Call Quality



After some recent missteps with smartphone voice-call quality, we're happy to say that neither the Note 8 nor the iPhone X exhibit any problems in this area, serious or otherwise: calls are clean and intelligible, without even a hint of interference. We realize that should be a pretty low bar to reach, and shouldn't be rewarding $1,000 phones for hitting it, but rest assured that there's no cause for concern here.

Of the two, the iPhone is slightly more comfortable to use for extended calls, thanks to its slightly narrower build feeling a little less awkward in our hand over the long run – but the Note 8 is also a solid performer in the comfort space, and the iPhone X only just squeezes past it.

Battery Life

Solid battery-life showings from each, but Samsung is the easy favorite when it's time to recharge.

Optimizing power consumption has always been a tricky nut to crack for smartphone manufacturers, and that's all the more true when you're working with big, power-hungry screens like on these two models.


Apple's a company that's long managed to do more with less in the battery department, so it's not too surprising to see the iPhone X end up with a relatively conservative 2,700mAh battery. The Galaxy Note 8, meanwhile, gives itself a greater power reserve with its own 3,300mAh battery. Even with those number seeming so clear-cut, we've got different screen sizes on these two phones, as well as different processors, and that's going to have a big impact on just how far those batteries can be stretched.

Running our same custom battery test on both handsets, the iPhone X managed to endure for over eight-and-a-half hours, while the Note 8 tapped out in just under eight; Apple wins, but these two phones are still operating in very similar ranges, and personal preferences like screen brightness or even using the Note 8's always-on display could end up having a huge impact in putting one phone more firmly over or under the other.

Both phones support wireless charging this year – a club that Apple's new to – but the more interesting story concerns regular old wired charging, as the Note 8 refills its larger battery in just over half as long as the iPhone X, which takes over three solid hours to recharge with Apple's included adapter. After the Note 7 fiasco, we'd forgive Samsung for not wanting to push any limits when it comes to its batteries, so it's doubly nice to see the Note 8 performing so strongly here.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone X 8h 41 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note8 7h 50 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Apple iPhone X 189
Samsung Galaxy Note8 102

Conclusion



When you're spending around $1,000 for a smartphone, you're going to want to have a lot to like – and both of these handsets very much deliver. They're at the top of their games in performance, camera quality, visuals, and offering software that feels custom-tailored to this unique hardware.

But make no mistake: neither of these phones is a good deal. You're absolutely paying a premium for big, face-filling screens, eye-catching aesthetics, and extras like the Note 8's stylus and the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera. If you simply like Samsung or Apple phones, the Galaxy S8 or iPhone 8 will leave you plenty satisfied for hundreds less.

These phones, though, are for the super-fans: users who want to have it all, to feel ahead of the curve, and have access to features that are simply out of reach for more budget-conscious smartphone shoppers. There's nothing wrong with any of that, so long as you're comfortable footing the rather hefty bill associated with it.

For a lot of shoppers, the choice between the Note 8 and the iPhone X will come down to platform, and whether you're an established Android or iOS user. But if we're ignoring those preconceptions, the Note 8 has the advantage of its stylus, a slightly more natural-feeling camera, and much faster recharge times with its bundled adapter. The iPhone X, meanwhile, is a more comfortable phone to carry and use, and has the performance edge.

Maybe neither of these phones is for you, and the extras can't quite justify the expense. But if you're not afraid to fly a little close to the sun, these two offer some of the brightest, most satisfying smartphone experiences you can find anywhere today.

Apple iPhone X

Pros

  • Raw performance
  • Speaker quality
  • One-hand friendly option
  • More polished software experience

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Pros

  • Stylus input
  • Fast recharge times
  • Storage expansion
  • Headphone jack




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