Today, smartphones are more accessible than they've ever been before. For $100 or less, you can take home a brand-new handset that's more than ready to get you online, connect you with all your favorite social media, and even snap some decent-looking photos.

While those entry-level options are great for users on tight budgets, there's no shortage of more expensive models for shoppers able to spend a little more, offering increasingly feature-rich packages with bigger, high-res screens, advanced imaging systems, smoother performance, and eye-catching designs.

At the very far end of the spectrum, we've seen the availability of insanely expensive “boutique” phones for years now, and while they've offered extravagance through the use of premium materials like leather, gold, and even gemstones, more often than not all that fanciness was just skin deep, and the phones themselves were a bit rubbish.

But this year, we're finally seeing high-end mass-market smartphones start to push up against – and even over – the $1,000 mark. While not as ostentatiously showy as the blinged-out luxury models of years past, these new super-phones are nonetheless solidly outfitted, bringing their users some of the most cutting-edge mobile tech available.

When you're spending this much on a phone, you're understandably going to expect that every corner of the experience is going to be no more than a stone's throw away from perfection, but even at this lofty level, we still find pluses and minuses that can make one handset seem slightly more appealing than its competition.

Today we're breaking down what you can expect from the two most high-profile, super-expensive smartphones around: this summer's Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and the just-released Apple iPhone X.

Design

Even as phones become practically all screen, the impact of a well-executed design isn't lost on us


As we've remarked before, 2017 is destined to go down in smartphone history as the year when the look of smartphones changed dramatically, all thanks to the availability of extra-wide screens that push bezels to their thinnest yet, and deliver phones whose faces are nearly all display. This trend's been kicking around since the early-year flagship pair of the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8, but we're already seeing refinements for this second wave of models, of which both the Note 8 and iPhone X are members.

Of the two, the Note 8 is easily the larger phone: taller, wider, thicker and heavier than the iPhone X. And at least in terms of physical makeup, Apple's phone has more in common with the GS8 than its phablet-sized cousin. That has the potential to cause some frustration, especially when it comes to pricing, as while the Note 8 is up there with the iPhone X in this ultra-premium space, the GS8 can be had for just 75 percent of the iPhone's price.

But continuing to focus on design, it's impossible to ignore the Note 8's sheer height. While the extra-wide screen shape of both phones helps keep left-to-right access within an easy stretch of your thumb, the Note 8 demands a bit more juggling to get to its top edge – and when that's a requirement for accessing your quick settings and notifications, the phone's size starts to become a bit of a liability.

On the bottom of both phones, you’ll find speakers as well as charging/data ports, but the Note 8 one-ups the iPhone X by also throwing in an analog headphone jack. Somehow, Samsung also finds room for the phone's S Pen stylus down there, too. On the right side of each handset we have the power/sleep button, which has grown in size on the iPhone X for no apparent reason. Volume controls live over on the left, joined by the do-not-disturb switch on the iPhone, and the dedicated Bixby button on the Note.

Around back, each of these handsets shows off their dual cameras, but while Samsung's are for all intents and purposes flush-mounted, with only a hint of a border lip separating them from the rest of the Note 8's back, Apple's got a pretty pronounced camera bump on the iPhone X. And while Apple keeps its familiar top-corner camera placement, the X shakes up the side-by-side arrangement of iPhone Plus models in favor of a top-to-bottom layout here.

We also have to talk about what's not here, and both these handsets ditch their familiar hardware home buttons. Samsung got that ball rolling back with the GS8, and the Note 8 offers more of the same, including the repositioning of the handset's fingerprint scanner to live with the camera hardware on the phone's rear. That's not ideal placement, if only due to how high up the scanner lies and what a stretch it can be to reach. While Apple has similarly dropped its home button, there's no effort here to relocate the fingerprint scanner, instead relying solely on the new Face ID scanner for biometric authentication – we'll talk about the user experience that offers in just a bit.

Apple iPhone X

Apple iPhone X

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches

143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 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 X

Apple iPhone X

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches

143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 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

Samsung may be bigger and feature curved edges, but Apple can't be beat for brightness and overall appeal.


For two screens that sound like they have so much in common, the displays on the Note 8 and iPhone X are a world apart. Let's at least start by laying the similarities out on the table: they're both exceptionally widescreen panels, with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 for Samsung, and closer to 19.5:9 for Apple.

Both are OLED panels, a first for Apple, and both feature curved corners, a feature that's rapidly become synonymous with super-wide displays.

Both of these phones are capable of some largely accurate color output, but Samsung scores some extra points for just how configurable its screen output is, with users able to choose between not just a number of preset color-rendering modes, but also to further tweak color balance to their liking. On the flip side, Apple's True Tone system aims to automate color adjustments – keeping things easy but offering less control.

Apple gets a major win for screen brightness, with the iPhone X's max output significantly brighter than the Note 8's – and that's true to an even further extent when you're keeping brightness under manual control.



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104 Comments

7. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

The performance is a huge lose for Note 8 or any other Android flagships! I am an Android user and I hope the performance for Android could get much closer next year.

10. RoyalMike unregistered

Tho note 8 defeated iPhone bionic chip in speed test, you can find out in very trusted speed test reviews. Overall note 8 is a more capable phone. I would say much more capable. Iphone x is a user nightmare with the awkward swipe interface. It lacks in many key areas.

13. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

lol with IOS updates it wont happen again even iPhone 7's proccessor is better than Note8's

17. palmguy

Posts: 982; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

"with IOS updates" iPhones are slowed down. Check the internet for examples.

