone construction this year by ditching front buttons just to make the screens stand out even more. In an attempt to all the more surprise consumers, the two tried to come up with display-embedded fingerprint sensors. Unfortunately, both did not make it on time for their launch events. In the absence of a screen-embedded fingerprint readers, Samsung and Apple focused their efforts on other components and features. 

Performance

There is always a lot of hullabaloo about processing power whenever Samsung and Apple launch new flagship phones. To be fair, it’s never easy to compare the flagship handsets they come up with in terms of performance due to the fact that they are using very different processors and software. This year is no different. Samsung chose Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC to power its Galaxy S8. Contrariwise, Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone houses an all new A11 Bionic chipset, which is the same processor Apple is using for the yearly updates iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. 

The Snapdragon 835 inside the S8 is currently the latest processor from Qualcomm. Comparing it with the previous Qualcomm chip, the 835 is said to be 35 percent smaller and uses 25 percent less power. Hence, it delivers longer battery life. On top of that, its Octa-core configuration of four 2.45 GHz and four 1.9 GHz Kryo chips is capable of supporting high quality VR and AR experiences, very advanced camera features and ultra-fast download speeds. The Galaxy S8 also comes with the Adreno 540 GPU that is perfect for demanding 3D games, as well as mobile VR and 4K displays. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to claim that the Galaxy S8 offers one of the most premium and high-end experiences an Android flagship could offer at the moment. 

When Apple unveiled the iPhone X this Tuesday, it also introduced the A11 Bionic CPU for its new smartphone. This chip is a Hexa-core processor, which is composed of four efficiency cores and two performance cores. The former cores are said to be up to 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion, which is powering last year’s iPhone 7 flagship handset. The additional two cores, on the other hand, contribute to the ultra-fast and very instantaneous performance of the iPhone X. Apple has also ensured a big leap from last year’s iPhones by bringing in an all-new Apple-designed three-core GPU that’s 30 percent faster than that of the A10 Fusion. 

Geekbench results of the Snapdragon 835 show its superiority above other processors of Android phones at the moment. The one powering the Galaxy S8 has gotten an impressive 1965 Single-Core rating and a 6495 Multi-Core rating. The Multi-Core score of the S8’s processor even tops the iPhone 7 Plus. However, it is no match for the latter when talking about the Single-Core scores alone, as pointed out by CNET. On paper, the A11 Bionic chip appears to be another formidable chipset from Apple. Still, it’s too early to tell if this is just as impressive as the Snapdragon 835, or if it easily crushes the Qualcomm chipset when it comes to processing power. It would take some time until official benchmark results for the A11 Bionic SoC inside the iPhone X could become available though, since the handset is not due for release until Nov. 3. 

Camera Technology

When it comes to camera technology, Apple has proven once again that it reigns supreme in this department. The 10th anniversary iPhone is packing a dual-camera setup that features 12-megapixel lenses. One lens has an f/1.8 aperture, while the other has an f/2.4 one. The module is equipped with phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization and quad-LED (dual tone) flash. The iPhone X’s back camera setup is capable of taking 2160p videos at 60fps and 1080p videos at 240fps. It also supports simultaneous 4K video and 8MP image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus and HDR.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8, unfortunately, lags far behind the iPhone X in terms of camera technology. The South Korean giant did not at all think of outfitting the S8 flagship with a dual-lens module. Instead, it only equipped the device with a 12-megapixel back camera that has an f/1.7 aperture, OIS, autofocus, LED flash, HDR, geo-tagging, touch focus, and support for simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording. It is capable of capturing 2160p videos but only at 30fps. Its 1080p video-taking capability also maxes out at 60fps. 

Up front, the two handsets come with very different cameras as well. The S8 has an 8-megapixel selfie snapper that has an f/1.7 aperture, autofocus and Auto HDR. It supports dual video call and is capable of taking 1440p videos at 30fps. Meanwhile, Apple is using a 7-megapixel front-facing lens for the iPhone X. This camera has an f/2.2 aperture and features HDR, panorama and face detection. It is capable of taking 1080p videos at 30fps and 720p videos at 240fps. 

Apple has always prided itself on having the best smartphone cameras, and it continues to do so this year. The American technology company claims its back camera setup takes outstanding photos and videos even in low light because of the dual OIS and fast lenses. The wide-angle and telephoto lenses also make it possible for the device to have optical zoom and digital zoom of up to 10 times for photos and six times for videos. It’s also important to note that the front camera on the iPhone X has depth-sensing technology for precise facial mapping for the Face ID biometric system of the new handset. 

Miscellaneous

Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple’s iPhone X are IP68 rated, which means they are dust-proof and water-proof for up to 1.5 meters of water provided they don’t stay there for more than 30 minutes. The S8 is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 both on the front and at the back, while the iPhone X has an ion-strengthened glass, oleophobic coating. Samsung’s flagship has an Always-on display and comes with 3D Touch technology for its screen-embedded home button. Meanwhile, the iPhone X has a True-tone display that is Dolby Vision and HDR10 compliant. Its screen features 3D Touch all over and not just on its home button. 

The newly unveiled iPhone X relies on Face ID for its biometric feature since it does not have a fingerprint reader. On the contrary, the Galaxy S8 has both a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and an iris scanner. Both handsets have accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors, barometers and compasses, but only the S8 has heart rate and SpO2 sensors. The Android 7.0 Nougat-running handset supports Samsung Pay, while the iOS 11-running device supports Apple Pay. Another difference between the two has to do with their voice assistants; the S8 has Bixby, while the iPhone X is still reliant on Siri for voice commands. Also, Samsung decided to keep the 3.5mm jack, while Apple ditched this universal feature starting with last year’s iPhones. 

The S8 has a non-removable Li-Ion 3,000 mAh battery, which is said to last up to almost 5 hours after average use, according to Trusted Reviews. Apple has yet to reveal the size of the iPhone X’s battery, but it is already promising two hours more than the battery life of the iPhone 7. Speaking of batteries, the two devices have support for wireless and fast battery charging, so users won’t have to worry about refueling their handsets.

Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone has 3GB of RAM and two storage options: 64GB and 256GB. As for Samsung’s flagship device, it has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory. The former does not have expandable storage, while the Samsung phone supports up to 256GB more of storage space via microSD. While the iPhone X is only available in Space Gray and Silver color options, the Galaxy S8 is available in five variants, namely: Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue and Maple Gold. 

Given all of these similarities and differences between the two, which do you think is the better one between the iPhone X and the Galaxy S8? Sound off in the comments below. 

iPhone X Apple has just announced its answer to Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the all-new iPhone X. Photo: Reuters/Stephen Lam