Introduction


When it comes to rivalries in the tech industry, few are the clashes more fierce than the one between Apple and Samsung for dominance on the smartphone arena.

Over the past few years, Samsung has stepped up its design efforts and now makes beautiful glass and metal devices that catch the eye. The latest is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8: a big phone paired with an S Pen stylus, which is a unique feature that no other phone on the market can deliver.

But the Note 8 may have just met its match. Apple just launched its new iPhone 8 Plus, introducing an evolutionary design with a glass back, a hugely improved processor and new iOS 11 chops.

Both phones are also powerful cameraphones: the Note 8 is Samsung’s first phone with a telephoto lens intended for zooming and portraits, while the iPhone 8 Plus further improves the Portrait Mode Apple introduced last year with the 7 Plus.

So which one is better and which one should you get? Let’s weigh all the pros and cons...

Design

Both are big phones, but the bezel-less Note 8 makes better use of that space with its Infinity Display.


Samsung has done a great job going from cheap and uninspiring plastic phones a few years ago to its industry-leading sleek glass-and-metal designs, while Apple… well, let’s just say that the iPhone 8 Plus feels like the fourth generation of the same design the company introduced with iPhone 6 Plus. It’s not changed much. And this feels like one area where Samsung has taken the lead: it has the futuristic bezel-less design and it has the sleek look, while the iPhone 8 Plus feels like... more of the same. But it has evolved: the new glass back on the iPhone 8 Plus does make the phone feel better in the hand, and the silver and gold colors mask fingerprints very well, so the phone looks clean even after it has been used for a while. Notably, the space gray iPhone, just like all versions of the Note 8, gets messy with finger smudges very easily.

There are two other important things about the glass design on both: one, it can scratch easily, and two, it will likely break if you drop it. Cases are certainly recommended with both the Plus and the Note 8, but if you dare use the phones without one, you would notice that unlike other metal phones (cough, matte iPhone 7), these two are not that slippery, which is good.

The other thing to know is that both these phones are big, really big. Neither phone fits comfortably in my jeans pocket. The Note 8 is narrower, but longer, while the iPhone 8 Plus is very wide. You have to use both of your hands most of the times when using either of these phones.

Here is the actual physical size of both, and you can find a size comparison below:
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches
  • Note 8: 6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches

Considering they are so big, it is really annoying that Samsung continues to place the fingerprint scanner way out of reach and near the camera on the Note 8. It’s a big inconvenience, and the front-placed iPhone 8 Plus finger scanner feels much more natural.

Both are rather weighty, but not too much and we do like that solid feeling in the hand. The iPhone 8 Plus is the slightly heavier of the two: it tips the scales at 202 grams (7.13 ounces), while the Note 8 weighs 195 g (6.88 oz).

Both phones are water-sealed (hooray!): the iPhone carries an IP67 rating, while the Note 8 has a higher, IP68 certification. The first ‘6’ in both ratings signifies that the phones are equally well protected from dust ingress, while the second figure differs: the IP67 iPhone can withstand immersion in up to 3-feet deep water, while the IP68 Note 8 can withstand up to 5-feet water depth, and both are guaranteed to withstand water damage within 30 minutes.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Dimensions

6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches

162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm

Weight

6.88 oz (195 g)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Dimensions

6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches

162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm

Weight

6.88 oz (195 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Two of the best screens out there: lively colors, excellent brightness.


Let’s get this out of the way: these are the two best looking screens on the market right now.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch LCD, while the Note 8 features a 6.3-inch AMOLED display. Both default to 1080p resolution, but you can set a higher, Quad HD resolution on the Note 8.

The big difference is in the sheer size and form of the screen. Samsung calls its screen “Infinity Display” because it has almost no bezels, and this shows in our measurements: the iPhone has a 67.5% screen-to-body ratio, while the Note 8 rocks 83%. This makes a difference: the Note 8 feels more immersive, more impressive, and it fits more content. Admittedly, the bottom part is still occupied by virtual buttons, so you don’t always have the full screen unobstructed.

Then we have color, the bread and butter of all displays. The iPhone 8 Plus supports DCI-P3, a color standard that simply means that the phone can show more colors. It’s especially noticeable when you compare this to a traditional screen, where colors look duller, less vibrant. The Note 8 also supports eye-popping colors by default, and you can select different color rendition modes for the Note in settings.

Then, the iPhone 8 Plus comes with one neat innovation: True Tone technology. True Tone will adapt the display’s white balance to room light, usually making your phone look slightly warmer indoors, for a more natural look. We like this small convenience.

The Note 8, on the other hand, gets slightly brighter outdoors, but both have among the highest screen brightness ever and low reflectivity and are easy to use outdoors. Finally, if you are a night owl, you should know that the Note 8 is more comfortable to use at night time with its lower minimum brightness that will induce less eye strain.



FEATURED VIDEO

90 Comments

1. dubaiboy78

Posts: 442; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Iphone 8 is the best best best best best!!!! - iphonearena

6. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

You did not bother reading, did you?

7. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

Phonearena haters are like Trump supporters. Claim they will boycott the NFL, yet watch every NFL event to see if players are kneeling. Like Trump supporters, the same people who shout 'iPhonearena' are here on PhoneArena reading content they supposedly hate. Phonearena haters, Apple haters, and Trump Supporters are literally the dumbest people on Earth.

9. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

I guess you spend more than a good portion of your working hours retweeting Donald Trump like a lot of Silicon valley interns?

13. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

ROFL no. Seems like you don't know what retweeting is.

14. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

You might want to reread his post.

16. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Reading isn't one of their strengths, unfortunately.

