The iPhone new generation is already making a lot of headlines. While waiting for our test copy, we can already see how the battle for the heavyweight title is shaping up: the Note 9 squares off against the iPhone XS Max to win the hearts and wallets of fans of the plus-sized phones. This is our opinion on the phablet rivals so far.
Every year, many users judge the good of the bad by switching from one system to another, from one brand to another. The Galaxy Note 9 is certainly the most popular phablet of the moment. The newly announced iPhone XS Max is certainly the biggest rival of the South Korean smartphone.
Notch or not?
As much as there were a lot of rumors about the names of the new iPhones, there was no doubt about the design of the devices. Anyway, this large format version of the iPhone retains the same design as the iPhone X launched last year. The only difference is its new larger format that allows you to offer a 6.5-inch screen (compared to 5.8 for the regular iPhone XS).
The design of the Galaxy Note 9 is not synonymous with big changes either compared to last year. The elegant lines and curves of the previous generation have been adopted. Samsung has simply further refined the edges of the camera to offer a screen larger than last year (6.4 inches), all for the same format. At the display level, AMOLED technology is available on both terminals. The definition, such as color calibration, is different.
In both cases, the devices combine metal and glass for a successful design. Smartphones are elegant and the only real aesthetic difference is in the display. The iPhone has a notch, the Note goes un-notched. For the rest, each brand shows its own style.
Apple claims that the notch on the iPhone XS Max is indispensable for housing the cameras and various sensors that make FaceID work so well. But you don't necessarily need a notch for facial recognition, so we'll have to wait for our test device to see how well this really works.
Personally, I like the design of the South Korean manufacturer more. Samsung's model also has the advantage of offering a fingerprint reader and a mini-jack, with Apple overlooking both features. Finally, the Note has a stylus, the S-Pen, that can be stored and loaded directly into the device and offers some handy features.
Android vs iOS
Far be it from me to enter into a sterile debate between the two systems to determine which one offers the best features or which one has the best interface. iOS and Android each have their own advantages and disadvantages, you just have to focus on the one that best suits its uses. I wouldn't say iOS is easier, but it offers an interesting approach for neophytes, even if Android has become much simpler in recent versions, and Samsung's interface is easy to understand.
As far as updates are concerned, Apple has full control over the update support for its iPhone. This varies from 24 to 48 months or more. Based on an operating system with an open Linux kernel, the Android operating system is highly customizable and more flexible on its policy. However, it is precisely its opening that can cause delays in updates. Fortunately, Google is trying to fix the problem. The Galaxy Note 9 is guaranteed to receive Android 9 Pie, and the next generation of the OS. For the others, it is unlikely. Rest assured, however, that Samsung will provide security updates for two years.
Two powerful smartphones
In both cases, you really don't have to worry about performance. Whether it's for the Galaxy Note 9 or the iPhone XS Max, both products are supposed to be high-end and optimized at all times. In short, the iPhone XS Max brings a new processor with it... touting the assistance of neural networks in its 7nm A12 bionic chip. It will be intriguing just how much this affects performance, rather than just being a buzzword.
On the other side of the line, the Galaxy Note 9 houses Qualcomm's current finest, the Snapdragon 845 (except for European models which use the Exynos 9810. Both are among the best SoCs on the high-end market segment.
Top class photography
Samsung and Apple have often been in a tight competition for the top-scoring cameras, and naturally, the top class of each is no exception. Because we've had the Galaxy Note 9 for a little while, we can already show you a detailed analysis of its photographic capabilities.
As for the iPhone XS Max, we've still only got what Apple showcased on its keynote to go on, and that's impressive, but...you guessed it, we're withholding a verdict until we can test it under objective conditions.
A Note 9 is more "affordable" than the iPhone XS Max
It's hard to imagine writing this, but the Galaxy Note 9 is more "affordable" than the iPhone XS Max. The Samsung smartphone is available at the official price of $1,000 in its 128GB version (and $1,250 in its 512GB version). The new iPhone XS Max will be launched on September 21. Prices start at $1,099 for the 64GB version, $1,249 for the 256GB version, and $1,449 for 512GB. A gap of around $200 between the two models of equivalent storage size will make the difference for many users.
Galaxy Note 9 offers more memory for less money. Moreover, it is already possible to find it for an even lower price, which accentuates its cheap side compared to Apple's phablet.
Note 9 vs iPhone XS Max: initial verdict
For the moment, and while waiting for our complete test of the iPhone XS Max, it is still difficult for us to separate these devices from each other and make a final verdict in this comparison. However, in light of the iPhone's new technical features, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has nothing to fear from the competition and is perfectly equipped to respond. What's more, it offers more memory for less money.
Which smartphone do you prefer? Tell us everything in the comments!