The day is upon us folks. Samsung finally launched the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Now that the pair are official, it’s time to take a look at how well they stack up against existing flagship smartphones, available in the market. The first thing which comes to most folks’ mind is: How well do the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ stack up against Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus? Well, we wondered the same thing. So, if you want to know which top-tier gadget lineup has more to offer, take a look below for the details.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Vs Galaxy S9+ Vs Apple iPhone 8 Vs iPhone 8 Plus Vs iPhone X; Specifications, Features, Design And Other Details Compared
This year, Samsung makes some pretty impressive upgrades on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. The Korean tech giant focuses almost exclusively on the lineup’s rear cameras; equipping them with a lot of new and interesting features. However, if we remove camera improvements from the equation, then little has changed over the year on Samsung’s flagship smartphone. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the details.
All three of Apple’s 2017 iPhones are performance powerhouses. They feature the company’s A11 processor, made on TSMC’s first generation 10nm process. The A11 features six cores, the most out of any of Apple’s processors. Four of these are the low performance Mistral cores and two are the high performance Monsoon cores. The A11 is a truly unique processor which is able to run all six cores when the need arises. This, is one of the reasons all of Apple’s 2017 iPhones top computing scores for any benchmark thrown at them.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845. The processor features 4xKryo Gold and 4xKryo Silver cores, clocked at 2.8 and 1.8GHz respectively. A new addition on the Snapdragon 845 is a brand new 2MB L3 cache. This results in efficient transfer between individual cores, and decreases overall latency for the processor. However, in terms of pure compute performance, Apple’s iPhone lineup takes the clear lead. While this conclusion is not concrete right now, it will follow through once adequate testing is carried out for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.
Moving towards GPU, the Apple A11 carries a custom Apple made GPU – for the first time in the lineup’s history. The A11 features a 3 core GPU, which Apple claims improves performance by up to 30% over its predecessor. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at the other hand, are powered with the Adreno 630. The GPU will raise the bar in graphics performance.
The Adreno 630 is Qualcomm’s first major GPU architectural upgrade over the past couple of years. According to Qualcomm, it offers 30% improved graphics performance and power reductions. The GPU also offers 2.5x improved throughput. When pitted against the three iPhones, only the iPhone X manages to beat the Adreno 630 – for one test. Apple’s custom GPU throttles down on performance when the iPhones heat up, which results in consistent lead by the Adreno 630.
Display & Design:
Talking about aesthetics, we will only compare the Galaxy S9 smartphones and the iPhone X. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus follow Apple’s design language debuted on the iPhone 6 lineup. Both the iPhone X and the Galaxy S9s have an edge to edge display. The iPhone X takes the war against bezels to the extreme, only featuring an absolutely necessary notch at the top. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ on the other hand further reduce top and bottom bezel height over their predecessors.
Material wise, the iPhone X and Galaxy S9 lineup feature glass on their back. Their sides are of metal. Aesthetically, it’s a matter of personal preference to declare which smartphone is better. But, in our opinion, Apple takes the ball away from Samsung. The iPhone X’s form flows smoothly throughout, with no component looking out-of-place. The Galaxy S9 lineup follow on Samsung’s earlier devices, with rear cameras placed in the center. This takes away continuity, leaving for a rather obtrusive looking notch. However, since Samsung also includes a fingerprint sensor, you’ll find that the company does its best, as always.
Moving towards the displays, we might find out more once device tear-downs are available. Last year, Samsung equipped the Galaxy S8 with a Y-Octa display. It’s sibling, the larger S8+ did not feature Y-Octa, opting for a thicker configuration. Samsung did not equip the Note8 with it either, which is interesting. Will the Galaxy S lineup finally debut it? The company didn’t make much fuss about it at its keynote; so overall probability is quite slim.
On paper, we will once again compare only the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+. Out of the five devices, these are the only ones with an OLED display. Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus feature LCD panels, with an approximate 67% display to body ratio. The iPhone X has a 2436×1125, OLED Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. It has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, making for a taller grip than the one on Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Samsung’s smartphones lead in pixels, featuring pixel densities of 570ppi and 529ppi on the pair, respectively. Apple is quiet on details for the iPhone X’s front glass. The Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+ feature Gorilla glass 5.
This year’s keynote from Samsung focused heavily on rear cameras. Samsung caught up with a lot of folks, paying much overdue attention towards the pair’s photography. The big upgrade is a variable aperture sensor. Samsung is looking to catch up with Google, using hardware tools. While the latter’s strength is software; Samsung is still the strongest smartphone manufacturer in terms of pure hardware manufacturing and design resources available. This, shows on the S9 lineup’s rear camera.
Samsung’s ISOCELL Fast 2L3 is a 3 stack CMOS image sensor, allowing Samsung to catch up with Sony. The Japanese corporation announced its IMX400 last year at the MWC. CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensors perform a photon to voltage conversion, making them more efficient when compared against CCD (analog) sensors. Samsung attached a 2 Gigabit LPDDR4 RAM underneath the sensor’s analog logic layer. This allows it to ‘retain’ input for a longer timeframe; which contributes to Super Slo-Mo, allowing the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ to record 720p at a mind bending 960fps; similar to Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium.
Apple’s iPhone X features a stacked dual camera setup, with 12+12MP resolution and f/1.5+f/2.4 aperture sizes. It does not feature 960fps recording or variable apertures. On the other hand, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ can ‘choose’ between a f/1.5 or f/2.4 aperture width. This will vastly improve low light results. To conclude, out of our five devices, the Galaxy S9+ comes in first place, and the Galaxy S9 second. \iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 8 follow them in order. The three iPhones can record 720p at 240fps; allowing a lot of room for improvement.
Storage, Battery And Miscellaneous:
Since Apple’s three iPhones feature only single SIM capability, they are limited to 64GB and 256GB variants. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ feature 64/128/256GB variants. More importantly, dual SIM variants also carry support for Micro SD storage, with similar capacities as in last year’s Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8+. For battery capacity, our ranking puts the Galaxy S9+ at the top. The smartphone features a 3500mAh cell, 500mAh more than the Galaxy S9’s. In third place it’s the iPhone X, with a 2791mAh power pack. Of course, actual performance always gives Apple an edge; its hardware with software integration allows for more efficient usage.
Concluding with pricing and color options, the 256GB iPhone X is still the most expensive smartphone out of the three. To make things easier, we will only use retail prices for our comparison. The iPhone X costs $999 for the 64GB and $1149 for the 256GB variant. The Galaxy S9 starts at $719 and the Galaxy S9+ at $839. The iPhone 8 has a starting price of $699 and $849 for the 256GB variant. The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $749, with a $949 price tag for the 256GB variant.
So, verdict? If you’re going for strong camera upgrades only, choose the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. If compute is on your mind, the iPhones are a better choice. However, if you’re a gamer, then the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have the best GPU hardware hands-down. Design wise, Apple wins with the iPhone X, but shelving out $1000 for it is still an overkill. Both the S9s are well-rounded smartphones, which can not disappoint. Otherwise, Samsung would not be able to raise prices! Thoughts? Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned. We’ll keep you updated on the latest.
*IMAGE courtesy of Conventor.
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