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For years, Android lovers have had one great argument against the Apple iPhone: hardware specs. Many Android phones contained hardware that wowed, where the iPhone sometimes felt a little blah.
It takes all of those pieces reviewers and consumers have loved about Android phones and perfects them. Here's a look at how.
Samsung has been using better displays than Apple for years, particularly its Super AMOLED Plus screens.
This year, with the iPhone X, Apple used Samsung's screens and engineered them to perform even better. Monday, DisplayMate, the most well-known display testing outlet, dubbed the iPhone X screen the "most innovative and high performance smartphone display " that it has ever tested. DisplayMate congratulated Samsung on developing the screen, but gives Apple the credit for calibration.
This isn't new — LG, Samsung and others have face unlock features — but the iPhone X nearly perfects it (although I wish Face ID worked better in sunlight), while the competition is mostly for fun. In my own tests, I was able to trick the face scanner on a Galaxy S8 with a photo. In fact, Samsung recommends its customers use the built-in retina scanner, which is a more secure option than Samsung's face scanner but slower than Apple Face ID.
Apple continues to nail its software updates by making them available to a vast majority of its users, allowing everyone to be running on the same platform with the same security updates at once. Google still hasn't figured this out with its Android partners, some of which are even starting to slip on delivering promised monthly security updates, let alone major new Android releases.
You'll find great cameras in other smartphones, particularly Google's Pixel 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8/Galaxy S8 smartphones. But now, I think the best experience is in Apple's iPhone X. The secondary telephoto lens now has optical image stabilization so you can zoom and still get clear pictures.
DxOMark, which tests camera quality, is regularly cited by Android makers when their phones launch with the new "highest DxOMark score." Now the iPhone X is at the top of the list for still photos, with a score of 97 as of Nov. 6.
The iPhone X still has some progress to make. The notch on the display shows that Apple hasn't been able to cram sensors under the display, like Face ID or a camera. Android makers might beat Apple to the punch ahead of next year.
Also, while Apple added wireless charging, it only added the Qi standard (now likely to become the go-to option given Apple's support). Samsung's smartphones support Qi and PMA, in addition to faster wireless charging. Apple is expected to deliver faster wireless charging in a future software update, which means it's well on its way to catching up.
These advances, paired with Apple's sprawling ecosystem, are why people continue to buy Apple smartphones. While Android makers excel at introducing new and compelling features, they're often a fraction as good as what Apple ultimately delivers to the market.