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iPhone X vs. Galaxy Note 8: Sleek Smartphone Showdown

By now you've probably heard all about Apple's new iPhone lineup: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. We've compared the pricey iPhone X to the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S8, but how does the gorgeous new iPhone stack up against an even newer Samsung handset, the Galaxy Note 8, which PCMag called "the current pinnacle of smartphone technology"? Let's compare.

Name Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Apple iPhone X
Lowest Price $930.00 MSRP $999.00 MSRP
Editors' Rating
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Apple A11
Dimensions 6.38 by 2.95 by 0.34 inches 5.65 by 2.79 by 0.3 inches
Weight 6.88 oz 6.14 oz
Screen Size 6.3 inches 5.8 inches
Screen Type Super AMOLED Super Retina HD
Screen Resolution 2,960 by 1,440 pixels 2,436 by 1,125 pixels
Camera Resolution Dual 12MP Rear, 8MP Front Dual 12MP Rear, 7MP Front-facing
Wireless Specification 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Version 5.0 5.0
microSD Slot Yes No
Read the Review Read the Review

Design and Physical Features

The Galaxy Note 8 is meant to be a pocketable behemoth at 6.38 by 2.95 by 0.34 inches (HWD) and 6.88 ounces. Its display extends to side of the phone thanks to a dual-edge screen. The iPhone X is 5.65 by 2.79 by 0.30 inches (HWD) and weighs in at 6.14 ounces; smaller by every measure.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8There are no buttons on the front of either phone; go with iPhone 8 if you really want a home button. That means iPhone X lacks a Touch ID fingerprint sensor; Face ID takes its place. Galaxy Note 8 has a fingerprint sensor on the back.

Apple has finally embraced wireless charging with the Qi (pronounced "chee") standard on iPhone 8 and X. But it's late to the party; Samsung phones have had the same since 2015 with the Galaxy S6.

Like iPhone 7, there's no headphone jack on iPhone X; you use the proprietary Lightning port for all your charging and connection needs. The headphone jack lives on via the Note 8, though, next to a USB-C port—the industry standard all PCs and smartphones should be embracing ASAP, IMHO.

Apple iPhone X

Both phones are water- and dust-resistant, but Samsung has a small edge as the Note 8 is rated IP68, so it can go down to 1 meter or less underwater for 30 minutes. The iPhone X is IP67 so it can't go quite as deep.

The last big physical difference is the Note 8 comes with a stylus, called the S Pen. It sits neatly inside the phone via a hole at the top, clicking into place so it won't slide out. Apple doesn't believe in styli for its phones. Yes, you could always buy the Apple Pencil, but it's only rated by Apple for the iPad Pro, and may not work at all with the new display tech on the iPhone X. A stylus from a company like Adonit or Studio Neat would probably be better.

Display

Where the two phones are perhaps most alike is that Apple finally has embraced the almost-bezel-less, screen-to-screen front seen on many Android-based phones, including the Essential PH-1, the Galaxy S8, and of course the Note 8.

As a phablet, you expect the Note 8 to have a massive screen. The 6.3-inch 2,960-by-1,440-resolution OLED display, also called WQHD+, translates to 570 pixels per inch (ppi).

The 5.8-inch iPhone X is the first and only iPhone with an OLED screen. Apple is calling its 2,436-by-1,125-pixel display "Super Retina HD"; it packs in 458 ppi.

The OLED screens on iPhone X come from none other than Samsung itself, so you might expect a similar experience. But Apple's got some tricks. A wide color gamut, which shows 26 percent more colors than older True Tone displays for less reflection, and HDR are baked in. Plus, iPhone X's screen still supports 3D Touch, so you can place a finger on the screen to get different functions depending on how hard you press.

Processor, Battery, and Camera

The A11 Bionic chipset inside the iPhone X (as well as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus) is probably the most powerful processor in any smartphone. We haven't benchmarked the A11 yet, but leaked numbers already indicate it will trounce all existing Android phone processors. Samsung Note 8, like many others, uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.

We don't know yet what the true battery time will be on iPhone X, only that it's two hours more than the iPhone 7 Plus—which we timed at 6 hours while streaming video on LTE at maximum brightness. The Note 8 also got 6 hours of life in our tests. Naturally, Samsung isn't going to overdo it with the Note 8's battery, since it doesn't want a repeat of the fire problems seen on the Note 7. But if Apple's claims hold up, it'll have the superior life. We shall see.

