To celebrate 10 years of the iPhone, this week Apple announced the special anniversary edition, the iPhone X. Considering it comes with an eye-wateringly high price tag, let’s see how it stacks up, specs-wise, with its main competitor, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Tipping the scales at 174 g, the iPhone X is a little on the heavy side as far as phones go, but you won’t exactly strain a muscle lifting it to your ear.
While Apple sticks to classy, understated shades of gray and silver, Samsung offers a little more color, with gold and blue options.
For the first time in a few generations, the iPhone X is backed with glass, but this time it isn’t purely a stylistic choice: it’s there to allow the device to be wirelessly charged. The Galaxy phones also use glass front and back, framed with aluminum.
A rating of IP67 means that the iPhone X is completely dust-tight, and can withstand immersion in water to a depth of 1 m for 30 minutes. The Galaxy S8’s IP68 means it can, theoretically, survive that long down to 1.5 m. In practice, while you still shouldn’t take them swimming, both phones should survive any quick, accidental dunks in a pool or bathtub.
The iPhone X has the same decent-sized screen as the Galaxy S8.
Samsung makes better use of that space though, with the Galaxy S8 cramming in 570 pixels per inch, compared to the iPhone X’s 458 ppi. That gives the Galaxy a higher resolution of 2960 x 1440.
Apple has finally ditched the IPS LCD screen in favor of OLED, which should provide deeper blacks and brighter colors. Samsung has been calling its displays “Super AMOLED” since 2010, and it mostly means the switching on and off of pixels happens faster.
The fingerprint sensor has also been muscled off the front of both phones by the screen. Samsung has moved that sensor to the back of the Galaxy, while Apple has done away with the function altogether, in favor of unlocking the device via facial recognition.
Apple is positioning “Face ID” as the key selling point of the iPhone X, but the Galaxy S8 and S8+ can already be unlocked with a quick face scan too. Apple’s tech seems to be more advanced, taking a full 3D scan into account, while Samsung’s system can apparently be fooled by a photo.
The Galaxy phones are powered by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon processors, while the iPhone X (along with the 8 and 8 Plus) is running Apple’s newest chip, which it calls the A11 Bionic. For the first time, the A11 has an integrated GPU, which is designed to boost the device’s graphical grunt for games and enable machine learning.
Both phones come with a generous 64 GB of onboard storage space as standard, but for an extra US$150 iPhone users can up that to 256 GB.
Apple has caught up with its competitors and offers the option for fast charging. But there’s a catch: it can only do so with a separate USB-C adapter, not wirelessly or through the Lightning port.
Both phones have the option for wireless charging, but only with separately-purchased accessories.
In sheer megapixel count, the cameras on the Galaxy phones have the iPhone beat, but Apple’s front-facing camera, dubbed TrueDepth, can sense faces in 3D dimensions, and has a few other nifty tricks up its sleeve.
Apple is pushing the iPhone X as a premium product, meaning it’s a bit pricier than Samsung’s offerings, to the tune of US$1,149 for the 256 GB model.