Samsung Galaxy A9 vs iPhone Xr – “Affordable” smartphone showdown

Samsung South Africa recently announced that its Galaxy A9 quad-camera smartphone would be available in South Africa at the end of 2018.

The device is more affordable than the high-end Galaxy S9, but has a number of flagship features – including an impressive camera system and OLED display.

Apple also recently unveiled a similarly-positioned product, its new “affordable” smartphone, the iPhone Xr.

This smartphone is set to launch in South Africa from 26 October.

To determine which of these “affordable flagships” offer the best value, we compared their design, hardware, and specifications.

Hardware and specifications

The standout hardware feature on Samsung’s Galaxy A9 is its unique camera system, which comprises four sensors.

This quad-camera set-up can be used to take high-quality photos with a great degree of flexibility when it comes to ultra-wide and zoom shots.

The Galaxy A9 also outperforms the iPhone Xr in the display arena, boasting a 2,220 x 1,080 OLED panel compared to the iPhone’s 1,792 x 828 IPS LCD screen.

However, the iPhone Xr has one major hardware feature which is unmatched by Samsung’s device – the powerful A12 Bionic processor.

Leveraging Apple’s latest high-end chip makes the iPhone Xr one of the most powerful smartphones in the world.

Conversely, Samsung’s Galaxy A9 packs a mid-range Snapdragon 660 processor, which falls far below the 7nm A12 Bionic chip in terms of performance.

Below are the specifications of the iPhone Xr and Galaxy A9.


Specifications Galaxy A9 iPhone Xr
OS Android 8.0 iOS 12
Display 6.3-inch 2,220 x 1,080 OLED 6.1-inch 1,792 x 828 IPS LCD
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 A12 Bionic
Storage 128GB, microSD up to 512GB 64GB/128GB/256GB
Rear camera 24MP + 10MP + 8MP + 5MP 12MP
Front camera 24MP 7MP
Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Lightning
Cellular LTE Cat. 6 LTE Cat. 12
Durability IP68 IP67
SIM Dual SIM (NanoSIM) NanoSIM + eSIM
Battery 3,800mAh 2,942mAh
Price R11,999 R15,999

Pricing and features

Samsung South Africa recently confirmed to MyBroadband that it would launch its Galaxy A9 at a recommended retail price of R11,999.

Apple’s iPhone Xr is currently listed on the iStore, with three models available:

  • iPhone Xr 64GB – R15,999
  • iPhone Xr 128GB – R16,999
  • iPhone Xr 256GB – R19,499

For this price, Samsung’s Galaxy A9 includes a number of software features which power unique camera functions – such as scene optimisation and blink detection.

The device also includes flagship software features such as Samsung Pay and integration with the Bixby digital assistant.

Apple’s iPhone Xr runs the same software as the high-end iPhone Xs Max, and also features the same FaceID technology.

Importantly, the iPhone Xr also includes an embedded SIM in addition to a Nano SIM.

This feature offers the ability to use the iPhone Xr as a dual-SIM device without a second physical SIM, but it is unfortunately not yet supported in South Africa.

The price difference between the two devices is quite large, and if you do not require the heavy processing power of the A12 Bionic chip or the unique features of iOS and would rather have a versatile and powerful camera, Samsung’s Galaxy A9 may be the better choice.

However, if you want to stay within Apple’s ecosystem, the iPhone Xr is the cheapest iPhone available on the market which packs the new A12 Bionic chip.

Samsung Galaxy A9 header
Samsung Galaxy A9
iPhone Xr 1
iPhone Xr

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Samsung Galaxy A9 vs iPhone Xr – “Affordable” smartphone showdown