The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the iPhone XS are probably the two most important phones in the world this year. They’re, respectively, Samsung and Apple’s leading flagship smartphones. But head-to-head, which is truly the leader?
Picking between them can feel like a struggle. The XS and the S9 are about the same size, both are good looking and both should be similarly powerful.
However, at Tech.Co, we’re here to help you split the hairs between these two phones and work out which is perfect for you.
Samsung S9 vs iPhone XS Head-to-Head
These phones are important for Samsung and Apple. The iPhone XS has to follow in the footsteps of 2017’s iPhone X which was surprisingly successful, despite its $1,000 price tag.
The S9, on the other hand, has been on sale since March 2018, and hasn’t sold as well as its predecessor the S8. This alone has been enough to eat into the Korean company’s profit margins.
Both phones are packed with technology that’s helping to push the smartphone market forward. The XS features an improved processor with extra capabilities for machine learning, making it potentially the fastest phone on the market. It also has some new camera smarts that allow you to take superior snaps, with improved HDR capabilities and an improved Portrait Mode.
The S9 still has an upper hand on the XS in terms of practicality. It has an SD-card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C charger.
Samsung’s phone wins out on value, too – it’s $250 cheaper.
So, which is better?
Let's take a look at how the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9 compare
|Apple iPhone XS||Samsung Galaxy S9|
|Ease of Use|
|Screen size (in)||5.8||5.8|
|Dimensions (HxWxD mm)||143.6×70.9×7.7||147.7×68.78.5|
|Front camera (Mp)||7||8|
|Rear camera (Mp)||12 + 12||12|
|Battery size (mAh)||2658||3000|
- Great cameras
- Incredibly powerful
- Fantastic screen
- Still expensive
- Might be a touch too big for some
- Remarkable value
- Fantastic display
- Strong camera
- Software rollouts can be patchy
- You’ll notice the difference when comparing it to an S10
The S9 has no ‘notch’ at the top of its screen, instead having two thin bezels at the top and bottom of the display. However, XS uses the area surrounding the notch to display useful information, while preserving screen size.
The front and back of the S9 curve towards the sides making it feel nicer in-hand.
On the back, the XS has a sizable camera bump, which isn’t present on the S9.
However, the S9 puts the LED flash off to the side of the camera stack, disrupting the central line and making the rear look slightly untidy.
Verdict: Too close to call – they’re both fantastic-looking phones.
Tech.co is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Click to return to top of page