Apple has unveiled its new range of iPhones, breaking tradition by skipping the expected “S” iterations of the iPhone 7.
In addition to iterative improvements of the phones’ hardware, Apple also revealed significant improvements to the iPhone’s cameras, and has added wireless and fast charging.
The new Apple devices are set to compete against premium handsets from Samsung – the Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8 – but trying to compare them side-by-side is almost futile.
With Apple and Samsung both delivering incredibly powerful devices, personal preference is often the deciding factor when making a purchase.
As detailed below, the flagship devices from Apple and Samsung pack a serious punch.
iPhone X vs Galaxy S8 and Note 8
Galaxy Note 8
|Specifications||iPhone X||Galaxy Note 8||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
|Dimensions||143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm||162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm||148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm||159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm|
|OS||iOS 11||Android 7||Android 7||Android 7|
|Display||5.8″ 1,125 x 2,436||6.3″ 1,440 x 2,960||5.8″ 1,440 x 2,960||6.2″ 1,440 x 2,960|
|Rear camera||Dual 12MP||Dual 12MP||12MP Dual Pixel||12MP Dual Pixel|
|Storage||64GB / 256GB||64GB||64GB||64GB|
|Processor||A11 Bionic Hexa-core||Exynos 8895 Octa-core||Exynos 8895 Octa-core||Exynos 8895 Octa-core|
|Battery||“Up to 12 hours Internet use”||3,300mAh||3,000mAh||3,500mAh|
|Network||LTE-A Cat. 16 (4CA)*||LTE Cat. 16 (5CA)||LTE Cat. 16 (5CA)||LTE Cat. 16 (5CA)|
|Biometrics||Face ID||Iris, face, fingerprint||Iris, face, fingerprint||Iris, face, fingerprint|
|Price||64GB: $999 / 256GB: $1,149||$929.99||$724.99||$824.99|
|* Certain iPhone specs are not on the official spec sheet.|
As most modern high-end smartphones consist of mostly screen on the front, the iPhone X, S8, and Note 8 do not differ drastically when it comes to design.
However, the subtle differences between the devices are important – even if they are not noticeable at first glance.
While Samsung did away with its physical home button earlier this year, it still has one hidden below the screen that is activated by a hard press.
Apple has opted to adopt a gesture-based navigation system – reminiscent of Nokia’s work on MeeGo, as seen in the Nokia N9, or in the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
While neither MeeGo nor BlackBerry 10 managed to survive the smartphone wars, their solutions were elegant and I had always hoped a similar navigation system would make it onto Android or iOS.
Displays and Face ID
Among the iPhone X features Apple highlighted was its “Super Retina HD” display’s support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, as well as a P3 colour gamut and True Tone colour reproduction.
Samsung has opted for Mobile HDR Premium, support for the P3 colour gamut, and features adaptive dynamic brightness and contrast range expansion.
Apple also emphasised Face ID, the facial recognition features in iPhone X enabled by its TrueDepth front camera, dot projector, infrared camera, and flood illuminator.
Face ID can detect whether you are paying attention to the device, and can securely authenticate a user using their face.
Apple has subsequently done away with its Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone X, along with the home button. Samsung opted to move its fingerprint sensor to the rear of its devices.
For now, we will have to wait and see how Samsung’s iris and facial recognition compares against Face ID when the iPhone X becomes available.
iPhone 8 vs Galaxy S8
|Specifications||iPhone 8||iPhone 8 Plus||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
|Dimensions||138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm||158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm||148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm||159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm|
|OS||iOS 11||iOS 11||Android 7||Android 7|
|Display||4.7″ 750 x 1,334||5.5″ 1,080 x 1,920||5.8″ 1,440 x 2,960||6.2″ 1,440 x 2,960|
|Rear camera||12MP||Dual 12MP||12MP Dual Pixel||12MP Dual Pixel|
|Storage||64GB / 256GB||64GB / 256GB||64GB||64GB|
|Processor||A11 Bionic||A11 Bionic||Exynos 8895 Octa-core||Exynos 8895 Octa-core|
|Battery||“Up to 12 hours Internet use”||“Up to 13 hours Internet use”||3,000mAh||3,500mAh|
|Network||LTE-A Cat. 16 (4CA)*||LTE-A Cat. 16 (4CA)*||LTE Cat. 16 (5CA)||LTE Cat. 16 (5CA)|
|Biometrics||Touch ID||Touch ID||Iris, face, fingerprint||Iris, face, fingerprint|
|Price||64GB: $699 / 256GB: $849||64GB: $799 / 256GB: $949||$724.99||$824.99|
|* Certain iPhone specs are not on the official spec sheet.|
Cameras and AR
A big improvement on the iPhone 8 is its cameras, which can now record 4K video at 60fps.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support 4K video recording at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps, and 1080p video recording at 120fps and 240fps.
Samsung’s new Galaxy devices supports 4K video recording at 30fps, and 720p recording at 240fps.
Another feature Apple highlighted on its phones was the optimisations for augmented reality applications.
The new iPhone cameras are calibrated for augmented reality, and are supported by new gyroscopes and sensors.
Apple said its application processor, graphics processor, and image processor in the A11 Bionic are also tuned for augmented reality.
Samsung’s devices support augmented reality applications, too, and it will be interesting to see to how the devices perform against each other.
The Galaxy S8 range and Galaxy Note 8 also have support for virtual reality through the Gear VR from Oculus.
One feature that isn’t mentioned in great detail on Apple or Samsung’s spec sheets is mobile network connectivity specifications.
This is likely due to the differences in support for various technologies, depending on the versions of handsets available in specific markets.
In South Africa, the Galaxy flagship devices run on its Exynos 8895 chip – which supports LTE Category 16 on the downlink connection, and Category 13 on the uplink.
This means it supports up to 1Gbps download speeds, and up to 150Mbps uploads.
It also supports aggregation for up to five downlink carriers (5CA) and two carrier aggregation (2CA) on the uplink.
Network specifications for Apple’s A11 Bionic chip were not detailed, but leaks from reputable sources suggest it will support LTE Cat. 16 – with support for 4CA.
In South Africa, however, no major mobile networks widely support more than two carrier aggregation.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will open on 15 September, and they will launch on 22 September.
Pre-orders for the iPhone X open on 27 October, and the device will start shipping on 3 November.