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iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 9: How Apple's latest beast competes against Samsung's finest?

13 September 2018 9

Finally, the Cupertino giant took the stage to announce new products on the Sep 12 dedicated event. The company wraps off the cover from the much-awaited smartphones iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. Along with the new iPhones, the company announced the next-gen Apple Watch Series 4. Being the latest premium flagships the iPhone XS lineup and iPhone XR will certainly challenge the existing big players.

We always compare new smartphones to help out our readers which smartphone is better in what aspects to be your next companion. We already compared the latest iPhones against each other as well as against the 10th anniversary iPhone X. Last year the Samsung's phablet Galaxy Note 8 was more striking in looks than iPhone 8 Plus thanks to the bezel-less design. However this year the confrontation between the iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9 certainly will be quite exciting as both have a bezel-less design.

Today we will compare the latest iPhone XS Max against the Galaxy Note 9 to know the key differences between the two latest phablets. Undoubtedly both the devices are amongst the best if you are looking for a new phablet. This year so far Samsung's performance is lackluster because the company adopted the almost similar design for premium flagships this year. Mostly upgrades are under the hood rather in design. Without any further delay, let's start with the design.

77.4 x 157.5 x 7.9 mm
6.5 inches - 2688x1242 px
76.4 x 161.9 x 8.8 mm
6.4 inches - 2960x1440 px
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Both the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9 features glass and metal sandwich design. The iPhone XS Max frame is made up of stainless steel with glass covering the rear side. The Galaxy Note 9 features an aluminum chassis with glass rear. The stainless steel frame gives iPhone XS Max more premium feel as opposed to aluminum chassis. The iPhone XS Max features a notch at the top of the display. On the rear side, the dual cameras are placed vertically on the top left corner.

Due to full front-facing display, it lacks a physical home button and Touch ID instead it relies on the Face ID as the primary security option. The volume controllers are on the left edge whereas the right edge has Apple Pay and power button. It comes with a Lightning port for connectivity and charging. Like its predecessor, it lacks the 3.5mm headphone jack. The iPhone XS Max dimensions are 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm and weighs 208g. The iPhone XS Max is the company's first IP68 certified device.

On the other hand, Samsung adopted the somewhat similar design they introduced last year with the Galaxy Note 8. On the front-facing side, you will get a full front-facing display with ultra-thin bezels around the display. The dual rear cameras placed horizontally in the center, the fingerprint scanner is below the dual cameras. Apart from fingerprint scanner, the Galaxy Note 9 has Iris and Facial recognition as well. It is also an IP68 certified device.

The Galaxy Note 9 retains the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. Its measurements are 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm and weigh 201g. Although the Galaxy Note 9 is taller and thicker than the iPhone XS Max it weighs less.


Both the devices have the largest display panels so far from respective companies. The Galaxy Note 9 features a 6.4-inches Super AMOLED display panel. The dual curved Quad HD+ display screen resolution is 1440 x 2960 pixels and the pixels density is 516 pixels-per-inch. Unlike most of latest complete bezel-less smartphones, the Note 9 has a small bezel on the top and bottom of the display. The display screen-to-body ratio is 83.51%.

The iPhone XS Max sports a 6.5-inches display panel with a screen resolution of 1242 x 2688 pixels. The display pixels density is 458 pixels-per-inch. Thanks to the notch Apple fits a larger display on a smaller chassis.

The Note 9's display other goodies are HDR10 and Dolby Vision support whereas the iPhone XS Max comes with a 3D Touch display, Dolby Vision and HDR10 display. Undoubtedly the display panel on both the flagships is the best in the market.


Being the latest flagships both the devices are packed with one of the best hardware in the market, however, the iPhone XS Max has an advantage of the latest chipset whereas the Samsung's and Qualcomm's latest chipset is still six months away.

Under the hood, the Exynos 9810 is powering the global variant whereas the US-bound variant has the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset. Both are the fastest SoCs available for Android-running smartphones. In terms of sheer performance, the Apple's A12 Bionic is way ahead from both these chipsets.

Apple claims the new A12 Bionic CPU and GPU is 50% more efficient whereas the SoC is 15% faster than the A11. The Qualcomm's and Samsung's Octa-core chipsets are built on a 10nm process whereas the Apple hexa-core chipset is built on the 7nm process. Overall the A12 SoC takes a significant lead not only in single-core but also it outclasses in multi-core performance.

In terms of native storage, the iPhone XS Max is available in 64G, 256GB and 512GB storage and it lacks support for memory expansion via MicroSD. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 9 base variant has 128GB storage and the top of the line model has 512GB storage and the best thing is it supports memory expansion up to 512GB via MicroSD. The Galaxy Note 9 is a better choice on the basis of native storage. It is the only Samsung's smartphone whose native storage can be expanded up to 1TB.

The iPhone XS Max RAM is still unknown, most likely it will be 4GB. The Galaxy Note 6 base variant has 6GB RAM whereas the top of the line model has 8GB RAM.

