Apple has introduced its 2018 iPhone smartphones, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, and it’s time for us to compare those three devices with the best Android world has to offer at the moment. Having said that, we’ve included a couple of Android flagships into the mix, but we’re unable to include all of them, as there are simply too many, so please keep that in mind if your Android flagship is missing from the list. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9 Plus, LG G7 ThinQ, and the OnePlus 6 made the list in order to face off the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.
Needless to say, all of the listed Android devices are considerably different when compared one to the other, and those differences are noticeably larger when compared to the best Apple has to offer. The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are clearly inspired by last year’s iPhone X, as they do sport a very similar design with a notch at the top, and the smallest iPhone that Apple introduced this year sports a 5.8-inch display. Apple has decided not to announce a successor to the highly-requested iPhone SE, leaving its consumers without a truly compact smartphone to lean back to, as a direct iPhone 8 successor also did not get announced. In any case, let’s kick this comparison off by talking about the specs, shall we.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a 6.4-inch QHD+ (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED display, while it comes with 6GB / 8GB of RAM and 128GB / 512GB of expandable internal storage. The device is fueled by the Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810, while Android 8.1 Oreo comes pre-installed on it with Samsung’s skin on top of it. The device is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance, while an S Pen stylus with Bluetooth support is included in the package. The device comes with Gorilla Glass 5 both on its front and back sides, while a 4,000mAh battery is included in the package as well. The phone offers stereo speakers, while you will find two 12-megapixel cameras (OIS, f/1.5-2.4 and f/2.4 aperture lenses) on the back of the phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus sports a 6.2-inch QHD+ (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED display, with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection on top of it. The device comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB / 128GB / 256GB of expandable storage. The device is fueled by the Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810 processor, while it comes with Android 8.0 Oreo, and Samsung’s custom UI on top of it. Stereo speakers are a part of the package, as is a 3,500mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 support, and support for wireless charging. Two 12-megapixel cameras (f/1.5-2.4 and f/2.4 aperture lenses, OIS) are included on the back of the phone, while a single 8-megapixel camera (f/1.7 aperture) sits on the phone’s front side.
The LG G7 ThinQ features a 6.1-inch QHD+ (3120 x 1440) IPS LCD display, 4GB / 6GB of RAM and 64GB / 128GB of expandable storage. The device is fueled by the Snapdragon 845 64-bit octa-core processor, and a 3,000mAh battery is included in the package. The phone supports both Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging, and also WPC & PMA wireless charging (US variant only). Two 16-megapixel cameras (OIS, f/1.6 and f/1.9 aperture lenses) sit on the back of the LG G7 ThinQ, while an 8-megapixel camera can be found on its front side. A 3.5mm headphone jack is included in this package as well, as is DTS:X Surround Sound, and a Quad DAC. Android 8.0 Oreo comes pre-installed on the LG G7 ThinQ, while LG’s custom UI sits on top of Google’s operating system.
The OnePlus 6 is fueled by the Snapdragon 845 64-bit octa-core processor, while it comes with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 512GB of non-expandable storage. The device includes a 3,300mAh battery, while it comes with a 6.28-inch fullHD+ (2280 x 1080) Optic AMOLED display. The OnePlus 6 is splash resistant, and it offers two SIM card slots. The device offers one of the fastest fast charging solutions out there, and it ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, and OxygenOS skin on top of it. 16-megapixel (f/1.7 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, OIS) and 20-megapixel (f/1.7 aperture, 1.0um pixel size) cameras sit on the back of the phone, while a 16-megapixel unit (f/2.0 aperture, 1.0um pixel size) is included on the front side of the device.
The Apple iPhone XS and XS Max are actually quite similar in terms of specs, though the XS Max comes with a larger display. The iPhone XS features a 5.8-inch 2436 x 1125 OLED Super Retina HDR display with 3D Touch, while the iPhone XS Max comes with a 6.5-inch 2688 x 1245 OLED Super Retina HDR display which also supports 3D Touch. The A12 Bionic 64-bit hexa-core 7nm processor fuels both phones, and it comes with the M12 motion co-processor. Both devices come in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage variants, with iOS 12 pre-installed. Both of these devices are IP68 certified, and both sport a 12-megapixel main camera (wide-angle lens, f/1.8 aperture) and a secondary telephoto camera (unknown sensor, f/2.4 aperture). A 7-megapixel front-facing camera is also a part of the package, while both devices support wireless charging.
