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Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone 8

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone 8
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Samsung and Apple launch their new phones around six months apart, so comparing them is slightly trickier than usual. The iPhone 8 is the 2017 model, so you could justifiably say that it's better to wait until September until Apple's 2018 contender is here.

But assuming you don't want to wait, here's how the Samsung Galaxy S9 shapes up against the iPhone 8.


PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

There are two sizes of each phone, and the smaller ones are cheaper than their larger counterparts.

The cheapest iPhone 8 costs £699/US$699, and you'll pay £739/US$799 for the Galaxy S9 when it launches shortly.

If you want a bigger screen, then the 5.5in iPhone 8 Plus is £799/US$799, and the Galaxy S9 Plus is £869/US$840.

Don't forget that although it makes the iPhones appear cheaper, you can't expand the storage as you can with the Galaxy by slotting in a microSD card (up to 400GB in capacity).

FEATURES AND DESIGN

Interestingly, neither manufacturer has changed the design of their respective handsets for this latest generation.


For Apple, that's less than ideal as most Android flagships now have 'bezel-less' screens while the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have the same thick top and bottom bezels first introduced with the iPhone 6 in 2014.


It means that the 8 Plus in particular is larger than many rivals, yet has a smaller screen. The iPhone 8, with its 4.7in screen, is a good size if you're after a small phone but its screen is again smaller than it could be and has the same-as-ever 750p resolution.



Samsung, on the other hand, has further reduced the bezels on the S9 and although it's not immediately noticeable, it looks a lot more modern than the iPhones.


The curved glass looks and feels great, as do those big screens. Even the smaller model's screen is bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus's.



Samsung is also keeping buyers happy by continuing to include a 3.5mm headphone jack. With the iPhone 8, you get a Lightning-to-minijack adapter in the box.


In terms of shared features, both phones are water resistant, support wireless charging, have the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (and hardware in general) and have great cameras. Everything you'd expect from a modern flagship, really.

Screens


Drilling down further into the details, the Galaxy S9 has a 5.8in SuperAMOLED display with a resolution of 2960x1440.

The iPhone 8 has a 4.7in screen with a much lower 1338x750 resolution and uses an IPS LCD panel. By just about every measure, the S9 wins this battle, but bear in mind that the iPhone 8 has 3D Touch and True Tone.

The latter means that colours are adjusted so they still look correct no matter what the ambient lighting is like. The former means you can physically press hard on the screen to do extra things in iOS 11. This is typically achieved with a long-press in Android, but 3D Touch does have some advantages that aren't replicated on Android, such as pressing hard on the keyboard to activate a kind of pointer that lets you more easily move the cursor around text.



With the S9 Plus, you get a huge 6.2in screen with the same resolution as the S9 (but a still-very-high pixel density of 529ppi). It too is a SuperAMOLED display which means it has a few advantages the iPhone 8 lacks, such as the ability to remain always on so you can see the time and notifications without touching the phone at all.

Cameras


Let's start with the smaller phones. The S9 and iPhone 8 both have single rear cameras with 12Mp sensors and optical stabilisation.



They're both capable of recording 4K video at up to 60fps, so are well matched overall.


The S9's camera has one advantage: a switchable aperture between f/2.4 and f/1.5. We've yet to properly test this and find out whether it makes a noticeable difference to photos in real-world conditions, but you do get more natural bokeh at f/1.5 and you can see this in action in our colleagues' video at PCWorld.


Samsung has also introduced a 960fps ultra-slo-mo mode which lets you really slow down the action. It records in 720p unlike the new Sony Xperia XZ2's 1080p offering and only for 0.2 seconds.

Both iPhone 8s can shoot at 240fps at 1080p, which is still fine for most people, and there's no time limit (or none we've yet found). The Galaxy S9 also offers this mode.

Around the front, the iPhone has a 7Mp selfie camera and the S9 an 8Mp one. Both offer similar quality.