81. LiveFaith

Posts: 451; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Yep. LOL. Busted. Obsessing over others obsessions.

18. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

lol, exactly

45. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Iphonearena do some research bixby can unlock your phone it did that like a week after the voice part was activated and it's much better at understanding speech

82. LiveFaith

Posts: 451; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

The best news is that the button can be natively disabled now. Only one step away from allowing it to be remapped. You can bring this massive breakthrough Samsung. I just know it. Actually, their are a couple of apps that are ahead of Samsung blocking that allow remapping it. But, honestly, the thing is in the way of volume, so I've decided to disable.

12. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

No, your Shamesung is best.

2. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

The Note 8 seems actually practical to hold.

83. LiveFaith

Posts: 451; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Holds well in hand. It really does. But the length is excessive IMO. Would prefer a Note 8 Mini with same specs and about 20% smaller in size.

3. PhoneBag

Posts: 8; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

518 nits of maximum brightness for note 8? I guess the writer needs to improve his RESEARCHING skills. This is plainly MISINFORMATION iPhoneArena pwe!

5. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

The screen brightness on the Note 8 is 518 nits at 100% white. We have tested two different units multiple times with professional tools and we get these results over and over. So what is your research?

17. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Every other online publication saying that it's hitting record brightness of over 1200 nits?

21. IT-Engineer

Posts: 532; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

MKBHD & the verge reported a number around 1200 - 1280 nits on note 8 compared to the 625 nits on Iphone 8 & iphone X.. I mean come on Victor, you guys clearly need to revise your test methods, first your battery tests are different than all the rest of the tech community and now the brightness???? Seriously!!!

22. IT-Engineer

Posts: 532; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Here you go 1200 nits: https://9to5google.com/2017/08/28/samsung-galaxy-note-8-display-test-brightness/ As i said, either your tests are completely wrong, or your intentionally giving misleading information.

24. JK7844

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 20, 2016

My research is from displaymate, which shows 1,200 nits. Go check it out if you haven't.

25. IT-Engineer

Posts: 532; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

26. mrochester

Posts: 976; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

It only reaches those values when auto-brightness is switched on and you are outdoors in bright light. These are unlikely the conditions in which the devices were tested by PhoneArena. The iPhone 7 reaches 705nits in the same conditions. There's no data for the 8 or 8+ yet.

84. LiveFaith

Posts: 451; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Oh, you mean THAT "maximum brightness".

28. IT-Engineer

Posts: 532; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

By the way, it is your responsibility as an author to correct your article if you have a wrong or misleading information. So please do correct it for you and this site credability!

31. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

You're asking for way too much from victor...

35. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Even though I’m a iOS guy mostly, I would like to see a corrected article on this. Worst thing for a tech site or any business is when you lose credibility. But always look at different sites for comparisons. Android Central is real good site to check out.

43. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

How do you set an AMOLED display too 100% whiteness when OLED displays don't produce a natural white? How is that accomplished? Also, you stated in another article, you all set the brightness to 200NITS using a scientific method. How is this equal to you saying, all devices are tested at default settings? Are you not convoluting the test when you change any variable that swings a device on one direction or another? Forget the auto-settings. DisplayMate states that when you "manually" set the display to 100%, that the display produced 728NITS of brightness. If you manually set the display brightness, how are you achieving 100% white levels on a device that doesn't have white LED's? Also would like to know, if you change the variables on any test, how is your test any different from any test on YouTube?

47. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

Okay, so let's sum it all up: you guys have 1 source that everyone is quoting from and that source is DisplayMate. There is NO other source, neither TheVerge, nor MKBHD, nor anybody else. They all quote from DisplayMate. That's cool. But what does DisplayMate really say? Well, you need to first READ the damn report before going with that 1200 nit number! In other words, don't be like TheVerge or MKBHD who did NOT bother reading and just quote a number they don't understand. Here is what DisplayMate says (look for it towards the end in the Brightness and Contrast table in green): it says that the Note 8 has a brightness of High Auto Brightness 560 – 1,240 cd/m2 It does not say 1,240 nits, it says FROM 560 to 1,240 nits. So how does it get to 1,240 nits? You can ask DisplayMate because they never say in their article, but I can save you the effort and tell you how: by showing 1% white and 99% black. That is the way AMOLED works. How do you do this? Load up a picture with just a single dot of white on a black background and test! So yes, we do NOT get 1,240 nits because we don't do such a test! We think it's not that important to know the brightness of a screen with 1% black because nobody uses their screen like that. What do we do? We have always tested a 100% white, which means that we load up a fully WHITE picture that covers the whole screen. That's it. And we measure. So we get around 518 nits. Look back at DisplayMate's tests: it says "FROM 560 nits" and we have a score that says "518 nits" which is close enough. So yes, our results are not false, they are not fake, they are not made up. But they need context. The same is true of DisplayMate: 1,240 nits is just wrong without a context. It's absurd, nobody uses their phone with 1% black. A perfectly correct measure would be to do something like a 50% white, that would be closer to average use. At 50% white, I guess the Note 8 would have a brightness higher than 520 nits, but much lower than 1,240 nits. And that's it! Hope you guys understand how display testing is done and what it means, and we stop repeating bulls**t numbers over and over again. Hit me up with your questions if you have any, I'll do my best to answer!

53. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

To be fair, GSMArena topped out at 850 nits on a single square, but say that you can expect to get 647 nits in real world use, which is a pretty big difference from your findings. Regardless, considering the fanfare that the 1200 nits claim received, it's silly not to acknowledge it in a review or comparison.

64. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

Why acknowledge a meaningless number? We could write an article just to explain that it's a meaningless number, that we could do.

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