- The Galaxy Note 8 will soon have a big contender: The iPhone X.
- The phones are similar with features like face unlock.
- There are some important differences though.
The iPhone X will hit the market in November just in time for the holidays, but it will be competing with several other high-end phones.
One is the Galaxy Note 8, which you can buy right now. It's a different device on many levels. It runs Android, so you don't have access to Apple's sprawling ecosystem. And it's much larger than the iPhone X.
There are significant similarities and differences between the two phones, so we thought we'd fill you in on how they compare.
When it comes to biometrics, the Galaxy Note 8 seems to have it all. There's a fingerprint reader, an iris scanner and face detection, all of which can be used to unlock the device. Face detection is a convenient but unsafe option since it can be tricked with a photo.
The iPhone X offers a 3-D face scanner called Face ID. The fingerprint reader (Touch ID) is completely gone and there's no iris scanner. But Apple promises that Face ID is much more secure than Touch ID, giving its 3-D face tech an advantage over the Note 8.
Both phones are resistant to water and dust, so no need to worry about a dip in the pool or getting caught in a downpour. This a win-win for consumers, and the more phones that begin to offer this, the better.
Sorry folks, the iPhone X doesn't offer a headphone jack, which means Apple is sticking with the changes it made last year with the iPhone 7. If you want to use wired headphones, you'll need to use the included dongle, or the included Lightning headphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 still offers a standard jack in case you have a pair of wired headphones you still love, no dongle required.
The Galaxy Note 8 can be used to make payments almost everywhere, thanks to technology that Samsung bought when it acquired LoopPay. That means you can tap-to-pay at almost any credit card reader. Apple Pay is becoming much more widespread but still isn't accepted in as many places as Samsung Pay.
The iPhone X looks to have a killer camera, with new upgrades for excellent "bokeh," or blurring in the background of photos. Samsung has this feature too, but it doesn't appear to be as advanced as Apple's.
Year after year, though, Apple and Samsung typically offer some of the best smartphone cameras on the market. Of note: The iPhone X also has a new front-facing camera that can take fancy portrait shots, something the Galaxy Note 8 doesn't offer.
Apple is finally adding wireless charging to the iPhone this year. It's using tech called "Qi." Unfortunately, wireless charging is typically pretty slow, which is why Samsung has spent the last several years making its own advancements with the technology. There's no indication Apple's new iPhones will adopt anything similar, though it's possible Apple's charging pad — due out in 2018 — will speed things up.
The iPhone X has a large 5.8-inch screen but the Galaxy Note 8 has an even bigger 6.3-inch display. Both use OLED technology, though Samsung's screen is curved at the edges offering a more immersive effect. OLED screens are more battery efficient and are brighter and more colorful (typically) than their LCD counterparts, which Apple is using on the iPhone 8 and has used on all of its prior iPhones.
The iPhone X doesn't come with any sort of stylus and there doesn't seem to be demand from Apple's fan base. Samsung's Note series includes an S Pen that slides into the bottom of the phone. Samsung fans love this for taking notes and sketching. Maybe Apple will add Apple Pencil support one day? Seems unlikely.
We can't definitively say which phone is better since we still haven't reviewed the iPhone X. Keep in mind that Android and iOS have vastly different ecosystems with their own committed users. Switching sounds easy, but it can also be a real pain. The good news is that, as far as we can tell, both of these phones seem like great choices.