iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – Which flagship phablet comes out on top?

Note 9 was announced by the South Korean tech giant back in August and was critically acclaimed for its wealth of flagship features that targeted users who push their smartphones to the limits.

In fact Express.co.uk adored the device, giving it five out of five stars in our review.

But how does Apple’s newest entry stack up against the lauded Note 9?


iPhone Xs Max takes the futuristic smartphone design first introduced by the iPhone X last year and stretches it from a 5.8-inch device to a colossal 6.5-inches.

The OLED panel on the device marks the largest ever in an iPhone and boasts a resolution of 1242×2688 and a density of 458 pixels-per-inch.

iPhone Xs Max uses Face ID as the primary method of unlocking the device but Apple claims the technology has been made smarter and faster than ever this year thanks to improved algorithms.


The design of the product represents a melding of premium glass and a stainless steel band that is wrapped around the phone.

A new gold colour has been introduced for the device that sits alongside white and space grey options.

Apple fans will not have to worry about getting their iPhone Xs Max wet either thanks to the IP68 rating that has been bestowed upon the hardware.

That means iPhone Xs Max can be dunked in up to two metres of water for up to 30 minutes.

iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

iPhone Xs Max uses Face ID as the primary method of unlocking the device (Image: Apple • Samsung)

As a result any spillages will not hamper any aspect of the device.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 touts an impressive 6.4-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1440×2960 and a density of 516 pixels-per-inch.

The phone combines front and rear glass panels with an aluminium frame that looks and feels premium.

Just like the iPhone Xs Max, the Note 9 did not drastically overhaul the design of its predecessor.

Instead the Note 9 refined the look of the Note 8 by moving its fingerprint scanner to a more accessible location below the camera models.

The hardware is also available in a range of finishes with midnight black, ocean blue and lavender purple selling in the UK.


During the unveiling of the iPhone Xs Max Apple was keen to tout the capabilities of its all-new A12 Bionic processor.

Discussing the chip, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive, said: “The A12 Bionic chip is the smartest and most powerful chip ever in a smartphone.

“Its next generation neural engine dedicates machine learning to everything from augmented reality to photography.”

This means the iPhone Xs Max should be able to blitz through anything iOS 12 throws at it.

A12 Bionic marks the first 7-nanometer put into a smartphone – this means it should be extremely fast while also being more efficient.

In what is the first for an iPhone, the Xs Max can be configured to come with a huge 512GB of internal storage.

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iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

iPhone Xs Max is available in a new gold colour (Image: Apple)

Such a figure means a gargantuan photo library, thousands of music tracks and more can be crammed on one device.

Galaxy Note 9 comes with different chipsets depending on what region it is purchased in.

In US markets the device comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor that powers a number of other Android flagships.

And in the UK the hardware comes with the same chip that featured inside the Galaxy S9 and S9+, the Exynos 9810.

Although the Note 9’s chipsets aren’t quite as technologically advanced as Apple’s A12 Bionic because they are 10-nanometer in specification, the phablet is able to scream through everything on its Android operating system.

However, Note 9 does flaunt 8GB of RAM if customers chose to purchase the most expensive version of the hardware that also adds in 512GB of internal storage.

This means the Samsung phablet is highly-capable and should retain its quick speed throughout a typically two year usage period.


To ensure the processor inside has the power to last all-day long, Samsung fitted the Note 9 with a huge 4,000mAh battery.

Express.co.uk was extremely impressed with the battery life present on the Galaxy Note 9 and was one of the reasons it received a full five out of five starts in our review.

Technology Editor David Snelling noted: “During our tests, this thumping 4,000mAh power pack has lasted longer than all of its main rivals and should easily last you a full day if not longer.

“This battery is seriously impressive and, during one of our tests, we managed to play the entire six-hour Star Wars trilogy whilst only losing 30 percent of the Note 9’s power – only Huawei’s P20 Pro has ever managed close to that.

“And it’s not just the battery that offers oodles of power as the new and much faster 10nm processor makes this device a total delight to use with apps and games opening in the blink of an eye.”

Apple did not provide the exact battery size of the iPhone Xs Max during the firm’s keynote unveiling the product.

iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Galaxy Note 9 was announced by Samsung back in August (Image: Getty)

However, Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, emphasised the device features the largest battery ever fitted inside an iPhone.

He declared: “iPhone Xs Max offers the biggest display ever in an iPhone with the biggest battery ever in an iPhone, delivering up to an hour and a half more battery life in your day.”

Apple claims the device will give users an hour and a half more screen-on time than the iPhone X.

When Express.co.uk reviewed the iPhone X we initially said we could end a day with around 20 percent left.

However we later updated the article to reflect a noticeable improvement that came with later software updates.

Our update read: “Since this review was first published we’ve seen an improvement in battery life with the iPhone X now containing around 40-50 per cent by the end of the day.

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“This is likely to be due to the iPhone X running updates and downloading content in the background after it was initially set up.”

This means the iPhone Xs Max should be able to easily last through an entire day of heavy usage with plenty of battery life to spare.

iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Galaxy Note 9 comes with different chipsets depending on what region it is purchased in (Image: Getty)


iPhone Xs Max boasts a dual-camera setup that comprises of a 12-megapixel main sensor and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens.

Apple discussed what it called “smart HDR” that should capture more detail overall, making picture look incredibly crisp.

Depth of field on Portrait Mode shots can also now be adjusted, meaning the level of bokeh can be subtle or very prominent.

This is changed after the photo has been taken, meaning nothing has to be altered when trying to line up a subject.

Such a feature is also available on the flagship’s front-facing camera that is seven-megapixels in quality.

iPhone Xs Max can also record video in 2160p at 24, 30 and 60 frames-per-second.

Galaxy Note 9 also comes with a dual-camera setup that are both 12-megapixels.

The first is a main sensor and the second is a telephoto lens.

iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung fitted the Note 9 with a huge 4,000mAh battery (Image: Getty)

Just like the iPhone Xs Max, levels of bokeh can be adjusted after the user has taken a snap.

But during the unveiling of the phablet in August the South Korean tech giant was also keen to discuss the work it is doing with artificial intelligence (AI) on the camera system.

Thanks to AI features the Note 9 is able to detect when flaws occur in a shot and will advise users when they should consider taking the photo again.

Note 9 senses when motion has occurred or when a person has blinked for instance.

And the phablet is also capable of recording in 2160p at 60-frames-per-second.

But one of the most unique features about the Android device is its ability to record in slow motion.

Video can be captured at 960fps in a 720p resolution.

iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9

iPhone Xs Max can record video in 2160p at 24, 30 and 60 frames-per-second (Image: Apple)


Both the iPhone Xs Max and the Galaxy Note 9 feature a score of incredible flagship features but neither come cheap.

The iPhone Xs Max starts at £1,099 for the 64GB storage option but if users want more space they will have to pay even more.

Apple’s flagship costs £1,249 in the 256GB model and a whopping £1,449 in the 512GB variant.

Meanwhile, the Note 9 starts at £899 but goes up to £1,099 if users want 8GB of RAM and 512GB of memory.

Daily Express :: Tech Feed

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