Galaxy Note 9 vs. iPhone X: Battle of the $1000 flagships

Samsung’s just announced the latest version of its biggest, most expensive phone in the Galaxy Note 9, and if you thought this new kid on the block would just step in and be king of the high-end smartphone community without proving itself, you were WRONG. It just so happens we know another $1000+ phone that might have something to say about it: the iPhone X. Easy now, iPhone..easy. You’ll get your turn. While we sort things out between the two of them, we figured we’d give you an in-depth first look at this match up.

Design and Display

Between the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 9, the differences are pretty stark. Although the Note 9 towers over the iPhone, it doesn’t completely dwarf it. The Note 9’s display is more than a half-inch larger measured diagonally, measuring in at 6.4 inches vs. the iPhone X’s 5.8, after all.

Of course, the next most prominent aesthetic difference is the notch. Seeing as how the Note 9 continues the design trend of super-slim bezels and no notches, the iPhone X’s optic-filled screen interruption now makes it look more plain compared to the Note 9, as notch-less devices become the minority and the Note 9 continues to be refined aesthetically.

In terms of screen technology, though, the iPhone X’s 1125 x 2436 OLED display compares well against the 1440 x 2960 AMOLED on the Galaxy Note 9 – they are, after all, made by the same manufacturer in Samsung. The Note may appear a bit more punched up and vibrant compared to the iPhone X, especially with the True-Tone feature enabled on the Apple device. Still, both have exceptional screens, with great color accuracy, but the iPhone X may display slightly more accurate hues compared to the Galaxy Note 9’s deep, popping colors – at least in their default screen modes.

Generally speaking, Samsung takes a squarer approach to the design of the Note 9 – even with the slightly more chamfered edges – mostly to fit the square shape of this extra-large display with as little bezels as possible. Both devices feel good in the hand due to their rounded sides, but naturally, the iPhone X, with its smaller size and perfectly rounded sides, as opposed to chamfered edges, has a more manageable and natural feeling in one-handed use. Both are substantial devices in terms of weight, weighing in at 6.14 ounces on the iPhone X and about 7 ounces on the Galaxy Note 9.

User Interface and Performance

The Android vs. iOS debate is as old as time, but these days the differences in speed and fluidity for day-to-day use is pretty negligible. Instead, the differences are now more related to the peripherals and experiences related to them. In this instance, this of course means the S-Pen.

Coming with a writing utensil that doubles as a remote control for your device is an evolution Apple has yet to match, even with the iPad line up. Obviously, you won’t find such an accessory with the iPhone X. Pair this with Samsung DeX, the Note 9’s ability to project a desktop experience to a secondary screen via an HDMI cable, and it’s clear that extensibility and built-in accessory power is a strength for which the iPhone X has no counter.

As mentioned, performance in regular navigation and use doesn’t seem to show much difference between the two. Benchmarks may show a slightly different story, but with either six or eight gigs of RAM and the Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 performs well against the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic silicon in preliminary testing. More extensive use will be helpful to get the full picture, but on the surface, performance is pretty even between the two.


Pound for pound, the cameras on these two devices stack up well; we expect a pretty tough fight when we do a more in-depth comparison. As far as specs go, we’re looking at a 12 MP telephoto camera paired with a 12 MP wide-angle shooter with variable apertures – f/1.5 and f/2.4 to be exact – on the Galaxy Note 9. Pretty serious hardware, no doubt. The iPhone X doesn’t play around either, though. For its dual-camera setup, the iPhone X pairs 12 MP sensors as well – one regular lens and one telephoto for 2-times zoom.

Both are highly-capable setups on paper, with dual-optical stabilization, and “portrait mode” bokeh features. We’ll of course have a more in-depth comparison of the cameras on these two flagships, but our early comparisons have some promising results. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can shoot scenes a bit warmer than the iPhone X does, but details on both are exceptionally sharp. The winner here may truly come down to personal preference, as not only can preferences in image composition be somewhat subjective at this high level, but the Note 9 offers more software tools for tweaking, as well – a factor which may result in better overall images in some instances. Still, with all settings on auto, the comparison is close, but we’ll attempt to get to the bottom of this once and for all in our full comparison. Stay tuned for our definitive answer to this heavy question, coming soon.


In the end, these are two tough phones to be stuck between, but we think the choices are pretty clear. The Galaxy Note is, by nature, a more versatile device, and Samsung has only expanded the Note’s versatility in the Note 9. The S-Pen has always been a separating factor, offering quick and useful note-taking features, and now graduating to a full-on, remote-control peripheral with the addition of Bluetooth connectivity – something for which the iPhone X has no answer. DeX, although not for everybody, is yet another example of this – extensibility and fun, and, to some, usefulness for which the iPhone, yet again, has no answer.