Specs iPhone XS Max Galaxy Note 9
Display 6.5-inches 6.4-inches
Screen resolution 1242 x 2688 pixles 1440 x 2960 pixels
Chipset A12 Bionic Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810
RAM --- 6,8GB
Storage 64, 256, 512GB Non-Expandable 64, 128GB Expandable via MicroSD
Rear cameras Dual 12MP Dual 12MP
Front camera 7MP 8MP
USB Lightning port Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No Yes
OS iOS 12 Android Oreo 8.1
IP68 Yes Yes

On paper, the dual rear cameras setup on both Galaxy Note 9 has iPhone XS Max isn't much different from each other. The primary rear sensor on both the device is a 12MP module, however, the aperture is different. The iPhone XS Max aperture is f/1.8 whereas the Galaxy Note 9 primary sensor aperture is variable between f/1.5 to f/2.4. In stable lightning conditions, the aperture is f/2.4 whereas in low-light scenarios the aperture automatically turns to f/1.5. The pixels pitch of both the sensors is 1.4um.

The secondary sensor on both the devices is a 12MP telephoto module with f/2.4 aperture. Both the sensors are optical image stabilized. The Note 9's primary sensor is a wide-angle module whereas the iPhone XS Max features Smart HDR to capture detailed shots. Thanks to dual rear cameras both the devices support portrait mode shots. The Galaxy Note 9 is a better camera in capturing 4K slow-motion shots whereas the iPhone XS Max takes lead in video recording as it comes with Stereo audio setup.

The front-facing selfie camera on the iPhone XS Max is a 7MP true depth sensor with f/2.2 aperture. In low-light scenarios, you can utilize Retina flash. On the other hand, the Note 9 comes with a wider 8MP selfie snapper with f/1.7 aperture. It features screen flash for low-light conditions. Despite having single sensors both the devices come with portrait mode support


As OS the Galaxy Note 9 is pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.1 with Samsung's Grace UI layer over it. Samsung released Note 9 with the Oreo flavor even when the Android Pie is out. At the moment it is still not confirmed when Samsung will roll out the latest Android Pie.

The iPhone XS Max is pre-installed with iOS 12 straight out of the box. Apple devices receive new iOS updates for next three years whereas the Samsung users will have to wait for few months before receiving the latest flavor from Samsung. The iPhone XS Max comes with 3D facial recognition as the only security feature to unlock the phone and authenticating payments whereas the Galaxy Note 9 comes with Fingerprint, Iris and Facial recognition. ​


The iPhone XS Max battery cell capacity is still in dark but the company claims it lasts 65 hours on audio playback, 13 hours on internet usage or you will get 15 hours of video playback. The device is shipped with normal 5W charger, you will have to pay extra for the fast charger and capable. It also supports 7.5W wireless charger.

One of the key selling aspects was of Galaxy Note 9 is indeed the 4,000mAH battery cell. Samsung claims the Note 9 provides 59 hours audio playback, 17 hours on internet usage, video playback is up to 20 hours. It is shipped with 15W fast charger straight out of the box and supports 10W wireless charger.


Last but not the least both the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9 are the most expensive smartphones. The iPhone XS Max base variant with 64GB storage costs $1,099 and the top of the line model costs $1,449. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 9's base variant with 128GB storage costs $999, the top of the line variant with 512GB storage can be purchased at $1,250.


It is evident both the Galaxy Note 9 and iPhone XS Max are amongst the best in the market. In the design and display department, both are quite striking with great finishes. The dual edge display with S-Pen support and higher pixels density makes the Note 9 display a better option. In the performance section, the iPhone XS Max outclasses the Note 9 straight away. The Galaxy Note 9's dual sensors are regarded as the second-best cameras in the market with 103 scores at DxoMark. We will have to wait to see how well the iPhone XS Max dual cameras perform.

The S-Pen with tons of goodies and a slightly lower price tag will certainly make the Note 9 a better value for money. On the other hand, the iPhone XS Max is the largest and most powerful iPhone ever, it is definitely worth Apple fans money.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the iPhone XS Max vs Galaxy Note 9 in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons.

  • The Apple iPhone XS Max isn't still available online. To be notified when it becomse available click here.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 isn't still available online. To be notified when it becomse available click here.



Apple iPhone Xs Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 9:
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wow, that`s amazing bias: "In the performance section, the iPhone XS Max outclasses the Note 9 straight away." The sad truth for Apple is, that Samsung made chip Exynos is perfoming quicker in real life than Apple made chip. All the youtube videos comparing exynos Note 9 with iphone have proven this. That`s why isheeps keep to compare Snapdragon version of Note 9 with the Iphones, as snapdragon is weeker than apple chip, and is easily beaten. But again: amazing biased statement without any proof or evidence delivered... that´s pretty much outclassing this review as well.... as a review.


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