The Apple iPhone XR is inferior to the iPhone XS and XS Max. This smartphone sports a 6.1-inch 1792 x 828 LCD Liquid Retina Display with 3D Touch support, while it is fueled by the A12 Bionic 64-bit 7nm hexa-core processor, and the M12 motion co-processor is also included. The device comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage variants, while it is IP67-certified. iOS 12 comes pre-installed on the device, while a single 12-megapixel camera (wide-angle lens, f/1.8 aperture, OIS) is included on its back. A 7-megapixel front-facing camera (f/2.2 aperture) is also a part of the package, and so are stereo speakers. This phone also supports Qi charging, just like the iPhone XS and XS Max.
As far as the design is concerned, all of these phones are similar in one way, they’re all made out of metal and glass. The most similar phones on the list are the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, both sport very thin bezels above and below their displays, while their displays are curved on the sides. The Galaxy S9 Plus comes with vertically-aligned dual camera setup, while the Galaxy Note 9 sports horizontally-aligned cameras. Both devices offer a dedicated Bixby button on the left, while the Galaxy Note 9 comes with an S Pen stylus does on the bottom, unlike the Galaxy S9 Plus. Back sides of both devices are curved a bit, while both devices sport a power / lock key on the right, and volume up and down buttons on the left, in addition to the aforementioned Bixby key. A fingerprint scanner sits on the back of both devices, and that is one feature that all Android devices from the list sport, unlike Apple’s offerings, which opt for an advanced facial scanning feature instead.
The LG G7 ThinQ comes with a similar camera setup as the Galaxy S9 Plus, not in terms of sensor, but general look, as this phone also sports vertically-aligned cameras, and a fingerprint scanner below them. The LG G7 ThinQ does sport a notch on its display, unlike the Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9, while this phone also has a thin ‘chin’ below the display. The device’s power / lock key is located on the right, while its volume up, volume down and Bixby buttons sit on the left. The phone sports Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both its front and back sides, just like the two Samsung phones that we’ve mentioned in the last paragraph. The back side of this device is curved, and the phone sports a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, along with a Type-C USB port.
The OnePlus 6 is also made out of metal and glass, and it sports a similarly-looking dual camera setup to the LG G7 ThinQ and the Galaxy S9 Plus. The device also has a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, and a display notch on its display. The OnePlus 6 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, a bottom-firing speaker, and a Type-C USB port which is located on the bottom as well. The phone’s back is curved, while you’ll find its power / lock key and alert slider on the right. The volume up and down buttons are located on the left, along with a SIM tray access. The phone’s display sports rounded corners, and the device does sport a small chin below the display.
All three iPhones that Apple presented have a similar design language, though the Apple iPhone XR comes with a single camera on the back, unlike two vertically-aligned cameras that are included on the iPhone XS and XS Max. As already mentioned, neither of those devices sport a fingerprint scanner, instead, Apple opted for a front-facing TrueDepth camera for FaceID facial recognition, similar to the one on the iPhone X. The power / lock key is located on the right-hand side of all three devices, while on the left you’ll find the volume up and down buttons, and Apple’s mute switch. An LED flash is placed in between two rear-facing cameras on the iPhone XS and XS Max, while all three devices sport extremely thin bezels, though that notch at the top is quite large.
All the devices that we’re comparing here sport OLED displays, except for the LG G7 ThinQ, which comes with an IPS LCD panel. The Galaxy Note 9’s and Galaxy S9 Plus’ displays are the most similar ones, and quite probably the best ones here. Both devices come with QHD+ (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED units, the Galaxy S9 Plus sports a 6.2-inch panel (84.2-percent screen-to-body ratio), while the Galaxy Note 9 comes with a 6.4-inch display (83.4-percent screen-to-body ratio), which results in 18.5:9 display aspect ratios. Both of those displays are HDR10-compliant, and both phones have the always-on display capability. The Galaxy Note 9’s and Galaxy S9 Plus’ displays are curved on the sides, which makes them the only phones on this list who sport curved displays.
The LG G7 ThinQ sports a 6.1-inch QHD+ (3120 x 1440) IPS LCD display (82.6-percent screen-to-body ratio), and we’re looking at a 19.5:9 display aspect ratio, and 564ppi. Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 covers that display, as it does on the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The LG G7 ThinQ’s display is HDR10-compliant, and we’re looking at a Dolby Vision-tuned display here, which also supports always-on functionality. LG claims that its display has 100-percent DCI-P3 coverage, in case you were wondering.