Still, the iPhone X, and most Apple devices, still enjoy broader native support in the technological wild. In other words, outside of its own proprietary ecosystem (Apple TV, MacBooks, etc.) the iPhone X still amasses more natively compatible devices, both small and large. This, however, doesn’t mean that any third- or first-party devices fill the feature gaps the Note 9 creates between itself and the iPhone X with features like the S-Pen and Samsung DeX.

Day-to-day performance would be the next measure, which preliminarily seems pretty close. This, coupled with real-world battery life results, and definitive camera comparisons may be the deciding factor for some, but if you want the best phablet experience around, the Note 9 might just take the crown.

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Note 9
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(29h 3G talk time)



1. Alcyone

Posts: 572; Member since: May 10, 2018

Being a Samsung it'll score no higher than a 8.9; even if it can match or beat an X in any category.

4. jellmoo

Posts: 2660; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

To be fair, the S9 and the X received the same score, a 9.

27. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

@PA: How you can compare which one is better? It is all subjective, but not objective: the design of iPhone was more clean, the Note 9 was with more customization... Everyone take its device according to his/her needs and point of view for the design. You trying to make decisions instead of the customers. And to start a fan boys war.

2. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

You already know.

3. Derekjeter

Posts: 1557; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Both are crap. Not even worth $600.

5. iPhoneFanboy

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 21, 2018

Just like your Marlins LOL

6. SyCo87

Posts: 326; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

Saying they're "crap" is a bit much. Especially considering that the cheaper phones that you probably favor are striving to be like these two at a better value.

15. Poptart2828

Posts: 461; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Not crappy but more like meh.

7. fyah_king unregistered

Note 9 definitely worth $1249 for 512GB version.

8. KakashiHatake4444

Posts: 79; Member since: Jul 30, 2018

A 1yo phone values the same as a newly unveiled phone.... Hehe.....

12. DolmioMan

Posts: 346; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

Because Apple doesn’t drop the price of their phones a few months before the new one comes out to boost sales.

9. Elvis358

Posts: 266; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Ohh comon why are they comparing one day old phone with last year's phone. Compare note 9 with this years phones.

11. Donbenie

Posts: 260; Member since: Aug 04, 2013

Why wouldn't they compare the two phones seeing as they cost the same amount,if you are paying top dollar for your device you should at least get your moneys worth..

10. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2275; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

The Note 9 is certainly featured pack. The problem for Samsung as they have try to sell on more features on a phone to attract more buyers. Apple can do more with less by adding brand recognition and eco system. Samsung is very much distant from their customers as this launch solidified that they now care about customer retention and eco system. They needed Spotify to sell music, they are late to the smart speaker game, Gear is now Galaxy Watch... horrible branding pitch and inconsistent throughout the years.

13. KakashiHatake4444

Posts: 79; Member since: Jul 30, 2018

Just imagine a Galaxy with iOS... They couldn't make enough to sell... Now I think Sammy should invest in their own OS, at one point it appeared as if they were going to and nothing after.

14. tokuzumi

Posts: 1961; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

iPhone X sized phone with Android. That would be my choice.

16. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 132; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

If you're in Apple's OS than the X if you're in Android'd than the Note 9, very simple

18. deleon629 unregistered

biggest insult ever.

19. deleon629 unregistered

WHy the hell is a compact computer being compared to an iPhone X anyway? Did I miss anything besides the stupid animoji tidbit in the keynote address for the Apple device?

22. hjl2345

Posts: 92; Member since: Aug 11, 2018

I would have to give the Note 9 for more value for your buck. You get added functionalities and features, plus more storage. I know that the new iPhone is just around the corner, but still it really seems hard to pay so much just for the 64GB model of the iPhone X

23. DasGebuesch

Posts: 19; Member since: Aug 31, 2017

I've never owned an Iphone but before I'll buy an Android device for 1000$ I'll buy an Iphone. What's the point? Samsung simply won't understand that their software leads to huge lags after a while and I know more people complaining about their phones than the other way around. It's a mystery to me how a company like Samsung is not able to deliver a smooth experience while using high end hardware. And let's not even start with Bixby. Whoever thought this would be a great idea should be fired. One thing for sure. Noone needs another voice assistant for android. Who is that guy with ideas like "yeah let's make another voice assistant but obviously worse than the basic one and name it Bixby. Who is that guy? Gimme your job. Are you bored or something? How can you create such beautiful designed devices and infect it with your stupid software? Gimme stock Android and maybe, just maybe I'll buy my first Samsung Galaxy.

26. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

There is only one winner in this battle, the Note is better in most areas.

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