96. jacky899

Posts: 430; Member since: May 16, 2017

This is so true. I have the Note 8 and my wife has the Iphone X. Although the Note 8 is the first Samsung phone I've used that isn't plagued with bugs and lagginess (probably QC went up after Note 7 fiasco), it is still no match for the buttery smoothness of Iphones. If it weren't for the s-pen and the trade-in discounts, I would have definitely went with the Iphone X.

20. rkoforever90

Posts: 442; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

Even though I'm a note fan the A11 bionic simply smoke the snapdragon 835. Miss those days in which note series used to release with a more powerful chipset than the s series

35. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

iBS P.S. ''Even though I'm a note fan ...blah''

44. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Yes Note 8 is definitely a more capabale phone and I would prefer Note 8 over IPX. I didn't check the real speed test but just wish the test numbers on performance could be on par... the numbers must mean something, aren't they? Just trying to be fair and tell the truth. I will not use iOS for its ecosystem.

51. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

I also want to be fair, and tell you: In the real life, Note 8 is faster almost it everything, except of the games that are made for iOS and just ported on Android

60. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Have you seen & used the two in person? I have. I have the Note 8 & my friend let me use the demo X for a weekend. Set them up for how I use my phones & other than the front facing camera being better & the fly ass swipe to the next app feature on the X, the Note just worked better for me. By all means that does not make the X a piece of isht, it just didn't work for me. That's what phone area fails to realize. They're more like, "We love the iPhone so we're gonna make it work to our favor in the majority of our tests." That's how they've always been.

68. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

What do the numbers mean when real life use shows the opposite?

90. cmdacos

Posts: 4203; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

I said the same thing earlier but got deleted...

52. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Not only is it fast and awesome as a Smartphone, the Note 8 is the first practical pocket PC, capable of programming apps for itself with a full Linux Desktop OS running on it: https://mspoweruser.com/samsung-shows-ubuntu-linux-running-on-the-samsung-galaxy-note-8/ There's simply no contest from the iNotch here...

83. Phullofphil

Posts: 1789; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

First of all if you don’t own a iPhone you can’t say the swipe is a nightmare. I have one and from what I read and my feelings on using it the swipe interface is easy to get use to. Where do you find that the note is faster. I have not seen one report where it out does the iPhone X. Very trusted speed test reviews. What does that mean. Like oh trust me this one that says what I think can be trusted. Your on a coment section to a artical that says otherwise.

78. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Why in speed tests for the things most users to on a day to day basis the Note is faster. Factor in Android is a more efficient OS due to customization, less app crashes and it takes fewer steps to do most tasks then the speed difference gets wider.

84. Phullofphil

Posts: 1789; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

What demension are you in. It’s may be faster if that’s the one you use. My phone does everything with out a hiccup at all. Every android phone I have had gets slower the longer I use it. iOS does not get slower at all. That’s just my expieriences. Not just saying my expoerences is the written truth.

94. tuminatr

Posts: 1123; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I agree my iphone 6s is so slow right now you need to hit the camera button about five times before it registers what you did

93. tuminatr

Posts: 1123; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

If you do a you tube search there are a few real world comparisons between this iPhone 10 and the Note 8 and the results are in most real world scenarios the Note 8 is much faster.

99. luis.aag90

Posts: 274; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I wouldn't say it's a loose for the Note 8. Real world performance is mostly on par, as shown on several speed tests in youtube. The fact iPhone X reloads more apps than Note 8 puts real world performance pretty even

8. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Even the screen brightness on Note 8 is lower, but Iphone 10 screen doesn't seem to have good quality control.

14. dnomadic

Posts: 415; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

This is so interesting... whenI put my X nest to my S8 Plus, My S8 Plus seems so much brighter, and the Whites so much whiter (and bright) (I'm set to Adaptive display on my S8 Plus and I tried the Iphone with and without true tone). Maybe the note 8 isn't as bright as the S8 Plus. By the way my experience with my X has not been great... My son LOVES it, but I'm not really digging it (Guess I'm a Phandroid/DroidTard/Androreo/NerdDroid)

85. Phullofphil

Posts: 1789; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I think people get used to and like what they like. Sometimes it gets redivided like a cross town rival in high school but for the most part people like I think what they have invested more into. Not all the time but most.

31. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Keep in mind especially in manual mode, Samsung limits the brightness more than Apple does. Also, there are plenty of other tests where the auto brightness is higher on a Samsung S8 than on an iPhone X https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Ftweakers.net%2Freviews%2F5807%2F2%2Fapple-iphone-x-tussen-vernieuwing-en-verfijning-scherm-opvallend-en-oled.html&sandbox=1

61. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Again, have you seen the two in person? I only use my Note on 1/2 the brightness & it was still pretty close the the display of the X.

100. luis.aag90

Posts: 274; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I have never asked for more brightness on my Note 8. The screen is brilliant and perfectly usable under direct sunlight. I just leave auto brightness enabled and the screen does it's magic

11. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

I have Note8 and I hate it's speaker. Also its not confortable to hold . I am feeling like im using sony xz. I must have been bought iPhone X :(

16. ezfidel

Posts: 63; Member since: Dec 25, 2012

U must have T-Rex hands.

69. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The speaker isn't great. It's loud, but tinny. Samsung really needs to finally get front facing stereo speakers. It's long past time. Comfort holding it is subjective, according to hand size, etc...i like the feel, it kind of shrinks into your hand.

89. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I never use the speakers on a phone for music or video, however good they are they fall too far short in the quality stakes. I use headphones or external bluetooth or wireless speakers. A headphone jack is far more important.

92. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The jack is important to me, too. But I had an Axon 7 for a short period, and it's speakers were fantastic. I do use the speakers, and FFS are the only thing the Note 8 is missing. Well, it could also use better fingerprint sensor placement.

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