Head-To-Head: Apple iPhone X Vs. Samsung Galaxy Note8

Disappearing Borders

Even before Apple's recent iPhone event, 2017 was already shaping as the year of the (nearly) borderless smartphone display. The LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 launched with minimal display bezels in the spring, and Samsung followed up with the Galaxy Note8 in September. When Apple's iPhone X debuts in November, it will enter a market that's already crowded with smartphones featuring edge-to-edge designs. But how does the 10th anniversary iPhone stack up in other areas against Samsung's Galaxy Note refresh? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center compares Apple's iPhone X vs. the Samsung Galaxy Note8 on specs and price.


While both the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note8 have large displays compared to the average smartphone of recent years, there's still a decent gap in size between the two -- 5.8 inches for the iPhone X and 6.3 inches for the Note8. Both devices feature OLED technology (the X's display is, in fact, made by Samsung) and some serious resolution, with the iPhone X at 2,436 x 1,125 pixels and the Galaxy Note8 a fair bit higher at 2,960 x 1,440.

Notably, while the bezels are minimal around the displays on both devices, the iPhone X does have a notch cut out at the top of the screen for the front-facing camera and other sensors. So, in terms of having a true edge-to-edge design, the Galaxy Note8 comes closer.

Processor & RAM

Since the iPhone X isn't out yet, it's tough to tell how it fares on performance against the Galaxy Note8. What we do know is Apple has outfitted the X with a faster new processor, the A11 Bionic, which features six cores. Two of the cores are for high performance, while the other cores are for maximizing power efficiency of less-intensive tasks; Apple says both are far speedier than the previous generation of iPhone processors, the four-core A10 Fusion.

Samsung, meanwhile, has included Qualcomm's latest top-of-the-line mobile processor in the Galaxy Note8, the eight-core Snapdragon 835. On top of that, Samsung has also built out the Note8 with a lot of RAM for a smartphone – 6GB. That could give the Note8 a performance edge over the iPhone X, which reportedly packs half that amount of RAM.

Battery Life & Charging

The Galaxy Note8 comes out slightly ahead of the iPhone X on battery life, at least in terms of what Samsung and Apple are promising. The Note8 should be able to get 14 hours of Wi-Fi usage on a charge or 13 hours over 4G. (Our tryout of the phone backs up the WiFi claim.) Meanwhile, Apple promises a bit less battery life for the iPhone X --12 hours of Internet use on a charge, with no breakout for WiFi vs 4G.

One area where Apple is just now catching up to Samsung is inductive ("wireless") charging. The iPhone X, like the Galaxy Note8 and some previous Samsung devices, can now be charged wirelessly through the inductive Qi standard. That means that both the iPhone X and Note8 will charge up when you place the devices on a charging pad, which is sold separately in both cases.

Biometrics & Home Button

Apple is banishing two staples of the iPhone in the design of the iPhone X -- the home button and Touch ID fingerprint recognition. Instead, Apple will introduce Face ID facial recognition for unlocking the phone, along with an upward-swipe gesture to get to the home screen.

Samsung offers facial recognition as an authentication option for the Galaxy Note8 as well, but retains fingerprint recognition -- the fingerprint scanner is on the back of the phone -- along with iris scanning. Also, Samsung keeps the home button on the Note8 (which is an advantage for the device over the iPhone X, in our opinion).

Water Resistance

While Apple is making its smartphones better able to survive exposure to water, the devices still aren't quite up to the same standard as Samsung's premium smartphones. The iPhone X comes with an IP67 rating, meaning it's certified to withstand a half hour of submersion in 3.3 feet of water. The Galaxy Note8, by contrast, should be able to survive waters as deep as 5 feet for that amount of time.


For the first time on a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Note8 comes with a dual-camera setup -- a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, paired with a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera. Both cameras come with optical image stabilization, and special features include "live focus," which lets you blur a photo's background automatically.

The iPhone X also has dual, 12-megapixel cameras -- wide-angle and telephoto -- with optical image stabilization. Among the special camera features is "portrait lighting," which improves the lighting of the contours over a subject's face.


Both the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note8 have the same starting point for internal storage, 64GB. The devices each have options for more storage, though they differ in approach. The iPhone X offers a configuration with 256GB of total internal storage, while the Galaxy Note8 can add 256GB on top of the internal storage via a microSD card. The iPhone X doesn't have an option for expanding storage with a card.

Special Features

As a device geared more toward meeting productivity rather than consumer needs, the Galaxy Note8 includes some work-friendly features that aren't found on the iPhone X. The Note8 includes a digital pen that's housed in the phone itself, and removing the pen automatically launches note-taking on the lock screen. The device also features the capability for using two apps at a time in split-screen mode; a helpful new feature called App Pair lets you open two apps in split-screen with a single press. Also, the Note8 works with DeX, a docking station that uses the phone to provide an Android desktop experience on your monitor.

With the iPhone X, one differentiator is the way that augmented reality is enabled. The cameras on the iPhone X are specially calibrated for use with augmented-reality apps, with improved depth-sensing capabilities and a new gyroscope sensor that will help with AR usage.

Price & Availability

While the Galaxy Note8 is available now, pre-orders for the iPhone X won't begin until Oct. 27, with shipping set to start on Nov. 3.

Apple has taken some flak for pricing the iPhone X at $999 at the base level. But Samsung's Galaxy Note8 is nearly as expensive, with a starting price of $930. The starting prices of both phones are for the models with 64GB of storage.

You'll pay another $150 on top of those prices to get either the 256GB iPhone X or to add the 256GB microSD card for the Note8. Meanwhile, a wireless charging pad will tack on $40-$60 and the DeX station for the Note8 is priced at $136.