Apple finally announced its latest iOS flagship in the form of the iPhone X, with this 10th-anniversary edition of the company's smartphone being set to compete with virtually every premium Android device released over the course of this year. While direct comparisons between iOS and Android handsets aren't entirely fair due to a number of reasons, they're also completely inevitable, so with that in mind, it's time to compare Apple's new offering with the currently most successful Android device released in 2017 – the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Apple's contender represents the boldest smartphone redesign in the history of the Cupertino, California-based tech giant, with the company adopting a bezel-less aesthetic and an OLED display panel, combining the two into its most unconventional-looking handset to date that's meant to pave a new path toward the future and signal what kind of smartphone products consumers can expect from Apple in the next decade, according to the firm's CEO Tim Cook. Not all details on the company's next offering have been disclosed so far, as evidenced by the specifications table below, but the majority of its components are still known and are more than enough for a straightforward comparison.
The Galaxy S8 was a similarly bold device when it debuted this spring, though its final look was more of an evolution of the Galaxy S7 series than a major departure from the South Korean company's traditional product design strategy. That still says more about Samsung's constant drive to innovate and lead the industry with products that are both attractive and highly functional, with Apple seemingly agreeing with that sentiment given the overall look of the iPhone X. The Galaxy S8 remains one of the most compelling smartphone offerings in the world, as well as being the most commercially successful one in 2017, though it remains to be seen how it fares against the iPhone X. With that in mind, let's see how the two go against each other head to head.
Apple iPhone X
The iPhone X boasts a glass-reliant design, featuring glass panels on both of its sides reinforced with steel, in addition to being equipped with a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED panel which Apple refers to as the Super Retina display but is actually a Samsung Display-made screen. It features an unconventional resolution of 2,436 by 1,125 pixels due to the cutout at the top of the device which houses a plethora of sensors and is a curious-looking device which is relatively symmetrical, albeit not as symmetrical as the Galaxy S8. The usage of reinforced glass in conjunction with steel may contribute to its overall build quality, though neither Apple nor Samsung's offering is likely to survive any kind of drops on a hard surface.
The iPhone X is powered by the A11 Bionic system-on-chip (SoC), a hexa-core silicon specifically designed for neural networks and general AI applications, though Apple has yet to disclose many concrete details about what it deems is the best mobile chip ever created, having only said that its A10 cores are configured in two clusters – a dual-core high-performance one and a quad-core energy-efficient configuration, though all six can apparently work simultaneously thanks to the second generation of the company's proprietary controller. If performance benchmarks of the company's previous offerings are any indication, this likely is the ultimate smartphone SoC and will be for the time being. The iPhone X ships with 3GB of RAM and offers two storage options, having 64GB and 256GB of internal memory, depending on the model, and while its raw specs may not look like much on paper even with a high-end SoC, Apple is likely making the most of them, as it usually does.
The device is IP68-certified for resistance to dust and water and comes with a dual camera setup comprised of two vertically arranged lenses situated in the top-left corner of its rear panel, with a quad-LED flash sandwiched in between them. The sensors are of the 12-megapixel variety, with the main one having an aperture of f/1.8 and the supporting one having an f/2.4 aperture. Phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and optical image stabilization (OIS) are also part of the package, while the 7-megapixel secondary camera module comes with face detection and HRD support. This particular camera setup seems to be an evolution of Apple's imaging formula and should perform admirably well in low-light conditions, possibly even edging out the Galaxy S8 in this segment. The handset is a bit shorter and thinner but also noticeably wider and heavier than the Galaxy S8, indicating that it's somewhat less compact than Samsung's offering, albeit not by much. The smartphone runs iOS 11 out of the box and will presumably be updated for many years to come, as is usually the case with Apple's products.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Originally launched in late March before hitting the market in the second half of April, the Galaxy S8 and its larger counterpart were introduced as Samsung's next smartphone evolution on a number of fronts. The device boasts an 18.5:9 aspect ratio which is the tallest in the industry and features minimal bezels, as well as a 5.8-inch Infinity Display Super AMOLED panel with a QHD+ resolution of 2,960 by 1,440 pixels and highly rounded corners. All of those features translate to a uniquely designed case which hides high-end hardware, with the phone being powered by the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895, depending on the territory, in addition to featuring 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal flash memory expandable via a microSD card.
The rear panel of the Galaxy S8 sports a 12-megapixel 1.22µm sensor with an aperture of f/1.7 situated behind a wide-angle 26mm lens with OIS and PDAF support. The primary camera module of the Galaxy S8 is paired with a dual-LED (dual tone) flash unit, whereas its slim top bezel houses an 8-megapixel camera with an identical aperture, Auto HDR, dual video call, and 1440p recording capabilities. Overall, both camera setups currently represent the pinnacle of what single-lens mobile photography can accomplish and are well-equipped to handle a wide variety of subjects in a broad range of different circumstances. While the front-facing camera of the Galaxy S8 seems to be largely identical if not superior to that of the iPhone X even if comparing the two using Apple's promotional shots which are unlikely to be representative of reality, low-light photography has the potential to be slightly better on the rear camera setup of Apple's offering.
The handset is powered by a 3,000mAh non-removable battery and features IP68-certified resistance to dust and water, as well as fast Adaptive Charging and wireless charging support. With Apple not even officially disclosing the battery capacity of the iPhone X at its announcement and only stating that the handset should last longer on a single charge than the iPhone 7 Plus did, it's hard to not be more convinced by Samsung's offering in this segment, with the company specifically stating that it's rated for up to 20 hours of talk time and 16 hours of video playback. Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility is also part of the package here, as is NFC, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, heart rate monitor, 3.5mm audio jack, and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S8 ships with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and is expected to receive Android 8.0 Oreo by early 2018, though it remains to be seen whether Samsung updates it to a newer Nougat build in the meantime, with Android 7.1 reportedly being in the testing by the South Korean tech giant. The flagship also features a physical button dedicated to activating Bixby, Samsung's latest take on an AI assistant which is meant to kickstart a new Internet of Things ecosystem. Finally, the Galaxy S8 is an extremely compact device given its screen real estate, being only 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm in size and weighing just 155g.
And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
Being an Android-centric outlet, we're naturally biased toward Google's ecosystem and the freedom it allows us when paired with high-end hardware, which is a sentiment that will often prevail when not doing like-for-like smartphone comparisons like this one here certainly is. While there are plenty of reasons for people to prefer the iPhone X over the Galaxy S8, what allowed Samsung's flagship to edge out its Apple-made rival in this comparison is its fantastic screen which still offers the maximum real estate in an extremely compact body with a better resolution and fidelity, its ability to be connected to a standard pair of headphones without requiring a dongle, and its operating system which allows you to perform countless customizations without impacting the integrity of your core experience or warranty. Even doing something as simple as installing Nova Launcher and completely changing the look of your Galaxy S8 is impossible on the iPhone X and will remain as such until Apple completely drops its closed OS design strategy, so – forever.
Furthermore, the Galaxy S8 features an aesthetic that's much more refined to that of the iPhone X which is Apple's first real attempt at a new smartphone design in the last decade and seemingly requires a lot more polish, as even startups like Essential managed to come up with a more efficient take on an edge-to-edge screen that the iPhone maker is now trying to accomplish. Ultimately, the iPhone X is the start of a new product series and can be seen as a first-generation device despite Apple's vast experience in the industry, and when faced with a choice between that kind of a product and one that seems to be the pinnacle of a beloved flagship series like the Galaxy S8 is, we'll always opt for the latter.