Samsung Note 8 vs. iPhone X: Help Me Help You

Ok, so tech is not something I normally write about, but it has always been an interest of mine. Getting my feelings down on paper would help me out a lot, and possibly, help you in your process of upgrading from the sluggish iPhone 6.

The Debate (Between Samsung and Apple)

iphoneX vs. Note 8 Comparison
Visual comparison of iPhone X vs Samsung Note 8 screens.

I’m debating between getting the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 8; caveat: I’ve already purchased the iPhone X, and so far . . . it’s amazing! BUT. With me being a huge advocate of saving money, it’s hard to just throw away $315 (more on that in a bit).

The debate for a few years has been clearly in Samsung’s favor: they make better phones (hardware wise); however, with the iPhone X, a huge leap has been made by Apple in a desperate attempt to compete with Samsung devices, and they may have just eek’d out a victory with this one.

Specs iPhone X Galaxy Note 8
Price $999 $950
OS iOS 11 Android 7.1.1 (possibly OREO?)
Screen Size 5.8-inch OLED (2436 x 1125) 6.3-inch AMOLED (2960 x 1440)
CPU A11 Bionic (better) Snapdragon 835 (not as good)
Storage 64 GB (or the overkill option) 64 GB (bc who needs more than that with swappable memory?)
RAM ~ 3GB (less) 6 GB (more)
microSD Nope, not a chance. Absolutely, why not?
Water Resistance Yes Yes
Rear Camera 12-MP wide angle (f/1.8)

12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)

12-MP wide angle (f/1.7)

12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)

Front 7-MP (f/2.2) (worse on paper) 8-MP (f/1.7) (better on paper)
Headphone Jack No, who uses cords? Yes, bc everybody still uses cords. Especially audiophiles.
Battery Life A little less than 11 hours A little more than 11 hours
Size 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches (smaller) 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.34 (bigger)
Weight 6.14 oz. (~lighter) 6.9 oz. (~heavier)
Resolution 458 ppi 551 ppi

So, What’s the difference between the iPhone X and the Samsung Note 8?

Overall Performance is Better on the iPhone X

After reading Tom’s Guide, which was an excellent, unbiased article on the topic, the difference is mainly that the iPhone X is better for people who need top level performance; though, the Samsung Note 8 does offer a very comparable performance and more special features at a slightly better price.

Now, since I am a bit of a performance junkie in all facets of the word (minus the illegal drugs part), I’m tempted to go with the iPhone X. It has better video editing performance, something I’m not currently doing a lot of, but have done in the past and will do in the future, and it’s something I’m already used to.

Not to mention, the general performance test (3D Mark IceStorm Unlimited) was heads and tails in the X’s favor, as it almost doubled Samsung’s score.

What About the Camera?

With the camera specs being pretty much the same for both phones, the note 8 wins slightly on paper. After looking into it though, the iPhone X seems to win in the usage category due to its background blurring capacity (aka Portrait Mode). Because I am something of a photographer, this is one of the main reasons I wanted to get it. Some people think the effect is too artificial, but I think they do a good job with it and it will only get better as the software updates. If Samsung had an OS update or an app that replicated this portrait mode, the debate would be far less difficult.

noir photo taken in low light on iPhone X
low-light noir 001

Even though I don’t do a lot of selfies (although I might have to stunt a lil’ bit with this new camera), it’s still nice to have that fantastic capability of the iPhone X’s front camera at my disposal.

As I stated above, if you look at the comparison table, it looks as if the Note 8 has the better camera; however, iOS has done a brilliant job with its portrait mode capabilities and other software-based photography tricks, giving it a slight edge in the photo category when it comes to usage. Basically what it does is: it senses the surroundings and picks what it thinks should be blurred in order to give you a smaller aperture look. Because of this, even though the front camera on the iPhone is lesser on paper, it still outperforms Samsung’s.

Picture of plated lettuce, eggs, and avocados taken in natural light on wood surface.

In looking at the various sample photos taken with the rear cameras of the Samsung Note 8 vs. the iPhone X, they look very similar, though iPhone X’s generally look a little better. Tom’s guide shows us this with a cool frame by frame comparison photo shown below (since they apparently took down their link to juxtapose, so I had to manually do it).

As far as the screen is concerned, it’s rumored that Apple has bought the OLED screens from Samsung, and it appears that Apple got the Snicklefritz.


The screen resolution on the iPhone X isn’t quite as good as the Note 8 (458ppi vs. 551ppi respectively), though Philip Michael’s of Tom’s Guide suggests iPhone’s is better due to the iOS’s adjustments to color saturation and ambient lighting.Samsung Wins the Screen and Customization Categories (on paper)

As with pretty much all Android devices, they always outperform Apple in terms of customization. That’s not Apple’s MO. If you’re a developer or someone who likes to maximize your entertainment preferences, the Samsung is a no-brainer. Not to mention, it’s a great phone for people who like downloading anything, due to the swappable memory feature.

Without the two side-by-side, it’s hard to tell which phone has the better screen. I can definitely say you won’t be disappointed with the X’s, but if you’re a resolution snob and feel you can develop your own OS integrations to make it rival the X, then by all means go with Samsung on this one.

VWR Bottom Line: Keep the iPhone X


  • Already familiar with Apple
  • Better performance on most fronts
  • Better Camera


  • No headphone jack
  • Costs $360 more than the Note 8
  • No swappable memory

I’m going to still mull it over, but it seems like the ease of use that iOS provides, the familiarity I already have with Apple products, and the overall performance boost the iPhone X provides might just be the tipping point for me to keep the phone.

VWR Questions

chubby kid looking back and forth between two cookies
When both of the cookies are fire and you can’t decide which one to eat.

That being said, Sprint offers a 50% discount to Verizon customers switching over to Sprint when they use Samsung devices. In such a close debate, it seems like a no-brainer to go with the Samsung. It’s almost as good of a phone, has a better screen, and the customization abilities it possesses might be a lot of fun for me. On the flip side, is $315 (minus the $45 restocking fee) in my pocket worth it for a slightly lesser phone and the adjustment of switching from iPhone to Android? HELP ME DECIDE!

Note: If you are seriously considering buying either of these phones, I have provided two links for the Samsung (first one is new and second is refurbished), and one for the iPhone X. This article, along with all my other, is intended to give information for things I am interested or perplexed about, not simply to sell products. The links are simply a way for me to make a small piece of change in exchange for my writing efforts. It’s really the same exact thing as buying on Amazon yourself, except you’re helping out a fellow human in the process instead of putting another stack in Jeff Bezos’ pocket :). Just some food for thought.

Stay Well,

Adam Vincent