The OnePlus 6 has a display which utilizes OLED technology, but unlike the display on the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, the OnePlus 6 sports a fullHD+ (2160 x 1080) Optic AMOLED unit DCI-P3 setting is available here, and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 covers this display as well. The phone’s display has a density of 402ppi, while we’re looking at an 83.8-percent screen to body ratio here.
The iPhone XS and XS Max sport 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED Super Retina HDR displays. The iPhone XS features a 5.8-inch 2436 x 1125 display with 458ppi, while the iPhone XS Max comes with a 6.5-inch 2688 x 1245 display with 458ppi. Both displays support 3D Touch functionality, which basically means they’re pressure sensitive. The iPhone XR features a 6.1-inch 1792 x 828 LCD Liquid Retina Display, and that display also supports 3D Touch, and we’re looking at 326ppi here.
Processor / RAM / Storage
The Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9 Plus, LG G7 ThinQ, and the OnePlus 6 are all fueled by the Snapdragon 845 64-bit octa-core processor, which is the most powerful processor Qualcomm has released. Now, The Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are also available in an Exynos variant in some regions, and fueled by the Exynos 9810 instead of the Snapdragon 845. Both of those are 10nm 64-bit octa-core processors, in case you were wondering. That being said, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are a completely different story. Apple opted for a custom A12 Bionic chip, that is a 7nm 64-bit hexa-core processor, which comes with a four-core GPU and the M12 motion co-processor.
As far as RAM and internal storage are concerned, the Galaxy Note 9 is available in both 6GB and 8GB RAM variants, though their availability is region-dependant. Those two RAM variants come with 128GB and 512GB of storage, respectively. The Galaxy S9 Plus comes in a variant with 6GB of RAM only, but it is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 512GB storage models, depending on the region. Both the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus offers microSD expansion. The LG G7 ThinQ comes in both 4GB and 6GB RAM variants, which come with 64GB and 128GB of storage, respectively, while microSD expansion is supported. The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, sports either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, while it comes in either 128GB or 512GB storage variants, and its storage is not expandable.
The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR RAM situation is currently unknown, Apple did not reveal that particular piece of info, but at least we have some storage info. The iPhone XS and XS Max come in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage flavors, while the iPhone XR offers 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. Neither of Apple’s new iPhones offers a microSD expansion.
In terms of cameras, the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are the most similar, as they ship with basically the same camera setups. You will find two cameras on the back side of both devices, the main 12-megapixel camera offers a variable aperture lens (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm), and we’re looking at a 1.4um pixel size here. Samsung’s Dual Pixel technology is included in the package, as is PDAF and OIS. The second 12-megapixel camera on the back comes with a f/2.4 aperture 52mm lens, 1um pixel size, and OIS. This is a telephoto lens, by the way, so it enables both devices to zoom in without loss of quality (2x). An 8-megapixel camera can be found on the front side of both phones, and we’re looking at a f/1.7 aperture 25mm lens here, and 1.22um pixel size.
The LG G7 ThinQ and OnePlus 6 both sport two cameras on the back, and a single camera on the front, but they offer significantly different setups. The LG G7 ThinQ features two 16-megapixel cameras on the back, the main 16-megapixel sensor offers OIS, 1.0um pixel size, PDAF, and f/1.6 aperture 30mm lens. On top of that, this camera takes advantage of the phone’s Laser Autofocus. The second 16-megapixel sensor comes with a f/1.9 aperture 16mm lens, and no autofocus. An 8-megapixel camera with a f/1.9 aperture 26mm lens is included on the front side of the phone. The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, comes with a main 16-megapixel camera on the back, with a f/1.7 aperture 25mm lens, 1.22um pixel size, and both OIS and PDAF support. A 20-megapixel camera is also included on the back of the phone, and we’re looking at f/1.7 aperture 25mm lens, 1.0um pixel size, and PDAF support.
The iPhone XS and XS Max feature a 12-megapixel main camera with a wide-angle f/1.8 aperture lens, and a secondary telephoto camera (f/2.4 aperture lens). Dual optical image stabilization is included here, as is optical zoom via the telephoto camera. We’re looking at a six-element lens here, and both devices feature quad-LED True Tone flash. A 7-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture lens sits on the front side of this phone, and Retina Flash is also included. These two devices also offer a TrueDepth camera on the front, though it’s not for taking pictures, it’s for FaceID facial recognition. The iPhone XR sports the same front-facing camera, in addition to the TrueDepth camera, but its rear-facing camera setup is different. The phone sports a single 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with a f/1.8 aperture lens, and OIS support, while True Tone flash is included as well.
