Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X: Has Samsung Outclassed Apple?

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X
Image Source: (screenshot)

After months of rumors and speculations, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus were officially unveiled on February 25 in Barcelona. The Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s response to the iPhone X, which Apple has described as the “smartphone of the future.” When Apple launched the iPhone X last year, it had no serious rivals. Now there is Galaxy S9. Does Samsung’s new device pose a serious threat to the iPhone X? Let’s find out.

The iPhone X has a top notch that even many Apple fans despise. Samsung’s hasn’t adopted the notch. But there are tons and tons of similarities between the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X. They both have the same screen size of 5.8-inch. They both have an OLED panel made by Samsung Display. The Galaxy S9 Plus and iPhone X both have vertically aligned dual 12MP camera lenses on the back. And they both focus on photography.

There are also a lot of differences between the two flagship smartphones. For instance, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus retain the 3.5mm headphone jack, which Apple has removed from its devices. Samsung’s phones also offer a microSD card slot for external memory. Though we are still a few days away from real-world comparisons, here’s how the Galaxy S9 stacks up against the iPhone X on paper.

Design & display

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have a beautiful but familiar design language. It looks a lot like last year’s Galaxy S8 with a curved screen, and a metal and glass design. There is no hint of a notch above the display, though it has slim bezels at the top and bottom. In contrast, the iPhone X has an all-screen display except for a notch that houses the front camera, ear speaker, and other sensors. The iPhone X was the most radical design change made by Apple in years.

Both the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X are water- and dust-resistant. But Samsung’s flagship comes with a better IP68 rating, which means it can remain submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone X is only IP67 certified, meaning it can barely survive up to 1 meter of depth for up to 30 minutes. The Galaxy S9 is available in Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, Midnight Black, and Titanium Gray colors. The iPhone X comes only in silver and space gray color options.

The Galaxy S9 measures 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm, which makes it larger and thicker than the iPhone X’s 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm. The S9 weighs 163g compared to the iPhone X’s 174g. The larger Galaxy S9 Plus weighs 189g. Even though the iPhone X has no bezels at the top and bottom, its screen to body ratio (82.9%) is lower than the Galaxy S9’s 83.5%.

Both the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X have a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display. Where the two differ is resolution and aspect ratio. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have a Quad HD+ resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels while the iPhone X has a slightly lower Quad HD resolution of 2436 x 1125. The premium iPhone offers a 19.5:9 aspect ratio compared to 18.5:9 for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. The Galaxy S9 has a fingerprint sensor placed below the camera module on the back panel.

Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X: Hardware specifications

Both the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X are incredibly powerful smartphones. The Galaxy S9 is powered by 4GB RAM and either Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chips depending on the region. The larger S9 Plus packs a huge 6GB RAM. Samsung will sell the Snapdragon version in the US. The octa-core Exynos 9810 has a clock speed of 2.7GHz while the Snapdragon 845 clocks at 2.8GHz. The Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810 are the most powerful chips available to Android vendors.

The iPhone X is powered by Apple’s custom hexa-core A11 Bionic chipset with a clock speed of 2.4GHz and 3GB RAM. Don’t be fooled by the lower RAM on the iPhone X. Apple optimizes its iOS software to deliver maximum performance even with a lower RAM. Recent benchmark tests have shown that the Galaxy S9 Plus was more powerful than the iPhone X, but how Samsung’s flagship smartphones perform in real-life tests is unknown.

Samsung offers 64GB of internal storage along with a microSD card slot that allows you to expand memory by up to 400GB. The iPhone X lacks the microSD card slot. It comes in 64GB and 256GB storage options. Beyond that, you’ll have to rely on cloud storage services like Dropbox and iCloud. Both the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X offer fast charging and wireless charging capabilities.

Samsung’s latest premium phones sport dual stereo speakers tuned by AKG and have Dolby’s surround-sound Atmos technology. The Galaxy S9 packs a 3,000mAh battery and its bigger sibling comes with 3,500mmAh battery pack. The iPhone X packs a 2716mAh battery, which somehow manages to last a full day of normal usage.

Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X: Camera performance

The iPhone X has one of the world’s best smartphone cameras. The Galaxy S9, especially the larger S9 Plus, should have as good a camera as the iPhone X, or maybe even better. Last year’s Galaxy Note 8 was close behind the iPhone X in DxOMark‘s camera performance tests. The anniversary iPhone has two 12-megapixel lenses on the back, one with an f/1.8 aperture and another with f/2.4 aperture. It takes pretty good photos in low-light conditions.

The 5.8-inch Galaxy S9 comes with a 12-megapixel shooter on the back that is capable of switching between two different apertures of f/1.5 and f/2.4. The f/1.5 aperture enhances the low-light photography while the f/2.4 is good for daylight shooting. The S9 camera also offers optical image stabilization (OIS). The larger S9 Plus has two 12-megapixel sensors – one wide-angle and one telephoto – similar to the iPhone X.

On the front, the iPhone X includes a 7MP camera with an f/2.2 aperture. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus come with an 8MP front shooter and an f/1.7 aperture. Where Samsung’s latest flagships excel is slow-motion recording. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus allow you to capture slo-mo videos at 960 frames per second compared to only 240fps on the iPhone X.

Apple had highlighted the Animoji feature while unveiling the iPhone X last year. Samsung has also introduced a similar feature called AR Emoji that allows you to create a 3D cartoon version of your facial expressions. It recognizes up to 18 different expressions, and lets you record and share small clips with your friends.

The Galaxy S9’s camera is also integrated with Samsung’s Bixby AI assistant. The next time you are on a foreign tour and don’t understand the local language, pull out your Galaxy S9 and point the camera to the text written in the local language. Bixby will translate it into English for you in real time.

Software and security

The iPhone X runs Apple’s custom iOS 11 software. The latest iOS is butter smooth but it is full of bugs that Apple has been working to fix. Apple is reportedly delaying the release of many features to 2019 to focus on performance and stability with this year’s iOS 12. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus run the latest Android Oreo with Samsung’s custom Experience UI on top. The differences between iOS and Android are well known, but a custom UI means Samsung’s flagship devices are loaded with bloatware.

Apple changed the rules of the game in smartphone security by introducing Face ID facial recognition technology with the iPhone X. Face ID uses depth mapping to recognize a user. The tech giant claims there is only one in a million chance someone will be able to unlock your iPhone X using Face ID. It makes Face ID even more secure than the much-loved Touch ID. There is no fingerprint sensor or iris scanner on the iPhone X.

Samsung has tried to catch up by introducing a new Intelligent Scan feature with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Intelligent Scan combines the iris scanning and facial recognition to enhance security, but it isn’t as secure as Face ID. Samsung has also included a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on the back of Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus for added security.

Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X: Price

The iPhone X is a super-premium smartphone with a ridiculously high price tag. Apple’s device costs $999 for the 64GB storage option. If you want to go for the 256GB model, you’ll have to shell out $1,149. The Galaxy S9 seems more affordable than the iPhone X. The S9 costs $720 in the US while the S9 Plus will set you back by $840. Samsung has further sweetened the deal by launching a trade-in promotion. You can trade-in your older Android device or iPhone to get a discount of up to $350 on the S9 or S9 Plus.

You can reserve your Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus right now on Samsung’s website. But the phones will go on pre-order on March 2nd, when you’ll have to make payments to complete the purchase. The phones will hit the store shelves on March 16th, but pre-order customers should receive their devices well before March 16.


The iPhone X sales have fallen drastically in the current quarter due to its high price tag. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have everything they need to compete with the iPhone X. By making its new flagship smartphones more affordable compared to the premium iPhone, Samsung might attract the interest of people looking to upgrade. Of course, most iPhone owners are reluctant to switch to Android, but the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are set to be the best smartphones around when they hit the store shelves. The presence of the 3.5mm headphone jack and the absence of the notch could also work in Samsung’s favor.