Moving to the Plus versions of each phone, both the iPhone 8 Plus and S9 Plus have two rear cameras. All are 12Mp, and the secondary lens on both phones is a 2x telephoto which lets you get closer to the action.



It also gives depth information, so you can shoot wonderful photos with blurry backgrounds. And on the Galaxy S9 Plus there's a new 'Live Focus' so you can how the final photo will look with its bokeh.



On the iPhone 8 Plus, Apple uses the second camera for some clever lighting effects (it calls it Portrait Lighting) which are surprisingly effective:



Samsung's new feature is animated emojis. Sound familiar? Well, it's not the same as Apple's Animoji which is restricted to the iPhone X, but it's similar. You take a selfie with the S9 and the software turns it into a cartoon version of you, ready to share with (or frighten) your friends.

Whether you're into photography, home videos or both, both the S9 and iPhone 8 are great choices.

Software


It's hard to compare these phones on software, although we have a separate comparison of Android 8.0 and iOS 11 which you can read for more detail.



It isn't so much about their feature differences as much as whether you're already an iOS or Android user. Obviously, it's easier to upgrade to a phone that runs the same OS and apps and it can be a wrench to swap from one to the other as each has unique features not available on the other.

However, it's possibly easier to switch from Android to an iPhone in this respect as going the other way means you can no longer use iMessage, FaceTime and other Apple-exclusive services. There are, of course, alternative apps which do a similar job.

Objectively, both iOS 11 and Android Oreo are slick operating systems which are both easy and enjoyable to use.

GALAXY S9 VS IPHONE 8 SPECS COMPARISON


This table gives you the main specs of all four phones:


This table gives you the main specs of all four phones:
Specification
Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9 Plus
iPhone 8
iPhone 8 Plus
Operating system
Android Oreo 8.0
Android Oreo 8.0
iOS 11
iOS 11
Available colours
Lilac Purple, Midnight Black, Titanium Grey, Coral Blue
Lilac Purple, Midnight Black, Titanium Grey, Coral Blue
Gold, Silver, Space Grey
Gold, Silver, Space Grey
Display
5.7in (2960x1440, 570ppi) IPS
6.2in (2960x1440, 529ppi) IPS
4.7in Retina HD (1334x750, 326ppi) IPS
5.5in Retina HD (1920x1080, 401ppi) IPS
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor
Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor
Storage
 64GB
 64GB
64GB/256GB
64GB/256GB
Primary camera
12Mp, f/1.5-2.4,  8x digital zoom, dual-LED flash
12Mp, f/1.5-2.4 + 12Mp, f/2.4, 2x optical zoom, 8x digital zoom, dual-LED flash
12Mp, f/1.8, 5x digital zoom, quad-LED flash
12Mp wide-angle, f/1.8 + 12Mp telephoto, f/2.8, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, Portrait Lighting, quad-LED flash
Front camera
 8Mp, f/1.7
 8Mp, f/1.7
7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video
7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video
Video recording
 4K at 30/60fps, 720p slo-mo at 960fps
 4K at 30/60fps, 720p slo-mo at 960fps
4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps
4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps
Fingerprint scanner
 Yes, rear
 Yes, rear
TouchID built into Home button
TouchID built into Home button
Connectivity
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
NFC
Yes
Yes
Only for Apple Pay
Only for Apple Pay
Waterproof
 IP68
 IP68
IP67
IP67
Dimensions
 68.7x147.7x8.5mm
73.8x158x8.5mm
67.3x138.4x7.3mm
78.1x158.4x7.5mm
Weight
 163g
189g
148g
202g
SPECS
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 5.8in Quad HD+ (2960x1440) 18.5:9 SuperAMOLED Infinity Display
  • Exynos 8910 octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 400GB)
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS and f/1.5
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Pressure sensitive home button
  • Fingerprint scanner (rear mounted)
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 16
  • Headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 dust & waterproof rating
  • 69x148x8.5mm
  • 163g

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