None of the devices that are compared here offers a removable battery, just to get that out o the way. The Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus feature 4,000mAh and 3,500mAh batteries, respectively, and both phones support Quick Charge 2.0 wired fast charging. Both phones also come with fast wireless charging, all you need is a Qi or PMA-compliant charger. The LG G7 ThinQ comes with a 3,000mAh battery on the inside, and the phone supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 wired charging, while it also supports wireless charging as well. The phone offers support for both WPC & PMA wireless charging standards, though only in the US.
The OnePlus 6 sports a 3,300mAh battery, and that battery can be recharged really fast thanks to the company’s Dash Charge fast charging (5V/4A, 20W), which is amongst the fastest quick charging techs out there. Apple did not share battery capacity details for its new iPhones, but the company did say that all three phones support Qi wireless charging, and that all of them have lithium-ion batteries. The company also said that the iPhone XS can provide up to 12 hours of internet use, while the iPhone XS Max stands at 13 hours, though that does not reveal much, as there are many other factors involved. As far as the iPhone XR is concerned, the company claims it can offer better battery life than the iPhone XS and XS Max with up to 15 hours of internet use.
Features / Observations
Differences between Android and iOS are vast, and that is worth keeping in mind (as we’re not here to talk about that), but as far as the hardware itself is concerned, well… it’s safe to say that Android phones on this list are more similar one to the other than they are to Apple’s new iPhones. Each of these phones do have some additional features that are worth noting, and that set them apart from the competition. Both the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus come with stereo speakers, and do offer active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone. We’re looking at 32-bit / 384kHz audio on both devices, and both phones offer Super Slow Motion video recording at 960fps. Now, the Galaxy Note 9’s S Pen stylus now comes with Bluetooth functionality, which makes it even more useful than ever before, as it can act as your remote camera shutter, for example. That S Pen stylus is also what sets this phone apart from the rest of the competition in its entirety.
The LG G7 ThinQ, in addition to being IP68 certified for water and dust resistant, it also comes with a MIL-STD-810G military rating, which essentially means that the phone is quite tough, but not quite rugged. This phone’s display is HDR10-compliant, while the LG G7 ThinQ comes with a quad DAC built in, which is not something the rest of these phones can say for themselves. The device offers DTS:X Surround Sound, 32-bit / 192kHz audio, and active noise cancellation. The OnePlus 6 does not really have a quad DAC, or stereo speakers, but the phone is differentiated thanks to its price tag and software features, while its design is nothing to scoff at either. The phone comes with OxygenOS on top of Android, which is essentially stock Android with a number of useful features included, and it’s one of the fastest Android iterations out there, if not the fastest one. The phone also offers a sleek-looking shell, and it’s more affordable than all other phones on the list.
The Apple iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are quite pricey, and they do offer some features none of these other phones do, like advanced facial scanning technology. On top of that, 3D Touch display is also a part of the package, which is not something that other phones can say for themselves either. Having that in mind, charging on all of these iPhones is quite slow, while all of them do sport a rather large notch. On the flip side, they do offer stereo speakers, and HDR displays, while Qi charging is also included in the package. One big minus for all iPhones here is the lack of a fingerprint scanner, which is a security feature that is still considered to be the fastest and most convenient one, not to mention most secure one.
The Final Word
Each of these phones has its pluses and minuses, there’s no denying that, and it will all depend on your personal preference. The first thing you need to decide is what OS you’d like to use, if it’s iOS, you’ll go or an iPhone, if it’s Android, there are a ton of options out there. This is the first complete iPhone lineup that ships without a fingerprint scanner, which is a rather risky move by Apple, while the company is also forcing you to rely on gestures on every new iPhone, and that is something not many people are still comfortable with. If you’re looking or a stylus which will give you a ton of added functionality, the Galaxy Note 9 is the right phone for you, if you, on the other hand, are looking for an extremely fast and balanced smartphone which will not break the bank, the OnePlus 6 may be the solution for you. It all depends on your personal preferences, but one thing is for sure, all of these phones are really powerful and quite solid.