In keeping with modern times, neither devices let you remove or change the battery. But the Note 8 does offer a microSD card slot for expandable storage, something iPhones have never had.

We loved the Note 8's rear dual 12-megapixel camera setup with the 2x optical zoom (one is a "telephoto"), which showed improved clarity over the Galaxy S8. There's optical image stabilization (OIS), which even works with the 4K video recording mode, and Live Focus (its name for bokeh) for focusing on foreground images (you can edit the background blur even after images are taken). The front camera is 8 megapixels.

The iPhone X also has dual rear cameras, 12 megapixels each, both with OIS (which will also be helpful for future augmented reality apps). Apple had bokeh effects before, but now also adds it to the 7-megapixel front "selfie" camera, as well as the ability to adjust lighting on selfies. Best of all, a new signal processor means the X should produce better shots in low light, focusing faster so you can capture the moment.

Software and Features

The iPhone X will come with iOS 11, which drops on Sept. 19. Among the mobile OS's goodies are better multi-tasking, improved drag-and-drop support, a redesigned App Store, making personal payments to friends using Apple Pay, a Siri voice update, a Files app so you can access all the docs on the phone, a new look for Control Center, augmented reality (AR) support, and a lot more.

The Galaxy Note 8 ships in the box with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, with the Samsung TouchWiz UI overlay on the visuals, plus a few Samsung-specific apps, like Samsung Pay. Eventually, it'll get an update to Android Oreo, which at the moment we know will overhaul things like app notifications.

Google ARCore

The iPhone X should be ready for AR out of the box thanks to ARKit, but developers will need to create apps that take AR past the Pokemon Go stage. The Galaxy Note 8 should get the same when the ARCore software developer kit from Google arrives.

Samsung also has some extras like its version of Alexa, dubbed Bixby; the Dex, a dock that hooks a Note 8 up to a full-size monitor to use it like a PC; and the Gear VR headset. Apple won't sell its own Qi charging pad until 2018 (get one from a third party like Mophie until then).

Price and Availability

The iPhone X will be $999 with 64GB of storage and $1,149 with 256GB. Pre-orders begin Oct. 27 and it will ship Nov. 3.

The Galaxy Note 8 is already available everywhere. The lowest price is $929.99 direct from Samsung with 64GB of storage. That purchase comes with either a free Gear 360 camera or a 128GB memory card and wireless charging stand.

If your phone choice comes down to the X vs. Note 8, you may have a tough decision. Considering how close they are in price, the biggest consideration between the two come down to size and operating system preference. There may be some tie-breakers, like the desire to use your face as a log-in method on the iPhone X or how much you want some removable storage. But chances are, whatever your current phone is, you won't go wrong sticking with the same OS.

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With the explosion of streaming services now available, it’s becoming more difficult to figure out not just what movie or TV show to watch next, but where you can actually watch it. Google today is rolling out its solution to this problem with a significant revamp of its Google Play Movies & TV app and an update to the Google Play Store itself that will show you which streaming services have the content available, in addition to whether it’s available for rent or purchase, as before. The end result is something that’s similar to Apple’s own TV app, which combines users’ own library of movies and TV with the ability to seek out what’s trending and available in the world of online video. In the updated Google Play Movies & TV app, you’ll now find three tabs in the new bottom navigation bar which will direct you to your Home, Library or your Watchlist. The watchlist is a feature the app recently gained as well, but now it has a much more prominent position. As you browse through the app, you can click on titles to read more about them, as before, but now you’re also able to see where the item can be streamed. At launch, Google is working with 28 streaming services whose content libraries are now integrated in Google Play Movies & TV. That’s fewer than Apple’s TV app supports, which is currently over 60. But it will find content even if it’s an exclusive to the streaming provider, and not necessarily something Google has for rent or sale. That means you can find original programming – like Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” – and then start watching it on the streaming service that hosts it. “We deeplink right into playback for that [third-party streaming] app,” explains Ben Serridge, the product manager for the Movies & TV app at Google. “So if I wanted to start watching ‘The Good Doctor’ pilot, I press the play button and it goes into the ABC app and start playback.” Beyond the big names, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the app also pulls in content from ABC, CBS, FOX NOW, NBC, HBO NOW, HBO Go, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, Max Go, Starz, Disney Now, HGTV, BET Now, Comedy Central, A&E, Cooking Channel, Crackle, DIY Network, Food Network, History, Lifetime, MTV, The CW, Travel Channel, Tubi TV and VH1. 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